A Buddhist perspective would agree with the Richard Rohr quote that states we are not truly free unless we are able to let go of our own compulsiveness, resentments, complaining and obsessive patterns of thinking. Buddhists believe that the true path to enlightenment is achieved by not having any attachments, and that an absence of attachment results in a oneness with nature. The second half of the Rohr quote identifies that once these feelings emerge, they should be nipped in the bud as soon as possible, which would also align with Buddhist thought because these feelings can spread and become worse if they are not stopped immediately. The ideal Buddhist solution would be to never have these feelings happen in the first place, which can only be achieved by not having any personal attachments. However, for those who are on their path to becoming enlightened that still have these feelings, being aware that they are present is the first step in overcoming them, as only awareness can direct the mind to halt these feelings.
According to the Haneda essay (2015), the first step in letting go of attachments that can cause compulsiveness, resentment, complaining or obsession is to realize that all things are impermanent. Nothing lasts forever; if we become too attached to how things are in the present, we will eventually be disappointed when things change. This is most evident in aging, and how we grow older and eventually die. Many of the qualities referred to in the Rohr quote, such as complaining or resentment, are based on feelings of attachment and rejection. We complain that a situation is not how we want it to be, without recognizing that the situation will change; or we resent not having what we desire or feel attached to. Without attachments, we will essentially be able to deal with these issues. If we are not attached to a specific object, person, or state of being, we will not feel the need to complain about not having it, and we will not feel resentment if we are unable to possess the object or are rejected by another person. We will not have obsessive thoughts, because we tend to obsess only on feelings or thoughts we feel that we have a strong attachment or connection with. Essentially, if we do not commit to a particular idea, we will not be disappointed if this idea does not manifest.
The concept of Buddhist teachings are most readily seen in the characterization of Amida, which is a reference to an individual who epitomizes Buddhist thought. Amida is not an actual person, but rather an ideal to be achieved. Amida Buddhism is therefore the practice of these ideals, which include living without forming attachments and gaining an objective view of the world from a detached perspective. Once we are able to view the world from this detached perspective, we are able to see that many things we might consider negative, such as aging, are not inherently negative forces but larger aspects of the universal whole. Feelings such as resentment or obsession, as referred to in the Rohr quote, are inherently subjective; they affect us on a deeply personal level. Amdia Buddhism advocates that we should seek to understand the world not from a personal level, but rather from an objective view that allows us to accept how things change over time. If we accept aging, for example, we will not feel distraught when we see this occurring both in other people and ourselves, as we will understand this is a natural force. We will not become overly attached to objects or people, because these can lead to feelings of possession or resentment. Amida Buddhism therefore entires selflessness, and it emphasizes not how we can improve our own lives through selfish gain, but rather how we can exist in a world that is constantly changing. In order to stop these feelings before they become overwhelming, a Buddhist would therefore agree that they should be nipped in the bud, and the way to achieve this would be through realizing material attachments are ultimately unimportant.
- Haneda, N. (2015). Dharma Breeze: Essays on Shin Buddhism. Media Center of Buddhism, Berkeley, California.
- Rohr, R. (2015). Daily Meditation. Franciscan Media.