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Onelittleangel > Detachement > About detachement
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A man who lived by digging graves survived
To ripe old age. A neighbour said: "You've thrived
For years, digging away in one routine -
Tell us the strangest thing you've ever seen."
He said: "All things considered, what's most strange
Is that for seventy years without a change
That dog, my self, has seen me digging graves,
Yet neither dies, nor alters, nor behaves!"





Islam / Sufism 4522 | 
The Conference of the Birds, p96 







F rom endearment springs grief, from endearment springs fear; for him who
is wholly free from endearment there is no grief, much less fear.

From affection springs grief, from affection springs fear; for him who is
wholly free from affection there is no grief, much less fear.

From attachment springs grief, from attachment springs fear; for him who
is wholly free from attachment there is no grief, much less fear.

From lust springs grief, from lust springs fear; for him who is wholly
free from lust there is no grief, much less fear.

From craving springs grief, from craving springs fear; for him who is
wholly free from craving there is no grief, much less fear.





Buddhism 4406 | 
Dhammapada 212-16 







T o many it is not given to hear of the Self. Many, though they hear of
it, do not understand it. Wonderful is he who speaks of it. Intelligent
is he who learns of it. Blessed is he who, taught by a good teacher, is
able to understand it.

The truth of the Self cannot be fully understood when taught by an
ignorant man, for opinions regarding it, not founded in knowledge, vary
one from another. Subtler than the subtlest is this Self, and beyond all
logic. Taught by a teacher who knows the Self and Brahman as one, a man
leaves vain theory behind and attains to truth.

The awakening which you have known does not come through the intellect,
but rather, in fullest measure, from the lips of the wise....

Words cannot reveal him. Mind cannot reach him. Eyes do not see him.
How then can he be comprehended, save when taught by those seers who
indeed have known him?












T hrough constant effort over many lifetimes, a person becomes purified of
all selfish desires and attains the supreme goal of life.





Hinduism 4325 | 
Bhagavad Gita 6.45 







W hen a man is free from all sense pleasures and depends on nothingness he
is free in the supreme freedom from perception. He will stay there and
not return again.

It is like a flame struck by a sudden gust of wind. In a flash it has
gone out and nothing more can be known about it. It is the same with a
wise man freed from mental existence: in a flash he has gone out and
nothing more can be known about him.

When a person has gone out, then there is nothing by which you can measure
him. That by which he can be talked about is no longer there for him; you
cannot say that he does not exist. When all ways of being, all phenomena
are removed, then all ways of description have also been removed.





Buddhism 4288 | 
Sutta Nipata 1072-76 







B eyond the senses is the mind, beyond the mind is the intellect, higher than the intellect is the Great Atman [the totality of all minds], higher than the Great Atman is the Umanifest. Beyond the Unmanifest is the Person, all-pervading, and imperceptible.




Hinduism 4115 | 
Katha Upanishad 2.3.7-8 







Y ou cannot see my face; for man shall not see me and live.




Judaism 4111 | 
Exodus 33.18-23 







A s for goods and possession, the great man does not compete for them.




Daoism 4029 | 
Zhuangzi, chap.17 (shool of Tchuang Tzu), trad. A.C. Graham, 1981, p.150 







H e who after passing from order to order, after offering sacrifices and subduing his senses, becomes, tired with (giving) alms and offerings of food, an ascetic, gains bliss after death. [...]

Departing from his house fully provided with the means of purification (Pavitra), (1) let him wander about absolutely silent, and caring nothing for enjoyments that may be offered (to him).

Let him always wander alone, without any companion, in order to attain (final liberation), fully understanding that the solitary (man, who) neither forsakes nor is forsaken, gains his end.

He shall neither possess a fire, nor a dwelling, he may go to a village for his food, (he shall be) indifferent to everything, firm of purpose, mediating (and) concentrating his mind on Brahman. . . .[…]





Hinduism 3960 | 
VI, 33,34,41-43, Translation by G. Buhler in Sacred Books of the East, xxv (Oxford, 1886), pp. 204-10 
1 Construed as either his capacities after having completed three states of life, or his 'equipment' such as staff and water-pot.







B ut having thus passed the third part of (a man's natural term of) life in the forest, he may live as an ascetic during the fourth part of his existence, after abandoning all attachments to worldly objects. (1)




Hinduism 3958 | 
VI, 33, Translation by G. Buhler in Sacred Books of the East, xxv (Oxford, 1886), pp. 204-10 
(1) Reference here is to the ideal four stages (ashramas) of the Brahman's life: student (brahmacarin), householder (grihastha), hermit or forest-dweller (vanaprastha), and finally, ascetic or mendicant (yati, bhikshu, parivrajaka, samnyasin).







T he road and ascent to God, then, necessarily demands a habitual effort to renounce and mortify the appetites; the sooner this mortification is achieved, the sooner the soul reaches the top. But until the appetites are eliminated, a person will not arrive, no matter how much virtue he practices. For he will fail to acquire perfect virtue, which lies in keeping the soul empty, naked, and purified of every appetite.

... Until slumber comes to the appetites through the mortification of sensuality, and until this very sensuality is stilled in such a way that the appetites do not war against the spirit, the soul will not walk out to genuine freedom, to the enjoyment of union with its Beloved.





Christianity / Catholicism 3844 | 
The Ascent Of Mount Carmel, I.5.6; Kavanaugh & Rodriguez, 1973; p. 83 







H ow is this to be accomplished?
Let all else go!





Philosophy / Néoplatonism 3669 | 
Enneads, 49:5:17; in Porphyry, Life Of Plotinus, Turnbull, 1936; p. 163 







W hen a man surrenders all desires that come to the heart, and by the grace of God finds the joy of God in himself, then his soul has indeed found peace.




Hinduism 3619 | 
2:55; based on Mascaro, Juan, 1962 







W hen a wise man has withdrawn his mind from all things without, and when his spirit has peacefully left all inner sensations' let him rest in peace, free from the movement of will and desire. ... For it has been said: There is something beyond our mind which abides in silence within our mind. It is the supreme mystery beyond thought. Let one's mind and subtle spirit rest upon that and nothing else.

... When the mind is silent, beyond weakness and distraction, then it can enter into a world which is far beyond the mind: the supreme Destination. ... Then one knows the joy of Eternity.





Hinduism 3600 | 
Maitri Upanishad, VI.19-23; based on Mascaro, Juan, 1965 







H e is seen by a pure heart and by a mind whose thoughts are pure.
... When all desires that cling to the heart are surrendered, then a mortal becomes immortal, and even in this world he is one with Brahman.





Hinduism 3597 | 
Katha Upanishad, IV ; based on Mascaro, Juan, 1965 







T hat person who has detached themselves from everything and who is detached, never glancing even for a moment at what they have given up, who remains steadfast, unmoved in themselves and immutable -- such a person alone has truly attained detachment.




Christianity 3529 | 
Selected Writings. Trans. Oliver Davies. New York: Penguin Books USA, Inc., 1994, pp. 170-180 







N ow there are certain people who turn from things out of love, but who still have great regard for what they have left. But those who understand in truth that even when they have given themselves up and have abandoned all things, this is still absolutely nothing -- those who live in this way, truly possess all things.




Christianity 3528 | 
Selected Writings. Trans. Oliver Davies. New York: Penguin Books USA, Inc., 1994, p. 186 







W e should learn to see God in all gifts and works, neither resting content with anything nor becoming attached to anything. For us there can be no attachment to a particular manner of behavior in this life, nor has this ever been right, however successful we may have been.




Christianity 3526 | 
Selected Writings. Trans. Oliver Davies. New York: Penguin Books USA, Inc., 1994, p. 40 







W hoever, therefore, with a pure, simple heart lifts his intention up to God and empties out of himself all inordinate love or displeasure over any worldy thing will be the more ready to receive grace and will be the best worthy to have the gift of devotion. Where our Lord finds the vessel empty and void, there He gives His blessing, and the more perfectly a man can renounce himself and all the worldly things, and by despising himself can the more die to himself, so much the sooner will grace come and enter more plenteously into him and lift his heart higher unto God. Then his heart will see and be rich, and will marvel and be dilated within him, for the grace of our Lord is with him and he has completely put himself into His hand forever.




Christianity 3510 | 
The Imitation of Christ. Trans. Richard Whitford, moderenized by Harold C. Gardiner. New York: Doubleday, 1955, p. 231 







S aid by God:) Think all the world as nothing and prefer My service before all things, for you cannot have your mind fixed on Me and at the same time delight in transitory pleasure.




Christianity 3505 | 
The Imitation of Christ. Trans. Richard Whitford, moderenized by Harold C. Gardiner. New York: Doubleday, 1955, pp. 184-185 







K eep yourself as a pilgrim and a stranger here in this world, as one to whom the world's business counts by little. Keep your heart free, and always lift it up to God.




Christianity 3503 | 
The Imitation of Christ. Trans. Richard Whitford, moderenized by Harold C. Gardiner. New York: Doubleday, 1955, p. 65 







W e must set our axe deep to the root of the tree, so that, purged from all passion, we may have a quiet mind.




Christianity 3502 | 
The Imitation of Christ. Trans. Richard Whitford, moderenized by Harold C. Gardiner. New York: Doubleday, 1955, p. 43 







I will be a saint' means I will despoil myself of all that is not God; I will strip my heart of all created things; I will live in poverty and detachment; I will renounce my will, my inclinations, my whims and fancies, and make myself a willing slave to the will of God.




Christianity / Catholicism 3496 | 
Something Beautiful for God : Mother Teresa of Calcutta 







L et us renounce our self-love and self-will, and our attachment to earthly things. Let us practise penance, prayer, mortification, obedience, and all the other good works that you know of… Let the skilkworm die -- let it die, as in fact it does when it has completed the work which it was created to do. Then we shall see God and shall ourselves be as completely hidden in His greatness as is this little worm in its cocoon…




Christianity / Catholicism 3477 | 
Interior Castle. Trans. E. Allison Peers. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1990, p. 106, Fifth Mansions, Chapter 2, Paragraph 7 







H e therefore who has died to the world -- for this is the cross -- and lives no longer himself, but it is Christ Who lives in him (Gal. 2:20); who has mortified his earthly members (Col. 3:5), that is, the passionate sensations of the body, such that he has become no longer a participant in any passion or evil lust: how, tell me, can he take in any kind of passionate sensation, or surrender to any movement of pleasure, or ever be troubled in his heart?




Christianity / Orthodoxy 3428 | 
On the Mystical Life : The Ethical Discourses. Trans. Alexander Golitzin. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1996, (Vol. 2), p. 76 







U nless we become dead to the world and the things in the world (1 John 2:15), how shall we live the "life that is hid in Christ" (Col. 3:3) when we have not died for the sake of God? How, as holy Symeon {the Studite} said, shall we contemplate God dwelling is us as light?




Christianity / Orthodoxy 3427 | 
The Discourses, p. 127, Trans. C.J. de Catanzaro. Ramsey, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1980. 







P aul says that those who are still alive will be lifted up to the clouds where they will meet the Lord in the air. (1 Thess. 4:17)} … in every way endeavor to be lifted up even but a little from the earth. Should this wonderful thing happen, which would astound you, that you should float up from the earth into the air, you would not at all want to descend to the earth and stay there! But by "earth" I mean the fleshly mind, by "air" the spiritual. Once the mind is set free from evil thoughts and through it we contemplate the freedom that Christ our God has bestowed on us, we shall never again be willing to descend to our former slavery to sin and the fleshly mind.




Christianity / Orthodoxy 3419 | 
The Discourses,Trans. C.J. de Catanzaro. Ramsey, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1980. 







J ohn tells us that we should neither love the world nor the things of the world. (1 John 2:15-16)} But what is "the world"? What are the "things that are in the world"? Listen! It is not gold, sliver, or horses, or mules. All these things that serve our physical needs we ourselves possess {even though we are monks}. It is not meat, nor bread, nor wine, for we ourselves partake of these things and eat them in moderation. It is not houses, nor baths, nor fields, nor vineyards, nor suburban properties, for great and small monasteries consist of these. So what is the world? It is sin, brethren, and attachment to things and passions…




Christianity / Orthodoxy 3418 | 
The Discourses, pp. 109-110, Trans. C.J. de Catanzaro. Ramsey, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1980. 







P eter said that he and the other disciples had forsaken everything in order to follow Christ (Mt. 19:27)} By the word everything he included lands, money, their own wills, to the point of contempt and abhorrence for this transitory life in order that they might taste that life which is substantial and eternal. It is altogether sweeter and preferable; it is nothing else but God Himself.




Christianity / Orthodoxy 3417 | 
The Discourses, p. 357, Trans. C.J. de Catanzaro. Ramsey, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1980. 







T hose who are ailing do not know these things. Indeed, they do not even understand that they are sick. And who then can ever persuade with argument people thus inclined that they are under the sway of sickness and disease? They imagine rather that it is health to accomplish the wishes of the flesh, and to practise all its lust and desire. And, just as no one will ever make those who are gone mad and deranged take account of the fact that they are insane, just so neither will anyone persuade those who are wallowing in the passions, and ruled by them, and unconscious of their being possessed, that they are in a bad way, and so make them change for the better. For they are blind, and neither do they believe that anyone else can see. Thus they live, deprived of sight and unconvinced they can lift up their eyes.




Christianity / Orthodoxy 3415 | 
On the Mystical Life : The Ethical Discourses. Trans. Alexander Golitzin. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1996,(Vol. 2), p. 75 







I t is not only he who commits sin who is separated from God and becomes His enemy, but also he who loves it and covets something, or has an attachment in his heart to anything that is on earth. This constitutes friendship with the world (James 4:4). Thus is is clearly proven that, even if one is deprived of everything and commits no sin whatever in action, but merely likes it and favors it and, so to speak, is attached to it, he is an enemy of God. Thus John says, "If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15). So the Lord Himself says, "You must love the Lord your God with all your mind and with all your strength and with all your soul" (Mk. 12:30). Therefore he who craves or has an attachment to anything else transgresses this commandment.




Christianity / Orthodoxy 3414 | 
The Discourses, p. 111, Trans. C.J. de Catanzaro. Ramsey, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1980. 







I f your intellect is freed from all hope in things visible, this is a sign that sin has died in you. If your intellect is freed, the breach between it and God is eliminated.




Christianity / Orthodoxy 3356 | 
Abba Isaiah the Solitary: "On Guarding the Intellect", taken from the Philokalia 







T he monk must die to everything before leaving the body, in order not to harm anyone.




Christianity 3352 | 
Abba Moses: The sayings of the Desert Fathers : the alphabetical collection. Trans. Benedicta Ward, SLG. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications Inc., 1984, 1975, p. 141, Moses 2 







R emember him who gives death and life. Hate the world and all that is in it. Hate all peace that comes from the flesh. Renounce this life, so that you may be alive to God.




Christianity 3339 | 
Abba Anthony the Great:(p. 8, Anthony the Great 33) 







T he desire for possessions is dangerous and terrible, knowing no satiety; it drives the soul which it controls to the heights of evil.




Christianity 3337 | 
Abba Isidore of Pelusia: p. 99, Isidore 6) 







I n a human being is such a love, a pain, an itch, a desire that, even if he were to possess a hundred thousand worlds, he would not rest or find peace. People work variously at all sorts of callings, crafts, and professions, and they learn astrology and medicine, and so forth, buth they are not at peace because what they are seeking cannot be found. The beloved is called dilaram because the heart finds peace through the beloved. How then can it find peace through anything else?




Islam / Sufism 3309 | 
Signs of the Unseen: The Discourses of Jalaluddin Rumi, p. 66, Trans. W.M. Thackston, Jr. Putney, Vermont: Threshold Books, 1994 







W hen the heart becomes empty, the mimbar of the Divine Oneness is placed therein and the sultan of gnosis sits upon it.




Islam / Sufism 3280 | 
The Key To Salvation: A Sufi Manual of Invocation. Trans. Mary Ann Koury Danner. Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, 1996, p. 90 







T he essence of the Way is detachment. And the goal of those who practice is freedom from appearances.




Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) 3246 | 
The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma. Trans. Red Pine. New York: North Point Press, 1987. The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma. Trans. Red Pine. New York: North Point Press, 1987, p. 47 







C ovet nothing. All belongs to the Lord. Thus working you may live a hundred years. Thus alone will you work in real freedom.




Hinduism 3218 | 
Isha Up. 1-2, p. 208 in The Upanishads. Trans. Eknath Easwaran. Tomales, CA.: Nilgiri Press, 1987 







T hose who cannot give up attachment to worldly things and who find no means to shake off the feeling of I, should rather cherish the idea, "I am God's servant; I am His devotee." One can also realize God by following the path of devotion.




Hinduism 3187 | 
Mahendranath Gupta. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Trans. Swami Nikhilananda. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1942, 1948, 1958, p. 155 







I ask people to renounce mentally. I do not ask them to give up the world. If one lives unattached and seeks God with sincerity, then one is able to attain Him




Hinduism 3184 | 
Mahendranath Gupta. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Trans. Swami Nikhilananda. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1942, 1948, 1958, pp. 338-339 







L esson of the Gita is: "O man, renounce everything and seek God alone." Whether a man is a monk or a householder, he has to shake off all attachment from his mind.




Hinduism 3183 | 
Mahendranath Gupta. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Trans. Swami Nikhilananda. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1942, 1948, 1958, p. 157 







I t (Tasawwuf) means that you be solely with Allah with no attachments.











T he wise unify their consciousness and abandon attachment to the fruits of action, which binds a person to continual rebirth. Thus they attain a state beyond all evil.




Hinduism 2659 | 
translated by Eknath Easwaran, Nilgiri Press, Tomales, California 







T here are two kinds of attachment: attachment to objects as having self-nature, and attachment to words as having self nature. The first takes place by not knowing that the external world is only a manifestation of the mind itself; and the second arises from one's clinging to words and names by reason of habit-energy.




Buddhism / Mahayana 2559 | 
Ch.III, p.296, in Dwight Goddard, A Buddhist bible 







G ood and learned friends, in this method of mine, from the very beginning, whether in the sudden-enlightenment or gradual-enlightenment tradition, absence-of-thought has been instituted as the main doctrine, absence-of-characters as the substance, and nonattachment as the foundation. What is meant by absence-of-characters? Absence of characters means to be free from characters while in the midst of them. Absence-of-thought means not to be carried away by thought in the process of thought. Nonattachment is man's original nature. Thought after thought goes on without remaining. Past, present, and future thoughts continue without termination. But if we cut off andterminate thought one instant, the dharma-body (Law-body or spiritual body ) (1) is freed from the physical body. At no time should a single instant of thought be attached to any dharma. If one single instant of thought is attached to anything, then every thought will be attached. That is bondage. But if in regard to dharmas no thought is attached to anything, that is freedom. [This is] the meaning of having nonattachment as the foundation.




Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) 2305 | 
Hui-neng, in the “Plateform scripture” (liu-tsu t’an-ching), in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 26, 17. 







T he Great Tao flows everywhere.
It may go left or right.
All things depend on it for life,
and it does not turn away from them.
It accomplishes its task,
but does not claim credit for it.
It clothes and feeds all things but does not claim to be master over them.
Always without desires, it may be called The Small.
All things come to it and it does not master them;
it may be called The Great.
Therefore (the sage) never strives himself for the great,
and thereby the great is achieved.





Daoism 2195 | 
Laozi 34, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 7 





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