Thursday, October 11, 2007

Material Attachments

Today, we had a box filled with items to give away to a friend who is expecting a baby. Hikaru found out that we were giving those things away, and he clutched his musical mobile. He wouldn't let us take it. Since his first week out of the womb, this mobile hung over Hikaru's crib. He watched it spin around and around over his head. We took it down almost a year ago (half a lifetime for Hikaru), but I suppose, he still remembers it...

Once upon a time, Hikaru would have been content with only food and sleep -- like a Buddha, with his eyes closed in serene meditation. A primary teaching of Buddhism (and other world religions), as a path to freedom and finding peace, is the extinguishment of material attachments. Worldly attachments contribute to a cycle of suffering, and as they say, "it's all in the mind".

Yes, easy to say, but unfortunately difficult to realize. Several years ago, we painfully discovered the depth our material attachments when our home was burglarized -- my wedding ring, my wife's engagement ring, a computer, all gone. I didn't miss the new laptop computer, as much as the sentimental stuff, including a telescope that I've had from years of watching the stars. Those things were associated with life memories, and I wanted to hold onto them. It's hard to let them go.

So for now, we'll let Hikaru keep his mobile. Maybe eventually he'll forget about it... but he has a pretty good memory.

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