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Arpee

It's not "Desire" that makes people suffer...

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Summary of what I was trying to say:

Wanting doesn't cause suffering, wanting to "have" does. Most people don't like to "want" anything. They only care to "have" things. They don't "want to want" a million dollars. They only "want to have" it. They don't "want to want" enlightenment, they only "want to have it".

No body desires "to want" anything, they only care "to have" it. This is what causes the suffering. So, they fight with themselves trying to get rid of the desire, or they try to get the "thing" hoping that another desire doesn't come. That they can just live "in peace, happily ever after". If people were wanting and appreciating the wanting for what it is, then fulfillment will be there. If want "wants to want" they will always be fulfilled.

The Longer Version of what I was trying to say:

Buddha looked at how most people "want" something but don't "have" it, and came to the answer that this caused them lack and suffering. It's not "desire" that makes people suffer. Desire is life, it gives life meaning and it gives the body sensation. The reason why people suffer is because they want to get away from desire... yes, the very thing Buddhism teaches is what most people are already trying to do. The only difference is that the average person, wants to get rid of the desire and actually "HAVE" the thing they were desiring, while The Buddhist, wants to let go of the desire AND the "attachment" (the having of it).

Here is an example. A person may want a billion dollars. They hate their desire for the billion dollars because they just want to "have" it. Once a person has what they want, then their desire for that thing is gone. They know this subconsciously, so, since they are focused on "having", to them, the desire hurts. The Buddhist, doesn't want to want it, nor care to have the attachment of having it. That is why The Buddhist has more peace even though they are in the same situation as everyone else.

If we see Desire as Life-Force, as The Engine that keeps us moving, as what makes life Beautiful and Meaningful, then we will be less likely to resist it. If we want the desire, instead of only wanting to "have" something, then we can actually Enjoy The Desire. We would actually crave The Desire and The Craving of The Desire in and of itself will be self fulfilling.

Edited by Arpee

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Summary of what I was trying to say:

Wanting doesn't cause suffering, wanting to "have" does. Most people don't like to "want" anything. They only care to "have" things. They don't "want to want" a million dollars. They only "want to have" it. They don't "want to want" enlightenment, they only "want to have it".

No body desires "to want" anything, they only care "to have" it. This is what causes the suffering. So, they fight with themselves trying to get rid of the desire, or they try to get the "thing" hoping that another desire doesn't come. That they can just live "in peace, happily ever after". If people were wanting and appreciating the wanting for what it is, then fulfillment will be there. If want "wants to want" they will always be fulfilled.

The Longer Version of what I was trying to say:

Buddha looked at how most people "want" something but don't "have" it, and came to the answer that this caused them lack and suffering. It's not "desire" that makes people suffer. Desire is life, it gives life meaning and it gives the body sensation. The reason why people suffer is because they want to get away from desire... yes, the very thing Buddhism teaches is what most people are already trying to do. The only difference is that the average person, wants to get rid of the desire and actually "HAVE" the thing they were desiring, while The Buddhist, wants to let go of the desire AND the "attachment" (the having of it).

Here is an example. A person may want a billion dollars. They hate their desire for the billion dollars because they just want to "have" it. Once a person has what they want, then their desire for that thing is gone. They know this subconsciously, so, since they are focused on "having", to them, the desire hurts. The Buddhist, doesn't want to want it, nor care to have the attachment of having it. That is why The Buddhist has more peace even though they are in the same situation as everyone else.

If we see Desire as Life-Force, as The Engine that keeps us moving, as what makes life Beautiful and Meaningful, then we will be less likely to resist it. If we want the desire, instead of only wanting to "have" something, then we can actually Enjoy The Desire. We would actually crave The Desire and The Craving of The Desire in and of itself will be self fulfilling.

I beleive you just don't fully understand buddhisms teachings.

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Can you bring a counter-argument to what I said about desire? This thread is about the perspective of Desire, not necessarily The Buddha himself, but some Buddhist philosophy OF desire...

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I have at times, desired "to want" the things my nearest and dearest wants. Then we'd be on the same page. The 'having' part was not nearly so important to me, in fact I didn't at that time want to 'have' it. I'm sure you can probably figure out what I'm talking about.

It's ok, nowadays things are good :tu:

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My reading of part of what you are saying, Arpee, is that to have dreams (desires, goals) does no harm (causes no suffering) - and I'd agree with you, having the dream causes no suffering. What causes suffering are the obstacles to attaining those dreams.

For instance, one of my dreams is to go to the edge of space and look at the Earth from there. This dream itself causes me no suffering, in fact quite the opposite, but the knowledge of how difficult such a dream is to attain does cause me suffering.

I think in Buddhism, however, there is no separation between the dream and the attainment of it, and this is reasonable because without the dream, the suffering brought about by the difficulty of attaining it would not exist. Of course, you might then argue a life without dreams is a non-life, but is that not actually the goal of Buddhism? To live a non-life?

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For there to be joy there must be suffering. That is the nature of duality, and this world is based on duality. Never read much on Buddha but I think he was into letting go of all attachments, the good and the bad, to this world to escape the cycle. I think there was a story about a grieving mother who son died and she asked why is there suffering in this world and the answer was because of attachment.

In other words If she let go of the attachment of joy she had with her son when he was alive, she would not suffer from her sons death.

It is not the wanting that brings us suffering but the joy we would have if we attained what we wanted. If you stop caring about being happy and never be happy you wont be sad.

Which is different from western mysteries which focuses on being in control. Using alchemy to transmute one scale of emotion to its desired opposite.

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Summary of what I was trying to say:

Wanting doesn't cause suffering, wanting to "have" does. Most people don't like to "want" anything. They only care to "have" things. They don't "want to want" a million dollars. T

The Longer Version of what I was trying to say:

Buddha looked at how most people "want" something but don't "have" it, and came to the answer that this caused them lack and suffering. It's not "desire" that makes people suffer. Desire is life, it gives life meaning and it gives the body sensation. The reason why people suffer is because they want to get away from desire... yes, the very thing Buddhism teaches is what most people are already trying to do. The only difference is that the average person, wants to get rid of the desire and actually "HAVE" the thing they were desiring, while The Buddhist, wants to let go of the desire AND the "attachment" (the having of it).

Here is an example. A person may want a billion dollars. They hate their desire for the billion dollars because they just want to "have" it. Once a person has what they want, then their desire for that thing is gone. They know this subconsciously, so, since they are focused on "having", to them, the desire hurts. The Buddhist, doesn't want to want it, nor care to have the attachment of having it. That is why The Buddhist has more peace even though they are in the same situation as everyone else.

If we see Desire as Life-Force, as The Engine that keeps us moving, as what makes life Beautiful and Meaningful, then we will be less likely to resist it. If we want the desire, instead of only wanting to "have" something, then we can actually Enjoy The Desire. We would actually crave The Desire and The Craving of The Desire in and of itself will be self fulfilling.

There is a basic misdirection here. Buddhism has no problem with what you have or that you would obtain joy from what you have. What prevents a person from enjoying what they have is actually desire. You think wanting leaves when you achieve your million dollars? No, it does not.

There is what is referred to as the "the law of more" when you obtain your desire for 1 million dollars, you do not lose the desire. What happens is that you then desire 10 million dollars - the force of desire will always seek to have you in the experience of "wanting" and will seek something more for you to want - who in life has ever gained a million dollars and stopped there - content that it is sitting in the bank and he has it? No, the void of desire is never filled. That million is the opportunity to invest and grow the next million and the million after that.

There will be perfectly good and sound reasons too - using the money on family, a better home, there is always a better home isn't there? For those with desire ruling them the home they have can always be surpassed by a better home, or two or three, heck why not one in every city, on every continent? Always there will be more to desire, and desire will ensure you know this, it is a force with a purpose, one purpose. It goes nowhere, it remains with you regardless of how much you actually have until you consciously choose to comprehend it and remove it. Sure you may bask in contentment for a day, a week, a month maybe even a year if you are not overly attached but you will sink back into the void of desire and return to your previous level of "wanting" internally eventually - everything has it's level and your level of desire if left unchecked will return, and new goals must be set to meet this hunger.

As to the idea of no attachment and no desire = a non life, desire would love you to believe that, how else can it blind you from the truth? (so many ways actually but it would make for a very long thread so we'll leave that for another time) It is not a non life to experience fully and with joy what is manifest before you in every instant and when the experience is past - you let it go and release yourself to experience the next moment fully and joyously. This is the possibility of a full life, not a non life. To be always in action, always partaking of what is now is fulfillment in it's purest most continuous form.

Attachment and desire will be the obstacle of enjoying each current moment. If you have a Ferrari and you enjoy it, but then you crash it and it is gone - that is not a problem or obstacle because it is no longer there - so how can it now be an obstacle right? Unless you suffer the loss of that Ferrrari and look always to the past when you had it, feeling lacking and bereft that it is not here with you now - this is the common experience. Why?

If however, you are not attached, you will have the memory of joy of your Ferrari and re-experience it in your mind unhindered by any sense of loss, while at the same time be absolutely content to catch the bus for your next adventure into the unknown of the day, seeing every sight and experiencing every sensation without distraction or melancholy or wanting to be speeding along an open freeway like you used to in your ferrari, only just knowing it was fun and there is so much in life that is fun, today this bus is a great opportunity placed before you for even more fun.

This is the pure freedom of non-attachment and of not being chained to desire, to never look outside a bus window at a man or woman in a ferrari and feel envy or wish that it was you and that you were not stuck on that bus. Or to sleep as peacefully and contentedly in a cardboard box as you may have once done in a four poster bed before you lost your last million.

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As to the idea of no attachment and no desire = a non life, desire would love you to believe that, how else can it blind you from the truth?

What is living except the desire to live?

Sure, a person can go through life believing they don't 'want' anything, believing they are happy just 'existing'. But that person still desires to live their life.

Trying to escape desire is like a snake swallowing it's own tail. Eventually, it will eat up all that it is and cease to be.

And if that is the goal of Buddhism, that is non-life.

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I have always felt joy gratitude that there is a potential for something I might want to be realized. I do feel discomfort when I think of the things/people that I hold dear might go away.

I think Sidartha was mostly teaching about attachment period. It's ok to be ambitious just don't be to attached to it on a fundamental level.

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I have always felt joy gratitude that there is a potential for something I might want to be realized. I do feel discomfort when I think of the things/people that I hold dear might go away.

I think Sidartha was mostly teaching about attachment period. It's ok to be ambitious just don't be to attached to it on a fundamental level.

Was it Siddartha's "attachment on a fundamental level" that led to his suffering which led to his enlightenment?

If so, then how can either suffering or attachment be bad or unnecessary?

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Was it Siddartha's "attachment on a fundamental level" that led to his suffering which led to his enlightenment?

If so, then how can either suffering or attachment be bad or unnecessary?

Good point there has always been the belief that this world is meant for us to learn and grow.

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Was it Siddartha's "attachment on a fundamental level" that led to his suffering which led to his enlightenment?

If so, then how can either suffering or attachment be bad or unnecessary?

Indeed

I have always considered what I know of Siddartha, Jesus, and many others as examples.... Not dictates.

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Was it Siddartha's "attachment on a fundamental level" that led to his suffering which led to his enlightenment?

If so, then how can either suffering or attachment be bad or unnecessary?

Is not bad - again another thing misintreprated from his teachings. Buddha never cares if you care, he only offerred suggestions to release suffering, based on HIS findings. This again is another biggy - HIS findings. He himself said, "never beleive the words people say as truth. Not even mine" or something along thos lines.

His view on life is what coursed his teachings. He didnt want people following and idoizing him. he wanted you to find out for yourself your truth. And if that is desire. Then desire away. He just tried to show people that, desire or better the attachment to said desire, ultimatly causes suffering. Now its upto you to then referrence the desire vs suffering and think logically to if its all worth it, if suffering outweights the pleasure, then why do it?

Edited by The Id3al Experience

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What is living except the desire to live?

Were we born because we desired to live? We are here, we are alive - that is all we know. Tomorrow we may or may not be, but we are here now. Living is about what we do now with what we have, not what we desire that we do not have.

The desire to live has not saved any man from death, it is a desire that fails in the end and we suffer at that moment of death because the desire to live is denied and frustrated and we do not know how to accept and pass through the experience of death inspite of the inevitability of it's moment of arrival.

Living is action. Desire is not living, it is wishing, it is distraction and fascination that dresses itself as though it were the act of living. LIterally, it is the exact state in which one "cannot see the forest for the trees".

Sure, a person can go through life believing they don't 'want' anything, believing they are happy just 'existing'. But that person still desires to live their life.

Trying to escape desire is like a snake swallowing it's own tail. Eventually, it will eat up all that it is and cease to be.

And if that is the goal of Buddhism, that is non-life.

A person who goes through life believing they do not want anything - is lying to himself. Unless ... he can also claim and demonstrate continuous joy, fluid and ready action (not just existing - that is probably someone who is attached to pure existence) and that nothing causes him to suffer. I think there may have been a select few such men in history, Jesus and Buddha amongst them, at least in part of their lives - but they showed what they learned through their struggles to discover that state too just as we learn through ours.

So no, a person does not go through life without wanting anything - in it's most basic aspect of survival when we are hungry we want to eat. So how do we escape this? Or perhaps more correctly, how do we manage it so that it does not fascinate us into a state of suffering? I will paraphrase a Zen teaching:

When you are hungry, you eat. When you are tired, you sleep. When you are thirsty, you drink.

To be in action is not the same as being in the state of desire. Desire or wanting would be to want a steak where there is no steak available and therefore you fail to enjoy and be fulfilled by the plate of rice and vegetables you have instead - even though, if logic were applied to the situation, that plate of rice and vegetables, when eaten, would actual fulfill your bodies needs. It is your state of wishful thinking that denies you the enjoyment that is available here and now in eating that rice and veg - because your mind is somewhere else, wishing for steak - so suddenly life is an experience of deprivation in a field of abundance as far as energy needs to get out and about and live life is concerned. You see the problem?

Bear Grylls is a classic example of someone who can live fully, regardless of his circumstance - he will accept what nourishment his body needs where he can get it and get on with the business of living. He CHOOSES to place himself of positions of denial of basic desires and challenges himself to action in those circumstances - because there is no suffering in the denials for him. Where ever you put him, he will take action and therefore live.

If most of us were in the same situation - we certainly would not choose it, but if we were in it - could we be so pragmatic and logical without resorting to layers of suffering paralysing and crippling us, clouding our judgement and denying us the very actions which would, in fact, save our lives? Would you pragmatically eat and drink what we have seen Bear Grylls eat and drink without going through emotional/psychological and physical turmoil? - without wretching and being perhaps paralysed with horror at what you have to do to live? Would you cripple your decision making by crying and fearing for your current circumstance because what you really want is a warm bed and a decent meal - and why can't you have that? Why do you have to have cold and hardship instead? Would you be in a state of ready action or a in a state of crippling desires that cannot hope to be fulfilled - except paradoxically by taking actual action? So it is action that creates opportunity and life - not desire.

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Were we born because we desired to live? We are here, we are alive - that is all we know. Tomorrow we may or may not be, but we are here now. Living is about what we do now with what we have, not what we desire that we do not have.

The desire to live has not saved any man from death, it is a desire that fails in the end and we suffer at that moment of death because the desire to live is denied and frustrated and we do not know how to accept and pass through the experience of death inspite of the inevitability of it's moment of arrival.

Living is action. Desire is not living, it is wishing, it is distraction and fascination that dresses itself as though it were the act of living. LIterally, it is the exact state in which one "cannot see the forest for the trees".

Living is not simply action, it is also appreciation. If I did not appreciate I would not be living, just existing. I appreciate the life I had yesterday, and the life I am living today. This appreciation brings me joy, and so I desire to live. That I also experience sadness (suffering) is a consequence of this, but does not detract from this joy. To know joy is also to know suffering, and that cannot be escaped. Try to eliminate this suffering, and you eradicate the joy also.

To build on your analogy, you don't cut down the trees in the hope of seeing the forest.

The desire to live and the acceptance of death are unconnected things. The suffering of impending death is not because of "the denial of the desire to live", it is the fear of the unknown. Accepting death is not the discarding of the desire to live, it is the acceptance that there are things we do not, possibly cannot, know.

So no, a person does not go through life without wanting anything - in it's most basic aspect of survival when we are hungry we want to eat. So how do we escape this? Or perhaps more correctly, how do we manage it so that it does not fascinate us into a state of suffering? I will paraphrase a Zen teaching:

When you are hungry, you eat. When you are tired, you sleep. When you are thirsty, you drink.

That's wonderful, when you have food, when you have shelter or when you have water.

We don't live in isolation - no man is an island. I could rework that into no-man is an island.

The first suggests that the objective of Buddhism - as you explain it - is incompatible with who we are. The second suggests the objective of Buddhism - again, as you explain it - is to isolate ourselves from all that we are.

Edited by Leonardo

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Living is not simply action, it is also appreciation. If I did not appreciate I would not be living, just existing. I appreciate the life I had yesterday, and the life I am living today. This appreciation brings me joy, and so I desire to live. That I also experience sadness (suffering) is a consequence of this, but does not detract from this joy. To know joy is also to know suffering, and that cannot be escaped. Try to eliminate this suffering, and you eradicate the joy also.

Appreciation is not desire - appreciation is enjoyment of what life is offering - where has that been said to be a problem? I would say, you appreciate what you had yesterday, what today has to offer and what is possible tomorrow and therefore you do not "desire" to live - you actually DO live.

To build on your analogy, you don't cut down all the trees in the hope of seeing the forest.

It isn't about losing anything - it is about allowing more that is the true joy of living by not being distracted and fascinated with stuff that is not so at the moment and therefore not relevant to this moment.

The desire to live and the acceptance of death are unconnected things. The suffering of impending death is not because of "the denial of the desire to live", it is the fear of the unknown. Accepting death is not the discarding of the desire to live, it is the acceptance that there are things we do not, possibly cannot, know.

It is attachment to life - the fear of the unknown is about not being alive anymore.

That's wonderful, when you have food, when you have shelter or when you have water.

When you don't have those things you will suffer, yes - physically, but whether this suffering cripples you psychologically is a choice.

We don't live in isolation - no man is an island. I could rework that into no-man is an island.

I am not sure why you mention this. Buddha understood this better than most - he left his little Island of Abundance and self fulfillment to discover why others are suffering, why there is suffering in the world. It is compassion that is the prominent face of Buddhism - compassion for the suffering and sincere quest to understand the causes.

The first suggests that the objective of Buddhism - as you explain it - is incompatible with who we are. The second suggests the objective of Buddhism - again, as you explain it - is to isolate ourselves from all that we are.

I can't stop you from seeing it that way if you wish to, regardless of what I say.

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Appreciation is not desire - appreciation is enjoyment of what life is offering - where has that been said to be a problem? I would say, you appreciate what you had yesterday, what today has to offer and what is possible tomorrow and therefore you do not "desire" to live - you actually DO live.

I didn't say appreciation is desire, I said..."This appreciation brings me joy, and so I desire to live."

Living is joyful, and everyone desires that. Living is also suffering and, while no-one desires it, that is inescapable. It is incompatible with life to eliminate suffering - such a thing can only be accepted.

Buddha understood this better than most - he left his little Island of Abundance and self fulfillment to discover why others are suffering, why there is suffering in the world.

Is it not the goal of the Buddhist to emulate Buddha? If so, then that goal is to try to escape that which is inescapable. Surely that only leads to more suffering, as the objective is unattainable?

And that Buddha had to "leave his little island" to understand human suffering only reinforces the point I made with "no man/no-man is an island". The goal of Buddhism seems to be to become what we are not, to deny who we are.

There is an obvious 'out' from this. Buddha never escaped suffering.

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I didn't say appreciation is desire, I said..."This appreciation brings me joy, and so I desire to live."

It all comes down to our focus - or where our attachment and therefore fascination lies I guess.

I would say, "This experience brings me joy and thus I live".

Living is joyful, and everyone desires that. Living is also suffering and, while no-one desires it, that is inescapable. It is incompatible with life to eliminate suffering - such a thing can only be accepted.

Those are facts in a world of duality it is true both happen to everyone. It is the starting pointing of the journey into the causes of suffering not the logical conclusion - I believe that is where we differ.

Is it not the goal of the Buddhist to emulate Buddha? If so, then that goal is to try to escape that which is inescapable. Surely that only leads to more suffering, as the objective is unattainable?

I don't know, I am a christian not a Buddhist. My buddhist interest lies in understanding the causes of suffering and eliminating them as they have distinct similarity to the seven deadly sins, interesting huh? Well, it is to me anyway.

And that Buddha had to "leave his little island" to understand human suffering only reinforces the point I made with "no man/no-man is an island". The goal of Buddhism seems to be to become what we are not, to deny who we are.

I would have thought the goal of Buddhism was enlightenment - to comprehend who we are, our true nature.

I have quoted this before from the Gospel of Thomas, a few times I think - I really like it as it sums up quite alot for me:

Jesus said, "Blessed is the lion which becomes man when consumed by man; and cursed is the man whom the lion consumes, and the lion becomes man."

Basically, we can consume (comprehend) our desire and awaken - or our desire can consume(fascinate and distract) us and we become chained by it - led whereever it chooses to take us and not where we ever would have intended to go.

Edited by libstaK

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Can you bring a counter-argument to what I said about desire? This thread is about the perspective of Desire, not necessarily The Buddha himself, but some Buddhist philosophy OF desire...

Do you desire to live? Then your life will have an element of suffering in it because you know you will die. If you let go of the desire to live, you can live freely without fear. Do you desire physical comfort? Then you are doomed to some disappointment in life. if you free yourself from the desire for physical comfort then you no longer need to worry about it, nor fear times when your body is in pain or suffering. You will be free.

In human beings, physical external reality is really meaningless compared with how we chose to view, perceive, respond to, and "feel" that external reality. Eg I can be hungry, cold, wet and alone, and still be filled with peace, joy and wonder, if i chose to. I can be imprisoned in solitary confinement, and yet never feel confined, alone or afraid, because these are all mental "states of mind" which i control.

Edited by Mr Walker
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