Oct 30, 2022
In this episode and subsequent mindfulness practice, we are working toward severing the root of craving (also known as attachment). What is the root of craving? Suffering is said to have three roots: anger, attachment, and--the root of anger and attachment--ignorance. In particular, the root of craving is ignorance of the way things exist as opposed to how they appear to us. When we crave something, it appears to be inherently good; we don't think our Mind has anything to do with making that object pleasant or desirable. Due to our ignorance, we believe our Mind has nothing to do with making an object desirable. For example, if we become attached to a diamond ring, this attachment ultimately arises from ignorance.
Attachment arises as follows:
pleasant appearing object or person + inappropriate attention = attachment
Something we desire manifests like an illusion, and we are the magician. For this process of attachment to be set in motion, ignorance must veil the truth that we make the object appear attractive. We never say, 'Mind, why do you make me have expectations for my birthday to be so great?' We don't protest and think, 'Mind, why do you make that married person appear so attractive? Let's not.'
Yet attachment can't arise unless we give inappropriate attention by dwelling on its good qualities, how it will make us happy, etc. If we continue to dwell in this way, attachment will arise and the illusion will be complete. We will then believe we can’t be happy without that object or person: whether it is wanting a person, a situation to go the way we want, or a diamond ring. We can stop the attachment equation by giving appropriate attention and using wisdom thoughts to stop attachment in its tracks. For example, we might think, "The only reason I want to keep dating this person is because I am so attached. This relationship is actually toxic for me. If I break up with them, then after a while, my attachment will naturally fade, and they will appear like any other person." Wisdom thoughts can set us free, initiate the return of contentment, and keep our mind peaceful.
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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