Attachment Thoughts from “Returning to Silence”

“Returning to Silence” is giving me some new thoughts on the idea of attachment, but it’s coming at a high cost. I’m not sure if it’s the ideas or the writing that is making this so complicated. It could be both.

“Everything through which we try to satisfy our desires becomes a toy.”

Returning to silence by dainin katagiri

Even meditation. It becomes a toy when we expect to get something from it, instead of … what? I’m not sure. What’s the point of meditation if we don’t get anything from it?

I’m being honest. A lot of this doesn’t make much sense to me. There’s a glimmer of meaning in it, but I sure would like to hear someone explain it in terms or analogies that I can relate to. It feels a lot like reading the Old Testament in the Bible.  

I am starting to get the idea of attachment in new ways though. When we thirst for pleasure, to stay alive or known, or for power and prosperity, we become attached to this world. And, it says here that we can’t NOT have that thirst. It can’t be extinguished, only acknowledged, and used for good purposes.

I’m not sure what that really means either. What’s a “good” purpose? He used the example of planting a tree because it is pretty and because it will shade people in the future. That is thirsting for pleasure (beauty) and to remain known (the tree will remind people of you when you’re gone). But you can acknowledge that thirst and mitigate it by not becoming attached to the outcome. If the tree dies for some reason, or is removed in the future, you should not throw a fit about it, just accept it.

Here’s another bit of something priceless that I found this morning:

“We don’t know when life will fade away. We should remember this.”


We are all marching toward the grave. It is our purpose on this planet to be born, to live, and to die. Every one of us, without exception. And we can’t know when that day will come. It is coming though, closer every day. We fade with every passing moment.

Attachment ideas. Flowers fade.

And that doesn’t mean fill your every waking moment with bullshit. It means be aware of the experience of life. A flower grows, buds, blooms, fades, and dies. That’s all it does. The only difference between the flower and us is sentience. A flower has no attachment to its life here. We are aware of what tomorrow brings, but we can use those big brains, not to set that information aside and ignore it, but to accept it as part of existence and keep living.

Go back to my first post about this book, New Read: Returning to Silence. You’ll find more links at the bottom of that post to other thoughts inspired by the book.

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