A Zen Master Explains The Art Of ‘Letting Go’, And It Isn’t What You Think
Zen Buddhism is a relatively new religion that developed in medieval Japan. The roots come from the ancient Buddhist indoctrination from North India, Nepal and Java.
Zen Buddhism is also following the way of rightfulness and detachment, but Zen Buddhist are determined to completely disconnect from the reality of this world and focus on their own physical and spiritual balance, their own stability and perfection, as being part of the huge energy circle of the universe.
However, most of the people make a crucial mistake when they see detachment as a total disconnect from all others. Being completely closed means neglecting the strongest and purest emotions such as love. The power of love and the divinity given by sharing and accepting love is what brings every individual closer to emotional and spiritual perfection.
Thich Naht Hanh, the Zen Buddhist master, has some interesting advice about what it means to truly let go. Many people mistake detachment or non-clinging to be a form of aloofness or emotional disconnect from others, but as Hanh explains, truly letting go often means loving someone more than you have ever loved them before.
Hanh gives perfect explanations for each form of detachment. The interesting part of his elaboration is the way he explains the difference between the westerners’ point of view and the eastern spiritual teachings. Now, let’s check his explanations about the forms of detachment according to Zen Buddhism.
Hanh describes the importance of Maitri, not love as we normally understand in a Westernized use of the word. He states:
The first aspect of true love is maitri (Metta, in Pali), the intention and capacity to offer joy and happiness. To develop that capacity, we have to practice looking and listening deeply so that we know what to do and what not to do to make others happy. If you offer your beloved something she does not need, that is not maitri. You have to see her real situation or what you offer might bring her unhappiness.
This is probably the most important detachment because it requires to fully detach from your EGO. When we learn how to let the things go, first of all, we need to learn how to let our ego go. Being above your own selfishness and seeing the things as an ‘impartial’ observer will let you truly feel the pain of others. Your compassion and empathy will grow stronger over time and you will acknowledge the true happines and satisfaction of sharing positivity and helping others in need.
Gratitude and Joy
In truly letting go you practice gratitude. Mudita or joy arises when we are overcome with gratitude for all that we have, such that we no longer cling to some other longed-for result. The Buddha’s definition of joy is more like “Unselfish joy.” It means that we don’t only find happiness when something good happens to us, but when others find happiness.
Master Hanh describes the final quality of true love which sheds inordinate light on the true process of letting go.
The fourth element of true love is upeksha, which means equanimity, non-attachment, nondiscrimination, even-mindedness, or letting go. Upa means “over,” and iksha means “to look.” You climb the mountain to be able to look over the whole situation, not bound by one side or the other. If your love has attachment, discrimination, prejudice, or clinging to it, it is not true love.
People who do not understand Buddhism sometimes think upeksha means indifference, but true equanimity is neither cold nor indifferent. If you have more than one child, they are all your children. Upeksha does not mean that you don’t love. You love in a way that all your children receive your love, without discrimination.
The Art of Letting Go is Artless
And this is the best possible advice. Be aware that each individual is completely unique and you have to find your own ways and develop a strong mental code. Letting it go is artless, is simple and it’s part of the human nature-you just have to dig deeper into your soul and surpass all obstacles to your spiritual divinity.