“But,” protested Bridget, “we have only just met!”
“I know,” replied Seamus, “but I am only here for the weekend.”
But everybody is here only for the weekend. Life is really very short. How is love possible? How can you make a home here? How can you possess anything? Everything is continuously disappearing. You are chasing shadows.
The homeless shramana cuts off the passions, frees himself of attachments…
By attachments he means relationships that really don’t exist, only you believe that they exist. You are a husband – you believe that a certain relationship exists between you and your wife, but it is just a belief. Have you not observed the fact that even living with a woman for forty, fifty years, she remains a stranger, and you remain a stranger to her?
Down the centuries, men have been trying to understand the woman, the mind, the feminine mind – but man has not been able to understand it yet. The woman has been trying to understand the mind of man, yet it remains a mystery. And man and woman have lived together for centuries.
Observe it. How can you relate to anybody? The other remains out of your grasp. The other remains other…unreachable. You may touch the periphery and the other may even pretend that yes, you have related, but we remain alone. Relationship is just a make-believe. It helps, it helps in a way. It allows us to feel that we are not alone. It makes life a little more comfortable, but that comfort is illusory. The other remains the other, and there is no way to penetrate the mystery of the other. We are alone.
When Buddha says, …the homeless shramana frees himself of all attachments… he means he comes to see that attachment is not possible here.
Attachment is impossible, relationship is impossible. All relationship is just an absurd effort, because you cannot reach the other, you cannot touch the center of the other’s being. And unless you have touched the center, how can you relate? You don’t know the other’s soul, you only know the body, actions, attitudes – they are just on the periphery. We meet on the periphery.
That is the misery of relationship. We remain on the periphery and we continuously believe our hope, our desire, that someday the relationship will really happen and center will meet to the center, the heart will meet to the heart…that we will dissolve – but it never happens. It cannot happen.