18 Aug 2010 Leave a comment
So as Buddhists, we often talk about attachments.
Attachments, are bad, m'kay?
However, there are tons of married Buddhists including most of the non-monastic Priests. (Isn't it funny we never call Female Buddhist Priests Priestesses?)
Isn't this a contradiction? Yes, in some ways it is. We work hard to get rid of our attachment to things; to walk the middle way between materialism and asceticism. When it comes to people we often gloss over the bit about "not too much." We uses dissembling arguments: Well, on an absolute level we are all one. Sure, sure, but on a relative level my wife and and I share a bed, but we don't share a right arm or a pancreas, for example.
When it comes down to it, we often forget the principle of "Just enough" when it comes to our spouses and our children. We go to extremes.
I find myself doing this all the time: I like my wife so much I get upset and sad when she could very easily be spending time with me and chooses not to, for one reason or another. Often, she chooses not to so as to make another family member happy.
My reaction is rarely mindful. She accuses me of trying to make her feel guilty. I, of course, pull the old Zen Buddhist shtick that it is is what it is and we control how we react, so if she feels guilty this is all her. In case you missed it, that's me blaming her for feeling bad when, on subconscious level, I probably want her to feel bad because she chose someone else's happiness over mine by gracing them with her presence instead of me.
So then we have to ask: Is our behavior mindful? Are we being extreme and deviating from the Middle Way? If so, perhaps we should take a step back and reconsider our actions.
My solution is to immediately apologize. However, this solution doesn't fix anything. It's just admits that I'm wrong. The harm still exists.
I suppose in this case impermanence works in our favor.