Thích Nhất Hạnh Explains the Art of ‘Letting Go’, And It Isn’t What You Think

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Many people mistake detachment as a form of aloofness. Detaching oneself doesn’t mean that you should be a hermit. It does not mean that you are removing yourself from peoples lives, nor does it mean that you don’t care about them. Contrary to believe it is quite the opposite according to the Zen Buddhist Master Thích Nhất Hạnh.

Thích Nhất Hạnh interesting advice about truly letting go. According to Hanh, truly letting go often means that you love someone more than you have ever loved them. Only when you detach yourself from your self centered and selfishness views without any expectations of a specific outcome or gain, would it become more evident what it truly means to love someone — that deep, unselfish intense Love.

Hanh taught that detachment, is not a physical act of withdrawal or even a form of formality. He specifies four different types of detachment, which pushes us to engage, have Compassion, and be present in the lives of other people, no matter how they may feel about us.

The four types of complete detachment: Maitri, Karuna, Mudita, and Upeksha explained below:

MAITRI (Not The Love You Know)

Maitri is not the Love as known in the westernized world. It is about setting aside your own needs to understanding the needs of others.

Maitri (Metta, in Pali), is the intention and capacity to offer Joy and happiness. Here we have to practice looking and listening intensely to know what to do and what not to do to make others happy. If you offer your loved one something they don’t need, that is not Maitri. You have to consider their situation and if what you offer brings them happiness.

Hanh refers to this form of Love as giving others happiness and Joy. It’s about not expecting anything in return. Detach from your needs, and observe what makes the other person feel safe, happy, and comfortable.

Karuna (Compassion)

Karuna meaning is Compassion. Compassion is having a sincere concern about peoples feelings and situations. Even if they have caused you some suffering and pain, we should learn not to take offense, yet they still deserve some reckoning.

The same applies when we hurt someone; we shouldn’t detach or isolate ourselves from them. We should respect other peoples feelings and personal space, and repair the bond that was once there.

Mudita (Gratitude and Joy)

When you truly let go, you are practicing Gratitude. Hanh’s definition of Joy is unselfish. You find happiness with your achievements and success as well as with others achievements and success.

If your best friend gets a boyfriend and doesn’t spend that much time with you anymore, it is not true detachment. Joy is when you find happiness from other people when they find Joy..

Upeksha (Equanimity)

Hanh describes the quality of true Love, which sheds excessive light on the true process of letting go.

Hanh says, Equanimity means non-attachment, nondiscrimination, and letting go. The meaning of Upa is “over,” and iksha means “to look.”
You climb a mountain to be able to look over the whole situation, not bound by one side. If your Love has attachment, prejudice, discrimination, or possession, it is not true Love.

Sometimes people who do not understand Buddhism think that Upeksha means cold and indifferent. If you have three children, you would Love them all without favoritism.

Hanh says, without this quality, our Love would be possessive. Love is allowing our loved ones to be free and grow, or it would be considered as destruction if we smothered them.

True Love, must have elements of Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity – and this is truly letting go.

The Art Of Letting Go Is Artless

Zen Buddhist Master Thích Nhất Hạnh a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist. Spent time traveling internationally, giving talks and retreats. His advice of Truly Letting Go is a non-attached healthy relationship, filled with Love, selfless, understanding, kindness and Compassion.

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