Let's dig deeper and see why this may be.
Upādāna: Sanskrit for"clinging," "attachment" or "grasping", although the literal meaning is "fuel." Upādāna and tṛṣṇā (Skt.; Pali: taṇhā) are seen as the two primary causes of suffering. The cessation of clinging leads to Nirvana.
There are four main "clinging types" talked about in Buddhist and Hindu texts.
- The craving of worldly things/sensations
- completely black or white world views and view of the self
- clinging to rites and rituals as if rites alone could lead directly to liberation
- and maintaining a self-doctrine that one has a permanent "self" to lose when death occurs
In keeping a doctrine or world-view of either all "This" or all "That" we make the mistake of filling the mold of stereotypes. Fundamentalism at its finest. There is no growth through this skewed perspective. The world is not completely one way or the other and neither is our soul or connection to the divine. Without change there is stagnation. With stagnation comes spiritual death. Then one must ask themselves: what is the purpose of life if not to grow and learn? If you don't want to learn and grow why are you still hanging around? And if you're so sure of everything then this last question still applies. What is there left for you to do if not learn?
Clinging to rites and rituals is a dangerous form of upadana in that it also does not allow us to grow beyond our current perspective. This grasping behavior is the comfort of routine while in other ways it is the basis of wanting to get something far before you are ready for it. The Biblical theme of "paying to get into heaven" falls into this concept. Pushing our religious boundaries and not becoming stagnant is essential. If we are not child-like and choose instead to cling to our rituals then we are in danger of losing that vibrant connection to the divine. It becomes dull when not used in new ways on a regular basis.
A few months ago I wrote a blog post about a whisper in my ear from Pleroma. It was, quote, "you do not have a self." It is one thing to teach about non-grasping behavior in the material world and quite another to dissolve this seemingly hardwired idea in our brain that each of us is separate and therefore we have cause to do harm to one another any way we wish. If it's not hurting us then who cares, right? As long as I get what I need or want then that's all that matters.
Rising above this greed of self-identity is very difficult. In gnosis, this is the equivalent of visualizing the pattern of cloth or material which makes up Pleroma and therefore, us. We are all connected as one mind. Separate physical bodies but all connected with spirit. We think we are separate only because of miscommunication and the distractions of the material world. We're so caught up in these distractions that with each of us trying to grab a certain piece of something we think that there's not going to be enough for everyone so there must be a race to get there first.
By seeing the divine connection we share with one another it becomes unthinkable that we would wish to harm 'our self.'
Detachment is the opposite of grasping.
Nekkhamma in contrast to upādāna.
Nekkhamma is a tricky concept in relation to gnosis and this bears much further discussion.
"...From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging, illness & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering & stress."
- — from "Clinging" (Upadana Sutta SN 12.52)