Author Topic: On Desire.  (Read 1339 times)

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September 17, 2004, 04:25:41 PM
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kobok

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The Buddhists would tell us that enlightenment is obtained by eliminating desire, so that one can escape suffering by no longer desiring anything, and thus having no reason to suffer.

In contrast, the philosophy of life as learning would tell us to seek what we are passionate about so that we can be motivated to learn and grow.  In this philosophy, desire encourages us to become better people.

So which philosophy is a better spiritual path to follow?

My view is that this is best decided by examining the goals of each path.  In the Buddhist path, the goal is the escape of suffering.  In the learning path, the goal is the betterment of the self.  If one views life as a place of torment to be escaped from, then the Buddhist approach would make more sense.  But if one views life as a challenge, or an opportunity to learn, then the learning approach would make more sense.

Do you want to become better, or do you want to escape?  Now the Buddhist might argue that this is a fallacious argument, because it implies that the abandonment of desire is actually out of a deeper rooted desire to escape suffering.  But is it not?  What other motivation would there be for the attempted abandonment of all desire?

I feel that in the end, one of the best ways to judge a spiritual path is by the progress that results from that path.  The abandonment of desire focuses on the elimination of the negativity in life, while the learning path focuses on the construction of positive elements in life.  The end result of this is that focus on the abandonment of desire results in one who is empty, having been drained of all things, while focus on the learning path results in one who is full, having been filled with all the best things life can teach.

Your thoughts?
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September 17, 2004, 04:49:57 PM
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VERiTAS

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Excellent like that :)
Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificandoque Invenies Occultum Lapidem

September 17, 2004, 06:40:11 PM
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Lightbringer

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I think that you've misinterpreted the message buddhism puts forth because of ignorance to the way a "true" buddhist thinks or perhaps even a personal bias.  (I say true buddhist because there are many people who claim to be buddhist but don't seek enlightenment, but rather expect that because they are buddhist enlightenment will come to them.)

The end of suffering does not mean that an enlightened person doesn't face the normal challenges of life (or even the more abnormal ones) but simply that they don't suffer from those challenges.  Lessons are still learned after enlightenment and life goes on but once enlightened that person will not become stressed over cosmically insignificant matters and thus, will not suffer.  This is not an escape from learning and, in fact, to learn the simple truths of reality and gain a new prospective on life takes far more dedication and effort than you seem to give credit.

I would also like to point out that while someone is becoming enlightened, they are still desiring things (desire to become enlightened being the most obvious) so both philosophies have their place.  Desire drives you to free yourself from desire.

It's kind of amusing how paradox seems to be a rule of the universe :D
The thing that really fascinates me about people is their ability to have no idea what's going on even though it's going on in plain sight all around them and the even more amazing tendency to argue violently when one of these obvious things is presented to them.

September 17, 2004, 09:16:29 PM
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Neti Neti

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Mr. Drooling Chicken is right. :)
People only see what they are prepared to see.

Give all to love; obey thy heart.

Insist on yourself; never imitate... Every great man is unique.

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.

Speak what you think today in words as hard as cannon-balls and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today.[/I]
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September 18, 2004, 02:10:43 AM
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kobok

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Quote from: Lightbringer
I think that you've misinterpreted the message buddhism puts forth because of ignorance to the way a "true" buddhist thinks or perhaps even a personal bias.  (I say true buddhist because there are many people who claim to be buddhist but don't seek enlightenment, but rather expect that because they are buddhist enlightenment will come to them.)


This is why I end with "Your thoughts?"  :)  All religions come with various interpretations, and it is good to see how other interpretations integrate into various philosophies.

Quote from: Lightbringer
The end of suffering does not mean that an enlightened person doesn't face the normal challenges of life (or even the more abnormal ones) but simply that they don't suffer from those challenges.  Lessons are still learned after enlightenment and life goes on but once enlightened that person will not become stressed over cosmically insignificant matters and thus, will not suffer.  This is not an escape from learning and, in fact, to learn the simple truths of reality and gain a new prospective on life takes far more dedication and effort than you seem to give credit.


This sounds much more like what I consider to be the learning-oriented paradigm.  It involves frequent introspection and searches for new perspectives on life, along with evaluations of the true meanings of things.  I approve of this synthesis of the two ideas.

Quote from: Lightbringer
I would also like to point out that while someone is becoming enlightened, they are still desiring things (desire to become enlightened being the most obvious) so both philosophies have their place.  Desire drives you to free yourself from desire.


Err, but this sounds more like a translational error.  :)
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September 18, 2004, 08:00:04 AM
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Lightbringer

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Quote from: kobok
Err, but this sounds more like a translational error.  :)


How so?  (I'm just wondering if I worded it badly or if the concept is just confusing.)
The thing that really fascinates me about people is their ability to have no idea what's going on even though it's going on in plain sight all around them and the even more amazing tendency to argue violently when one of these obvious things is presented to them.

September 18, 2004, 12:16:04 PM
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Azazen

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I think both are right, through both paths you become enlightened and do not desire things as you did before.  The desire is still there but the significance changes to where you can live without what you desire, without suffering from the lack of it.  Just my thoughts  :)  .
What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy...

If we are able to step out of what we think is so "obviously" correct, we should.

September 19, 2004, 08:49:20 AM
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Neti Neti

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Enlightment is the end of desire, thus the end of suffering. Things still happen, things still come and go, but you typically have no attachment or desire for one general outcome over another. You just flow--- and what comes comes, what happenes happenes, and it is all for the best in the end.
People only see what they are prepared to see.

Give all to love; obey thy heart.

Insist on yourself; never imitate... Every great man is unique.

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.

Speak what you think today in words as hard as cannon-balls and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today.[/I]
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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September 29, 2004, 01:40:26 AM
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Void

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Desire works.

Dont have a drive, dont go anywhere. Simple as that.