The Invisible Colour of Attachment

From ‘The Color of Earth’ by Kim Dong Hwa, a young monk poignantly thinks to himself when he realises he has a crush on a girl.

Night after night,
I embrace Buddha and sleep.
Morning after morning,
I embrace Buddha and wake…
by minute
by second
I always believed I’d spend
every moment with Buddha, but…
Why does Ehwa appear bigger than Buddha?

If I can’t even help myself,
how am I possibly going to save other people?

If we are truly always mindful of Buddha(s) and thus Buddhahood,
how can we ever lose this mindfulness
and be attached to wanting to be with someone else instead?

If we are truly always mindful of Buddha(s) and thus Buddhahood,
how quickly it must be that we will be with and become Buddha(s)
and be mindful of how to save others instead.

Master: Tsk tsk tsk… How will you be able to help the masses looking like that? Your face is littered with a million worldly desires.
Disciple: But this one thing seems more precious than hundreds of blessings…
Master: And when you look, be sure to look carefully with both eyes. You’re always looking at things with your eyes half closed and that’s why, long after you’ve seen something, you continue to dwell on it. Put strength in your eyes and look, then you will see the world as it should be seen. But then again, even if you close your eyes to longing, it won’t disappear, and even if you turn your head away, longing will not cease.’

So long as we hang on to one thing or person out of worldly attachment, believing it to be more precious than everything else, we will not be free of Samsara – while Bodhicitta, the aspiration to help the masses, will lead us to true and total freedom. To have Bodhicitta is to have the one truest blessing that is more precious than all others.

If we observe mindfully, we will realise insight into the nature of people, issues and things as they really are. If we do not observe mindfully, attachment and/or aversion will arise. But how do we realise insight into our craving, if observation of the beloved seems to lead to more attachment? The answer lies in observing the nature of the craving itself – which will lead to insight of its impermanence, suffering and non-self. (Both the young monk and Ehwa come to realise that attachment to the beloved in painful. Especially for Ehwa in the sequel ‘The Colour of Water’, it surprised her that love, that is supposed to be pleasant, could feel so painful.)

As it is without attachment,
True Love is without any sense of loss,
even in the absence of the beloved.
Even when there is great sacrifice,
there is only gladness.

– Stonepeace

Related Article:
Why Bad Monks are Good… on Film