Love, Attachment, and Friendship
Ajahn Pasanno, Ajahn Karuṇadhammo and Ajahn Ñāṇiko
Upāsikā Day, Oct. 12, 2019
Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in Redwood Valley, California
3 sessions, 18 excerpts, 1:03:38 total duration

Ajahn Pasanno, Ajahn Karuṇadhammo, and Ajahn Ñāṇiko reflect on love, attachment, and friendship while reading from On Love by Ajahn Jayasaro.

External website

Session 1: Benefits and Drawbacks of Love

Session 2: Learning to Love Yourself

Session 3: The Experience of Love and Attachment


Session 1: Benefits and Drawbacks of Love – Ajahn Karuṇadhammo – Oct. 12, 2019

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[Session] Reading: Ud 8.8: Visākhā Sutta


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1. [37:00] “Do you feel metta is to be developed or do you feel metta is just an outcome of your life and your practice?” [Goodwill] [Right Effort] [Conditionality] // [Meditation] [Precepts] [Calming meditation] [Suffering] [Aversion] [Appropriate attention] [Gratitude]


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2. [40:52] “Let's say there's someone causing harm and I wish them well-being. But in their mind, the harm they are causing brings them well-being. What kind of well-being am I wishing for them?” [Goodwill] [Compassion] [Generosity] // [Divine Abidings]


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3. [44:53] Comment: Coming out af a long-term relationship where someone was killed in an accident after 42 years, the way you presented the disadvantages and advantages of a conventional loving relationship was perhaps a little light on the advantages. [Relationships] [Death] // [Monastic life/Motivation] [Gratitude] [Long-term practice] [Suffering] [Courage]

Response by Ajahn Karuṇadhammo. [Saṅgha] [Saṃsāra] [Sense of urgency]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Buddha/Biography] [Ageing] [Rebirth] [Treasures]

Reference: AN 4.55: Nakula's mother and father aspire to see each other in this life and the next.


Session 2: Learning to Love Yourself – Ajahn Ñāṇiko – Oct. 12, 2019

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[Session] Reading from On Love by Ajahn Jayasaro.


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1. [1:08:20] Comment to Ajahn Ñāṇiko: I really appreciate the honest of your sharing. In terms of self-criticism over the years, what brought about any shift was being authentic, but whilst I wanted not to be critical, it was still there. By watching that process and not identifying with it so much, it gradually shifted until I was able to wish myself well more genuinely. [Truth] [Judgementalism] [Long-term practice] [Direct experience] [Not-self] [Goodwill] // [Buddhist identity] [Faith]

Response by Ajahn Ñāṇiko.


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2. [1:09:44] Comment: I appreciate how the reading (On Love by Ajahn Jayasaro) describes the foundation of love as a commitment to sīla, moral conduct, and shared values. This makes explicit the idea that the marriage vows are like the precepts. This is a moving idea of love and marriage that resonates with my own marriage. [Ajahn Jayasaro] [Goodwill] [Virtue] [Relationships] [Precepts] // [Clinging] [Service]


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3. [1:11:13] Comment: Practicing meditation, keeping precepts, and developing metta for myself help me love others more and more, but it isn't easy. [Goodwill] [Meditation] [Precepts]


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4. [1:12:36] “I thought to be self-critical was to improve yourself, to know how and where you need to improve yourself. How is being self-critical not good for yourself?” [Judgementalism] [Right Effort] // [Guilt/shame/inadequacy] [Energy] [Goodwill] [Idealism] [Unwholesome Roots]

Story: Eight months to Enlightenment. [Ajahn Ñāṇiko] [Abhayagiri] [Liberation]


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5. [1:14:35] Simile: Sculpting different materials requires different tools. This practice is more molding than hammering. [Similes] [Right Effort]

Response by Ajahn Ñāṇiko: Ajahn Amaro used to say, "The beatings won't stop until morale improves." At a certain point, you have to decide to stop. [Goodwill] [Ajahn Amaro] [Judgementalism] [Cessation]


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6. [1:15:51] Comment: On Love by Ajahn Jayasaro equates love to non-violence, both inward and outward. [Ajahn Jayasaro] [Goodwill] [Compassion] // [Tranquility]


Session 3: The Experience of Love and Attachment – Ajahn Pasanno – Oct. 12, 2019 Download audio (1:17:33)

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1. [16:42] Quote: “The kindest thing you can do for your parents is to not create them.” — Ajahn Sumedho [Ajahn Sumedho] [Family] [Goodwill] [Cessation] [Not-self] // [Amaravati] [Sīladharā] [Proliferation]


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2. [18:28] Quote: “Learning how to be comfortable with dukkha...is a willingness to open the heart to the whole realm of experience. That's an act of love.” [Noble Truth of Suffering] [Direct experience] [Goodwill] // [Generosity] [Fear] [Listening] [Clear comprehension]


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3. [33:49] “My natural tendency is to push the world away and to have the attitude that enjoyment is wrong. I'm working on trying to enjoy life. Do you have any ideas about this?” [Craving not to become] [Christianity] [Hinduism] [Ascetic practices] [Happiness] [Skillful qualities] // [Monastic life] [Ajahn Sucitto] [Guilt/shame/inadequacy] [Culture/West]

The Rule of St. Benedict and Ajahn Sucitto's talk "Fellow Worms." [Humility]

Story: A BBC interviewer asks King Rama IX about original sin. [Media] [Culture/Thailand] [Nature of mind]

Causal processes leading to sāmadhi and dispassion have different starting points, but they all go through delight and happiness. [Conditionality] [Concentration] [Dispassion]

Quote: “Monks, do not be afraid of puñña.” — Iti 22 [Merit] [Fear] [Liberation]

Quote: “The happy mind is easily concentrated.”


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4. [45:42] “There are teachings about different levels of generosity (e.g. AN 7.49). Are there similar teachings about love or attachment?” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Karuṇadhammo. [Generosity] [Goodwill] [Clinging] // [Dhamma] [Desire] [Teaching Dhamma] [Aggregates] [Mindfulness] [Relationships] [Spaciousness]


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5. [52:04] “Is there a sutta about preferring the [forest] to the village, and then the bare earth, becoming more and more simple?” [Sutta] [Seclusion] [Simplicity] // [Emptiness] [Elements] [Relinquishment] [Generosity] [Goodwill]

Sutta: MN 121: The Lesser Discourse on Emptiness


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6. [54:18] Comment: There are two knds of desire, chanda (good) and taṇha (bad). [Desire] [Craving] [Pāli]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Goodwill] [Clinging] [Generosity] [Teaching Dhamma]


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7. [56:39] Comment: Words that I haven't grown up with like skillfulness and wholesomeness have the spectrum to reflect on the different levels of these qualities. [Language] [Culture/West] [Skillful qualities]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno.


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8. [57:34] “Could you say some more about the process of change?... You can have a big tool kit and apply it with the best of intentions. Sometimes magical things happen, and sometimes nothing happens.” [Right Effort] [Conditionality] [Right Intention] [Progress of insight] // [Goodwill] [Relinquishment] [Ajahn Chah] [Impermanence] [Long-term practice] [Learning] [Dependent origination] [Not-self] [Mindfulness]


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9. [1:02:29] Question about cultivating goodwill towards a difficult coworker. [Work] [Goodwill] [Forgiveness] // [Suffering] [Right Effort] [Craving] [Relinquishment] [Kamma]

Comment: Sometimes having metta means leaving the situation. [Association with people of integrity] [Clear comprehension]

Reference: Amaravati Chanting Book, p. 46