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Is there something left after desire?

 
 
Deckard
 
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 10:35 pm
Is there something left after desire?

And by that I mean a force that will move me through my life even after desire has been set aside?

If I were to put on the saffron robe and live a life of attention without any grasping desires for pleasure, status and knowledge would I ever get out of my chair again?

What made the Buddha get up from his spot under the bodhi tree? I think it was a desire to bring others to the blissful state of Nirvana or was it something else?

There is also the idea of just doing without desiring it first. Possibly this is akin to acting instinctively. Yet instinct is akin to desire. In the West at least the instincts are characterized as bloodthirsty and gluttonous but is there an instinct that remains when the blood-lust and gluttony have been set aside?

Buddhism teaches compassion. Compassion I think is central to Buddhist teaching. Is it incorrect to think of the setting aside of desire as a way of clearing the path for the desire/instinct of compassion?

Compassion is a co-feeling and as such, if it is a desire, it is something different from the desires that are more selfish and self-centered. This is something different from enlightened self-interest which (as the word itself suggests) is more of a calculus that can still be traced back to self.

So finally, the diminishing of desire is at the same time a diminishing of the self. Yet there is the worry that one will not be able to survive without maintaining some sense of self, that one will be without both the compass of desire and the reference point of the self. If I cross over that point where self and desire are extinguished will there be something else on the other side? Does the Buddhist tradition teach that there is something on the other side? Yet this something if it is at all is always described negatively as a negation of desire. Perhaps it cannot be described to us when we are marred in terms of self and selfish desire. It requires a leap of faith.
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Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 12:17 am
@Deckard,
Deckard;164087 wrote:

If I cross over that point where self and desire are extinguished will there be something else on the other side? Does the Buddhist tradition teach that there is something on the other side? Yet this something if it is at all is always described negatively as a negation of desire. Perhaps it cannot be described to us when we are marred in terms of self and selfish desire. It requires a leap of faith.


I can only humbly offer a notion that appeals to me. Perhaps the self isn't distinguished but expanded until it includes others, and in this way selfishness and compassion become equivalent. One wants the best for one's self but this self is no longer just a name and a body. I can't claim to live this way..but at certain nice moments I do feel beyond my name, face, and number. Like I said, humbly offered. It's a delicate and important matter.

Much respect. z
0 Replies
 
serunato
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 06:22 pm
@Deckard,
You know, I think that the word desire is misused and over emphasized in Western Buddhist tradition. If you are hungry then you desire to eat. Is that really a desire you should strive to overcome? No. If you are tired then you desire to sleep, again why strive to overcome it. My personal feeling is that the kind of desire that leads to obsession and clouded judgement is what he was talking about. The Buddha's way was the middle way. It was moderate and logical and reasonable.
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 10:54 pm
@serunato,
I may have some major misconceptions about Buddhism.
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 11:15 pm
@Deckard,
I'm thinking that the undesirable desire would be envy, hatred, fear, etc. And this would generally be connected to the ego-as-island and what one might call the self-fetish.

---------- Post added 05-23-2010 at 12:17 AM ----------

I have this feeling that the guys sculpted giant stone Buddhas didn't care at all about signing their name, for that was the point of the giant stone Buddha. Buddha was an ideal state open to anyone and everyone the moment they let go of their self-isolating abstractions. I have often feared death exactly because there was some project I just had to finish. At other times, I saw how little I had to add to the majesty of the world as is. Hell, nature is so ridiculously beautiful, terrible, and impressive, that a world without human art would not exactly be boring, or a show worth skipping.
sometime sun
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 11:53 pm
@Reconstructo,
Perhaps the word you are looking for is 'compulsion'?
Just as with desire it too has a bad representation.
Compulsed has the word pulse in it.
But then we clean it further and say 'compelled'.
And then we scrub further and 'conditioned' is there.
And with this word we find we can have power over ourselves and application because we wish to be full bodied and with lustrous appeal all we need do is wash rinse repeat.
So I conclude you can never but for constant appliance of will and then subtraction of self be without desire, it is a constant working of the mind and body with a solid goal in sight for both.
Desire is constantly actionable so must be constantly retractionable.
This is hard to understand and answer because is not everything a desire if we are exalted by it?
AS long as the conditioning is a condensation not an aggrandisement or evaporation we might find we are stronger the slighter cleaner and smaller we become?
The meek shall inherit the earth. Something in that as well.
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 12:20 am
@sometime sun,
I think what I describe in the OP is really sort of a crucifixion of desire rather than a liberation from it. As if once desire is crucified some new desire will rise on the third day. Damn, Christianity is a mind-frack. I have misunderstood Buddha. He preached against taking up the cross or certainly stopping short of being nailed to it. According to the story Buddha starved himself and attempted the radical denial of all desires but after starving himself he came to the realization that taking up the cross was the wrong way to go about things. It was only after he cast the cross aside that he went to sit under the bodhi tree and finally become enlightened. But perhaps there is still too much of the cross in Buddha's teachings. The sitting and waiting under the tree is not all that different from carrying it to Golgotha. Theme and variation. Just as the path of the cross can be abandoned so too can the path of the bodhi tree. I can't see the myself for all these trees. Frack it I am a tree. Take that Buddha and Jesus I am a tree. I don't sit under trees and I don't get nailed to trees I am the frackin tree! What is salvation to a tree? Zippity do da!

YouTube - guided by voices i am a tree
Razzleg
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 12:22 am
@Deckard,
Deckard;164087 wrote:
Is there something left after desire?

If I were to put on the saffron robe and live a life of attention without any grasping desires for pleasure, status and knowledge would I ever get out of my chair again?

What made the Buddha get up from his spot under the bodhi tree? I think it was a desire to bring others to the blissful state of Nirvana or was it something else?

There is also the idea of just doing without desiring it first. Possibly this is akin to acting instinctively. Yet instinct is akin to desire. In the West at least the instincts are characterized as bloodthirsty and gluttonous but is there an instinct that remains when the blood-lust and gluttony have been set aside?

Buddhism teaches compassion. Compassion I think is central to Buddhist teaching. Is it incorrect to think of the setting aside of desire as a way of clearing the path for the desire/instinct of compassion?

Compassion is a co-feeling and as such, if it is a desire, it is something different from the desires that are more selfish and self-centered. This is something different from enlightened self-interest which (as the word itself suggests) is more of a calculus that can still be traced back to self.

So finally, the diminishing of desire is at the same time a diminishing of the self. Yet there is the worry that one will not be able to survive without maintaining some sense of self, that one will be without both the compass of desire and the reference point of the self. If I cross over that point where self and desire are extinguished will there be something else on the other side? Does the Buddhist tradition teach that there is something on the other side? Yet this something if it is at all is always described negatively as a negation of desire. Perhaps it cannot be described to us when we are marred in terms of self and selfish desire. It requires a leap of faith.


I am not an expert on Buddhism, of any variety, but from the texts I have read, it has always seemed to me that in them there does not seem to be a great deal of emphasis on the difference between desire and need. To some degree they seem to be treated as if one is a variety of the other, while I think there is a qualitative difference between the two. If you were to shave your head and assume an appropriate position for meditation, you would still have to get up to urinate eventually. I think that there is a sense in which, by laying down desire, needs become more flexible, more manageable and manipulable. But I do not think that they can be wholly laid aside the way a desire might theoretically be shed. Instinct and desire might be reactions to a need, but they are not identical to it. For example, while one might act brutally while ravenous, or prefer a certain food, hunger is not identical with with either of these things. Might not needs signify a core self that nonetheless does not refer to a self-consciously desiring self? Of course, such a thought might lead one to conclude that the core self is merely a physical body, but it is also possible that "psychological needs" (whatever one would care to include in that category, or one could also substitute the word "spiritual, etc." for "psychological") might also be postulated.

In terms of a sense of self, I am not entirely sure that is what I experience when I am hungry. Perhaps I am wrong, but when I am hungry, I do not think of it as a case of my being hungry. I simply experience hunger without reference to an ego, although I do insert the idea when I have to explain the sensation to someone else. ("I am hungry.") However, whether that hunger is constitutive of my being at the time seems irrelevant to the experience itself.

In a similar vein, one might also inquire into what constitutes compassion. Is it an attempt to fulfill the desires of others, or a matter of addressing their needs? Of course, nothing stops it from being both, but i think if one strips it to its barest bones it's a case of the latter. If one no longer recognizes the validity of desire, both in one's own life or in general, then one of the few social courses of action remaining is to address the needs of others. Whether one is in a position to ameliorate the condition which one responds to is a matter of circumstance. But simply acknowledging the needs of another, rather than attending to their ego-centric desires seems to me to be an important, perhaps a definitive, feature of compassion.
0 Replies
 
sometime sun
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 01:44 am
@Deckard,
Deckard;167577 wrote:
I think what I describe in the OP is really sort of a crucifixion of desire rather than a liberation from it. As if once desire is crucified some new desire will rise on the third day. Damn, Christianity is a mind-frack. I have misunderstood Buddha. He preached against taking up the cross or certainly stopping short of being nailed to it. According to the story Buddha starved himself and attempted the radical denial of all desires but after starving himself he came to the realization that taking up the cross was the wrong way to go about things. It was only after he cast the cross aside that he went to sit under the bodhi tree and finally become enlightened. But perhaps there is still too much of the cross in Buddha's teachings. The sitting and waiting under the tree is not all that different from carrying it to Golgotha. Theme and variation. Just as the path of the cross can be abandoned so too can the path of the bodhi tree. I can't see the myself for all these trees. Frack it I am a tree. Take that Buddha and Jesus I am a tree. I don't sit under trees and I don't get nailed to trees I am the frackin tree! What is salvation to a tree? Zippity do da!

YouTube - guided by voices i am a tree

Would you be a tree that could hug its self?
would you be a tree that could be hugged by something else?
would you just be a tree because trees don't need hugs?

(Which one is the Christianism, which the Buddhistism, which the Deckardianistism?)
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 02:26 am
@sometime sun,
It surely depends on how desire are manifested, it can be manifested in many ways.

How excatly have these buddhist done anything constructive with their compassion? If they actually were intelligenent, they would have 1 part compassion, mixed with a good butt kicking ability, to make the economics grow, thus poor people would get jobs, produce, manufacture items and services. Else with compassion, you only maintain a perpetual suffering, not solving any problems.
sometime sun
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 02:50 am
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;167604 wrote:
It surely depends on how desire are manifested, it can be manifested in many ways.

How excatly have these buddhist done anything constructive with their compassion? If they actually were intelligenent, they would have 1 part compassion, mixed with a good butt kicking ability, to make the economics grow, thus poor people would get jobs, produce, manufacture items and services. Else with compassion, you only maintain a perpetual suffering, not solving any problems.

Can suffering cease if you solve or understand what it is? is not?
(threads are bleeding but)
Is not compassion understanding ununderstanding, forgiveness?
Cannot suffering cease with forgiveness?
Cannot not suffering start with forgiveness?
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 09:59 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;167604 wrote:
It surely depends on how desire are manifested, it can be manifested in many ways.

How excatly have these buddhist done anything constructive with their compassion? If they actually were intelligenent, they would have 1 part compassion, mixed with a good butt kicking ability, to make the economics grow, thus poor people would get jobs, produce, manufacture items and services. Else with compassion, you only maintain a perpetual suffering, not solving any problems.


You're right. There is always still work to be done. But how can we encourage humans to finally be happy at times? At some point, we have to simply enjoy the present. Would you agree? And doesn't greed and envy sometimes lead both individuals and nations into self-destructive conflicts?

I agree that a nation of pacifists would probably be invaded and defeated pronto. I don't think that anyone but a monk could live entirely in some transcendent state. And even a monk is going to get the runs sometimes, or get pissed off from time to time at something or another.
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 03:50 am
@Reconstructo,
To add to the topic, all desire are not removed by removing "desire" usually the bad desires are: Lust, envy, greed, selfness ..etc. The posetive desires such as: helpfulness, compassion, dedication ..etc are good desires, without them you would have a bunch of arnarchistic monks who would do bad things.

I belive Buddha stood up and wanted to make something constructive with his life, instead of sitting there doing nothing, enlighten people and deliver them from suffering ..etc.
He stood up because he wasn't some simple minded fool, that didn't know what to do with life.

Reconstructo;167940 wrote:
You're right. There is always still work to be done. But how can we encourage humans to finally be happy at times? At some point, we have to simply enjoy the present. Would you agree? And doesn't greed and envy sometimes lead both individuals and nations into self-destructive conflicts?
Enjoy the present in what relation? If I understand you right you can't imagine work AND enjoy the present at the same time? Thought many charity workers enjoy what they are doing.

Envy and greed isn't always the basis of conflicts, hate and discrimination is mostly those factors I see for conflicts escelating into war.

Reconstructo;167940 wrote:
I agree that a nation of pacifists would probably be invaded and defeated pronto. I don't think that anyone but a monk could live entirely in some transcendent state. And even a monk is going to get the runs sometimes, or get pissed off from time to time at something or another.
There has been such things as warrior monks through time, Sōhei, Knights Templar, Teutonic Knights, Shaolin monks. Just because one is a monk, doesn't nessesarily mean you only have to be overly passifistic. Imo eastern monks should learn about western schooling, thus deliver them from their supersticious belives, and in some ways live like many christians in a harmony with modern teaching and old belives.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 04:50 am
@Deckard,
Deckard;164087 wrote:
Is there something left after desire?

And by that I mean a force that will move me through my life even after desire has been set aside?

If I were to put on the saffron robe and live a life of attention without any grasping desires for pleasure, status and knowledge would I ever get out of my chair again?

What made the Buddha get up from his spot under the bodhi tree? I think it was a desire to bring others to the blissful state of Nirvana or was it something else?

There is also the idea of just doing without desiring it first. Possibly this is akin to acting instinctively. Yet instinct is akin to desire. In the West at least the instincts are characterized as bloodthirsty and gluttonous but is there an instinct that remains when the blood-lust and gluttony have been set aside?

Buddhism teaches compassion. Compassion I think is central to Buddhist teaching. Is it incorrect to think of the setting aside of desire as a way of clearing the path for the desire/instinct of compassion?

Compassion is a co-feeling and as such, if it is a desire, it is something different from the desires that are more selfish and self-centered. This is something different from enlightened self-interest which (as the word itself suggests) is more of a calculus that can still be traced back to self.

So finally, the diminishing of desire is at the same time a diminishing of the self. Yet there is the worry that one will not be able to survive without maintaining some sense of self, that one will be without both the compass of desire and the reference point of the self. If I cross over that point where self and desire are extinguished will there be something else on the other side? Does the Buddhist tradition teach that there is something on the other side? Yet this something if it is at all is always described negatively as a negation of desire. Perhaps it cannot be described to us when we are marred in terms of self and selfish desire. It requires a leap of faith.


One of the Buddhist teachers I hold in high esteem, Gudo Nishijima, says that the idea of being free from all desire is idealistic. I agree with him about that. I think declaring desire the enemy and envisaging its extinction is unrealistic.

On the one hand, as far as Buddhist monastic practice is concerned, it is a very austere life with a minimum of possessions and an explicit aim to be free of cravings of all kinds.

On the other hand, the whole conception is really quite artificial and not suitable for 'citizens of the world'. My experience is more like this: Buddhist meditation does release you from many cravings because you begin to see how useless they are. For most of us, craving is like a mouse on a wheel. You see the mice in pet shop windows, they hop on the wheel and just run and run and go nowhere. That is what desire is like a lot of the time. But often this is because we have no real insight into who we are or what we want. This creates boredom and restlessness and we try and fill it with various entertainments and satisfactions. How much of what drives people in life comes from their unconscious attachments and drives? And how much of consumer society is focussed on fanning those drives so that money can be made from it? If you can see through these behaviour patterns and cravings, then naturally your life will become more simplified. That is a much more realistic understanding of the cause of desire and its ending.

Also in the Mahayana, you learn to replace the energy of craving with the energy of compassion. Compassion acts in response to what needs to be done, not with just 'what I want'. Actually at any given time, there is much to be done, this is why you can't just sit in your lounge chair or stay cross-legged under a tree. There is much to be done, but if you do it from the attitude of disinterested compassion, instead of selfish craving, then this is naturally liberating. That is much more in line with the Buddhist way than thinking about 'no desire'.

Hope that helps.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 08:44 am
@Deckard,
Deckard;164087 wrote:
Is there something left after desire?

.


Smoking a cigarette.
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 06:35 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;168037 wrote:

Enjoy the present in what relation? If I understand you right you can't imagine work AND enjoy the present at the same time? Thought many charity workers enjoy what they are doing.

Envy and greed isn't always the basis of conflicts, hate and discrimination is mostly those factors I see for conflicts escelating into war.

There has been such things as warrior monks through time, Sōhei, Knights Templar, Teutonic Knights, Shaolin monks. Just because one is a monk, doesn't nessesarily mean you only have to be overly passifistic. Imo eastern monks should learn about western schooling, thus deliver them from their supersticious belives, and in some ways live like many christians in a harmony with modern teaching and old belives.

1. I think that enjoying the present includes enjoying one's work, assuming one's work isn't so unpleasant as to make this impossible.
2. I think hate and discrimination are related to envy and greed. Don't you?
3. I think there are monks without superstitious beliefs.

Smile
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 01:57 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;168316 wrote:
1. I think that enjoying the present includes enjoying one's work, assuming one's work isn't so unpleasant as to make this impossible.
2. I think hate and discrimination are related to envy and greed. Don't you?
3. I think there are monks without superstitious beliefs.

1) yes? Jus what I said?

2) no, any psycologist should tell you, that you are wrong. Sure there can, be some relations, but it isn't a nessesety.

3) ofcause there are, but read closer, it's those without western understanding of life and the world, those who are still supersticious, not those who aren't.
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 02:12 am
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;168450 wrote:
1) yes? Jus what I said?

2) no, any psycologist should tell you, that you are wrong. Sure there can, be some relations, but it isn't a nessesety.

3) ofcause there are, but read closer, it's those without western understanding of life and the world, those who are still supersticious, not those who aren't.


1. i think we agree on point 1, yes.

2. I don't agree with you here. A psychologist uses metaphors just as a sage uses metaphors. Look closely at the jargon of psychology. What is it made of? Latin words? Greek words? And what metaphors are at the root? What is "libido"? Is it different, really, from "Chi"? Also, I still say that much of human hatred is based on envy. We hate those who have what we want. Not when we are "wise" of course. But we are all too seldom "wise" in general. Now I'm not reducing all hate to envy, or anything like that. I'm just saying that the negative emotions are generally related. 3

3. The Western understanding isn't perfect. We have our own superstitions. We are hypnotized by the abstractions of physics into thinking we have explained our human existence, which we have not. Or I don't think we have. I love science, but the implicit metaphysics of science is not logically but only psychologically and practically justified. We see the world in terms of numbers but the mathematicians are still arguing what these numbers are. And what is "consciousness" and how does the West explain this? Also the West is perhaps more caught in the concept of "self" which is logically very shaky. Wittgenstein saw thru this. Heidegger seems to have. I love the West, but it isn't perfect.

Your friend,
reconstructo:Glasses:
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 02:37 am
@Reconstructo,
2) psycologists are usually wise in their field, just because some psycologists rely on outdated Freudian teachings, shouldn't make you judge them all over 1 phallacy.

Most psycollogy are siencetific, contrary to your reasoning.

3) And so do you have your supersticion, what has existance has to do with anything? Nothing? Can you give some examples of where existance has ANY relevance?

Some may see the world in numbers, least stock brokers and other buisness men.

What I am with my western knowledge, is the understanding of economy, that we can deliver pepole from starving to death, that we can avoid drout with irrigation, that we can produce electricity and power life giving machines. That we have medical knowledge and surgical procedures that can save lifes, instead of useing shamanistic supersticion to do weird things to sick people.

Back in the 80'ies a Russian president, who was a strong beliver in communism, would gasp and be astounded by entering an American supermarket ..HOW COULD THEY HAVE SUCH ABUNDANDCY? How could they have so much food? How could they have such excess of luxuary goods? It wasn't just this 1 random supermarket, no, it was ALL of them!

That was when he realized that communism wasn't all that perfect.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 07:27 am
@Deckard,
Deckard;164087 wrote:
Is there something left after desire?

And by that I mean a force that will move me through my life even after desire has been set aside?


I'm not sure can set 'desire' completely aside - not totally. Come up with any reason to get out of your chair - at all - and you'll likely be able to link that somehow with desire.

So I'd say: No, there isn't any 'motivation' left. But that's only due to how your question is structured. It's like saying: Is there any reason to get up out of my chair that doesn't involve a reason to get out of my chair? This might be a poor example, but do you see what I mean?

Deckard;164087 wrote:
So finally, the diminishing of desire is at the same time a diminishing of the self.


Good question, and I get your meaning (I think). But I'd have to say "No", unless the sum total of all you consider to be "The Self" to mean is contingent upon desire.

Good post - thanks
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