Clinging

“Bhikkus, there are these four kinds of clinging. What four? Clinging to sensual pleasures, clinging to views, clinging to rules and observances, and clinging to a doctrine of self.”

The above is a quotation of the Buddha’s words, taken from the Culasihananda Sutta (the Shorter Discourse on the Lion’s Roar), which I read for the first time today.

I knew that clinging or attachment is the root cause of suffering, as this is the second of the Four Noble Truths which form the foundation of the Buddha’s teaching. I didn’t realise that clinging to views was one of the forms that it can take, though.

Being by nature an introvert and a deep thinker, it is often the case that, having thought about a subject for a while, I arrive at a firm conclusion on that subject with which I am satisfied. At that point, my natural tendency is to cling tenaciously to the views at which I have thus arrived, and to defend them vigorously when they are challenged.

Does that mean that I am so rigid that my mind can’t be changed when exposed to new information or different perspectives?  Clearly not, otherwise I would still be the fundamentalist Christian that I used to be for over twenty years of my life. However, once an idea has taken root in my thinking, it can take a lot of effort to change it. I suppose I’m stubborn by nature (a strong inherited trait in my family, it seems).

So clinging to views is an area in which I still have a lot of work to do to improve.

If you, who are reading this blog, find in it anything with which you disagree, by all means challenge me on it. I may or may not end up agreeing with your views on the matter,  but I hope I will give you a fair hearing and not just cling to my own views out of sheer stubbornness.

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