A Vacation from Attachment

A Vacation from Attachment

Date of Advice:
September 2020
Date Posted:
August 2022

This letter was sent to a student who wrote that she was having difficulty with attachment to men. Rinpoche advised how to overcome the attachment by reflecting on the nature of the body and the four immeasurable thoughts.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche at  Rinchen Jangsem Ling, Triang, Malaysia, April 2016. Photo: Bill Kane.

My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling one,
Thank you for your email. In relation to your attachment to men, my advice is bodhicitta practice. Live your life for other sentient beings, not just for your family and children; that is just attachment. So most important is bodhicitta, only cherishing sentient beings. Live with bodhicitta day and night, as a remedy for attachment. I am suggesting that you listen to all—yes all—of the teachings given from Kopan during the pandemic. Listen to all of them from beginning to end.

All the animals in the river and in the oceans, even the seahorses, have sex and make babies. So what? In their view, they have attachment toward their own animal species, but that is nothing special. They have had habitual attachment since beginningless rebirths. They follow habit, and habit follows what it wants. Think of the man’s body inside—there is the skeleton, pus, blood, meat hanging out, whatever—and get scared. Are you attached to the meat? To the blood? To the pipi? To the kaka? To the skeleton?

Now the body is covered by skin, but once the mind leaves there is a terrible smell. Meditate on these things. The life that follows attachment and sex becomes so difficult for future lifetimes—not just for one hundred lifetimes or five hundred lifetimes, but on and on.

Samsara is in the nature of suffering. With attachment we wander in our permanent address of the three lower realms, then this life’s bad habits leads to suffering and bad habits in the next life, and then that leads to future lives’ sufferings and bad habits, and so it goes on and on.

So in this way you miss out on liberation. You don’t get that, and forget about enlightenment for yourself or freeing the limitless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric sufferings and bringing them to enlightenment.

The main method that you have to use against attachment to men is to think of the inside of their body, not just for one second, but on and on.

I want you to have this karma card with quote. Please read this and meditate on this. Maybe you can print this card and frame it and keep it so you look at it.

Four immeasurable thoughts recitations: this practice is so good. It keeps the mind away from attachment and sex, so you can have a very good vacation from attachment and sex. Even if you have sex with all the men in your city, still it would not be enough. There is no satisfaction. Also think we have done this with everyone since beginningless time, having sex in this way, sometimes as the man, sometimes as the woman. So we already have done this, but we don’t remember. We need to understand that all sentient beings have been our mother and our father. Then it’s easy to understand that we have done all of this already, in the different roles, many times, but still we are in samsara and still suffering, so we still can’t help others. This is very sad. Sorry.

The conclusion is that however many times you try that experience, still you never get satisfaction, even though you try and try for so many years, but then the life is finished. Then there is no time for purification and no time for practice due to the distractions. It is only the cause of suffering and then life in the lower realms. Even if you were to have sex with all the men in your country, then maybe after that you could try all the men in the USA and if there is no satisfaction, then all the Russians, Chinese, Spanish, Indians, Nepalis and Tibetans. Then after that, if your life is long enough, you could have sex with all the beings in another universe. You could have endless sex with everyone numberless times, with all the numberless sentient beings.

We have been husband and wife numberless times; we have killed, drank the blood, eaten the meat and used the skins of all sentient beings numberless times. For example, the mosquito drinks our blood—this is not strange or frightening—and we drank and ate meat numberless times. The ignorant mind has the wrong concept of permanence, hence we think that this is the first time. From ignorance, we have the wrong concept of I, and we think that everything exists from its own side, even though nothing exists from its own side and everything is merely imputed from the side of the mind.

If there is anything else, please write to me again any time.

With much love and prayers ...