It should also be said that attachment isn't about being bad or "wrong." We shouldn't scorn ourselves for having attachments or desires but rather understand that certain kinds of attachments and desires are at the root of our suffering. It takes extraordinary discernment to look at human relationships and know what's behind our feelings. We may have a committed, caring relationship with a lover, or we may be trying to have an effect on a child, keeping him or her from doing harmful things.

But when that other aspect comes in--of trying to keep people from changing or trying to control them--we suffer. Still, seeing those attachments is not bad either, because through being aware of them, we can recognize the feeling of tension, of leaning forward, of trying to control--and in that recognition we can learn to let go.

We shouldn't scorn ourselves for having attachments or desires but rather understand that certain kinds of attachments and desires are at the root of our suffering.

Moreover, most of us have certain relationships where we love someone in a particular way. To feel those extraordinary bonds is inevitable in life and is the nature of karma. From a Buddhist perspective, we're all connected to all beings through infinite previous lives, but we do have particular affinities for certain people that are unique. Some of these relationships can be very important in terms of our cultivating generosity, compassion, and lovingkindness.

There's a famous quotation from the time the Buddha learned of the deaths of two of his greatest disciples: "It's as if the sun and the moon have left the sky." From that quotation, I would guess that while the Buddha loved all beings everywhere, with no exclusion, he also had relationships that were special to him, and he felt their loss.

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