DEAR DALAI LAMA–you don’t know suffering….you’re not a parent !

I know the title of this posting sounds like a bad Catskill  Mountain Jewish comedian joke line.
But I do believe that there is some truth to it.  Celibacy may have its rewards [ and of course its losses].   But those of us who are in the real world, have jobs, families, worries about our individual and family futures are subjected to a form of suffering that monks and nuns can only guess at.

Of course the spiritually committed who have chosen the monastic life will quickly respond that our suffering is a consequence of our 'attachments'.  These are most usually described as attachments to our physical desires:  materialism, money, prestige, career etc.  These choices are easily understood as set-ups for suffering when we don't completely realize these worldly goals.  And the truth is that these attachments should be constantly re-evaluated and re-assessed.  Many are truly illusory, self-imposed forms of ego-driven nonsense.  It is entirely reasonable and proper that we examine such attachments and consider to release many of them.  They are simply choices we have made without considering their intrinsic worth.

When it comes to loved ones, however, releasing our 'attachments' our source of suffering is far more difficult.  How can we do this?  Should we do this?  If our children, parents, siblings, spouses, close friends hurt themselves, how do we not suffer?  What can we do, or should do to help them? 

This is the most difficult issue of attachment.  It is a tricky and complex situation in which our choices may ultimately help, hurt or not affect those we love.  Is it appropriate to intervene? When and how?  Is it appropriate to step away and allow them to suffer–to learn 'on their own'?

Do we help or hurt them in the long run ?  Can we reduce our suffering by reducing our attachment ?  Or do we merely increase our own suffering by stepping back.

All these are issues that the Dalai Lama has faced personally on some level.  When it comes to children, however, he has no first hand experience.  Hello, Dalai ! [sorry]   We can all use your wisdom on this issue.

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