Podcast Moments: Gil Fronsdal, “The Ten Fetters”
July 2, 2012 2 Comments
In a relatively recent dharma talk entitled “The Ten Fetters,” Gil Fronsdal speaks about a series of fetters that need to be let go in order to release us from attachment. Despite the title of the talk, Gil often prefers to think of the fetters as knots, which need to be untied. And the way I understand attachment, it’s not that one doesn’t engage in the world and care deeply for others, but the idea is about releasing the clinging — that kind of overattachment where both the hugger and hugged suffer. I tend to think of Hugo, the Abominable Snowman in Looney Tunes.
HUGO: I will hug him and stroke him and cuddle him and sing to him and call him George.
Hugo has attachment issues.
Gil says that the first three fetters/knots are the easiest because they are mostly cognitive, having to do with understanding. I’m sure he’s right, but even if they’re the easiest, they’re not so easy for me to handle. Not even the first one.
FRONSDAL: The very first one is no longer succumbing — no longer being attached to the personality view — which means no longer succumbing to any stories, that any story you make up about yourself is truly who you are. That you don’t make up a story, this is who I absolutely truly am.
But I love stories! I love reading them, watching them, and hearing them. It’s how I understand the world — through stories. It’s also how I understand myself.
Of course, Gil also teaches through stories. It’s not stories as a whole that he warns against, but getting caught up in the story of our selves. I know that I can get so wrapped up in the story of who I want to be or who I fear I am, that I forget to just be. I become extraordinarily anxious about what my story might be, and in the process I cause myself a lot of suffering.
BUGS BUNNY: Oh no, not again!