OBC Connect

A site for those with an interest in the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, past or present, and related subjects.
 
HomeHome  CalendarCalendar  GalleryGallery  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  RegisterRegister  Log in  

Share | 
 

 Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1416
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 43

PostSubject: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   Tue Jul 06, 2010 8:39 pm

And it doesn't always lead to endless craving and dissatisfaction.

I had the best holiday weekend with my son and a huge crew of friends at the lake. We swam and played ball, cooked big dinners, laughed and teased each other and never stopped enjoying ourselves. I loved every minute of it, and I didn't suffer when it was time to go home. I wasn't sad, sorry, craving more time, or wishing we'd done even more activities. I wasn't "hung over" from the "intoxication of enthusiasm" that monks like to warn about. I'm back in my normal workday life and it's okay.

This has been my outlook for as long as I can remember being aware of it. I desire things all the time and have no interest in changing that. I desire and enjoy partnership, parenthood, a satisfactory career, a place to call home, opportunities to explore the world . . . it's a long list and grows every day. Wanting these things doesn't hurt me. I don't always have what I want and certainly not all at one time, but I really don't care. I like having positive interests to aspire to that make my life richer.

The monks are wrong when they teach that everyone clings to and craves good things that will never end, and that we must inevitably suffer as a result. I've never insisted that good things last forever -- I've always known that the universe never strikes a bargain like that. I don't expect it. Things end, people die or leave in another ways, jobs can be lost, kids grow up and some become estranged. There is pain when loss happens, but pain isn't the same as suffering. Pain is the price we pay for staying in a world that can bring tremendous benefits and joy. Just speaking for myself, with 36 years behind me, it's worth it. I might have made some choices differently, but that's a result of gaining some wisdom -- it's not a side effect of suffering.

I know that not everyone wants a life in the world, but there should be room in the doctrine for those of us who do, and who make no bones about enjoying it thoroughly. I'm even up for a couple more rounds of samsara, if that works for the universe too. This world is an amazing gift and I am thankful for living in it. Why wouldn't I want to come back?
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
helen66



Posts : 7
Join date : 2010-06-23

PostSubject: Re: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:06 pm

Thanks friend,
I have many years ahead of you at 66 and you are there. The monks are in the world also. Accept every moment of joy, frustration, play, confusion,working hard, reading, sitting, whatever it is the moment is to be held holy, complete, one moment at a time.
Back to top Go down
Diana



Posts : 206
Join date : 2010-06-11
Location : New Mexico

PostSubject: Re: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:31 pm

Where's the "like" button??? cheers How's that one?

Glad you had a good weekend. I did too!

Peace,
Diana
Back to top Go down
sugin

avatar

Posts : 43
Join date : 2010-06-15

PostSubject: Re: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:40 pm

Hey Jack...I'm 61, so we have seen a few things and lived to tell the tale. Maybe it is that "desire" just is... like "hate" just is.... I am trying to not attach too much to either-- cause I will be leaving soon.
Back to top Go down
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1416
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:17 pm

helen66 wrote:
The monks are in the world also.

Helen, I know you're right. I forget this sometimes when venting on this forum -- sometimes the only thing present in my mind, when I start writing, is the teaching I received that I felt to be so ill-advised for me. I know those monks did not speak for everyone.

helen66 wrote:
Accept every moment of joy, frustration, play, confusion,working hard, reading, sitting, whatever it is the moment is to be held holy, complete, one moment at a time.

I like this a lot Smile
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
R A Foley



Posts : 7
Join date : 2010-07-17

PostSubject: Desire   Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:51 am

Just being aware that one is desireous seems to loosen the hold that it has over us. Smile [center]
Back to top Go down
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1416
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:52 pm

At this point in my life I don't have a sense of desire having a hold over me. When I want to do/see/give/experience/acquire something, it feels more like a happy interest in exploring a possibility. It doesn't feel like "I better get this or else".

Actually I'm not sure I have ever had a sense of being ruled or controlled by desire. This is why the monks' generalizations on that topic never rang true to me.

Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
R A Foley



Posts : 7
Join date : 2010-07-17

PostSubject: Desire   Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:42 am

OK Very Happy
Back to top Go down
mahakala



Posts : 3
Join date : 2010-08-15

PostSubject: Desire as a happy medium   Sun Aug 15, 2010 3:31 am

I too often feel the way you do Lise, ... that desire can be regulated and experienced in moderation.

It matters what your desires are and if they can be attained, in my opinion.

I often fear that we live in such luxurious and bountiful times ... we are spoiled by the potentialities for us to play with our desires. What if one did not have access to these controlled experiences? What if we were physically ill, handicapped, or in war and strife?

Modern civilization I truly believe ... is colliding with Buddhism ... and in the end ... only the purest buddhist teachings about reality will prevail ... such as the Law of Kharma.

In the end analysis ... more than even the one pure precept to Cease from Evil ... I most cultivate fear from the inexorable Law of Kharma ... and not even for future lives. I am fearful enough of the workings of Kharma in this life amongst those I hold dear ... including myself.

I guess where I am going with this is that celibacy is about creating less Kharma. It is intended, in my meager view, to create opportunities to quiet the mind at an advanced practioners level. I do not think this is an issue which can be sidestepped if one wants to reach some pinnacle of training, like the Ancestors. In a certain sense, to question celibacy and the practice of the Ancestors is a lack of faith.

In regards to matters such as monks such as Abbots, I wish more emphasis would be put on creating opportunities for their serious training, rather than monastery affairs. In many ways, our modern culture, growing more and more complex, is putting administrative burdens more on all of us. I would rather see Abbots in retreat at some hermitage somewhere cultivating their practice than mixing and becoming immersed in monastery politics.

And all I would like to mention, in regard to the dismissal of our former Abott and posts which seem to indicate that there is precedent in Buddhism for monks to go in and out of monastic practice ... I think of the Denkoroku and hearing the daily recitation of the Buddhas and Ancestors ... and as far as I recall ... I do not know of any case in the Denko of a monk returning to lay life.

In my estimation ... becoming a monk is a commitment to achieving the apex of training and realizations no matter how long it takes ... for eternity.

So Lise ... if you do not have the desire to do that ... then it is perfectly fine to stop at a few islands of the very unstable phenomenal world and stay for a while. In conclusion, the point of my entire post in response to your post ... is that were are extremely lucky and fortunate to be able to do the things you discuss. I also am on your level and feel similarly ... yet I also have a nagging and dreadful feeling sometimes that I am extremely deluded and if things were just a little bit different, I would be panicked and in a major crisis.
Back to top Go down
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1416
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:24 pm

Hi Mahakala, and welcome to the forum. Thank you for the reply. Some random unconnected thoughts are buzzing around:

I do wonder how I'd feel about samsara if I hadn't been as fortunate as I have been. And nothing stays the same -- maybe I'll be back here reporting some day from a different perspective. It isn't hard to be chipper about the nature of desire when I've mostly gotten what I want in life, at least the things that turned out to be important. And I may have a few years left yet, insha'allah.

Re: "becoming a monk is a commitment to achieving the apex of training and realizations". Is the route to the apex the same for everyone? Is a lay person's apex less than the one that a monk can get to? If so, then the four classes of buddhists aren't equal, are they? There might be an apex of training for me in this lifetime, but trying to become a monk would send me in the opposite direction from finding it. I don't think I would reach my own pinnacle by avoiding the love of a partner relationship and all that follows. Celibacy would be denial and repression . . . the creation of more karmic jangles.

You mentioned fear of the inexorable law of karma. I would like to hear more about this, if you wanted to elaborate. For whatever reason, I'm not afraid of karmic law, yet. Probably I should be
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
George
Admin
avatar

Posts : 57
Join date : 2010-05-22
Location : Fresno, CA

PostSubject: Re: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:40 pm

Important questions, Lise--thank you. I look forward to the responses (though they may require more electrons than we got).
Back to top Go down
Howard

avatar

Posts : 554
Join date : 2010-06-27
Age : 63
Location : Vancouver

PostSubject: Re: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   Sun Aug 22, 2010 1:50 pm

Desire is not that bad? Really? I'm not sure I can agree with that. Maybe its just a question of priorities. Maybe desire itself is not that bad but I've never been able to invite it in without suffering eventually showing up to party just as hard or harder. Like the nice guy you invite over who then invites his biker friends. Its interesting that it doesn't seem to matter if desire is strong, weak, worldly or spiritual, the result of playing with it always costs me in equanimity, freedom and insight. Traits that I'm usually in short supply of. Sometimes the fruits of desire seem worth the price. I know... different strokes for different folks but from my experience in meditation, these costs are just too high.
I usually treat arising desires like attachments. Whether they are or not is irrelevant to me because the results are the same if I play with them. Its always my relationship to them that is important and not the things themselves. When it is how awake, how fearless, how open & still can I be in the presence of desire that equanimity, freedom and insight become possible again. In todays world desire is king, among renunciates its the opposite. The ground between is sticky.
Back to top Go down
http://hrmitchell54@yahoo.com
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1416
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:00 am

I hear ya. Actually I hear the monks too Wink This is the teaching as I remember it from talks in the guesthouse. I know that it does resonate for a lot of people and fits their understanding of how desire works for them. You're right, different strokes for different folks (or horses for courses as the English say, even after they are transplanted to America yes )

I wish I could express myself better on this topic. I feel like I'm throwing horseshoes and just barely glancing off the target, never ringing it.

Desire and I are pretty good friends. When it stops by my house, it doesn't muck up the carpet, tease the cat or embarrass me in front of the neighbors. It hasn't done me wrong yet, I guess that's what I'm trying to say. If I'm lucky maybe it never will --
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
Mia



Posts : 91
Join date : 2010-08-31

PostSubject: Re: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:04 am

Lise wrote:
not everyone wants a life in the world, but there should be room in the doctrine for those of us who do
I believe that's what you've just made Smile It's up to us to articulate it. It won't be easy and for me it takes more discipline than working in the monastery, because I can't lean on any prefabricated structures, and all the "wrong paths" are right outside my window. It's good hard practice...
Back to top Go down
sugin

avatar

Posts : 43
Join date : 2010-06-15

PostSubject: Re: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:30 pm

DESIRE....

? for food for my family?

?for good sex tonight?

?for a sunny day to plant my garden?

?for the high school football team to win on Friday?

?for me to make through another day?

?for me to find peace and truth??and on and on??

All problematical or just being human. It seems when I want my football team to win becomes more than a wish and I attach too much emotional energy into it then we got a problem with DESIRE. (I really avoid football)
Back to top Go down
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1416
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:00 am

I am just fascinated by the hold that football seems to have over American males. My partner is a Yank and he just . . . devolves into another life form when the season comes round. I can't make sense of it. Give me good ol' footie any day, the real kind, with lots of action and something to look at besides men falling in heaps on the ground. Sleep

Sugin, i think everything (else) on your list is just fine and you should go for it!
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
Kozan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 672
Join date : 2010-03-06
Age : 68
Location : Sonoma County CA

PostSubject: Re: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:41 am

Lise--I've been holding off on replying to your question from the time of your first post--because I think that it is such a good and important question--and because I think that it is intertwined with so many others! And Sugin--great points!

I would not only say that "desire isn't all bad", I would say that the very root and essence of that which is desire itself--is profoundly good--because it arises within the Buddha Nature itself.

As RM Jiyu always said (drawing on traditional Buddhist teaching): the cause of suffering is not desire--it is attachment to desire--which only then becomes craving--and a cause of suffering.

I have concluded that desire itself is like electricity; we only actually perceive it when it is flowing through a biological process--or a mental construct. And therefore, we tend to associate desire with the forms or objects of desire that we actually perceive.

Without desire (in its essence) we would not do anything; we would not eat when hungry or sleep when tired--and we would not aspire to returning home to the ground of Awareness itself. Without desire we would not exist (as His Holiness the Dalai Lama has observed)--and (I would propose) the universe itself would not exist.

I think that desire and volition arise simultaneously. For many, wanting something and acting on the want occur at (virtually) the same time. In meditation we can begin to notice the distinction between awareness itself, and objects of awareness such as thoughts, feelings, and perceptions--like the difference between a mirror (ie awareness) and the images reflected in it (our perceptions). And we can also find the space between wanting and the choice/will to act on the want. This makes freedom, from inherited or habitual patterns that cause suffering, possible.

Attachment to desire, I think, is simply a knot of awareness-desire-volition. It is like a closed fist. As RMJK used to say--letting go of attachment is learning how to open your hand, in order to experience the stream of enlightenment flowing through.

However--to continue with the analogy--the purpose of opening the clenched fist is NOT to leave it open for ever after! It is to learn how to use your hands! It is to discover how to choose and act appropriately on desire in ways that benefit all beings.

Awareness-desire-volition are, I believe, the very essence of the nature of enlightenment, transcendent Awareness itself, manifested existence itself--and what it means to be a human being. It's all about how we use our hands! The Tenth Oxherding Picture is "to enter the market place with bliss bestowing hands".

This issue, I think, ultimately ties in to many others raised in this forum. And my thoughts, so far, only touch on the tip of the iceberg (so to speak!).

So, Lise, in conclusion--I would say that you've got it exactly right!

P.S. Lise, as an aside, I just saw your newest post in reply to Sugin, as I am writing this one. I'm totally with you on football. Throughout high school, although I had many good friends who were on the football team, I was a cross country runner (the other Fall sport)--and I just never could understand football. Even the ultimate football player--Daishin Yalon--and his great and infectious love of the sport, could never quite make it comprehendible for me (not to be confused with soccer...er...football...as it is known in the rest of the world, beyond the U.S.)!

Well, actually, this leads in to another topic (the relationship between existential crisis and competitive struggle), which I won't get into just yet.



Last edited by Kozan on Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:23 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : spelling and clarity)
Back to top Go down
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1416
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:37 am

Hi Kozan, I meant to reply sooner -- work is driving me crazy this week Suspect Today especially.

Once more you've managed to hit the target, which I do appreciate -- I was hunting for the right words and you have supplied them: "attachment to desire" is the stumbling point rather than desire itself. It seems clear to me too -- without desire, we wouldn't inhabit these bodies or be able to continue their existence. And, I for one, do not think the human race evolved only for the purpose of allowing enlightened beings a vehicle for extinguishing or expiating their karma. (I never could bite off on that piece of theory offered in the guesthouse dharma discussions.)

I really like the visual of learning to use the hands, opening and closing, moderating what flows through . . .

Thanks Kozan Smile
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
Mia



Posts : 91
Join date : 2010-08-31

PostSubject: Re: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:30 pm

On this topic I just came across what I found to be a really good and comprehensive talk about desire by American teacher Noah Levine, in which he defines positive human relationships as "connected non-clinging", rather than detachment/ attachment/fear of attachment. http://www.againstthestream.org/components/com_podcast/media/noah0714_Talk_about_sex.mp3
(About 35 mins long, the first 10 are slower.)
Back to top Go down
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1416
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:51 pm

"Connected non-clinging", I like that. thanks for the link, Mia -

L.
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
albertfuller

avatar

Posts : 33
Join date : 2011-01-04
Location : Toronto, Canada

PostSubject: Re: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:32 pm

it is neither good nor bad ... although much good and bad can be the fruit of it.

what about the desire for enlightenment ... the desire for change.

philosophies of control are political. The exposition of desire from the context of control may have great practical consequence but does not provide complete understanding of the designated subject.

We also need to recognize the emotional mind (attitude) and not see mind are merely the rational.

we are a mind/body complex and self-understanding cannot be based on a denial of the body, except as a political theory.

at minimum liberation is about freedom from domination: both outer and inner. Certainly it is not trading inner domination for outer domination.

Colonialism of me is personal history and a history of being on the wrong end of the stick.

in closing I note that torture is a process of repeatedly inflicting suffering .... and from the intelectual context of buddhism I find the idea of torture carries enormous resonance and so allows me to reflect on the visible/invisible patterns of repitition that I use in the production of suffering.
Back to top Go down
Ol'ga

avatar

Posts : 258
Join date : 2011-03-22
Age : 71
Location : Toronto

PostSubject: Re: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:38 pm

Lise wrote:
For whatever reason, I'm not afraid of karmic law, yet. Probably I
should be.
My response to this is kinda my own, so take it with a pinch of salt, I may be wrong.
Somehow I feel that karmic law is on our side. If we need to fix up something in ourselves (not to become perfect; just so we have mind that can see the truth), karmic law is perhaps shunting us in the direction we need to go, putting us in situations we need to be in. This is not to say that those situations cannot be beastly sometimes. And pleasant, too - one learns from both. I just can't see karmic law as some fancy system for punishment.

About desire: my teacher Swami D. says that desire is a privilege. It's a gift. So I'd add, what do you want (I mean anybody'), be dead?
I would put Roshi's term of "attachment to desire" somewhat differently, if I may. Obviously, one's desires are seldom fulfilled. So one just needs to simply be flexible about the business. Why should I have things my way? There is nothing holy about being realistic, facing facts - it's just useful.
I would disagree with Kozan in
I think that desire and volition arise simultaneously.
Surely, desire arises automatically (we can act on it or not, in various ways). Volition is needed for our actions (not even all, perhaps most), but desire pops up by itself. One can, of course, fan the flames of it, or let it die down - there, volition does come in.
And, Kozan, I love your
I would say that the very root and essence of that which is desire
itself--is profoundly good--because it arises within the Buddha
Nature itself
.
As for your
Attachment to desire, I think, is simply a knot of
awareness-desire-volition.
:
This statement is rather opaque to me. I don't see how awareness, always free, can participate in a 'knot'. Also, come to think of it, problem is not so much in attachment to desire (why not go for the ride), but attachment to one's expectations. Desire does no harm, nor do expectations in themselves. (Of course we expect certain result, otherwise we wouldn't act at all.) The problem seems to arise only when we can't adjust when things don't go according to our expectations - feel resentful, hurt, angry, etc.
Even that is not that disastrous. One can always learn, and do things differently next time. It's called intelligent living (cf my teacher, again).
Ol'ga
Back to top Go down
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.   

Back to top Go down
 
Opinion of the day: Desire isn't all bad.
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
-
» Who or what is god, in your opinion?
» Knocked Back for Sleeve - Getting Second Opinion
» God's Desire for Me
» Politicians & The Manipulated Crowd (opinion)
» Men desire power

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
OBC Connect :: OBC Connect :: In Theory and Practice-
Jump to: