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Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Oct 25, 2022

Attachment to the self causes suffering, just as suffering invariably follows attachment to any object. In general, attachment arises when we perceive an object we find attractive and become fixated on it; we exaggerate its qualities until we become glued to the object, so that it is painful if we are separated from it. For example, attachment to self might arise as a fixed sense that we have a certain quantity, like intelligence. We are attached to being perceived as intelligence so that when someone slights our intelligence in some way, we feel pain and might become angry and defensive. 


The following experiences come from attachment to our self:

  • anxiety
  • feeling defensive 
  • depression, self-loathing, guilt 
  • pride 
  • defense mechanisms


A suggested mindfulness practice is to watch our mind for a week, attempting to notice when we experience any of the symptoms of attachment to self. Other ways to gain knowledge about your own attachment is to observe what triggered the attachment to arise. Or determine what exactly you're attached to in that moment. Observe any pain or problems this attachment causes. Discover what ways your attachment to self most often arises, In the next episode, we will explore ways to lessen the attachment to self that most often plagues you. 


Sorrow grows Like grass after rain 

For anyone overcome by this miserable craving 

And clinging to the world. (335)* 


Sorrow falls away Like drops of water from a lotus 

For anyone who overcomes this miserable craving 

And clinging to the world.


This I say to you: Good fortune to all assembled here!

Dig out the root of craving 

As you would the fragrant root of bīrana grass. 

Don’t let Māra destroy you again and again, 

As a torrential river [breaks] a reed. (337) 


Just as a felled tree grows again 

If the roots are unharmed and strong, 

So suffering sprouts again and again 

Until the tendency to crave is rooted out.

-Buddha, The Dhammapada


References and Links


Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011. (Link)


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