Attachment by Ven. Ajahn Sanong Katapunyo


What prevents us going to heaven? It is because we cannot go there. Where did we get stuck? It is said that three nooses which are sometimes called " The golden chains " tie us. The first one is around our feet. The second one is around our wrists and the last one is around our neck.

The first chain signifies our property whether it is a house, money or land. Happiness, suffering, worry and anxiety are connected with property. Everyday this chain is tying people who have money and who are attached to it. So they loose their freedom. As long as they are human beings who do not donate money to a useful cause, the noose will be very tight. This is called "being Incapable of cutting the attachment". They will be imprisoned all their lives. Some people are so burdened by their wealth that they have no time to take precepts or go to the temple to listen to the Dhamma. Their concern for money and property is greater. One who Possesses more is more attached. One who haslittle is less attached and one who has nothing has no attachment at all.

The second chain which ties people around their wrists represents the attachment between wives and husbands. At the wedding ceremony, a white cord is tied around the bride and groom' s wrists together as a symbol of their union. Thus the attachment is formed and they will not be able to leave each other. Concern and worry follow as a result. They are tied together until their dying days. In other words, they have to live together until the end of their lives. This is the chain of suffering.

Sometimes people are happy but now and again they are miserable because husbands and wives have to live together all the time. This can be compared with a tongue which clashes with teeth. In the long run there will be more suffering than happiness because everyone cannot attain the state of one pointedness of mind.

This kind of attachment which leads to unhappiness is called " The chain around the wrists." It is so tight that people cannot free themselves. They are so distressed that they cannot go to the temple to take precepts and listen to the Dhamma. Therefore people are tied by two chains which are so tight that they finally loose their freedom.

The third chain is around one's neck. It is called "Rahulam Bhandhanam" which means a noose around the neck. The Buddha had a son called "Rahula." When Princess Yasodhara Bimba gave birth to the baby, a royal attendant went to inform the Buddha (then Prince Siddhattha) and asked him to visit his lovely new born son. The Prince immediately exclaimed "Rahulam, Rahulam!" which meant a noose around the neck.

"The noose is permanently around my neck, so I cannot go anywhere. From now on I am a father who faces a very serious responsibility."

Though the Buddha was a young man, he had the wisdom to realise what the bond meant. He knew that he was completely bound by the three chains. The one around his feet represented his throne. The one around his wrists represented his wife and the one around his neck represented his son. The last chain was so tight that the attachment would still be with him after his death. It is said that if one cannot cut these ties, one will never realise Nibbana. So it is absolutely necessary to cut them.

People nowadays are tied more firmly by the three chains as time goes on. Sometimes instead of having just one chain around their wrists, they go out to look for more.

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