The Dalai Llama, Attachment & Betrayal


Gendun Drup, 1st Dalai Lama

Image via Wikipedia

This summer, I’d decided that to work on letting go of attachment. If you’ve studied Buddhism, or any type of eastern religion, or read “Remember, Be Here Now”by Ram Dass, you know that this means letting go of attachment to outcomes, or specifically, to things happening the way you want them to happen. This means acceptance of everything that comes your way without letting go of your inner serenity. When I was 22, I received an unexpected tax return check for $453. I was elated and told my best friend at the time. He was non plussed. Don’t you know what this means/ I asked. I could buy a car! (This was back in the day when you could pick up an old volvo or vw in Vermont for about that much.) His response was, “I refuse to be excited about your gain of $453, because if I did so, then I would also have to be upset if you lost $453.” I guess this was my first lesson in the concept of attachment. But it stuck in my mind so much that more than two decades later, I remember exactly the amount of the check.

In The Path to Tranquility, by His Holiness the Dalai Llama, compiled and edited by Renuka Singh (Penguin Books, 1998), the reader is presented with a nugget of spiritual wisdom for each day.

The entry for November 7 (p.341): We have been and are still going through endless suffering without deriving any benefit whatever from it. Now that we have promised to be good hearted, we should try not to get angry when others insult us. Being patient might not be easy. It requires considerable concentration. But the result we achieve by enduring these difficulties will be sublime! That is something to be happy about!

My discovery that my lover cheated on me, and my realization of all the lies he told me in order to perpetuate this other relationship for eighteen months, is definitely an insult. I was thinking last night under the stars that it felt like a giant spiritual slap in the face! Is this happening to me because I want to learn to let go of attachment? Was I too attached to his love? To being in love? To the fairy tale ending I thought we were having?Oh, gosh, having no attachment seems really boring and pointless. I take it back. I’m not ready for achieving non attachment.

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