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The 4 Clingings

JaySonJaySon Florida Veteran

Haven't posted in a long time. My practice is going well. Thought I'd drop in and share a Mahayana lojong teaching I recently discovered.

It's all about destroying the 4 Clingings.

The 4 Clingings

  1. To This Life
  2. To Samsara
  3. To Self Interest
  4. To Wrong Appearances

So, in meditation, cultivate 4 antidotes that will destroy the 4 clingings, like:

  1. I will die today
  2. Samsara is a shithole
  3. All beings have been my mother
  4. Appearances are like an illusion

Even if you just practice "I will die today" I think you'll find a lot of attachment falling away. Just analyze the certainty of impermanence and death. Your body is like a candleflame blowing in a strong wind. Your life is as brief as a flash of lightning. Your body is as fragile as a bubble that will burst at any moment from any number of causes. People die from thousands of different ways and at any age and you are no exception. If you have doubts that you will die, think of all the impermanent people and pets in your life who have died. Become certain about impermanence and death.

Then, once this knowing arises in your mind and feelings, lock in on it and focus single-pointedly on "I will die today." This is much more powerful than "I may die today." Try it. Feel what it's like to feel like you're going to die today. Attachment and clinging and suffering will fall away. You'll feel like practicing often because things that used to matter won't matter much to you anymore and also you'll become more certain about impermanence in all things and in all other beings because, if you will die, then so will everyone else, and if your body is impermanent, so are your thoughts, feelings, and other aggregates. This meditation corrects your wrong view, turns it to right view, and you will also see that there is no self running things. You'll know everything is impermanent and not self, because if you aren't permanence and self, then no one and nothing else is.

If you aren't Mahayana, then you can skip the 3rd clinging. Clingings 1, 2, and 4 correspond with the teachings of the elders.



  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited January 2019

    I have heard this in the Jewel Ornament of Liberation (a mahayana text) as:

    Attachment to this life - antidote is reflection on impermanence

    Attachment to samsara's pleasures - antidote is reflection on the defects of samsara and reflection on karma and results

    Attachment to the pleasure of peace - reflection on loving kindness and compassion

    Not Knowing the Method of Practice for Achieving Buddhahood - Refuge and Precepts and Cultivation of Bodhicitta which includes aspiration and the 6 paramitas

  • Sounds like a Klingon Dharma plan <3

    • Today is a good day to die
    • Samsara is a shithole
    • I have no parents
    • Appearances are like an illusion


  • JaySonJaySon Florida Veteran
    edited January 2019

    @lobster said:
    Sounds like a Klingon Dharma plan <3

    • Today is a good day to die
    • Samsara is a shithole
    • I have no parents
    • Appearances are like an illusion



    "I will die today" is a meditation taught by Je Tsongkhapa in Lamrim Chenmo as a Small Scope practice. I think he was a Wookie though?

  • JaySonJaySon Florida Veteran

    Some sources:

    Parting From The Four Clingings
    Drakpa Gyaltsen

    Unmistaken Instruction on Pating from the Four Clingings
    Sakya Pandita

    An Instruction on Parting from the Four Clingings
    Nupa Rikzin Drak

    A Key to the Profound Essential Points: A Meditation Guide to Parting from the Four Clingings
    Goram Sonam Senge

    A Consise Guide to Parting from the Four Clingings
    Kunga Lekpai Rinchen

  • According to some Wookies and unbearded dervishes:

    • ‘die before you die' - this means the death of persona, attachment to personal identity, ego and Hans Solo type behavour.

    Ironic, but one of the most intimate acts
    of our body is

    So beautiful appeared my death - knowing who then I would kiss,
    I died a thousand times before I died.

    "Die before you die," said the Prophet

    Have wings that feared ever
    touched the Sun?

    I was born when all I once
    feared - I could

    Rabia Al Basri

    • Samsara is Nirvana. Nirvana is accepting the dukkha aka shitholyness ...

    • All Beings ARE my mother/father including me ... In other words all Buddhas ... Ay caramba!

    • Appearances are like teachings, illusion. In other words a conjuration of Mara. Hail Satin!

    Think I need Obi-Wan-Kenobi or the Buddha to save us ... O.o

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    In Theravada, they also have four types of clinging, although they differ a bit:

    And what is clinging, what is the origin of clinging, what is the cessation of clinging, what is the way leading to the cessation of clinging? There are these four kinds of clinging: clinging to sensual pleasures, clinging to views, clinging to rituals and observances, and clinging to a doctrine of self. With the arising of craving, there is the arising of clinging. With the cessation of craving, there is the cessation of clinging. The way leading to the cessation of clinging is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view... right concentration. (MN 9)

    Thanissaro Bhikkhu likes to compare clinging to the feeding habits of the mind.

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    In the "Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment" (blissfully short), author Thaddeus Golas observes trenchantly, "When you have learned to love hell, you will be in heaven."

    And in his 12th century letters and opinings ("Swampland Flowers: The Letters and Lectures of Zen Master Ta Hui"), the Zen monk Ta Hui wrote, more or less, "I have always taken a great vow that I would rather spend all eternity in the fires of hell than to portray Zen as a human emotion."

    You want to feel good, cook another s'more. You want to see things for what they are, stick with practice.

    Samsara is a shit hole? What is more effective, a critique of the shit hole or a gardener willing to do the work?

  • JaySonJaySon Florida Veteran

    @genkaku said:

    Samsara is a shit hole? What is more effective, a critique of the shit hole or a gardener willing to do the work?

    Good point. I'm pretty tired of turd gardening though and planning my escape.

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