Buddhism, and Detachment?

How exactly can detachment be achieved?

Say that you had a boy/girlfriend. You've been with them for a long time, and you've come to need them and love them. Now they're gone, out of your life. You can't prevent yourself from being miserable, and desperately unhappy. It's easy to say, "Oh, well we're over anyway, it doesn't matter." I personally think that it's just hiding the problem, but you're not really confronting your feelings about it. How can you truly look at the situation and detach yourself from it, and go through it instead of around it? How can you detach yourself from something you need so badly?

Thanks to everyone in advance :)


I think that this question can also apply to material goods and past situations. I know that I like to look at past, pleasurable experiences(like a nice vacation with friends) and regret that it did not last longer. Or when you lose something of importance, you become very upset. How can you detach yourself even when the object that you lost will cause you great inconvenience? Or stop dwelling on past experiences that you know won't come back?

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I think you have an incorrect understanding of this concept. It's not about detaching yourself and being emotionally cold and not having pleasurable experiences - its about being realistic.

    All people at some point put unrealistic expectations on something that cannot fulfill it. For example taking the boyfriend/girlfriend scenario. If someone were to say if i have this boyfriend i will be happy - and this can be true for a short period of time. Or some people (which this happens often) think they'll be happier than they turn out to be - which also creates dissatisfaction.

    In no way are we saying - don't have a boyfriend! don't have material things! we're just saying be realistic, those things can bring small joy to you but don't put unrealistic expectations on them.

    We're also not saying don't be upset when you break up, just realize its not the end of the world.

    Also i have to say that if you truly love someone then you want them to be happy even if that means they're not with you. So it might not be love it might be grasping and putting unrealistic expectations on this person hoping that they'll be everything you wanted and they're not, so its unhealthy.

    Again its not about being cold its about being realistic.

    Realize that most of what your listing is your problem. As in its not like 'everyone is plagued by memories of the past' - you are. You can't move on, you're hurting yourself - its you. You are your own obstacle, this is always true in life. I once heard a quote - we don't see the world as it is, we see it as we are - this is very true.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Here - the conceptual gift of Sakyamuni,

    at once, transported from West to East.

    This very day remaining clear and timely,

    as a mountain spring from freshly melted snow.

    Among people [on this path] are the wise and foolish,

    yet neither Northern nor Southern Masters are found.

    North or South, wherever you began, by following your desires

    you only become attached to the affects of this life.

    These attachments form the delusions you will later encounter.

    By our senses and our perceptions we form some vision.

    Regardless, everything remains in its own unique place.

    Although each is bound to everything else, it is independent.

    Dependent yet independent.

    Visions and emotions create the things which we perceive.

    We differentiate sounds from pleasing to disturbing.

    In light we perceive good and bad.

    In silent darkness differences vanish,

    darkness makes everything seem as if one.

    The true characteristics of the four elements recede,

    as a startled child flees to its mother.

  • bo k
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Detachment is suffering because we missing something if we detached ourselves from something. The stronger the attachment, the greater the pain of detachment.

    Only time can heal the detachment.

    Buddhist practice is to prevent attachment in the first place so that we do not have to detach anything.

    Once we learn to live in present moment, past can not come and haunt us. Future can not come and mislead us.

    Source(s): Buddhism
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The whole idea of detachment is to not make something that is impermanent, something outside of yourself, the source of your happiness. While it is not asking you to not love another person, or not to grieve a loss, it is saying that all things are in a constant state of change, and when you make something that is impermanent and subject to change your source of happiness and contentment, your happiness is only as solid and permanent as that thing. When you learn to look inward, beyond even your own passing thoughts, find your higher, natural Self, you will find your natural peace and happiness. And while you are able to love others, you will realize that their passing is a natural process and that while still a loss to you, they are also in that place where your natural Self is, so they aren't really gone.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Your questions can be answered by following the Four Noble Truths.

    1) The suffering (Dukkha)

    The Buddha taught us that to be born, to age, to be ill, to die, are suffering; to face with the dislike, to be separated from the like, to not get what is wanted, are suffering. To be sad, to moan, to have physical or mental discomfort, to have mental depression/conflict are suffering.

    In your case:You suffer because you are separated from you r boyfriend, loved material goods, and somethings of importance (to be separated from the like). You could not get pleasurable experiences in the past back (to not get what is wanted).

    2) The cause of suffering (Samudaya)

    It stems from tanha (craving, desire)— the driving force of the mind which likes happiness and dislikes unhappiness. With such force, the mind clings to Body (Rupa) and Mind (Nama), because it wants both to receive happiness, but not unhappiness. Such craving and clinging (Attachment) occur because the mind does not understand the truth of nature.

    In your case:You crave and cling because you don't know the true reality of nature.

    3) The cessation of suffering (Nirodha, Enlightenment, Nibbana, or Nirvana)

    At the moment the mind is liberated from craving and clinging, the “One Mind” will realize Nibbana. Nibbana is a condition that is pure, clean, flawless, immaculate, void, formless, boundless, sublimely tranquil and immortal. The consciousness that penetrates Nibbana will be overwhelmed with immense happiness.

    4) The path leading to the cessation of suffering (The Noble Eightfold Path = Threefold Training = Sati-Practice)

    Now that we know the cause of suffering, it is not hard to understand what causes the cessation of suffering. It’s nothing more than removing craving (tanha) by resolving delusion (lacking of knowledge of the nature.)

    In true nature, there is no animal, person, self, he, she, or we. There are only Body and Mind (Rupa and Nama or the Five Aggregates) that temporarily assemble together. They are all subjected to the Three Characteristics of Nature (being oppressed, impermanence, and non-Self).

    In order to comprehend the true nature that seems unreal to ordinary people, one has to study and to practice the Noble Eightfold Path (= Threefold Training = Sati-Practice).

    In your case: Because you don't know the true nature of the body and mind, you think that they are good and special and that you own them. You then do everything you can to make them happy and to avoid unhappiness. Your mind therefore struggles, hence the suffering occurs. Once you are aware of the real truth, you stop craving for happiness and clinging to our body and mind as self. This is how exactly the detachment from body and mind can be achieved.

    If one is able to let go of one's body and mind and gives them back to the earth, all sufferings will be eradicated and the Nibbana will be realized.

    The answer from "Warrior Poo Flinger got limed" is another important angle to consider.

    You may learn more from the below links.

    Source(s): 1. Venerable Phra Ajahn Chah: The Teachings of Ajahn Chah (www.ajahnchah.org) 2. Phra Ajahn Pramote Pamotecho: The Path to Enlightenment II (http://00.w-file.net/pramote/books/Vitee.2.2008042... 3. Phra Ajahn Pramote Pamotecho: The Path to Freedom (http://00.w-file.net/pramote/books/PathOfFreedom.2...
  • 1 decade ago

    Feelings aren't based on reason and logic.

    The only answer I can give is to try and occupy yourself and do things that make you happy and try and take your mind off of things.

    Either way, if you force down your feelings, you might get too good at it and find it difficult to open up and be emotionally in touch with other people in future.

    EDIT: Emotions and the self are REAL.

    Cogito Ergo Sum, I think therefore I am.

    Source(s): Personal Experience
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's not easy to achieve. Buddhist can spend many lifetimes trying to achieve it. One has to realise that emotions are not real, the self is an illusion.

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