Freedom from Attachment


by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu

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“Attachment is the root of all emotions and samsara. This was understood by mahasiddhas like Saraha and Tilopa, who spent years doing practices to transform impure vision into pure vision. Then they realized that the problem was not vision, but attachment. When the founder of the Sakyapa, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, was twelve years old, he did a six-month retreat on the practice of Manjushri, and during that retreat Manjushri manifested himself to Sachen Kunga Nyingpo in a vision. In his manifested form, Manjushri is on a precious seat in the dimension of different kinds of light. Manjushri appeared many times to Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, and on this occasion, he taught him the four verses, later known as Parting from the Four Attachments:

If you are attached to this life, you are not a true spiritual practitioner;
If you are attached to samsara, you have no renunciation;
If you are attached to your own self-interest, you have no bodhichitta;
If there is grasping, you do not have the view.

Parting from the Four Attachments is a teaching on overcoming the four different kinds of attachment. Our understanding of this teaching must become something concrete; otherwise, it remains intellectual knowledge only. To make this knowledge concrete, we must integrate it into our condition in daily life. Teachings are not just for intellectual study or argument; they are for our life. Even if we are in a relative condition, if we apply this knowledge in the correct way it benefits us and we do not have problems. This is really the value of the teaching, but most of the time we are not aware of this. We think we are learning a tradition, but learning a tradition does not ultimately help. One day we will die, and when our life is finished we will not take our tradition with us. But the knowledge that we have integrated into our real nature has the potential to help us. If we are following a teacher, the real state of the teacher must be integrated into our condition. Each of us must become our own teacher. As a Dzogchen practitioner, you need to integrate the teachings of Parting from the Four Attachments within yourself.” – Chögyal Namkhai Norbu