“The essence of the Way is detachment. And the goal of those who practice is freedom from

appearances. The sutras say, Detachment is enlightenment because it negates appearances.” Bodhidharma’s Wake-Up Sermon translated by Red Pine


This is similar to Faith in Mind, where it says that the way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. This ideal of detachment looks a little dreary to those addicted to excitement, I’m sure.


However, to those of us tired of the emotional roller coaster, it is a breath of fresh air and independence. Who wants to be one of those nasty people that leave ugly comments at the end of articles? True equanimity comes from not being emotionally invested in a situation. When you value peace above opinions, serenity is yours for the taking. Emotional manipulation of someone who accepts any and all outcomes is impossible.


I believe the reason to go beyond appearances is so important is that appearances can change at the drop of a hat. On the other hand, our interconnectedness doesn’t go anywhere. Get rid of an appearance here and, lo and behold, it pops up over there. What have to be gotten at are the causes of the appearances in the first place. There is no point screwing with a symptom that has no choice but to return.


The world is changing extremely quickly. Any appearance you are emotionally attached to is likely to dissolve. What you can do is to investigate more deeply into the themes of change and choose what changes you wish to be a part of. The flip side is that you need to make yourself stable enough to deal with all the changes that occur in the meantime. That’s where detachment and equanimity come in.  Today’s change agents are the ones that have the flexibility and margin to absorb the changes they create.

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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

One response to “Detachment”

  1. khalkinised says :

    Great post. There is a brilliant explanation of attachment I have seen somewhere. Attachment to something gives us an exaggerated image of its qualities. So, we see a cake. Attachment to the cake will make us imagine its taste in our mouths until we cannot resist no more, We will then eat until we are sick due to our attachment to that image of the cake. We cannot appreciate in moderation and instead over-indulge our senses with that image. Be it in an appearance, or some other quality, the sensations caused by it are exaggerated by our attachment to it

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