The Buddhism message boards have been home to many heartfelt questions and conversations about the concept of attachment and what it means for our relationships--and our practice. Here's a sampling of quotes on attachment from recent boards. Join the discussion!

Cold Comfort?

"My husband, who is very open to Buddhism, kind of hit a wall with the concept of non-attachment. The whole idea seems cold to him, as though the Buddha were saying that we should not fully love someone in order to avoid getting hurt someday. I tried to explain about grasping, and how we shouldn't feel we have to have someone in order to be happy, and he got pretty insulted. The unspoken question was, "So, if I died, you'd be okay with it?"

More on Attachment

Vipassana teacher Sharon Salzberg on the pitfalls of clinging to the people and things we love.

Fantasy Island

"Many, if not all, of the problems in my relationships with my loved ones arise when one or the other of us gets attached to some particular fixed idea about the way things ought to be. The problem here is my attachment to my fantasy of how things should be and how it blinds me to how things really are."

Broken Glass

"The Buddhist psychiatrist and author Mark Epstein once asked the late Thai master Ajahn Chah about attachment. Ajahn picked up the drinking glass next to him and explained how he found it useful to view the glass as already broken. He realised that sooner or later the glass would be gone. Because he realised the futility of attachment to this object he could truly give his attention to it without any suffering, without any fear of losing it souring the experience.

Depth of Feeling

"I find many explanations of non-attachment to be reductionist and intellectualizations of something that is very deep. This woman's husband asked a vital question, and to answer it with things like not getting attached to a 'glass' trivializes what he was asking. He was talking about human beings and our relationships to them. People are with us for a very short time, so it is extremely important to love and cherish them while they are here, mourn when they leave us (even Thich Nhat Hanh cried when one of his brother monks died!) and remember them fondly.

Is This Love?

"Attachment as Buddhists mean it isn't love, it is more akin to suffocating jealousy. Love is not about attachment. It is about trust and devotion.
--collectively unconscious

(The quotes on this page are from the discussion Impermanence and Family Life.)

Burning Bills

"Rejecting attachments is attachment to freedom from attachment! :)

Here is a fun trick. Open your wallet and take out the biggest bill. Now burn it. Ooooo! Feel the claws of clinging?"

--collectively unconscious

Family Ties

"When I first started studying Buddhism, I actually made a list of all my 'attachments' and mentally pictured letting them go. I did great until I got to my totally consuming adoration of my two girls. When they tell me that they love me and 'good-bye' and go off to their own lives, my heart just breaks, but I also keep reminding myself that this was my goal. I don't think I'll ever be able to not be attached to my girls, the way I'm not attached to, say, this dollar bill."

No More, No Less

"I think it is a misconception to believe that unattachment means not feeling anything. I find it more accurate to say it is feeling no more and no less than is natural for no longer and no less than is appropriate."
--collectively unconscious

All My Children?

"Now that I have children, I have to deal with impermanence and attachment at much deeper levels than before. I look at my son or my daughters, and say "my child," but at another level, I know that they are spiritual beings that sought rebirth in this family, in some way adults that have lived as much as me."

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