Detachment and Attachment

There is a story of two Buddhist monks walking by a river. They noticed a young woman was having difficulty crossing the river, so one of the monks stopped and carried the lady across the river. Later in the day, the other monk spoke saying. – “You shouldn’t have carried that woman – as monks are not supposed to get involved with woman.’ The first monk replied, “I just carried her across the river, then let go of her.” By contrast, you have been carrying her around in your mind ever since.

The point of this story is that it is the mind and our thoughts which are important. With our thoughts we can create heaven or hell on earth.

For example, one millionaire may become obsessed with his money – every night he might count up his savings and then worry endlessly about losing his wealth. Because the miser only thinks of money, he fears people only wish to approach him for his money and so he becomes defensive and suspicious of other people However, another millionaire, may give little thought to his wealth. He won’t mind spending it for good causes, but, he wouldn’t use it for ostentatious display. Money is not the most important aspect of his life and he can easily detach from the desire for money and worries about money.

Here money is neither good nor bad – it depends how we use it. If we obsess with gaining more money we will be unhappy. But, if we are detached we won’t have the worries and anxieties of a miser.


Photo by Pavitrata Taylor, Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries

4 thoughts on “Detachment and Attachment”

  1. We need money, but money is not everything.
    Even if you own a lot of money, it may not be likely that you are happy after all. It depends on our mind and attitude, I think. 😉

  2. Do you know what? Since here is such a cosy place to post…that swan and the rainbows leave man mute, as a mute swan. and you stay wondering what is about life. day after days being frustrated about money, eventually I though they ruined the happiness of my life, and then I ruined few things around me to get them. like ruined relationship or ruined moment. Since usually i was doing the opposite before. Them they came. The money. And nothing. The precious was gone. Not inside me, not outside me. So watch out! Next time you choose:) The swan is always mute, he will never tell you about that rainbow.

  3. I guess in the realm of cosmic relations nothing is indeed a coincidences but rather a series of connections in ropes already being weaved.

    I am a ugandan Psychology student yet, in my day to life I have found that I have slowly but surely developed an art of ‘living through love’. At first I tried to rationalise this behavior (oh for the follies of little faith!), but rationale could not explain my ability to let go of past hurts, or to see goodness in people labeled as unlovable, or to rise above personal hurt to recognise and connect with the pain of those that inflict hurt upon me.

    When I first learnt to meditate, I used Jack kornfields cds on loving Kindness and meditations with heart. Little did I know that in those moments, a subliminal influence was planted. Now here am I years later trying to get some research on Attachment theory and detachment in Child development and its later impact on social wellbeing and VOILA! I find a posting or a site or whatever with people of the same mindset. People living positively through love. Is this Karma or was it a coincidence. Friends and like hearts throw me some rope that I may waddle to the shallow end of this deep ocean of life yet not fear the possibilities of being swept right back into the deep end because I am sure that therein lies a force of collective unconscious love just waiting to buoy me on. I loved reading this Swan and monks story. I shall believe that more is yet to find its way to me.

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