Attachment is a fundamental teaching of the Buddhist practice.
But do most of us ever see the attachment that we may have to the practice? What about the attachment to a monk or temple? I think this is an often overlooked pitfall in the practice. And in thinking that you are part of your temple, or close to a monk, you actually create the polar opposite of the teaching.
This practice is a matter of absorption and deep understanding that eliminates delusion.
But my teacher is so important to me!
This is probably the most common debilitating device that any of us can cling to. A teacher is only meant to point you to the path. We are all born alone, die alone, and will become enlightened alone. It may sound harsh, but you must see that it is the truth. And as you cling to that teacher you actually become less. Each word, thought and action must come from a place of aloneness. A place that offers no support, congratulations or explanations. A place that becomes clear and resonant in your own heart. Anything else is simply a chain around your ankle. You may not drown, but you will also not swim.
So how does one gauge their progress or deeds?
That’s exactly the point! Who is correct to judge any of us? Is any teacher infallible or beyond question? Teachers are all human beings just like you and I. Many have far more knowledge than most of us, but knowledge does not always equate to wisdom. And even wisdom is subjective. Each of us have our own personal experiences and conditions that form our perception of reality. And a beginners step in this practice is to see that our perceptions are distorted. We are each severely limited by our age, the place we live, our environment, social status, etc.
What we all need to do is walk alone.
This does not mean we avoid family, friendships or temples and teachers. However it does mean that no one else can breathe for us. No one else can sit in meditation for us. We can only grow on our own, and this process can be painstaking and last a lifetime or more. Letting go of attachments begins with cutting the obvious ties that inhibit our growth. And if you find the thought of this painful, then you should realize instantly that it is harmful and impeding to your growth and liberation.
Be brave, be mindful, and be kind. Peace.