“Attachment is the origin, the root of suffering; hence it is the cause of suffering.”
~ The Dalai Lama at Harvard University, 1988
The Second Noble Truth is that the origin of suffering is attachment (upādāna). And obviously, the Dalai Lama understands this very well. But for me, the lessons come every day, little by little. And by simply reading the Four Noble Truths, I do not somehow come to instantly understand this life. I wish it were that easy!
Today, once again, dear Bhikkhuni Vimala was my Teacher. In a brief phone conversation, she gave a loving dhamma talk about attachment and compassion (karuṇā). And this was not a dhamma talk as such, so much as it was simply her own voice speaking truths that she has come to understand through practice. And I just happened to be fortunate enough to be blessed by those words today.
The gist of her words were that we need to be extremely mindful of our relationships and the expectations that we create because of our attachment. And as human beings, it can be very challenging to let go of those attachments and expectations. But clearly they are the cause of the stories we create and the suffering (dukkha) that follows. And in some ways, this is similar to how each of us may see our compassion. With an attachment, expectation, even a sense of obligation to help. And again, seeing this will only create more suffering and unhappiness for ourselves.
My suggestion to you is the same that I offer myself. And that is to step back and observe our compassionate nature and the love that we feel for those closest to us. And if we see there is an expectation or desire, then we are being unskilful and unhelpful. We are offering no benefit to our loved one, and we are not offering loving kindness to ourselves. Seeing these thoughts like little demons that are trying to attack our peace. And becoming aware that it is only through skillful practice that we truly offer the greatest love and compassion to everyone.
Thank you to the Buddha, the dhamma, and the sangha. And thank you Bhikkhuni for your unwavering wisdom, gentleness and love.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.