Mahayana Buddhism: Engagement Without Attachment

Subject: Religion
Pages: 2
Words: 295
Reading time:
< 1 min

Buddhist teaching is concentrated around the main idea that underlines the importance of a person being detached from any human satisfaction to be free and overcome suffering. However, Mahayana does not restrict a person’s worldly life and his or her engagement in everyday actions that might be related to the satisfaction of simple desires. It is essential to clarify how an individual can live a worldly life with its temptations and be able not to become attached to them.

A layman who experiences the world in its diversity of desires and temptations goes through different learning stages. Moving from one activity to another, “like a blind man we stumble from the right road to the wrong road,” demonstrating ignorance as to the lack of experience. The idea of the influence of the previous lives on the consecutive ones leads a human through the temptations of life, providing the opportunity to perfect oneself. As a person gains “pleasant experiences,” they become his or her “particular ways of being,” which is a part of dependent arising. Ultimately, dependent arising is a way in which individuals first encounter suffering and then become free from it. Therefore, the different lives become the reason for a change in a person’s perception of oneself and develop resistance to the worldly things that might cause attachment.

The Mahayana Buddhist teaching defends the idea of a person’s full engagement in the world and justifies people’s suffering in the form of attachments. One can repeatedly experience the effects of their ignorance and become attached to the things that life has to offer. However, the different lives of human beings provide an opportunity to learn from earlier experiences and develop resistance to temptations and attachments.