Non-Attachment to Spouse and Kids

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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hkvanx
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Non-Attachment to Spouse and Kids

Post by hkvanx » Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:55 pm

Hello,

I am trying to practice non-attachment to lower suffering in my daily life. I feel like this is hard for me since I have a wife and kids. When something bad happens to them (emotional, physical, etc), it effects me negatively. When my wife made a critical comment about a household chore, I was effected negatively. When my sons is behaving badly, I feel bad. I know that non-attachment should not be detachment to emotions. I am in my mid 30s and cannot just disown my wife and young kids.

The thing that attracts me most about Buddhism is the idea that you can insulate your happiness to be independent of exterior factors (events, people, outcomes, etc). I am starting to realize that this is much harder to do in practice especially when married with kids while living a layman life with career and responsibilities. I can see how monastery life is the ideal environment for pursuing enlightenment. I feel like a fish swimming upstream.

Any advice?

Howard

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Non-Attachment to Spouse and Kids

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:01 pm

Buddhism is not becoming a robot.

I'd look into Lojong teachings from reputable teachers and learn to apply them in your daily life.
His welcoming
& rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly,
has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Further Shore.

-Lokavipatti Sutta

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LastLegend
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Re: Non-Attachment to Spouse and Kids

Post by LastLegend » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:04 pm

OP,
Practice feeling joy at your body and mind and send to your wife and kids. Would need to relax first and feel that subtle joy then gently raise intention of that joy to them and all sentient beings. Do this as you find your self suffering immediately do this. Do this everyday very often.
Within that state of clarity, there is a knowing that remains unchanged stationary can be seen when looking at an object.

tkp67
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Re: Non-Attachment to Spouse and Kids

Post by tkp67 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:12 pm

I took work 5 hours away because I couldn't progress and the opportunity came and I decided to take it.

I have the luxury of working a week on and a week off. My family is grown but more importantly my wife's struggles where only causing more pressures.

A number of issues had left her struggling with deep depression. He world view and outlook are void and reflective of her father who is dying after a cataclysmic set of bad decisions and a life of abusing after being abused. I can't underline how bad it was.

She was having a hard time being around him because the negativity crushed her. He only wishes to die, he has begrudged life as long as I have known him. Her mind reflected his.

Recently things have changed, the change in my attachment gave her space to express herself and in that moment I was able to share with her how the paradigm by which she thinks is a construct of the mind.

I was able to talk to her about simply letting go and manifesting positivity for both their sake. To go and thank him for all good memories and smile and bring his mind to one of the few joys he knows.

She has been doing that the last few weeks having broken through with an understanding of how delusion has robbed them of life and why it didn't have to be if she didn't give rise to it in her mind.

Our lives needed it. YMMV

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Matt J
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Re: Non-Attachment to Spouse and Kids

Post by Matt J » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:22 pm

I keep coming back to the ultimate Buddhist panacea--- impermanence. I am finding it is truly the universal solvent for life. And it is something we all learn sooner or later, whether we want to or not. People age. Kids grow up. You or your spouse will eventually die.

It sounds depressing, but it isn't. The more you see the impermanence of the family, the more you can be present to them and enjoy them. In the meantime, it will assist in a cultivating a subtle level of renunciation. But have realistic expectations: your wife (and later, your teenager) will be able to push your buttons. But I guarantee that in time, it will diminish.

Plenty of modern masters have had wives and kids: Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche; Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche; Tsoknyi Rinpoche just to name a few off the top of my head. There is some evidence that Shaivite and Buddhist Tantra developed in India as a method for lay persons. Negative emotions are not an obstacle, rather they can provide fuel for the path.

hkvanx wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:55 pm
Hello,

I am trying to practice non-attachment to lower suffering in my daily life. I feel like this is hard for me since I have a wife and kids. When something bad happens to them (emotional, physical, etc), it effects me negatively. When my wife made a critical comment about a household chore, I was effected negatively. When my sons is behaving badly, I feel bad. I know that non-attachment should not be detachment to emotions. I am in my mid 30s and cannot just disown my wife and young kids.

The thing that attracts me most about Buddhism is the idea that you can insulate your happiness to be independent of exterior factors (events, people, outcomes, etc). I am starting to realize that this is much harder to do in practice especially when married with kids while living a layman life with career and responsibilities. I can see how monastery life is the ideal environment for pursuing enlightenment. I feel like a fish swimming upstream.

Any advice?

Howard
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Simon E.
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Re: Non-Attachment to Spouse and Kids

Post by Simon E. » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:22 pm

Matt J wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:22 pm
I keep coming back to the ultimate Buddhist panacea--- impermanence. I am finding it is truly the universal solvent for life. And it is something we all learn sooner or later, whether we want to or not. People age. Kids grow up. You or your spouse will eventually die.

It sounds depressing, but it isn't. The more you see the impermanence of the family, the more you can be present to them and enjoy them. In the meantime, it will assist in a cultivating a subtle level of renunciation. But have realistic expectations: your wife (and later, your teenager) will be able to push your buttons. But I guarantee that in time, it will diminish.

Plenty of modern masters have had wives and kids: Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche; Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche; Tsoknyi Rinpoche just to name a few off the top of my head. There is some evidence that Shaivite and Buddhist Tantra developed in India as a method for lay persons. Negative emotions are not an obstacle, rather they can provide fuel for the path.

hkvanx wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:55 pm
Hello,

I am trying to practice non-attachment to lower suffering in my daily life. I feel like this is hard for me since I have a wife and kids. When something bad happens to them (emotional, physical, etc), it effects me negatively. When my wife made a critical comment about a household chore, I was effected negatively. When my sons is behaving badly, I feel bad. I know that non-attachment should not be detachment to emotions. I am in my mid 30s and cannot just disown my wife and young kids.

The thing that attracts me most about Buddhism is the idea that you can insulate your happiness to be independent of exterior factors (events, people, outcomes, etc). I am starting to realize that this is much harder to do in practice especially when married with kids while living a layman life with career and responsibilities. I can see how monastery life is the ideal environment for pursuing enlightenment. I feel like a fish swimming upstream.

Any advice?

Howard
This.l would add Dudjom Rinpoche, Akong Rinpoche, Chime Rinpoche and Ato Rinpoche, all wonderful teachers. All family men.
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Non-Attachment to Spouse and Kids

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:24 pm

hkvanx wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:55 pm

The thing that attracts me most about Buddhism is the idea that you can insulate your happiness to be independent of exterior factors (events, people, outcomes, etc).

Well, that's a mistake, because everything is interconnected.
Nothing is independent, especially happiness.
There are no exterior factors. There is only your own mind.

I am also a dad & husband. I can relate to what you have experienced.
Since you ask for advice:
Give up self-attachment (stop trying to "be" a buddhist)
and find the dharma path manifesting as helping others (spouse and kids)
to be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

Then you will attain realizations that can only come with experiencing no-self.
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Profile Picture: "The Fo Ming (Buddha Bright) Monk"
People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.

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明安 Myoan
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Re: Non-Attachment to Spouse and Kids

Post by 明安 Myoan » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:44 am

:good:

Another mid-30's married guy here.

Married life presents lots of opportunities for practice, because so much of the teachings involve how we think, speak, and act around others.
I understand feeling a gap between your practice and daily life, but it's a challenge that every householder Buddhist faces.

Sometimes, patience is the last thing from your mind. But they say love ain't always easy :smile:
One of my favorite tools for daily life is the lojong slogans.

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Rick
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Re: Non-Attachment to Spouse and Kids

Post by Rick » Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:37 am

Matt J wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:22 pm
I keep coming back to the ultimate Buddhist panacea--- impermanence. I am finding it is truly the universal solvent for life.
Impermanence as universal solvent ... that's perfect!

Call a-nic-ca, that's the name, and away go troubles down the drain.

:anjali: :rolling: :cheers: :twothumbsup: :cheers: :rolling: :anjali:
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

Punya
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Re: Non-Attachment to Spouse and Kids

Post by Punya » Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:45 am

Pema Chodron's books give great advice about how to apply the lojong teachings in daily life. Start by tackling small issues. This enables habituation of helpful patterns that eventually kick in when the bigger issues arise. Patience and persistence will get you there, but probably slower than you would like.
We abide nowhere. We possess nothing.
~Chatral Rinpoche

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tobes
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Re: Non-Attachment to Spouse and Kids

Post by tobes » Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:51 am

Non-attachment doesn't imply renouncing your wife and kids. It implies renouncing your attachment to them.

When attachment ceases, space, clarity, compassion and wisdom arise.

This is a richer, more loving, wiser standpoint to conduct a family life. So: you gain something here, not lose something.

Ignorant_Fool
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Re: Non-Attachment to Spouse and Kids

Post by Ignorant_Fool » Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:46 am

Marpa Loses a Son
An elderly couple whose son had died approached Master Marpa and said: “Lord and master, when our son died Your Eminence explained the Buddhist facts of life concerning the immanence of death, the universality of impermanence, the uncertainty of our lifespan, the ceaseless cycle of birth and death and rebirth, the interconnectedness of all things, and many edifying verses formerly unheard by these old ears. You exhorted us to see that this very life, including parenting a fine son, was just like a dream and an illusion, and that we need not squander the rest of this ephemeral life in depression. We found great peace through your teachings.

“Yet now you, the lord guru, master of illusion’s game, weep and wail like an ordinary person for your son and dharma-heir, the handsome, learned, beloved, and spiritually accomplished Dharma Dode. What is the meaning of this?”

“It is true that this life is like a dream, mirage and illusion,” Marpa replied. “The death of a child is like a nightmare among dreams, like a super-illusion among illusions. Nothing is more painful than the death of one’s child. This intense grief is also unreal and illusory”
And Lord Marpa wept openly.

The next day Marpa said, “My kleshas [conflicting emotions] sometimes seem as if carved in stone, yet even stone is nothing but clear light! Momentary appearances are all self-manifesting and self-liberating; this realization is the heart’s sure release.

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