Desire, and a state of non-desire, in this world.

If, what any desire really aims at is a state of non-desire, then can any one in our material world today, ever attain this state?

I raised this question to a monk from India at the Jain Centre in Toronto. I said to him that the very act of desiring the non-desiring state or “Nirvana” can never make us desire free. Besides, wanting “Moksha” or the ultimate state if it is considered the greatest state then that has to be the biggest desire of all then how can one say that one is desire free. Boy! He rounded up on me like anything. Do you know what he said? You won’t believe it. He said that I was a girl who just liked to have a good time in life and this and that and Oh! My God! I just want to say this to him( I didn’t say this to him). You stupid fool, do you not understand that the fact you’re rounding up on me like this shows your insecurity? Arey! If you don’t have anything substantial to say then you should keep YOUR mouth shut. He was visiting from India, so I kept my mouth shut when he started criticising me. I wonder why these people go and become monks when they don’t know much, is it because they can just sit there and don’t have to move their butt and get an audience and money of course, 'cause they just like to talk even though they have nothing substantial to say and on top of that they waste everybody’s precious time too. Idiots! They don’t understand that since we got this life to live, we should live it and live it responsibly. That is “Nirvan” even though I don’t believe in any such thing as “Nirvan.” Why should I just 'cause some people have coined the word? Nonsense!!!

I had a similar experience the one time I attempted to approach a priest with some similar philosophical/religions concerns I was dealing with. I was trying to understand some contradictions and get some sage advice. It was a totally ridiculous experience. I approach him with these questions, and his response was “Do you have a boyfriend?” I did, at the time, and said, confused. “Well, yes.” “And are you two having sex?” At this moment, I was desperately trying to give him the benefit of the doubt in hoping he was going somewhere with this and so I said “Well, yes.” And he goes on and on and on about how my boyfriend is using me and I am using him and how sex before marriage is bad and how I should go to church on Sundays and I was totally floored. What did that have to do with my question? My earnest question about spriritual versus “actual” life? So I respectfully try to ask him this and he totally ignores me. I came to the conclusion that he just had this set view of what youth is like and what to say to youth and had absolutely no ability to engage in actual dialogue about spirituality.

Anyway, the nature of my question was exactly what you are posing now. I wanted to understand how we could possibly let go of all our worldly desires and responsibilities to live (what seemed to me to be the goal) a sort of 24/7 devotion to spirituality. What about paying rent? I asked. What about going to school and having friends and all the rest? Perhaps I was thinking about this the wrong way? Was there no actual contradiction that I was missing? All of these questions in so sincere an attempt and he asks me if I have sex with my boyfriend instead of going to Sunday mass!

I don’t really ask those questions anymore. I realize that life is a balance of achieving inner peace and living within the world. At least that’s what I strive for now. I have no idea how to live without striving and do not even really understand what that means. I would love to meet someone who could actually address this question with his/her experience of achieving such a state of non-striving within our reality, but I won’t hold my breath.

Playing the role of a monk or a priest in the game of society does not necessarily make one wise.

One metaphor for such a state of being from the Upanishads is “walking along the edge of a razor.” Which as one can imagine is a very difficult thing to do, requiring perfect balance.

One of the metaphors from Buddhism draws a picture of a wheel, with the gods above and the devils below and humanity in the middle. The devils can never attain Nirvana because they are beings of endless desire, never experiencing satisfaction. High above, the gods can never attain Nirvana because they are beings of endless desire that experience endless satisfaction.

As long as we cling to desire then we live close to the edge of this great wheel. Sometimes up, sometimes down, but always spinning around. No rest, no peace. Only human beings have the potential to go to the center of the wheel. The still point. Only a human being has the potential to become a Buddha.

In a sense only one thing needs to be done to reach the center. Accept.

Desire moves us. We either desire to attain or desire to avoid. What we desire to attain we move towards, what we desire to avoid we move away from.

Now the desire to attain a state beyond desire functions as a huge obstacle to achieving such a state.

Really desire functions like a bad habit. A habit so frequent that it is difficult to break, difficult to even notice that we are doing it. When you intend to go beyond desire then you increase your probability of realizing that you are the one who is doing it. You create your desire. You can also stop doing that.

One method to stop creating desire is to focus the attention on itself. The practice of mediation allows this experience. When you stop creating desire, then you experience such bliss.

But bad habits are easy to fall back into. Usually after experiencing a few moments of creating no desire, you go right back into doing it. You fall off the razor.

The absence of desire allows the presence of acceptance.

Now the unwritten rule of Buddhism is right association. If you want to move beyond desire then it helps to it helps to spend time among people with similar goals. Most people in America would rather try to live as the gods in this metaphor and avoid living like the devils instead of trying to become a Buddha, or realize their Buddha nature. And this outlook is spreading thru the world.

So it can be rare to find a person with such a goal.

I have been in the practice of Zen for almost ten years now and I have had only brief moments of such spiritual bliss.

There is a great book by an American Buddhist Jack Kornfield entitled, “After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.” Which addresses this matter with great insight.

Another book of his “A Path with a Heart” is an excellent read for any spiritual seeker.

You don’t understand something. I was saying that most of these monks who emphasize their belief in God and “salvation” and try to impose that on others are the very people who DO NOT believe in God. These monks have figured that there is NO GOD in their mind, I’m not saying they are right in figuring that, all I’m saying is that they believe that in their heart. And once you believe there is no God, then “give and take” loses meaning because there will be no consequences of any action and so “take” is the only language these monks understand 'cause they think they can just gain without losing anything and without doing any work, so they learn to use people because they think they can get away with anything. And the foolish public believes that these are the true believers of God, when the reality is that these are the true frauds and the very people that DO NOT believe in God. These people will use you just so they don’t have to do any work in life and so they preach “salvation” because it will go perfectly with their way of life :laughing:

If he was any good BeenaJain he would have simply beat you with a stick. Why you might ask? Well because you asked a question, questions are from the desire to know.

Of course if he was a really good Buddist, he wouldn’t have talked to you at all. What does he care if you are enlightend. A desire to help should be anathma to him.

Finnially if he were the best sort of Buddist, he wouldn’t of been there at all. What need does a Buddist have of paradeing around as a wise man.

You are not likely to meet a real Buddist ever, as they have no reason to want to meat you. On the other hand they have no reason to advoid you.

If I wanted to be a Buddist this is how I would go about it.

  1. Remove myself from society, especially advertisers (desire mongerers.)
  2. Figure out how to satiate basic needs. (No such thing as a hungry Buddist.)
  3. Forget why I’m doing all this. Sluff off the desire for lack of desire.

I think that would be pretty effecient in eleminateing all my desires, but personally- I’d rather be omnicent.


What about a materialist view of desire? I think it’s physics, desiring is, at its root, darwinian, and tied in with the flesh. your brain desires something, just like your intestins “desire” something, or your lungs “desire” something. Making a distinction between brain and organ desires is folly.

The buddhist arguments are circular, which is fine, but it seems like the argument for lack of desire is identical to an argument that may be posed in favor of suicide.

Finally, all the creature comforts, cures, inventions, etc., are the fruits of desire. It would be very hard to not be a hypocrite, when you write off desire, because almost all of us rely on the fruits of desire every day.

A buddhist monk removes his frock when he pees, because he DESIRES not to walk around with a big wet stain all day.

Final thought: Buddhism, while relatively harmless is comparison with other religions, is complete and utter nonsense.

Orthodox Judaism (a doctirne I also feel is ultimately nonsense) strikes a respectable balance between feeding desires, and showing restraint. Their dualistic outlook allows for prudent functioning of body and mind. Everything they do is geared towards making the physical acts holy. Sure, they resort to what seems like a strict, primitive dogma, but it’s internally coherent, and makes very real sense from a human perspective.

Can you please expain to me the meaning of the first line and why it’s there when I’m not the one pretending to have achieved the non-desiring state or something, so why couldn’t I ask a question? Perhaps you are the one whom another needs to really, “beat you with a stick!” Moron!!! :imp:

P.S. When you remove that offensive line from your post, I will too, otherwise, they both stay! I have enough experience on the web to know by now that the real culprits and morons are the ones like you that provoke others subtly from their side but into others’ reacting strongly and adversely and themselves they get away scot-free :evilfun:

Well I still can’t remember the guys name. Hisun-tui or something like it. But in his school of Chan Buddism (Zen in Japanese) the only school I respect. So assumeing that his goal was to help you become enlighten, I do think that is the best way. And if you were not there to become enlightened, but only question what he was doing, then from his perspective he would want to keep you from falling into the trap he did- which is studying buddism. For once someone studies and understands Buddism, then ones ability to not desire nirvana, and therefore reach nirvana is diminshed.

You see the problem is a Buddist has no care for claims and proof and such things, and therefore have no need of the proper rules of debate. That’s why your not allowed to ask a question (that and it exibits desire.) I would generally avoid them on your path to knowledge. So no matter how legitmate your question may be, it’s unwelcome.

So the only ones who should be mad at me are the non-chan buddist. I was simply describeing the behavior. Or if you are going to be mad at me, be mad that I’m answering your questions and not helping you towards enlightment. From a Buddist perspective, the nicest thing I did in that thread is tick you off so that you might be conditioned agianst questions.

And personally I think subtle jabs make for much more intersting and agreeable enviroment than mutiple exlimation curses, and devil icons.

Oh, and I won’t edit a post for content, reaks of censorship.

I do want to appologize tho. The intent was not offend so much as to start the post provocitavly. I was hopeing you would understand that he should beat you because he is a Buddist, not because you did anything wrong.

And for a Buddhist who does not entertain QUESTIONS, you can suggest to me that, “he should beat” me? And just because I asked a brilliant question of the monk and you didn’t like the brilliance, so you are going to condition me, “against questions,” and excuse yourself and hide behind a Buddhist perspective in doing so but nonetheless ensuring that I get pissed off because you did not like my question?

And when censorship can make amends between the two of us, you would rather respect the WORD un-censorship and your arrogant attitude in the post?

And after all this arrogance and abuse you say you apologize? So that you come out looking good still and I look bad? Or why the un-censorship and why not edit it if you care? My dear, a sincere apology is from the heart. You neither want to apologize for anything nor change your attitude, just want to come out looking good despite your arrogance in all your posts above. Your trick of hiding behind a Buddhist monk’s skirts, doesn’t wash on me. Find a better hiding place 'cause if you don’t, this is what you deserve - bang wham* thud* See? starsstarsstars :imp:

I personally love your question- I’m a philosopher.

The Buddist would not love your question, or any question really.

You seem to be missing key phrases here:
“If he were a good BUDDIST…”;
“From a BUDDIST perspective…”

If trying to explain to you why he got upset. I’m oviously failing. And I will apologise for my lake of good commonication, but not for my intent, because it was not malicious.

Here is one example:

I don’t believe that what any desire aims at is really at is a state of non-desire. One may desire many things, in fact I think it is impossible not to desire things, such as to live, or even to die, to eat, to drink, to breathe etc.
What is meant by a state of non-desire? Personally I think that it is an idea, an idea of perfection, but one which is actually unattainble by anyone. It’s an idea that is open to many interpretations, and is not one that I have found useful in living a spiritual life.
In my view what is more useful is to observe your desires, since they can show some of the inner workings of your mind, and to determine if they are coming from a healed or unhealed part of your being e.g. if you feel you always have to be right in arguments with your partner. Once you have determined it is coming from some unhealed part in yourself then you can work on healing it. That is not to judge it as bad, just to acknowledge that it is an area that needs work. Desire may also be like pain, in that it can show you an area that is in need, and may perhaps need more attention.

Molelove - I aim to maintain my inner peace, and place this above happiness, or any other sort of spiritual enlightenment. I think that striving is a natural part of human existence. What I think is also worth focussing on is the attachment to a particular desire, since it is the attachment to the desire that can destabilise your inner peace. The attachments, I believe, very often arise out of unhealed emotional traumas. This doesn’t apply to all desires, in my opinion, since some are just natural healthy impulses, like eating and drinking. I think it applies more to emotional desires, like having to get revenge, or having to have the biggest piece of cake. Finally, whilst you have unhealed emotional traumas I think you will find that it is not possible to permanently maintain inner peace.

I’am new to this forum…to this method of discussion.
I’ve read a lot of the topics and the replies posted in them, and my own knowledge has considerably increased during the time,i have never stated any of my thoughts becasue i have never felt the need to and because i don’t belive them to be lucid enough…yet. I’am a selfish person who thinks twice before giving advice and double that if knowledge of this kind has to be imparted.
My reply here has no contribution here to the topic and like i said earlier i’am just listeining ,but there is one thing which has troubled me greatly in all the topics i’ve read.
The state of each topic and itz replies , as well as the whole forum itself is so fantastically similar to the state of the world right now ,in a way that is to be expected, and yet not so.
Within every topic and itz replies i found a multitude at war, at conflict.
It seems that there is definitley one thing that i can propose to this board, to whomsover reads this message.
“An eye for an eye makes the world blind”
To state an opinion is a right ,however if certain courtsies are followed up while doing it, they will arm your opinion perhaps with the greatest weapon of them all. The poison of politeness.
Conflict is nessecarry for progress undoubtedly as one of the members states, but the expense at which it arises must be weighed.
Knowledge adulterated by the rivalry of persons ceases to exist at all.
I write this is an entirely selfish cause ,so that it becomes easier for me to obtain knowledge…of the kind that is disturbuted here.
Humility and Tolerace seems to be two very key passions missing here, and they constitue a lot of ur subconscious too…
This is what i suggest, it is yours to accept.
Thank You

Thank you all for your thoughts on my post.

I am exploring the idea constantly. I don’t think I have read enough during my life so far, I only just came across the concept that to desire is to want not to desire - is this satisfaction we seek? Or is it contentment.

The desire for material goods is one thing, but the desire for something like love is different, is it a basic human right?

Molelove, I feel sure that to wait until one is married before having sex is daft!

I wonder, is it ‘wrong’ to desire love, or is it a ‘desire’ at all. I have one very special person who I love, it doesn’t feel wrong at all, I am a better person for knowing this person. But,would I be a better person if I was content in myself?[/b]

No, I’m not missing the jist of any key phrases in your post. My point was that why you have to use the line, “beat you with a stick” for me? But you will not remove the line by editing your post because of your bad attitude and bad intent and more, but you can waste another half a screen of web space to provide explanations that won’t work and that you know won’t work because it’s the line that does the damage and you know that and that’s the reason you won’t remove it. Don’t tell me you have good intentions my dear, I know better! :smiley:

And no, you are NOT a philosopher because you DID NOT like my question that pissed you off and made you feel that your entry would seem docile in comparison, so you tried to piss me off. Otherwise, why not remove that offensive line? Are you stupid? I will not respond to any more posts of yours on this particular topic, you can keep wasting web space, it’s your business not mine.

Xxxx, You might want to look into the stoics. Their thesis was similar, but not so overwhelming. The stocis belived they could not control the world, but only there reaction to the world. So they simply decided not to worry about the part they couldn’t control- the world. One might say that they maintianed the disire to act and think properly, and slowly diminished the desire for extrnal things.

So a Buddhist and a stoic both desire to not desire a type of wine they can’t have. But only the Buddhist goes as far to try to not desire the non-desireing of the wine.

I think it works out pretty well overall.

Xxxx - I’d advise you to steer well clear of any spiritual path which suggested that you not desire love, that seems quite an unhealthy idea to me.
As to the second of your wonderings - would you be a better person if you were content in yourself - I think it is worth while considering the nature of relationships. I see one definition of health as wholeness, so that where we have unhealed emotional traumas we are not whole. When we feel incomplete we will seek to fill that space, with whatever we are drawn towards e.g. spirituality or religion, partners, children, pets, money etc. I think that the desire to love and be loved is a healthy desire, but the need to love or be loved may be arising from that which is not whole in us. Further, that to feel totally content in yourself is not an achievable goal unless you have healed all of your unhealed emotional traumas.

I think this to be related to the topic.
One of the more common takes on some of the works of St. Augustus is that ok, the world is rotten. Man is fallen in nature throughAdam and Eve ( I didnt understand the argument for that per se, but I can see why it is necessary to believe this if it requires Christ to redeem us).

Basically, nearly everyone is bad, including admitted Christians. It is only those believers that practice Christ’s teaching every day who might (and then again might not) reach heaven.

And even in this, the world is so corrupt that a true Christian must act in such a way as to convince others that they are no different from everyone. This is done to allow for more time on this earth to attempt to perfect the soul.

Basically, St Augustine’s point was this, be in the world, but not of it.

I don’t know how that doctrine applies to Eastern Religions, but it basically allows for different kinds of desires. One kind is that which satisfies physical needs( because we are all of a fallen nature and need all the time we have on this Earth to overcome that, thus we must eat, drink, etc, thereby desiring even the most basic of worldly goods) and desires of a spiritual nature (you may realize that the price of your pursuit of spiritual cleansing/perfection etc is very costly, perhaps impossible, but the reward ((Heaven, Nirvana, plain old peace of mind)) is worth the cost.)

Anyway, that is my take.

Just a note that Buddhism involves far more than just wrangling with the knotty problem of desire.

Other important issue involves impermanence. Accepting that all things of this world pass away. Nothing lasts forever. Including our emotional, mental and physical states of being which also constantly change.

As for lousy monks, alas hypocrisy can exist in all human endeavors.