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sheb
27th April 2006, 00:16
hello

as far as i know one aim or necessity of zen buddhism is to lose all desire. but isn't desire (or a kind of) that thing that makes us go further ... what i want to say is: how does it match to the western style of life? is it possible to live in our society / "to go the western way" and follow zen ... and without any desire: what about love?

i could imagine to live on my own somewhere without anything/body (ok - nearly ... surely a few persons i would miss ... in the beginning) ... only to live ... but if everybody would do this, the mankind will pass away ... and there will be no future, no development ... and where is the sense of this life? (although this question you can ask independent of the way you live i think)

Brian Owens
27th April 2006, 05:19
Interesting points, and a good question for a religion or philosophy thread. We don't really have a Zen Buddhism forum (only Shinto). Maybe we should start one.

The question doesn't really fit here though. This is a meditation forum, not a Buddhism forum, and so deals with only one aspect of Buddhist practice and not exclusively with that. (Yogic, Transcendental, Judeo-Christian Mystic, etc. forms of meditation could also be topics.)

I guess for lack of a better idea on my part this place is as good as any unless/until the Meditation moderator says otherwise.

sheb
27th April 2006, 12:19
The question doesn't really fit here though.
... this i think too, but like you wrote there's no better place (except members lounge?) ... and why posting on e-budo? ... because i'm interested in the opinions of the e-budo members and it seems that a lot of them are interested in zen too.

Cufaol
28th April 2006, 11:11
hello

as far as i know one aim or necessity of zen buddhism is to lose all desire. but isn't desire (or a kind of) that thing that makes us go further ... what i want to say is: how does it match to the western style of life? is it possible to live in our society / "to go the western way" and follow zen ... and without any desire: what about love?

i could imagine to live on my own somewhere without anything/body (ok - nearly ... surely a few persons i would miss ... in the beginning) ... only to live ... but if everybody would do this, the mankind will pass away ... and there will be no future, no development ... and where is the sense of this life? (although this question you can ask independent of the way you live i think)

Okay, this might take a while, but here we go :

#1 'The Western way', is exactly the same as the Eastern. Just take a look at the Ancient greek texts about the Stoa, Epicurus, Plato, Socrates, Aristoteles (or Aristotle for you native speakers :) ), Zeno, Marcus Aurelius, etc. etc.

#2 What is meant by losing all desire is something like this : Do not allow your desires to dictate your life. Ultimately, when you let go of every desire, you will feel much more like a free person. True freedom is freedom of the heart. What you did is confuse desire with passion and love. There's no problem with any of those.

#3 Who told you to go out on your own and live in the woods??? Buddhism strives towards a balance in the world. That balance is only attainable when we let go off desire. E.g. : money is a usefull means of currency. But it shouldn't become a goal on itself. It is nice to have a pretty looking SUV, but it shouldn't become a status symbol. It is a means of transportation, nothing more. The only thing we ought to do is follow a natural way of being. We don't have to give up on advancement. Why should we? We just have to live our lives in a mature and responsable way. Don't let your emotions dictate your existence. We are free to enjoy this life as much as we can. Work hard, be kind and humble. And most of all, since this is a Martial Arts forum : Never,NEVER, leave the Way. :cool:
In the words of Yoda : Balance, there must be! :p :rolleyes:

Cheers, Christophe van Eysendyck.

Harlan
28th April 2006, 13:32
I thought the idea was to be 'free' from desire...not to withdraw from experiencing it. My understanding of that is to be able to recognize, on a deep level, to be able to 'see' various thoughts, behaviours and emotions, and how these (non)things contribute to the various levels of suffering. Seeing clearly, we can work at getting to a point where we are not unknowingly driven by these forces.

Inazuma
28th April 2006, 15:00
how does buddhism, and zen buddhism define desire?

Harlan
28th April 2006, 16:08
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/pushinglimits.html

lefuet
28th April 2006, 16:48
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/pushinglimits.html
very interesting text. thanks for the link.

Inazuma
29th April 2006, 02:28
Is love a skillful desire, leading down the path of true Happiness?
What is happiness?

Brian Owens
29th April 2006, 04:09
Semi-random musings:

I don't think it's possible to completely eliminate desire, but it is a goal to be striven for.

Also, if we look at desire as a cause of suffering, then it is clear that some actions are not driven by "desire" but by "right reason."

Lust is a result of desire, but is love? I define lust as thinking more about one's self, and love as caring more about others.

Cufaol
29th April 2006, 11:03
I define lust as thinking more about one's self, and love as caring more about others.

I think that's what it all boils down to in the end. The more you give to others, the more you love someone or something else, the more you'll get in return. It's like in budo : No self means no resistance, no resistance means no opponent. And eventually no opponent = no struggle.

P.s.: I don't believe we have to be completely free from every and any desire, we just have to realise what our desires are. We have to make sure we aren't guided by our desires, but by our hart & mind. In short : Don't be obsessive about things, stay in the middle. Always.

...or something like that ofcourse. :rolleyes: :p


Cheers, Christophe.

Harlan
29th April 2006, 14:14
I think it is the attachment to desire...'need'...that is the issue.

sheb
29th April 2006, 17:12
at first: thanks for the interesting posts ... i will think about


#1 'The Western way', is exactly the same as the Eastern.
what i tried to describe is our stressful and fast society/time in which we live ... in which a lot of people only live for themselves ...


#2 What is meant by losing all desire is something like this : Do not allow your desires to dictate your life.
... but doesn't mean this that you have to control your desires at any time? ... and that by this conflicts between your mind and your feelings develop which could destroy yourself (i hope you understand what i try to say ... my english is not very good). i think it isn't good if the mind has the control at any time ... sometimes i would like to follow only my desires (perhaps "desire" is not the right word for that what i mean - wishes?).

Cufaol
29th April 2006, 20:03
There's no problem with following your heart. Desires aren't the same as feelings. Desire doesn't come from the heart, it comes from a conflict in your subconsciousness/soul/whatever it is you want to call it. E.g. : You and your best friend both fall in love with someone, but your friend gets to start a realtionship with that person, and you feel jealous. Well that's what you might call desire. True feelings from the heart are great. Please do follow your heart. Just use your brains while doing so.

You don't have to opress or surpress (whatever :rolleyes: ) desires, just let go of them. Unfortunately, the only thing harder than establishing a connection, or holding on to something/someone is letting go of it/them...
Believe me.

Tschs, Christophe.

Douglas Wylie
30th April 2006, 02:50
without any desire: what about love?


A most stimulating post.

I think all sorts of things get attributed to "love" by less than eloquent people that are more aptly defined by another term.

First you need to define love without using the word itself. It is really a multifaceted concept here is ny breakdown

Compassion- as in to be emotionally concerned for the welfare of something or someone.

Possession- to desire to have something or someone with you or close to you and regard as "yours".

Lust- to desire sexually.

Enjoy- to find pleasureable

There may be more definitions but these are off the top of my head.

Love of a person, I assume is what you mean, can take on one or more of those 4 ideas.

In my opinion, the most destructive element is the desire to possess.

Second is lust. Lust is a natural thing and happens whether you act on it or not. It is only destructive to society if you cannot control your urges. Personally you can satisfy yourself one way or another so there is not much in terms of harm to yourself.

For myself, I enjoy, feel compassion for, and lust after my girlfriend but I am always cautious to avoid the thought that I possess her. To me, she is free to go at anytime, I will still feel the other things but I will not be overly upset because of loss. I never counted her among my possessions.

Many people count their loved ones among their possessions and is why they are devastated when they lose someone (either by breaking up or by death).

But hey, what do I know?

Chuck Clark
30th April 2006, 05:25
My understanding is that there's nothing wrong with desire... it's the attachment to getting or not getting what we desire that creates suffering (often resulting in feeling either less than or better than others which kills compassion). Trying to do away with desire or ego, etc. is useless, it's the way we are. Attachment is different though, and certainly, suffering is a choice.

Difficult to talk about, for sure.

Best regards,

sheb
30th April 2006, 23:06
Please do follow your heart. Just use your brains while doing so.
... that could become a problem sometimes ;) ... but i have the same opinion ... thanks.


In my opinion, the most destructive element is the desire to possess.
... and there is the other problem - also described as "jealousy" i think - sometimes hard to handle.
i agree with you ...

Cufaol
2nd May 2006, 12:13
... and there is the other problem - also described as "jealousy" i think - sometimes hard to handle.

I had a highschool teacher once who told me that jealousy is one of the mean reasons people do evil deeds. I think he really touched the truth (or at least a part of it) by saying that.
I also believe MA can really help doing a way with things like jealousy.

cheers, Christophe.

kenkyusha
2nd May 2006, 18:20
Am I the only one who is reminded of the Heart song everytime the thread name appears?

Be well,
Jigme

Brian Owens
3rd May 2006, 04:47
Am I the only one who is reminded of the Heart song everytime the thread name appears?
You are not alone.

I'm a long-time Seattle-area resident; and we claim Heart, even though their first big success came after they fled to Canada to avoid the draft -- well, Ann & Nancy didn't have to worry, but the men did.

Anyway, I liked What About Love, but Dreamboat Annie still has the bigger part of my Heart. (Pun intended.)

sheb
4th May 2006, 02:53
You and your best friend both fall in love with someone, but your friend gets to start a realtionship with that person, and you feel jealous.
What would you do if you would be "your best friend"? You would have a problem, wouldn't you? I would.


#3 Who told you to go out on your own and live in the woods???
... the fact that monks live in a monastery or for example that buddha sat a lot of years under a tree before he got satori. ... but i didn't want to say that i think that something like this is necessary.

why i thought you have to lose all desire and why i thought there would be a conflict between our way of live and zen? because i have read that buddha had to lose even his will to search for something after he had practised different kind of religious things ... that in the end there was only the pure existence, nothing in his mind, no needs ... and no desire ...
of course i know that there is a difference between this and zen buddhism today ... and that what "normal" people (can/should) do if they try to follow the ideals of zen buddhism.

Cufaol
4th May 2006, 11:05
What would you do if you would be "your best friend"? You would have a problem, wouldn't you? I would.

why i thought you have to lose all desire and why i thought there would be a conflict between our way of live and zen? because i have read that buddha had to lose even his will to search for something after he had practised different kind of religious things ... that in the end there was only the pure existence, nothing in his mind, no needs ... and no desire ...


1. ofcourse I'd have a problem. As a general guideline in this kind of tricky situations, I use the following : Never allow for a third party to interfere with or disturb your relationship with your best friend. I can tell you that life has taught me that lesson very well indeed. :) Besides, it is imho a question of honour. Do you allow for something like jealousy to ruin a good and important relationship? I wouldn't think so.

2. I like to think there are many ways and paths to reach the top of the mountain. You can sit under a tree, or you can practise the ideals in every day life. It's just like the different orders of monks in christianity : Augustin monks aren't the same as Jezuits etc. But in the end they all strive towards the same goal. Therein lays the beauty of it. For each individual there's a different path to follow, but we all walk towards the same goal in the end.

Anyway, it is very difficult to do 'the right thing'. One might wonder wether there even is such a thing like "the right thing?


cheers, Christophe.

Lowriderx52
6th May 2006, 21:11
#2 What is meant by losing all desire is something like this : Do not allow your desires to dictate your life. Ultimately, when you let go of every desire, you will feel much more like a free person. True freedom is freedom of the heart. What you did is confuse desire with passion and love. There's no problem with any of those.

lol this is where I seem to see it as confusing - isn't wanting to lose desire a desire in an of itself?

But actually I was told by a Buddhist Zen does not follow conventional logic and in fact part of Zen is escape from conventional logic. For example "not thinking" without "thinking about not thinking" is possible with training, so I guess it's a question that must be answered by intuition rather than logic.

Lowriderx52
6th May 2006, 21:14
My understanding is that there's nothing wrong with desire... it's the attachment to getting or not getting what we desire that creates suffering (often resulting in feeling either less than or better than others which kills compassion). Trying to do away with desire or ego, etc. is useless, it's the way we are. Attachment is different though, and certainly, suffering is a choice.

Difficult to talk about, for sure.

Best regards,

This may be a "stupid question" but I believe in questions, so is it possible to be "attached" to Zen and to meditation?

What if someone tries to prevent meditation, is it then possible to be attached to it? I know masters can meditate under any conditions, but what about the "average" follower?

Josh Reyer
6th May 2006, 21:19
lol this is where I seem to see it as confusing - isn't wanting to lose desire a desire in an of itself?


Well, I imagine there are some subtle nuances that don't make the translation.

But it's a process. You don't start off right off the bat without desiring anything. First you give up ambition and materialism. Then you work to keep your desires from affecting your actions. Eventually that becomes habit and you just end up living in the moment. What happened just before doesn't matter. What happens next doesn't matter.

Lowriderx52
6th May 2006, 21:21
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/pushinglimits.html

Very insightful link, thank you for providing this.

Lowriderx52
6th May 2006, 21:24
Well, I imagine there are some subtle nuances that don't make the translation.

But it's a process. You don't start off right off the bat without desiring anything. First you give up ambition and materialism. Then you work to keep your desires from affecting your actions. Eventually that becomes habit and you just end up living in the moment. What happened just before doesn't matter. What happens next doesn't matter.

Thank you for the insight.

But sometimes I feel like ambition gives me strength to move even in hard times. What should be my new source of spirit?

Josh Reyer
6th May 2006, 22:06
Thank you for the insight.

But sometimes I feel like ambition gives me strength to move even in hard times. What should be my new source of spirit?

"s ofereode, isses sw mg."

Or in the modern vernacular, "This, too, shall pass."

Chuck Clark
7th May 2006, 00:54
This may be a "stupid question" but I believe in questions, so is it possible to be "attached" to Zen and to meditation?

Of course; I suspect it's something we all go through at some point, in some lifetime...

"Think about the past its already gone
Think about the present its the same
Time keeps moving, leaving no trace
Who is foolish? Who is smart?
Just pass the days letting things take their course
And abiding in your own true self"

Ryokan the Great Fool

Easy to say, hard to do.

Lowriderx52
7th May 2006, 03:42
I see, thank you all for the response.


"s ofereode, isses sw mg."

Or in the modern vernacular, "This, too, shall pass."

Where is this quote from and do you study old European/English/British works? I've been fascinated by ancient Britains since I know little of them compared to ancients of other places so it's interesting to hear about them.

Harlan
8th May 2006, 03:33
Yes.

"This may be a "stupid question" but I believe in questions, so is it possible to be "attached" to Zen and to meditation?"

joshbrown
29th September 2010, 15:18
This may be a "stupid question" but I believe in questions, so is it possible to be "attached" to Zen and to meditation?

What if someone tries to prevent meditation, is it then possible to be attached to it? I know masters can meditate under any conditions, but what about the "average" follower?

Yes.

Life is suffering. Suffering is due to attachment (craving, need to control, etc.). If someone 'prevents' you from meditating when you feel you must meditate, you are likely to become angry or frustrated, i.e., you are suffering.