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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Deviate]
    #5025232 - 12/06/05 09:20 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

so are you saying that it would be impossible to die peacefully because your survival needs aren't being met?



i don't know if a person can die peacefully if their survival needs aren't met. but i know they will die.

Quote:

or that it would be impossible to feel peaceful during a fast because your need to eat isn't being met?



i don't see why that would be impossible. people can feel many things at once. they can feel the pain of hunger, and they can feel peace about something, perhaps a spiritual idea in this case, at the same time. i don't think emotions are mutually exclusive.

perhaps by peaceful you mean, 'feels no hunger.' i doubt that's possible, although i don't doubt the almost unlimited ability of the mind to repress a painful feeling, like hunger.

Quote:

you say that reprogamming the brain doesn't satisfy any need,




maybe it satisfies the desire for some kind of mental stability. but it doesn't satisfy needs revealed by hunger, loneliness, etc.

Quote:

this is true from the standpoint of the body but unture from standpoint of the mind. example, if my leg gets crushed the doctors might inject morphine -- changing my brain to make the pain go away. would this be useless because it doesn't heal my leg?




i'm sure it would serve a purpose: it would make things more comfortable while you heal, satisfying a desire for comfort.

Quote:

the point is that the way you feel is not inextricably linked to any SINGULAR circumstance of your situation. this is proven by the fact that a sick person can fall to sleep and dream they are well or by the fact that a drug can make you feel happy despite having a crushed leg. these experiences would be impossible if your mental state was determined solely by the physical circumstance of your leg being crushed.




irrelevant. consider the example of the person who throws his tv out the window when he sees george bush on it. he could also change the channel. yet that doesn't solve the problem; it merely changes the signal he receives. if its possible for dream or drugs to trick the evolutionary apparatus of emotion into sending false signals, that does not mitigate the historic evolutionary utility of these signals; nor does it mitigate the utility of these signals in any situation other than drugs or dream. on the contrary, i have given multiple examples of such utility, for example the way hunger signifies lack of food, or the way loneliness signifies lack of companionship (although i agree that in altered states these inferences are inappropriate).

Quote:

now maybe you could argue that reprograming the brain to maintain peace and composure despite unwanted circumstances such as impending death or bodily injury or lack of food is impossible without the help of temporary acting drugs (if so then you show should show evidence to support this as an impossibility because otherwise i have no reason to believe that). however if youre claim is that the need for mental peace cannot be filled when a particular physical need isn't met, then this is clearly false as i have shown.




why would we have evolved with emotions, in your opinion, if it weren't because emotions provide valuable information about the status of an organism's needs (barring altered states)?

why is it that people who are born with pain tend to live short lives?

Quote:

perhaps this is because telling oneself that needs can be satisfied through force of will alone is much easier than taking responsibility for caring for those needs?

but if you lack the discipline and repsonsibility to take care of your needs you obviously also lack the discipline to take care of them through will alone.



i don't think it's possible to take care of needs through will alone. show me an example of someone filling their belly through "will" alone.

Quote:

if your will is that strong than pursuing your needs is just child's play.



yet even fakirs, who must have strong wills to accomplish those feats of asceticism, fast. even if your statement were true, you mistake capacity for action. the fakir example shows that having strong will alone is not sufficient for a person to go out and actively care for their needs.


--------------------
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OfflineDeviate
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: crunchytoast]
    #5025376 - 12/06/05 09:50 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

i don't see why that would be impossible. people can feel many things at once. they can feel the pain of hunger, and they can feel peace about something, perhaps a spiritual idea in this case, at the same time. i don't think emotions are mutually exclusive.

i never claimed they were mutually exlcusive.

perhaps by peaceful you mean, 'feels no hunger.' i doubt that's possible, although i don't doubt the almost unlimited ability of the mind to repress a painful feeling, like hunger.

i didn't mean "feels no lunger" but for the sake of argument it sounds like you are contracting yourself. you doubt its possible to not feel hunger yet you believe the mind has almost unlimited ability to repress the feeling of hunger? and for the record it is quite possible and doesn't even require effort. for example, if i skip a meal i feel very hungry for a little while during the time i would normally eat and then my stomach quiets down and i no longer feel hungry at all until later. i'm sure the same thing happens to people who fast, if you wish to find out, try it.



maybe it satisfies the desire for some kind of mental stability. but it doesn't satisfy needs revealed by hunger, loneliness, etc.


no one ever claimed it satisfied needs revealed by hunger. that's ridiculous.


i'm sure it would serve a purpose: it would make things more comfortable while you heal, satisfying a desire for comfort


that's exactly the purpose i was talking about. you claimed reprogramming the brain didn't satisfy any need and that's what i dissagreed with.


why would we have evolved with emotions, in your opinion, if it weren't because emotions provide valuable information about the status of an organism's needs (barring altered states)?

why is it that people who are born with pain tend to live short lives?


i never claimed emotions don't function to provide us with valuable information.

don't think it's possible to take care of needs through will alone. show me an example of someone filling their belly through "will" alone.

i never claimed this was possible either.


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OfflinePed
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: crunchytoast]
    #5026558 - 12/07/05 01:25 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Physical hunger has no bearing on our happiness unless we equate the satiatisfaction of our hunger with our happiness. Indeed, this is what desire is: apprehending an external circumstance, and then investing our mental wellbeing in that circmstance. If we are completely free from desire in this way, we would be able to starve even to death without losing a moment of our happiness. Of course we would not choose to die if we had the option, as that would not be especially productive.

There are stories about Tibetan monks who, suffering the many cruelties of Chinese occupation, explain that their only fear was losing their compassion for the Chinese soldiers. They explain that happiness cannot be consumed by guns or bombs or acts of torture, as these are external circumstances not intrinsic to the mind. Since happiness is a mental factor, only anger and hatred, which are also mental factors, can consume our happiness. Realizing this perfectly and completely is, in the Buddhist context, freedom from desire.


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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Ped]
    #5027483 - 12/07/05 09:53 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

Physical hunger has no bearing on our happiness unless we equate the satiatisfaction of our hunger with our happiness. Indeed, this is what desire is: apprehending an external circumstance, and then investing our mental wellbeing in that circmstance. If we are completely free from desire in this way, we would be able to starve even to death without losing a moment of our happiness. Of course we would not choose to die if we had the option, as that would not be especially productive.



yet why would anyone even care about what's productive?

Quote:

There are stories about Tibetan monks who, suffering the many cruelties of Chinese occupation, explain that their only fear was losing their compassion for the Chinese soldiers. They explain that happiness cannot be consumed by guns or bombs or acts of torture, as these are external circumstances not intrinsic to the mind.



yet people's feelings are apparently dependant on their relationships to their external circumstances, by and large. and it's likely the cases where this does not appear so, are cases of repression. i really don't think this constitutes an explanation.

Quote:

Since happiness is a mental factor, only anger and hatred, which are also mental factors, can consume our happiness. Realizing this perfectly and completely is, in the Buddhist context, freedom from desire.



i'm not sure what you mean by happiness. satisfaction of a desire brings joy. for every desire that's not satisfied, a person experiences frustration or disappointment. does it not feel good to eat after a long period without food? does it not feel good to see a friendly face when one has been lonely? does it not feel good to get laid when one has been without sex? yet is hunger itself not a painful thing?

so i think the satisfaction/dissatisfaction of varying desires is what contributes to a person's happiness.
what else could happiness be but a condition of joy? what is joy but a good feeling? how could a person generate a state of joy spontaneously, when they would therefore have no reason for that joy? every emotion i can think of seems to have external cause. why would joy be any different?

consider a kid's birthday party and the look of joy on the kid's face- in those individuals who haven't yet learned the art of repression so well, it's apparent that joy has external cause.


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OfflineBlueCoyote
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Ped]
    #5027935 - 12/07/05 12:17 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Ped hit the nail on its head ! Thank you !

That means, if someone would burn my hand, I could keep happy without removing it, while loving the person who burns my hand, what would not be very productive, it would be silly.
So 'transcendenting' 'needs' is unwise, while transcendenting 'desires' is a skillful budhist way.
It's often hard to keep the line between !

Next we have to declare the difference between needs and desires...


--------------------
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......................................................
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: crunchytoast]
    #5027963 - 12/07/05 12:23 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

i'm not sure what you mean by happiness. satisfaction of a desire brings joy. for every desire that's not satisfied, a person experiences frustration or disappointment.




I have to disagree.  Only an emotionally disordered person responds with frustration and disappointment to every desire which is not satisfied.  I picture a two-year-old throwing a temper tantrum because he has to take a nap, or share his toys, or leave the playground to go home.  Desires are not the same as basic human needs. 

Before I discovered methods for "taming my mind" and used them to develop an orderly response system, I would react with negative thoughts to every frustrated desire.  These thoughts would create anger, sadness, disappointment. 

When I "catch" myself doing this now, I can mentally shift & regain my perspective.  I'll ask myself "is this a want or a need?"  If it is a want (95% of the time), I will do my best to let go of it & accept that I do not always get what I want. (No matter how much I want it. :grin:)

In my experience, this process clears the clutter which is obscuring my happiness.  It seems that my "natural" state is joy.  When I relax into my experience, and surrender to whatever reality contains at the moment, I find myself joyful.  This joy is not reliant on any external stimuli, and is always there waiting for me as soon as I am through with my temper tantrum. :grin:

Quote:

what else could happiness be but a condition of joy? what is joy but a good feeling? how could a person generate a state of joy spontaneously, when they would therefore have no reason for that joy? every emotion i can think of seems to have external cause. why would joy be any different?




IMO true happiness is not conditional.  Sometimes we are "tricked" into relaxing and enjoying ourselves because we judge our external circumstances as safe or pleasant.  This is not the same as choosing to accept reality even if it appears dangerous/scary and unpleasant.  It seems to me that rejecting reality, denying the content of our experience, obscures our natural state of happiness.

As I have said before, emotions do not have an external cause.  We may stimulate emotional reactions to external stimuli, but the cause is always internal, subjective, and possible to change.

Quote:

consider a kid's birthday party and the look of joy on the kid's face-in those individuals who haven't yet learned the art of repression so well, it's apparent that joy has external cause.





:lol:  I have spent three decades raising kids--other people's and my own--and I have seen all the evidence I need to know that kids learn to "save" their joy for experiences which adults view as pleasing.  My 5-year-old son can feel as much joy wrestling on the living room floor or taking a bath or walking to the store as he does at a party.  Once kids pick up on the idea that adults partition off their "fun" from every day experience, they begin to lose touch with their joyful nature.  Relying on external stimuli to activate our joy is a learned behavior, not a natural correlation.


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OfflinePed
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Veritas]
    #5028400 - 12/07/05 02:43 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

>> yet why would anyone even care about what's productive?

Because generally speaking, and as well from the Buddhist point of view, it is more helpful to stay alive then to die, especially if we have encountered a spiritual path.


>> yet people's feelings are apparently dependant on their relationships to their external circumstances, by and large. and it's likely the cases where this does not appear so, are cases of repression. i really don't think this constitutes an explanation.

People's feelings are, to varying degrees, dependent on their relationship to their external circumstances. It is near the root of all the suffering and problems in the world today. I'm not sure if I understand how stopping this dependence between our state of mind and our external environment equates to repression. Simply because we all behave a certain way does not mean that such behavior is natural. It is not in our nature to suffer; if it was in our nature to suffer we would not be displeased when we have to endure it. In fact the experience of suffering is quite unnatural. It comes from the mistaken mind which invests it's happiness in a highly transient external world. Because they do not lead us to our natural state, joy, uprooting our desires is not a kind of repression. It is a kind of freedom from oppression.


>> i'm not sure what you mean by happiness. satisfaction of a desire brings joy. for every desire that's not satisfied, a person experiences frustration or disappointment.

The difference between authentic happiness and the happiness which comes from the satisfaction of our desires is as follows. Authentic happiness is a more permanent state of being; it actually has the power to protect us from the experience of suffering. The feeling of elation which comes from the mere satisfaction of our desires is extremely temporary. The moment our mind distracts in to something else, the happiness that came from the fulfillment of our desire disappears, and we return to a kind of neutrality.

Moreover, the elated feeling which came from the satisfaction of our desire is very unstable. If something should appear that does not please us, or frustrates another of our many multitudes of desires, our happiness disappears. In this way, when we look outward for the conditions of our happiness, our happiness becomes as impermanent and unreliable as the external world. We begin resemble mad men, who flail about out of control, laughing one minute and crying the next.

In this way, the happiness which comes from the satisfaction of our desires actually sets us up for the future experience of flatness or disappointment. Because of this it is not real happiness; it is only a feeling of elation. Real happiness has the power to protect us from suffering in that it is something which depends on internal circumstances. When we have generated a kind of happiness which depends on internal circumstances alone, we have generated contentment. An individual who has developed profound contentment is not vulnerable to the unceasing fluctuations of the external world. He or she is truly happy.


>> does it not feel good to eat after a long period without food? does it not feel good to see a friendly face when one has been lonely? does it not feel good to get laid when one has been without sex? yet is hunger itself not a painful thing?

Hunger itself can be very painful. However, it does not have the power to preturb our happiness unless we invest our happiness in the circumstances which satisfy our hunger. If we have invested our happiness in these circumstances, when they do not appear we shall experience not only the pain of hunger, but the pain of mental unrest as well.

It feels wonderful to eat after going hungry, or to see a friend when we're feeling lonely. An orgasm can often be the peak of enjoyment a person ever achieves; it is a fantastic feeling. However, after we have eaten, no sooner are we hungry again. Not long after our conversation with our friend, he or she goes back home to his family and we are alone again. Not long after our orgasm with our partner, he or she leaves us, either by death, her own will, or other circumstances.

The probelm with these experiences is that they all have a definite and inevitable cessation. They all transform in to the later experience of pain. If eating food was an actual source of true happiness, then it should not have the power ever to produce suffering. Every bite we take should only increase our sense of bliss more and more. Yet when we overeat, our pleasurable experience quickly becomes a painful experience, and we feel as though our stomach is about to burst outward. We might be in pain for many hours, and may even vomit. This is because happiness is not an intrinsic quality of consuming food. The same can be said about sexual intercourse, or companionship with our friends.


>> so i think the satisfaction/dissatisfaction of varying desires is what contributes to a person's happiness.

Our happiness depends on external circumstances inasmuch as we believe it to be true. It is the prevailing assumption that we must arrange our external world in such a way that it is condusive to our happiness. As a material-oriented society, we have become masters of rearranging the external world in ways that suit our wishes. Yet we have not attained a higher level of happiness than what was seen in the previous centuries. In fact, we might even be able to say that our happiness has actually decreased with each generation.

I once met a married couple who own a 25 acre estate on the beautiful Alberta countryside, a short drive from the city. They own a luxury car, a sports car, a luxury SUV, and a truck in their garage. They had two wonderful, well-behaved children, and were both physically fit and healthy. They are both executives for a local oil company. Their jobs are very secure, and earn them millions of dollars every year. Their fridge and cupboards are filled with endless varities of gourmet foods. They have a swimming pool and a hot tub in one of their many living rooms. They have endless arrays of electronics all throughout their home. They travel all over the world to exotic and tropical locations. Their every need is tended to by hired help; they do not even need to do their own laundry. Truly, every desire they could possibly conceive of was met, and then some.

These were the two most miserable people I have ever encountered in my life, hands down. They constantly fought and bickered with each other over the most petty things. The slighest scuff on the floor or spot of dirt on the counter filled them with anger. They scolded me for stepping one inch out of their front entrance with my shoes on. They repeatedly expressed worry over aging and sickness. A mechanical problem with one of their four luxury cars caused them no end of headache. Both of them were addicted to cigarettes, one of them to alcohol, and at the risk of admitting my nosey intrusion, I once peeked in their medicine cabinet and saw an array of antidepressant medications there. If our external circumstances actually had the power to make us happy, then these people, who've had unmitigated success in attaining the fulfillment of all of their worldly desires, should be among the happiest people alive. But they are the opposite.

One reason external circumstances have no power to fulfil us it that they are never enough. Even when every possible external circumstance has been arranged for our happiness, still our mind finds reasons to become unhappy. This is because we have neglected to invest ourself in our internal environment, which is the true source of happiness and joy.

The reason we keep investing ourself in the external world is that we believe this is the way to be happy. There are many easily observable facts that show such an investment brings only faulty returns. For example, aging, sickness and death rob us of all our possessions. They take away even our mobility. Everything we ever possess is ultimately destroyed by death. Why invest ourself in such things?

If we can stop investing ourself in the external world, which in any case we cannot control and cannot predict, and begin investing ourself in the internal world, we shall uncover a kind of contentment that brings about true happiness and true joy. Happiness and joy are true inasmuch as they are stable within our mind.


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OfflinePed
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Ped]
    #5031772 - 12/08/05 01:17 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

I was reading through some texts and came across some excerpts which are absolutely relevant and much more skilfully worded. Since this thread is about Buddhism and Desire, why not get it straight from the horse's mouth? The following words are translated directly from the transcriptions of oral discourses Buddha himself gave in India. I have bolded excerpts with special relevance to this discussion.



Greed, anger and foolishness are like a fever. If a man gets this fever, even if he lies in a comfortable room, he will suffer and be tormented by sleeplessness.

Those who have no such fever have no difficulty in sleeping peacefully, even on a cold winter night, on the gruond with only a thin covering of leaves, or on a hot summer's night in a small closed room.

These three -- greed, anger, and foolishness -- are, therefore, sources of all human woe. To get rid of these sources of woe, one must observe the precepts, must practise concentration of mind and must have wisdom. Observance of the precepts will remove the impurities of greed; right concentration of mind will remove the impurities of anger; and wisdom will remove the impurities of foolishness.

Human desires are endless. It is like the thirst of a man who drinks salt water: he gets no satisfaction and his thirst is only increased.

So it is with a man who seeks to gratify his desires; he only gains increased dissatisfaction and his woes are multiplied.

The gratification of desires never satisfies; it always leaves behind the unrest and irritation that can never be allayed, and then, if the gratification of his desires is thwarted, it will often drive him "insane."

To satisfy their desires, people will struggle and fight with each other, king against king, vassal againast vassal, parent against child, brother against brother, sister agains sister, friend against friend; they will fight and even kill each other to satisfy their desires.

People often ruin their lives in the attempt to satisfy their desires. They will steal and cheat and commit adultery, and then, being caught, will suffer from the digrace of it and its punishment.

They will sin* with their own bodies and words, sin with their own minds, knowing perfectly well that the gratification will ultimately bring unhappiness and and suffering, so imperious is desire. And then, the various sufferings in the following world and the agonies of falling into it will follow.

Of all the worldly passions, lust is the most intense. All other worldly passions seem to follow in its train.

Lust seems to provide the soil in which other passions flourish. Lust is like a demon that eats up all the good deeds of the world. Lust is a viper hiding in a flower garden; it poisons those who come in search only of beauty. Lust is a vine that climbs a tree and spreads over the branches until the tree is strangled. Lust insinuates it's tentacles into human emotions and sucks away the good sense of the mind until the mind withers. Lust is a bait that foolish people snap at and are dragged down into the depths of an evil world.

If a dry bone is smeared with blood a dog will gnaw at it until he is tired and frustrated. Lust to a man is precisely like this bone to a dog; he will covet it until he is exhausted.

If a single piece of meat is thrown to two wild beasts they will fight and claw each other to get it. A man foolish enough to carry a torch against the wind will likely burn himself. Like these two beasts and this foolish man, people hurt and burn themselves because of their worldly desires.

It is easy to shield the outer body from poisoned arrows, but it is impossible to shield the mind from the poisoned darts that originate within itself. Greed, anger, foolishness and the infatuations of egoism -- these four poisoned darts originate within the mind and infect it with deadly poison.

If people are infected with greed, anger and foolishness, they will lie, cheat, abuse and be double-tongued, and, then will actualize their words by killing, stealing, and committing adultery.

Greed, lust, fear, anger, misfortune and unhappiness all derive from foolishness. Thus, foolishness is the greats of the poisons.

From desire action follows; from action suffering follows; desire action and suffering a like a wheel rotating endlessly.

The rolling of this wheel has no beginning and no end; people cannot escape such reincarnation. One life follows another life according to this transmigrating cycle in endless recurrence.

If one were to pile the ashes and bones of himself burnt in this everlasting transmigration, the pile would be mountain high; if one were to collect the milk of mothers which he suckled during his transmigration, it would be deeper than the sea.

Although the nature of Buddhahood is possessed by all people, it is buried so deeply in the defilements of worldly passion that it long remains unknown. That is why suffering is so universal and why there is this endless recurrence of miserable lives.

But, just as by yielding to greed, anger and foolishness, evil deeds are acculmulated and condition rebirth, so, by following these teachings, the evil sources will be cleared away and rebirth in the world of suffering will be ended.



* Sin in the Buddhist context refers to any self-destructive action of body, speech, or mind carried out because of ignorance.


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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Veritas]
    #5032135 - 12/08/05 02:17 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

I have to disagree. Only an emotionally disordered person responds with frustration and disappointment to every desire which is not satisfied. I picture a two-year-old throwing a temper tantrum because he has to take a nap, or share his toys, or leave the playground to go home.



that's how the person acts, not how they feel.  a person can feel frustration, etc, but not act like a 2 yr old.

Quote:

Desires are not the same as basic human needs.



yet according to your definition of these concepts, every need requires a desire.  the need for food requires a desire for tuna if not eggs, for example.

Quote:

my perspective. I'll ask myself "is this a want or a need?" If it is a want (95% of the time), I will do my best to let go of it & accept that I do not always get what I want. (No matter how much I want it. )



maybe you are pushing from awareness what evolution gave you to give you information about your relationship to your environment?

Quote:

In my experience, this process clears the clutter which is obscuring my happiness. It seems that my "natural" state is joy. When I relax into my experience, and surrender to whatever reality contains at the moment, I find myself joyful. This joy is not reliant on any external stimuli, and is always there waiting for me as soon as I am through with my temper tantrum.



your joy sounds related to surrendering control.  my guess is that just as humans need to feel power, they also need to feel some degree of powerlessness.  in fact, this would explain a number of aspects of human behavior.


Quote:

IMO true happiness is not conditional. Sometimes we are "tricked" into relaxing and enjoying ourselves because we judge our external circumstances as safe or pleasant. This is not the same as choosing to accept reality even if it appears dangerous/scary and unpleasant. It seems to me that rejecting reality, denying the content of our experience, obscures our natural state of happiness.



acceptance is different from joy.  a terminally ill person in a state of denial, can move into acceptance of their impending death, yet not find joy in the prospect.  in fact, i would argue that full acceptance means accepting negative emotions for what they are, rather than second-guessing them.

Quote:

As I have said before, emotions do not have an external cause. We may stimulate emotional reactions to external stimuli, but the cause is always internal, subjective, and possible to change.



perhaps the mouse who sees the cat runs away due to internal cues?  for what is fear but an arbitrary choice, with no meaning?  :rolleyes:

Quote:

I have spent three decades raising kids--other people's and my own--and I have seen all the evidence I need to know that kids learn to "save" their joy for experiences which adults view as pleasing.



i've seen plenty of kids cry.  what makes joy more innate than sadness?

Quote:

My 5-year-old son can feel as much joy wrestling on the living room floor or taking a bath or walking to the store as he does at a party.



yet a child will sometimes experience sadness in other situations.  what makes one the child's nature and not the other?

wrestling: indeed, if your son were intrinsically joyful, then why would he wrestle at all?  why not just sit there like an inanimate object?


--------------------
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Edited by crunchytoast (12/08/05 02:44 AM)


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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Ped]
    #5032213 - 12/08/05 02:42 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

generally speaking, and as well from the Buddhist point of view, it is more helpful to stay alive then to die, especially if we have encountered a spiritual path.



why should a buddhist care about what's helpful?  helpful in terms of what?  what should the buddhist or anyone else care about helping?  is this not desire?

Quote:

suffering... comes from the mistaken mind which invests it's happiness in a highly transient external world.



how does the hungry person invest hunger in something intransient?

Quote:

Hunger itself can be very painful. However, it does not have the power to preturb our happiness unless we invest our happiness in the circumstances which satisfy our hunger.



what about loneliness?  is this not a need analogous to hunger?

Quote:

The probelm with these experiences is that they all have a definite and inevitable cessation.



so does human life; and therefore so does the happiness your philosophy promises.  so this is hardly a reasonable objection.

secondly, do practitioners of this philosophy ever fall off the wagon?  or do they reach the enlightenment of perpetual happiness and never turn back?  and if they fall off the wagon, why do they fall off the wagon? where are these perpetual smilers who forever haunt our world with nightmarish grimace?

:smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :whoa:

or perhaps there are no such people; perhaps there could be no such people; perhaps our humanity forbids it; indeed perhaps happiness is temporary even for practioners of this philosophy and ...what does that say?

perhaps that the psyche is no ivory tower; that it is forever constructed out of contingencies; no matter where it is, or what it's doing, it's entelechy is dependant on external factors, and when these external factors change - as they inevitably do, due to their intransient natures- so too these momentary illusions of perpetual joy.


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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: crunchytoast]
    #5032385 - 12/08/05 03:44 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

well i had a whole long reply typed out but somehow in editing it i managed to accidentally delete several important parts and because it's late i don't have time to retype it so disregard this post.


Edited by Deviate (12/08/05 03:58 AM)


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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: crunchytoast]
    #5032402 - 12/08/05 03:51 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

>> why should a buddhist care about what's helpful? helpful in terms of what? what should the buddhist or anyone else care about helping? is this not desire?

A desire is problematic if it invests in external conditions. The desire to turn our attention inward is different in that respect. It is a virtuous desire. The desire to help others put a stop to their suffering is a virtuous desire: it does not invest happiness in transient circumstances. Rather, it helps others stop this habit.

This is why Buddhists have started using the term "desirous attachment" to imply the kind of desire which invests itself in external conditions. Merely having a wish or an intention is not the same as desirous attachment.


>> how does the hungry person invest hunger in something intransient?

By remaining content in spite of their hunger or the possibility that they might die of hunger.


>> what about loneliness? is this not a need analogous to hunger?

It is quite a bit more complicated than hunger, but we can say it is analogous in that there is a kind craving involved. There is a difference between the physical sensation of hunger and the feeling of craving we impute upon that physical sensation. They are not intrinsic to each other. We cannot put a stop to the physical sensation of hunger, but we can put a stop to the craving we impute upon that sensation.

By the same token, we can put a stop to the idea that our own happiness depends on regular contact with other people.


>> so does human life; and therefore so does the happiness your philosophy promises. so this is hardly a reasonable objection.

I do not subscribe to the idea that consciousness ceases at the time of physical death. Ego-consciousness does cease, but something more subtle carries the potentials, and the happiness we have generated, on in to the next life. I do not expect you to share these views, and they are not views entirely relevant to this discussion.

However, even in the context of only one human life, we can cultivate a happiness that never leaves us until our death time. It is not necessary to constantly fluctuate between elation, neutrality, and depression in the way that we normally do.


>> secondly, do practitioners of this philosophy ever fall off the wagon? or do they reach the enlightenment of perpetual happiness and never turn back?

Until practitioners attain enlightenment, they make countless mistakes caused by their desirous attachment.


>> or perhaps there are no such people; perhaps there could be no such people; perhaps our humanity forbids it; indeed perhaps happiness is temporary even for practioners of this philosophy and ...what does that say?

I cannot argue mere speculation.


>> perhaps that the psyche is no ivory tower; that it is forever constructed out of contingencies; no matter where it is, or what it's doing, it's entelechy is dependant on external factors,

The psyche, if that's the term we are using, is constructed out of contingencies. It's entelechy is dependent on external factors. However, these circumstances are optional.


>> and when these external factors change - as they inevitably do, due to their intransient natures- so too these momentary illusions of perpetual joy.

Exactly. This is precisely the reason the experience of suffering is so universal. Such suffering, however, has a cause. That cause is desirous attachment and it's contributing factors. Because it has a cause, it can be ended. Mindfulness and awareness bring about an end to suffering.


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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Ped]
    #5032460 - 12/08/05 04:14 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

just to add one thing, if you want an example of someone who embodied happiness throughout his entire adult life study the life of teachings of ramana maharshi. even when he was dying of cancer his peace never wavered and by the doctors account he refused anesthetic during his operations. when asked if it hurt he said "the body felt pain, am i the body?". this happened as recently as 1950 and is supported by accounts from individuals such as carl jung. even krishnamurti who "felt very strongly that all teachers -- Buddha, Jesus, Sri Ramakrishna, everybody -- kidded themselves, deluded themselves and deluded everybody" was changed by his visit with ramana maharshi.


Edited by Deviate (12/08/05 04:25 AM)


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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Ped]
    #5034799 - 12/08/05 06:15 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

wow ! this is beutifull! all of you are putting such awesome thoughts into this thread, and ive really enjoyed reading them all! getting alot out of it. sadly, my mind can only hold so much at a time, so i had to stop at a certain point if i want to remember what anyone said well enough to respond.

so...

Deviate

:thumbup:

awesome post, and deep thoughts.I get alot out of what you say.First off, let me say that i in no way hold "anti monk" sentiments. I think that the detachment from the sensory world and the total devotion to the source (what i see as monkish philosophy) is an extremely noble path, one of the highest paths we can take. I have considerd becoming a monk myself, although i have decided to wait until later in my life to make such a momentous decision.

One thing i get from your post, with regards to your masterbating and smoking weed etc, is this: its not what you do. no philosophy or way of life works for everyone. we are all unique souls. what i see in your posts is that you are self aware. that is, you are able to feel the effects of certain activities on your spiritual well being and change your life to suit that... and i think thats what its all about!

you are doing what is right for you, and thats the key. The thing is, whats right for you is not identical to whats right for everyone else (i know you didnst say it was) by which i mean, the effect masturbating has on you is totally different than the effect masturbating has on me (same with smoking weed)

:stoned:


so while renunciation of those things is the right course for you, i dont yet htink it is for me. neither path is higher or lower, all that matters is that we are true to our own spiritual best interests. i really do agree with and respect your way of life. Sometimes we read each other (me and you) as criticizing each others ways of lfie, but really were just sharing what works for us anyways, you got  your head straight man.

ped:

:yinyang:
as always, the depth of your wisdom is humbeling. thanks for taking the time to write that.

i smiled when i was reading your post, because i agree so totally with you, and you misunderstood me so completely (by which i should say, i failed so completely to communicate what i was trying to communicate)

the problem was in the examples i used. the expamples i chose reflected my current state of mind and my own experience, and it translated badly.

you said "it sounds like you are advocating a life of hedonism..."

and indeed, it did sound exactly like that, but that was not at all my intention. i tried to clarify myself in my later posts.

you talked about the various ignorant states of mind:

1. believing you are an island into yourself, seperate from the greater whole
2. believing that you need to do what your ego tells you you need to do to be happy
3. believing that any given sensory experience is inherently good or bad

i agree totally that all those things are delusion! moreover, i have jsut recently started living by the opposite mindstates/

the funny thing is that this is actually waht i was trying to get at with my post... desire is a sign that you are still stuck believing that any thing can make you happy or sad. liberation is knowing that happiness and sadness, desire and contentment, are choices!

i was trying to convey a philosophy of unconditional acceptance, acceptance without preferance (freedom from ego mind) and love for everything. love for the coming and the going of any given sensation.

what i was trying to imply was a liberated mindset where one takes joy in what comes and releases effortlessly to what goes. Go with the flow. Surrender to tao, etc.

i DID not mean to imply that we can recklessly lose our centers in life (indulging in extremes) without suffering the consequences. what goes up must come down, and everything gives rise to its opposite, after all.

i try to live life as a calm, placid, self composed center, and the center of myself is the center of everything, the source. all desire, all fear, all anxiety, comes when we leave that center..

anyways im rambeling. i dont know whether i can explain what im trying to say now any better than i did earlier, but believe me when i say ped
what you thought i was saying is not at all what i was trying to say


but the fault was all mine. i was careless in my wording.

Love you all
thanks for the chat.

ill be back

:grin:


ICE: :hug:


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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Moonshoe]
    #5035182 - 12/08/05 07:33 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

:hug: :1up:


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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: crunchytoast]
    #5035321 - 12/08/05 08:02 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

crunchytoast said:
Quote:

I have to disagree. Only an emotionally disordered person responds with frustration and disappointment to every desire which is not satisfied. I picture a two-year-old throwing a temper tantrum because he has to take a nap, or share his toys, or leave the playground to go home.



that's how the person acts, not how they feel.  a person can feel frustration, etc, but not act like a 2 yr old.




I am saying that reacting in an emotionally disordered way to every frustration is the mental/emotional version of a temper tantrum.

Quote:

crunchytoast said:
Quote:

Desires are not the same as basic human needs.



yet according to your definition of these concepts, every need requires a desire.  the need for food requires a desire for tuna if not eggs, for example.




No, the need for food is physiological, not mental/emotional.  If we do not eat some variety of food, we will eventually starve to death.  The want/desire for a particular food is not a life or death issue.

Quote:

crunchytoast said:
Quote:

my perspective. I'll ask myself "is this a want or a need?" If it is a want (95% of the time), I will do my best to let go of it & accept that I do not always get what I want. (No matter how much I want it. )




maybe you are pushing from awareness what evolution gave you to give you information about your relationship to your environment?





There is a difference between being aware of something and being fixated on it.  I did not say I repress what I am feeling, or try to distract myself, I said that I "let go" and "accept" the reality of my not getting exactly what I want.

What possible benefit would there be to my having a negative reaction to a frustrated, non-essential want?

Quote:

crunchytoast said:
Quote:

In my experience, this process clears the clutter which is obscuring my happiness. It seems that my "natural" state is joy. When I relax into my experience, and surrender to whatever reality contains at the moment, I find myself joyful. This joy is not reliant on any external stimuli, and is always there waiting for me as soon as I am through with my temper tantrum.




your joy sounds related to surrendering control.  my guess is that just as humans need to feel power, they also need to feel some degree of powerlessness.  in fact, this would explain a number of aspects of human behavior.




:rotfl:  Who said we were in control in the first place?  I meant surrender as opposed to resistance.  Resisting and denying the reality of our experience is a sure-fire method for creating misery.

Quote:

crunchytoast said:
Quote:

IMO true happiness is not conditional. Sometimes we are "tricked" into relaxing and enjoying ourselves because we judge our external circumstances as safe or pleasant. This is not the same as choosing to accept reality even if it appears dangerous/scary and unpleasant. It seems to me that rejecting reality, denying the content of our experience, obscures our natural state of happiness.



acceptance is different from joy.  a terminally ill person in a state of denial, can move into acceptance of their impending death, yet not find joy in the prospect.  in fact, i would argue that full acceptance means accepting negative emotions for what they are, rather than second-guessing them.




Does accepting negative emotions mean that you continue to use unskillful methods of self-management to recreate those negative emotions again and again?  You seem to confuse rational thinking methods with repression.

OK, say I accept the reality that my hand hurts every time I bash it against a brick wall.  Damn, that really smarts!  Why can't brick walls be softer?  Why does my hand have to be so sensitive!  This is such a drag.  Oh, well, I guess it is a fact that this experience will recur every time I repeat this action.  Bummer.

Do I return the next day and bash my hand against that wall?  If I refrain from hitting that wall, am I repressing the pain which results from my action, or eliminating the actual cause of my pain: my unskillful actions?

Quote:

crunchytoast said:
Quote:

As I have said before, emotions do not have an external cause. We may stimulate emotional reactions to external stimuli, but the cause is always internal, subjective, and possible to change.




perhaps the mouse who sees the cat runs away due to internal cues?  for what is fear but an arbitrary choice, with no meaning?  :rolleyes:





The key word is "possible" to change.  Some instinctive and learned internal emotional responses are useful and healthy.  There is no reason to change those responses.  It is only the responses which do not serve our wellbeing, and may undermine it, which are targeted for change.

Quote:

crunchytoast said:
Quote:

I have spent three decades raising kids--other people's and my own--and I have seen all the evidence I need to know that kids learn to "save" their joy for experiences which adults view as pleasing.




i've seen plenty of kids cry.  what makes joy more innate than sadness?




Joy seems to persist until disturbed by negativity, whereas sadness appears in response to an unwanted experience, and lessens as the unwanted experience ends or is lost to the past.


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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Ped]
    #5036373 - 12/08/05 11:35 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

>> why should a buddhist care about what's helpful? helpful in terms of what? what should the buddhist or anyone else care about helping? is this not desire?

A desire is problematic if it invests in external conditions. The desire to turn our attention inward is different in that respect. It is a virtuous desire. The desire to help others put a stop to their suffering is a virtuous desire: it does not invest happiness in transient circumstances. Rather, it helps others stop this habit.



yet helping others is dependant on external conditions; what if i am unable to help if i think i am?
also i have a question, is wanting a flashy car to boost self-esteem an inward or outward focus of attention? (since my self-esteem is internal, i wonder what your answer is). surely the desire for a new car is problematic according to your philosophy, because, even though self-esteem is internal, the object of desire is conditioned in nature.
yet this must also be true of desire for happiness, since desire for happiness is so conditioned.

Quote:

This is why Buddhists have started using the term "desirous attachment" to imply the kind of desire which invests itself in external conditions. Merely having a wish or an intention is not the same as desirous attachment.



yet practioners of this philosophy seem to hold desirous attachment to happiness. indeed, desire is inescapable, and any philosophy whose aim is escape from desire (while living) is doomed to failure.

Quote:

>> how does the hungry person invest hunger in something intransient?
By remaining content in spite of their hunger or the possibility that they might die of hunger.



yet the loneliness (since that's a clearer example) is saddening, and if they are happy they are happy for another reason, and experience both sadness and happiness at once, but in respect to different things.

Quote:

>> what about loneliness? is this not a need analogous to hunger?
It is quite a bit more complicated than hunger, but we can say it is analogous in that there is a kind craving involved. There is a difference between the physical sensation of hunger and the feeling of craving we impute upon that physical sensation. They are not intrinsic to each other. We cannot put a stop to the physical sensation of hunger, but we can put a stop to the craving we impute upon that sensation.



what is hunger but a sign of the craving? why have we evolved with the capacity for hunger? it's not some accidental thing. evolution gives us feelings to notify us of the satisfaction and dissatisfaction of our needs.

Quote:

By the same token, we can put a stop to the idea that our own happiness depends on regular contact with other people.



this is not true of happiness in relation to loneliness. as hunger is always painful, loneliness is always painful, even if a person is pleased about other things besides the loneliness/hunger/etc

Quote:

I do not subscribe to the idea that consciousness ceases at the time of physical death. Ego-consciousness does cease, but something more subtle carries the potentials, and the happiness we have generated, on in to the next life. I do not expect you to share these views, and they are not views entirely relevant to this discussion.



these views are relevant because it determines whether so-called enlightenment is itself a conditioned state of being. for if it is a conditioned state of being, then it cannot escape condtionality, which is precisely what the concept, as you define it, is predicated on. secondly, what evidence do you have that these emotions (which from our knowledge of neuroscience seem to be located in certain areas of the brain) are located anywhere but these areas of the brain (that themselves decay upon death)?

Quote:

However, even in the context of only one human life, we can cultivate a happiness that never leaves us until our death time. It is not necessary to constantly fluctuate between elation, neutrality, and depression in the way that we normally do.



depression is not the opposite of elation; sadness is. sadness and depression are totally different concepts.
anyway, regarding this mystical happiness -which i see absolutely no evidence for and i suspect to be a modern-day unicorn, zeus, or jesus- what exactly is such a person happy about?
because whenever i look at people who are happy, they seem to be happy for particular reasons- accomplishing something, finding some kb, winning the lottery, whatever.

Quote:

>> secondly, do practitioners of this philosophy ever fall off the wagon? or do they reach the enlightenment of perpetual happiness and never turn back?
Until practitioners attain enlightenment, they make countless mistakes caused by their desirous attachment.



sounds like religious baloney to me. who are these people? where are they? do they feel pain? do they feel hunger if you take them from food? do they feel loneliness if you take them from people? do they feel the pain of compassion for their fellow human beings?

Quote:

>> perhaps that the psyche is no ivory tower; that it is forever constructed out of contingencies; no matter where it is, or what it's doing, it's entelechy is dependant on external factors,
The psyche, if that's the term we are using, is constructed out of contingencies. It's entelechy is dependent on external factors. However, these circumstances are optional.



so if i shoot the enlightened guru, he will not die, because he has opted out of his circumstances? his brain will not cease to function and all happiness with it? where are these people?

Quote:

>> and when these external factors change - as they inevitably do, due to their intransient natures- so too these momentary illusions of perpetual joy.
Exactly. This is precisely the reason the experience of suffering is so universal. Such suffering, however, has a cause. That cause is desirous attachment and it's contributing factors.



all desire is not suffering; i woke up this morning; i was hungry; i ate my captain crunch, and let me tell you i had a huge smile on my face.
Quote:

Because it has a cause, it can be ended. Mindfulness and awareness bring about an end to suffering.



why don't animals show these capacities? since happiness is supposedly innate, then why is it only in the "highest" animal (humans) would we find this phenomenon? after all, it would take a more complex brain to be able to create what could only be said to be self-deceptions, as you describe them; yet animals apparently do not live in enlightenment according to any concept of enlightenment that i am familiar with.


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Edited by crunchytoast (12/09/05 12:03 AM)


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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Veritas]
    #5036540 - 12/09/05 12:02 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

the need for food is physiological, not mental/emotional. If we do not eat some variety of food, we will eventually starve to death. The want/desire for a particular food is not a life or death issue.



but there must be a want/desire for some food- be it tuna, or eggs, or whatever is in front of a person.

Quote:

I said that I "let go" and "accept" the reality of my not getting exactly what I want.



how do you know the difference between a need and a want?

Quote:

What possible benefit would there be to my having a negative reaction to a frustrated, non-essential want?



for example if you punch your hand against a brick wall, and it hurts, and you're like, 'hot damn that hurts!' you're not going to punch your fist against the brick wall again, but if you say, 'i punched my fist against that wall, it hurt, and that's okay' then why not punch your fist against the brick wall again? i mean, relabelling pain as okay, does not make pain okay.

Quote:

Who said we were in control in the first place?



surely control is possible in some cases. i play go, and when i play a weaker player, i can totally control the flow of the game. in situations where i know much more than another person, i can totally control the flow of what happens. tomorrow i will cook instant oatmeal, i will cook it for 10 minutes, using a timer, and it will not burn, because i will be in control. control is possible, even if not always possible.

Quote:

I meant surrender as opposed to resistance. Resisting and denying the reality of our experience is a sure-fire method for creating misery.



you said:"This joy is not reliant on any external stimuli,"
yet plainly the "reality of our experience" is external stimuli. even if it were true that the reality of our experience is always joyful, this would support my view that joy cannot be innate.

Quote:

say I accept the reality that my hand hurts every time I bash it against a brick wall. Damn, that really smarts! Why can't brick walls be softer? Why does my hand have to be so sensitive! This is such a drag. Oh, well, I guess it is a fact that this experience will recur every time I repeat this action. Bummer.

Do I return the next day and bash my hand against that wall? If I refrain from hitting that wall, am I repressing the pain which results from my action, or eliminating the actual cause of my pain: my unskillful actions?



a) say ouch it hurts, and stop it because you've accepted the reality of the pain; or b) say "when i hurt my hand, i'm actually in a state of happiness so, if that's true, then why should i care when i hurt my hand?"

you said: "It seems to me that rejecting reality, denying the content of our experience, obscures our natural state of happiness."
yet plainly when the content of experience is pain from hitting one's hand, the content is not a natural state of happiness; furthermore calling it such therefore obscures experience, and thereby closes a person off from some of the information available to them, increasing the likelihood of bad decisions.

Quote:

It is only the responses which do not serve our wellbeing, and may undermine it, which are targeted for change.



please give me an example of a such a response.

Quote:

Joy seems to persist until disturbed by negativity, whereas sadness appears in response to an unwanted experience, and lessens as the unwanted experience ends or is lost to the past.



really, from what i see a neutral state persists until disturbed, and sadness and joy tend to gravitate back to neutrality after short periods of time.
i loved my cereal this morning and it generated a huge grin on my face, let me tell you, but i stopped grinning about 2 hours after that meal.


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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: crunchytoast]
    #5036566 - 12/09/05 12:08 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

crunchytoast - why do you continue to ask "where are such people" when i gave you a perfect example of someone who embodied these principles, someone who even passed the test of a skeptic (krishnamurti)?


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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Deviate]
    #5036604 - 12/09/05 12:16 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

really, from what i see a neutral state persists until disturbed, and sadness and joy tend to gravitate back to neutrality after short periods of time.
i loved my cereal this morning and it generated a huge grin on my face, let me tell you, but i stopped grinning about 2 hours after that meal.


thats because you perceive yourself in the body while the sage percieves the body in himself. being is his source of happiness and not pleasurable sensations in the body. as long as you hold onto the "i am the body" idea you will experience things in the way you described. when you give up this idea sensations can come and go in the body without disturbing the consciousness they appear in. this is what enabled maharshi to be operated on without anesthetic.


Edited by Deviate (12/09/05 12:18 AM)


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