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Thread: Basic philosophy seems contradictory to me.

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    Basic philosophy seems contradictory to me.

    I am not a Buddhist. I probably don't even understand the basics.

    As I understand it, the idea is to end suffering by not desiring anything. When you learn to do that well enough, you will reach Nirvana - a state where there is no desire, and no sense of self.

    But if you never desire anything, then you will not even desire to be a good Buddhist, and therefore never reach Nirvana.

    How do you stop yourself from desiring anything when you don't desire to do that?

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    Forums Member KathyLauren's Avatar
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    One way is to set aside one's own aspirations, and resolve to make progress for the sake of helping others. This is the Bodhisattva way.

    Om mani padme hum
    Kathy

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    It depends on definitions. The word 'desire' is a bit general, but I guess one answer is that we are unhappy because we misunderstand our 'desires'. In which case the aim of Buddhism is to develop ways to change our relationship with them until they no longer have the hold on us they once did. Our lives become richer when we step out from their shadows. Unfortunately it's a lot harder to do than it is to understand intellectually, and it's best to see the whole thing as a lifetime practice.

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    Forums Member Olderon's Avatar
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    Walterbyrd: "But if you never desire anything, then you will not even desire to be a good Buddhist, and therefore never reach Nirvana."
    Desire is not at the crux of Buddha's advisory in The Four Noble Truths, but "clinging" to anything, which is impermanent with the delusion that we will ever be satisfied by it will always lead to dukkha.

    Clarification / The basic meaning of "dukkha" a word from the Pali language often translated as "suffering" is actually better understood to mean "dissatisfaction".

  5. #5
    Hi walterbyrd,

    Here's an article which might be helpful, its by Ajahn Sumedho, who is a respected teacher in the Theravada Thai Forest Tradition of Buddhism - and I hold him in high regard myself


    Let Go of Fire


    The Buddha’s teaching is all about understanding suffering – its origin, its cessation, and the path to its cessation. When we contemplate suffering, we find we are contemplating desire, because desire and suffering are the same thing.

    Desire can be compared to fire. If we grasp fire, what happens? Does it lead to happiness? If we say: ‘Oh, look at that beautiful fire! Look at the beautiful colours! I love red and orange; they’re my favourite colours,’ and then grasp it, we would find a certain amount of suffering entering the body. And then if we were to contemplate the cause of that suffering we would discover it was the result of having grasped that fire. On that information, we would, hopefully, then let the fire go. Once we let fire go, then we know that it is something not to be attached to. This does not mean we have to hate it, or put it out. We can enjoy fire, can’t we? It is nice having a fire, it keeps the room warm, but we do not have to burn ourselves in it.

    When we really contemplate suffering, we no longer incline towards grasping hold of desire, because it hurts, is painful, there is no point in doing it. So, from that time on, we understand, ‘Oh! That’s why I’m suffering; that’s its origin. Ah! now I understand. It’s that grasping hold of desire that causes me all this misery and suffering, all this fear, worry, expectation, despair, hatred, greed, delusion. All the problems of life come from grasping and clinging to the fire of desire.

    The human habit of clinging to desire is ingrained. We in the West think of ourselves as sophisticated and educated, but when we really begin to see what is going on in our minds, it is rather frightening -most of us are horribly ignorant.

    Continues at the link:


    https://buddhismnow.com/2010/04/14/let-go-of-fire/



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    Forums Member Traveller's Avatar
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    A lot of people misguidedly think that the point of Buddhism and meditation is not to have any thoughts or feelings, it's not, it's about changing one's relationship with them by cultivating non-attachment to them through meditation and mindfuness, seeing one's own suffering one begins to see the suffering of others and conpassion and wisdom begin to arise. To desire not to desire is still to be caught on the wheel of samsara.

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    Traveller! Lovely to see you again!

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    Hey Aloka, nice to be back, haven't posted here or on any Buddhist sites really in a while, been to some pretty crazy places in my own mind but ultimately they were what I needed to bring me to wisdom and the beginnings of the arising of compassion so it was all good in the end! Really good to (virtually) see you again as well my old Dharma friend.

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    @ the OP, one thing I'd like to add and this may not make much sense to you at the moment is that a lot of Buddhist teachings can seem contradictory but this is due to the dualistic and biased nature of the delusional belief in an abiding ego-self that owns it thoughts and feelings, they can't be really understood by that but ownly through the intuitive understanding of the part of the mind that is aware of them but not caught up in them.

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    Forums Member Avisitor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    The Buddha’s teaching is all about understanding suffering – its origin, its cessation, and the path to its cessation. When we contemplate suffering, we find we are contemplating desire, because desire and suffering are the same thing.
    I do not understand.
    If desire and suffering are the same thing then when one is enduring pain, is it desire to end the pain the same as suffering the pain?
    I thought that the desire was the cause and the suffering was the result of desire??
    Someone said, "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is a choice"


    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    When we really contemplate suffering, we no longer incline towards grasping hold of desire, because it hurts, is painful, there is no point in doing it. So, from that time on, we understand, ‘Oh! That’s why I’m suffering; that’s its origin. Ah! now I understand. It’s that grasping hold of desire that causes me all this misery and suffering, all this fear, worry, expectation, despair, hatred, greed, delusion. All the problems of life come from grasping and clinging to the fire of desire.
    Clinging, grasping anything ... it wraps us or entangles us ...
    Say a mother and her child are entangled together through their desires and emotions
    If the child is hurting then the mother suffers due to her clinging to her connection with the child.
    Is it right then to discard the thing which holds mother and child in such a bond?
    All this to remove the suffering? So with this kind of entanglement ... love ... there is suffering??

    Something seems to be missing from this equation of desire and clinging.
    The answer can not be in an insight or inspiration. Words can not express it simply. It has to be deeper.
    The wisdom and compassion that is to arise from enlightenment would shine a light upon this.
    But, until then, I will cling to love and all the suffering it brings cause also with it is all the joy.

    Sorry, I am not a Buddhist and probably don't understand it well.
    I have been doing some meditation for a while.
    Also, been to a couple of forums.
    Sometimes my words seem to be (unintentionally) confrontational
    That is not my intent nor my meaning.
    My apologies for any misunderstandings.
    Last edited by Avisitor; 08 Mar 20 at 02:57.

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