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OfflineDeviate
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Deviate]
    #5036705 - 12/09/05 12:41 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

to sum up krishnmurti's thoughts on the matter:

'Truth is a pathless land'. Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophic knowledge....Man has built in himself images as a fence of security - religious, political, personal. These manifest as symbols, ideas, beliefs. The burden of these images dominates man's thinking, his relationships and his daily life. These images are the causes of our problems for they divide man from man. His perception of life is shaped by the concepts already established in his mind. The content of his consciousness is his entire existence. This content is common to all humanity. The individuality is the name, the form and superficial culture he acquires from tradition and environment. The uniqueness of man does not lie in the superficial but in complete freedom from the content of his consciousness, which is common to all mankind. So he is not an individual.

Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not a choice. It is man's pretence that because he has choice he is free. Freedom is pure observation without direction, without fear of punishment and reward. Freedom is without motive; freedom is not at the end of the evolution of man but lies in the first step of his existence. In observation one begins to discover the lack of freedom. Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity. Thought is time. Thought is born of experience and knowledge which are inseparable from time and the past. Time is the psychological enemy of man. Our action is based on knowledge and therefore time, so man is always a slave to the past. Thought is ever-limited and so we live in constant conflict and struggle. There is no psychological evolution.

When man becomes aware of the movement of his own thoughts he will see the division between the thinker and thought, the observer and the observed, the experiencer and the experience. He will discover that this division is an illusion. Then only is there pure observation which is insight without any shadow of the past or of time. This timeless insight brings about a deep radical mutation in the mind.

Total negation is the essence of the positive. When there is negation of all those things that thought has brought about psychologically, only then is there love, which is compassion and intelligence.



so crunchytoast, you are looking at things from state of the unmutated mind and i agree your observations seem fairly accurate for that state of consciousness. however, what if its possible for the mind to undergo a deep and radical mutation as krishnamurti describes it? what if this new consciousness changes the context in which everything must be explained?

can i prove this mutation is possible? no. can you prove it is impossible? no. so the only way to know for sure is to play around with your own mind and see what you can find. see if this mutation can be induced somehow. if you manage to induce the mutation you'll know for sure then.


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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Deviate]
    #5036878 - 12/09/05 01:24 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

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)?



i'm not sure what you have in mind- maybe it's the post where you note:
"when asked if it hurt he said "the body felt pain, am i the body?". "
this implies that the body does indeed feel pain, even if the body is the speaker's. i think that belies faulty philosophy on the speaker's part in that they don't identify themselves with their body.

i don't believe that consciousness and the body are dissociated in any way. i think they form a continuous chain, through nerves, spinal cord, and brain, and that together all these things, which are parts of the body, form consciousness. these are my conclusions from the observations of science.


--------------------
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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Deviate]
    #5036983 - 12/09/05 01:46 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

Total negation is the essence of the positive. When there is negation of all those things that thought has brought about psychologically, only then is there love, which is compassion and intelligence.




i disagree with this part the most. compassion and intelligence and love aren't at a person's heart. a person has no central core to their heart. their heart is determined by their experience. this is the truth behind the statement "When man becomes aware of the movement of his own thoughts he will see the division between the thinker and thought, the observer and the observed, the experiencer and the experience. He will discover that this division is an illusion. Then only is there pure observation"

by eliminating the clutter between a person and their experience, you create a flow. that flow is continuous, and is the person. "i feel angry" becomes "i am angry"- and the person is angry, period. they become their self- which is no self, but the observation/experience itself.

saying that love/compassion or whatever is at the core- if you ask me- is but another way of separating the observer from the observation. what if i don't feel loving a particular moment or don't feel compassionate? what if i don't feel that way most of the time? why should i have to be that way? why should i tell myself i am that way, when there's no evidence for this proposition? why should i tell myself i am loving if i feel hateful? perhaps the expanse of our ontological freedom as human beings is frightening somehow.


--------------------
"consensus on the nature of equilibrium is usually established by periodic conflict." -henry kissinger


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OfflineDeviate
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: crunchytoast]
    #5037029 - 12/09/05 01:55 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

exactly, and this is why i think the discussion is futile to continue further. this was what the post i accidentally deleted was about last night. i believe that all your observations and arguments are valid based on that assumption. ive done much thinking on the matter and the conclusion ive come to is that the only way spiritual philosphies can work is that if death is for the body and for the sense of individuality, and that it cannot touch the underlying reality in which they both appear. without the understanding of this concept i don't believe they can work and this is precisely why i rejected all spiritualy until i had an experience wich endowed me with this understanding. so i could go onto to state that none of the findings of science are imcompatable with this notion and yadda yadda yadda but whats the point? if my former self couldn't be convinced, why should i assume i can convince others?

anyway, just to clarify, what maharshi said wasn't philosophical musing, if it was just a philosophical concept how could he endure the pain of the operation and why would he choose to? rather i think the more logical conclusion is that he was in a different state of awareness which allowed him to bare the pain. in your view this would be a considered a delusional or pathological state of awareness but none the less it is a state of awareness that does occur. in fact when he first realized enlightenment he had no culterual background for it and he assumed it was a disease. he said "it was such a wonderful disease i hoped i would never recover". so our interpretations of this phenomena differ because our worldviews differ. for you enlightenment is a pathological state of awareness or type of insanity and for me our normal state of awareness is pathological. there's no way to prove who is right so i propose we agree to disagree. i see no point in discussing the finer points of these philosophies when we dissagree on this fundmamental distinction.


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OfflineDeviate
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: crunchytoast]
    #5037048 - 12/09/05 02:00 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

crunchytoast said:
Quote:

Total negation is the essence of the positive. When there is negation of all those things that thought has brought about psychologically, only then is there love, which is compassion and intelligence.




i disagree with this part the most. compassion and intelligence and love aren't at a person's heart. a person has no central core to their heart. their heart is determined by their experience. this is the truth behind the statement "When man becomes aware of the movement of his own thoughts he will see the division between the thinker and thought, the observer and the observed, the experiencer and the experience. He will discover that this division is an illusion. Then only is there pure observation"

by eliminating the clutter between a person and their experience, you create a flow. that flow is continuous, and is the person. "i feel angry" becomes "i am angry"- and the person is angry, period. they become their self- which is no self, but the observation/experience itself.

saying that love/compassion or whatever is at the core- if you ask me- is but another way of separating the observer from the observation. what if i don't feel loving a particular moment or don't feel compassionate? what if i don't feel that way most of the time? why should i have to be that way? why should i tell myself i am that way, when there's no evidence for this proposition? why should i tell myself i am loving if i feel hateful? perhaps the expanse of our ontological freedom as human beings is frightening somehow.





i find this interesting as what you're saying has a remarkably uncanny resemblance to how krishnamurti felt before his "calamity" as he called it.

Excerpted from Part One of Krishnamurti's book The Mystique of Enlightenment.


I arrived at a point when I was twenty-one where I felt very strongly that all teachers -- Buddha, Jesus, Sri Ramakrishna, everybody -- kidded themselves, deluded themselves and deluded everybody. This, you see, could not be the thing at all -- "Where is the state that these people talk about and describe? That description seems to have no relation to me, to the way I am functioning. Everybody says 'Don't get angry' -- I am angry all the time. I'm full of brutal activities inside, so that is false. What these people are telling me I should be is something false, and because it is false it will falsify me. I don't want to live the life of a false person. I am greedy, and non-greed is what they are talking about. There is something wrong somewhere. This greed is something real, something natural to me; what they are talking about is unnatural. So, something is wrong somewhere. But I am not ready to change myself, to falsify myself, for the sake of being in a state of non-greed; my greed is a reality to me." I lived in the midst of people who talked of these things everlastingly -- everybody was false, I can tell you. So, somehow, what you call 'existentialist nausea' (I didn't use those words at the time, but now I happen to know these terms, revulsion against everything sacred and everything holy, crept into my system and threw everything out: "No more slokas, no more religion, no more practices -- there isn't anything there; but what is here is something natural. I am a brute, I am a monster, I am full of violence -- this is reality. I am full of desire. Desirelessness, non-greed, non-anger -- those things have no meaning to me; they are false, and they are not only false, they are falsifying me." So I said to myself "I'm finished with the whole business," but it is not that simple, you see.


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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Deviate]
    #5037192 - 12/09/05 02:23 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

i agree that sounds similar, because he stated something similar proves nothing itself. to be accurate it's not the same, since saying 'i'm a brute' makes as much sense to me as saying 'i am loving' i mean- aren't both of these things true- depending on the particular experience?

secondly, it's very apparent that this dude never achieved desirelessness, since he apparently had the desire to continue talking after he supposedly found this state.

lastly, the structure of your argument reminds me of christians who say 'you would know that jesus is your savior if you had faith. oh you don't believe? well it's because you don't have faith.' many major religions use this argument. until now, i was not aware that buddhism used this argument too.

the fact that so many conflicting viewpoints make the same argument that yields such conflicting conclusions diminishes its credibility.

after all, i could say 'well deviate you'll never know which is true, but have faith, and the truth of my perspective will become apparent to you.'

Quote:

what maharshi said wasn't philosophical musing, if it was just a philosophical concept how could he endure the pain of the operation and why would he choose to? rather i think the more logical conclusion is that he was in a different state of awareness



i don't think it was just a philosophical concept. i think the implication of his statement is incorrect- that he is not his body. it's like if someone says 'my dog is my foot.' it's just plain wrong. now, this false belief is different than the mechanism by which he bore his pain. consider a person being tortured. no matter how great the pain is, a person will bear if they have no choice. being able to bear pain is no great feat. it may be a great feat to be able to bear pain and still choose no to act on it. yet that possibility does not conflict with the facts of the mattter: every conscious being desires, desire is only escapable with death, emotions give us information about our needs/desires, saying 'i do not feel X' does not make the feeling X go away, etc.

i have always believed that it's possible to choose to act on a feeling, and that emotion and action are linked to each other in no necessary ways.

Quote:

which allowed him to bare the pain. in your view this would be a considered a delusional or pathological state of awareness



i do not think it's pathological at all. i could care less about that. i'm arguing that it's delusional. whether there's self-deception is an issue of fact, not an issue of value; whereas whether it's pathological is an issue of value, and that's a value statement i don't mean to make, if i've made it.

Quote:

for you enlightenment is a pathological state of awareness or type of insanity and for me our normal state of awareness is pathological. there's no way to prove who is right so i propose we agree to disagree.



what i disagree with you about is whether it's self-deception. i don't really care whether it's pathological, since that's a value statement, and i view all value statements as not only relative to the speaker but also typically unpersuasive.


--------------------
"consensus on the nature of equilibrium is usually established by periodic conflict." -henry kissinger


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OfflineDeviate
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: crunchytoast]
    #5037306 - 12/09/05 02:43 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)


i agree that sounds similar, because he stated something similar proves nothing itself. to be accurate it's not the same, since saying 'i'm a brute' makes as much sense to me as saying 'i am loving' i mean- aren't both of these things potentially true?

secondly, it's very apparent that this dude never achieved desirelessness, since he apparently had the desire to continue talking after he supposedly found this state.

lastly, the structure of your argument reminds me of christians who say 'you would know that jesus is your savior if you had faith. oh you don't believe? well it's because you don't have faith.' many major religions use this argument. until now, i was not aware that buddhism used this argument too.

the fact that so many conflicting viewpoints make the same argument that yields such conflicting conclusions diminishes its credibility.

after all, i could say 'well deviate you'll never know which is true, but have faith, and the truth of my perspective will become apparent to you.'



first of all i am not a buddhist nor was i aware that buddhism used this argument. what i am saying is that the only way to know if a certain state exists is to exeperience it for yourself. i am not saying this proves anything or is evidence for enlightenment or buddhism or any particular philosophy. i am simply saying that i don't see any other way of knowing this type of thing. many claims are made but none are proven. think about what you are saying. let's say you got a new car and someone told you the car had heated seats and there was a switch to activate them. you said "i don't believe there is any such switch" then the other person said "well you've got to look for it, check the under seat" you said "oh, so now i have to faith there is a switch in order to find the switch, that's the same arguments christians use with jesus. i don't think its valid" if you refuse to start looking until you have undeniable proof of its existance you will never find it because the only undeniable proof of its existance is finding it. i think it would be silly to sit in your car arguing about christians and jesus rather than just reaching down and checking to see if the switch is there. you could speculate and debate for hours over whether that switch existed, but you would never know for certain until you checked. but anyway i consider this to now be a pointless discussion, so this will be my last response in regards to these points.

as for the rest of what you said, i made a mistake in using the word pathological and should have just stuck with delusional. you think the feeling that one is not the body is delusional and i dissagree. i say we agree to dissagree because i don't think either of us can prove our perspective and as far as i am concerned this the fundmantenal issue in this debate that breads the differering viewpoints. following from your assumptions i agree with most if not all of what you've said, i just dont hold the same assumptions and i don't care to challenege your assumptions or attempt to explain the reasons for mine.


Edited by Deviate (12/09/05 10:54 AM)


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OfflinePed
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: crunchytoast]
    #5037846 - 12/09/05 06:47 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

>> yet helping others is dependant on external conditions; what if i am unable to help if i think i am?

This is convoluting the issue. A desire is problematic inasmuch as an individual invests their own wellbeing in the satisfaction of that desire. Helping others is compassionate, it does not hold out an expectation for returns. Because of this the impetus to help others out of compassion is not desirous in nature.


>> 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.

If we rely on a fancy car for our self-esteem, or any other kind of sense of wellbeing, we are suffering from desirous attachment.


>> yet this must also be true of desire for happiness, since desire for happiness is so conditioned.

>> 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.

Our tendecy to pursue happiness and avoid suffering is in our nature; it is part of our being. To be happy is not a desire, in that what is really sought here is a realization of one's own true nature. It's the mistake that the satisfaction of our desires can make us truly happy and content which is problematic.


>> 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.

Our biological organism has evolved with the capacity for hunger because it requires the intake of food for it's own continuation.

When we feel uncomfortable because our stomach is hungry, there are two unique phenomena occuring. One phenomena is the physical sensation of hunger. The second phenomena is the feeling of unrest we impute upon that sensation. We impute our mental discomfort, an internal condition, upon our physical discomfort, an external condition. In reality they are seperate. It's in making this mistake that we develop the desire to alleviate our hunger for the sake of our contentment. Real contentment is found in remaining unattached to external conditions.


>> 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

Neither hunger nor our contact with others has the actual power to affect our happiness. If it were true that hunger and our contact with others possessed an intrinsic capacity to disturb our mind, then the effects of hunger or infrequent contact with others would be the same for all living beings. We can see that different people are affected differently by these circumstances, and therefore conclude that the extent to which hunger or infrequent contact with others affect's a person's happiness has entirely to dow ith their internal and evironment and absolutely nothing to do with their external environment.

Loneliness interrupts our happiness only when we invest our sense of wellbeing in our contact with others. Hunger disturbs us only when we invest our sense of wellbeing in the satisfaction of our hunger. Such a mistaken and unrealistic relationship with reality is what robs us of our contentment and sustains all experiences of pain.


>> 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)?

I am neither qualified nor willing to argue metaphysical subjects with you. Your disscusion style indicates that you will take the intangibility of the proof of reincarnation and use it to discredit the whole of Buddhism and the Dharma. The topic of this thread is the link between suffering and desire. We do not need to discuss reincarnation to understand the link betwewn suffering and desire.


>> 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?

I cannot simply reveal something ineffable to you. It is something a person discovers for themself. All I can say is that they are happy because they have stopped the causes of their unhappiness.


>> who are these people? where are they?

They are spiritucal practitioners. They are everywhere, I see them every day.


>> do they feel pain?

Yes, they do.


>> do they feel hunger if you take them from food?

Yes, but it does not disturb their contentment or their happiness.


>> do they feel loneliness if you take them from people?

Beacuse they do not associate their happiness with their contact with others, they do not suffer from loneliness. In this case their happiness is a freedom from loneliness.


>> do they feel the pain of compassion for their fellow human beings?

If I answer this truthfully, you will draw an erroneous connection between compassion and desire.


>> 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?

His physical organism will die. His brain will stop working. His gross consciousnesses will cease. However, his subtle consciousness will continue. It is a mistake to think that all consciousness originates and ceases with the brain. I will not offer reasons for you to believe this because you have already closed your mind to it. All I will say is that this idea does not conflict with any of what is known about neuroscience, except the prevailing assumption that all consciousness is dependent on, originates within, and finally ceases with, the brain.


>> 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.

You will become hungry again. When there is no Captain Crunch in the cupboard, you will lose your happiness to your hunger inasmuch as you depend on Captain Crunch for the smile on your face. In this way neither Captain Crunch nor the actual satisfaction of your hunger bring you real happiness. Real happiness is stable. It does not depend on these circumstances. Inauthentic happiness is just the temporary alleviation of certain sufferings.


>> 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.

Animals are deceived by exactly the same ignorance as we. However, they lack the intelligence necessary to consider their circumstances, dispel their ignorance, and become happy. This is why they suffer exactly as we do. The sufferings of human beings as well as animals have the same cause. The variance in the outward manifestation of these sufferings has only to do with the variance between different species, their capcities, and their inclinations.


From your posts, I get the distinct impression that you are not interested in sharing ideas, deepening your knowledge, or even coming to understand a perspective which differs from your own. You are commanding that hard evidence be presented, but it is impossible for such evidence to be provided. The hard evidence is found in the reasoning and examples already offered. The actual truth is found in testing these principles through practise. It seems clear that you are not interested in either of these things.

Perhaps it is best we do as Deviate suggests and agree to disagree.


--------------------


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Edited by Ped (12/09/05 06:51 AM)


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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Ped]
    #5041002 - 12/09/05 09:07 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

External conditions might make us feel very pleasant and happy, but external conditions are in the nature of change. When external conditions change, this is suffering. Our pleasant feelings disappear. If we cut our dependence on external conditions for our happiness, and instead learn to depend on internal conditions, we will never experience this pain. Never having to endure this pain is true happiness.

It is a kind of oppression to be slave to external circumstances, such as the comfort of our body, our financial situation, or the proximity of friends and lovers. Freedom from this oppression does not mean that we neglect our body, neglect our finances, or avoid other people. It means that we no longer work so endlessly to arrange these outer circumstances in such a way that it allows us to remain comfortable and distracted. In detaching ourself from our desires, we cancel their momentum, and our suffering falls away like leaves from a tree. This is true freedom. It is a profound sense of contentment that never leaves us throughout our whole life, and if you believe in past and future lives, it follows us into our future lives as well.

Craving, or desire, is the source of our fear, anxiety, our despair, our depression, our hopelessness. It is the source of all suffering. It's in stopping the deeply ingrained mental habit which seeks happiness outside ourself that we stop fear, anxiety, despair, depression and hopelessness. It's in stopping this mental habit that we overcome loneliness and replace it with a profound feeling of closeness and empathy with others. This feeling of closeness, empathy, and inner contentment, is what actually has the power to protect us from all suffering.

Closeness and empathy with others, a sense of inner contentment, these are inner circumstances. They fill us with an ephemeral joy that never leaves us, no matter what we might have to experience. It transcends the fleeting elation which comes from the satisfaction of our endless craving, and leads us to a divine and blissful place which is as still as the clear night sky. Please believe me when I tell you, in this world there is nothing to attain which is holier and more precious than this.


--------------------


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OfflineBlueCoyote
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: crunchytoast]
    #5044343 - 12/10/05 03:28 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

I am in the same dilemma as crunchy.
I can see, that it is possible to stay happy, if my hand is burned, while not reacting and accepting this as the way it is and such.
But it doesn't make sense. It's better to pull his hand away to achieve happiness in regard to this subject.

I think buddha would say in this case to keep calm, stay happy and mindfully remove your hand from the fire.

So we arrive at a dilemma if need and want both go to desire.
We should filter prior to buddhistic 'phlegma', else our hands were burnt, the tibetan families were wiped out by the chinese or we starved to death...

So my conclusion is, if it is time to take action, do it in a mindful, happy and relaxed way...


--------------------
Though lovers be lost love shall not  And death shall have no dominion
......................................................
"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."Martin Luther King, Jr.
'Acceptance is the absolute key - at that moment you gain freedom and you gain power and you gain courage'


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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: BlueCoyote]
    #5044404 - 12/10/05 03:40 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

BlueCoyote said:
I am in the same dilemma as crunchy.
I can see, that it is possible to stay happy, if my hand is burned, while not reacting and accepting this as the way it is and such.
But it doesn't make sense. It's better to pull his hand away to achieve happiness in regard to this subject.

I think buddha would say in this case to keep calm, stay happy and mindfully remove your hand from the fire.

So we arrive at a dilemma if need and want both go to desire.
We should filter prior to buddhistic 'phlegma', else our hands were burnt, the tibetan families were wiped out by the chinese or we starved to death...

So my conclusion is, if it is time to take action, do it in a mindful, happy and relaxed way...



I totally agree.


--------------------
:bunny::bunnyhug:
All this time I've loved you
And never known your face
All this time I've missed you
And searched this human race
Here is true peace
Here my heart knows calm
Safe in your soul
Bathed in your sighs

:bunnyhug: :yinyang2:


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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Deviate]
    #5045918 - 12/10/05 10:33 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

you could speculate and debate for hours over whether that switch existed, but you would never know for certain until you checked.



what if you checked and found no switch?  i use to be a big adherent of a this sort of a philosophy, yet i could not get over this problem:
i could attain "inner" happiness (which i would now call happiness i don't know the cause of) yet this happiness would inevitably pass.  whether it was a bad dream, or some trivial disappointment of day-to-day living, numerous things would always "uncenter" me.

according to this philosophy, i should not be able to be uncentered, because being centered meant being unconditionally happy.  now if there's some event, any event, that could make me unhappy, or disappointed, or frustrated, even in the slightest degree, even for the most minor thing, then that must mean that my happiness was conditioned.

why would there be such talk on this thread about re-centering, if unconditional happiness could be attained?

Quote:

i just dont hold the same assumptions and i don't care to challenege your assumptions or attempt to explain the reasons for mine.



that's fair enough.
i believe that you feel how you say you feel.  i'm willing to take this on your word; i'm willing to explore other avenues of debate, such as, is there more than one possible explanation for what you feel?  however, i understand if you'd rather not continue the debate.  for me, civil debate is not something i tend to take personally; it's fun with neither party does so.  i enjoy being challenged, and you raised some very good points in this thread, and you often do, whenever i debate with you.  :thumbup:


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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Ped]
    #5046152 - 12/10/05 11:49 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

>> yet helping others is dependant on external conditions; what if i am unable to help if i think i am?

This is convoluting the issue. A desire is problematic inasmuch as an individual invests their own wellbeing in the satisfaction of that desire. Helping others is compassionate, it does not hold out an expectation for returns. Because of this the impetus to help others out of compassion is not desirous in nature.

why don't i take a flamethrower to random passersby?  after all i have no expectation for returns.  :rolleyes:  surely, behind the actions of saying kind words, or giving to charity, or whathaveyou, there are compassionate intentions, and thus compassionate expectations, otherwise setting random people on fire would be an act of enlightenment.

Our tendecy to pursue happiness and avoid suffering is in our nature; it is part of our being. To be happy is not a desire, in that what is really sought here is a realization of one's own true nature.
i'm talking about the pursuit of enlightenment.
plainly not everyone pursues this state; most humans don't even believe in it.
plainly the pursuit of enlightenment is not merely the pursuit of particular happinesses at the end of individual desires, but the pursuit of a happiness that transcends desire -- which problematically must be a desire itself.

We impute our mental discomfort, an internal condition, upon our physical discomfort, an external condition. In reality they are seperate. It's in making this mistake that we develop the desire to alleviate our hunger for the sake of our contentment.
so a mental discomfort produces a desire for its alleviation.  then why would a physical discomfort not produce an analogous desire?  surely, in terms of the mind, a sensation of discomfort is a sensation of discomfort.

would not alleviation of the discomfort not produce relative pleasure, like eating a big meal after a long fast?

Neither hunger nor our contact with others has the actual power to affect our happiness. If it were true that hunger and our contact with others possessed an intrinsic capacity to disturb our mind, then the effects of hunger or infrequent contact with others would be the same for all living beings. We can see that different people are affected differently by these circumstances, and therefore conclude that the extent to which hunger or infrequent contact with others affect's a person's happiness has entirely to dow ith their internal and evironment and absolutely nothing to do with their external environment.
i agree that internal variables play a role, but i think it does not follow that external variables play no role.  people cathexize differently; for example, one person may derive satisfaction for a need for companionship by spending time with family; another may spend the time with girlfriend after girlfriend; another by getting stoned and talking philosophy.  yet in each case a need for companionship exists, and loneliness will arise whenever the source of that need's satisfaction absents.

Hunger disturbs us only when we invest our sense of wellbeing in the satisfaction of our hunger. Such a mistaken and unrealistic relationship with reality is what robs us of our contentment and sustains all experiences of pain.
do you really mean to imply that hunger is itself not painful?  surely pain is intrinsic to the experience of hunger.  i have never heard of anyone saying, 'gee lucky me i'm hungry, i'm not going to eat ever again because it feels so great to be hungry!'  nor have i ever heard anyone say this about loneliness.

Your disscusion style indicates that you will take the intangibility of the proof of reincarnation and use it to discredit the whole of Buddhism and the Dharma.
our discussion reminds me of the discussion i might have with a christian creationist.  i disagree with the facts of the matter- whether god created the earth according to the book of genesis- or whether world history happened as science thinks.  yet i know many christians who interpret the book of genesis symbolically.  i do not think that disagreeing with a particular fact (the nature of desire) excludes the possibility that buddhism is possibly true.  in fact, i can think of numerous tenets of buddhism (as they've been presentd to me on this board) that i agree with, for example the idea that there is not unconditioned self.  in fact this belief seems to accord with my beliefs about desire very well.

The topic of this thread is the link between suffering and desire. We do not need to discuss reincarnation to understand the link betwewn suffering and desire.
i'm merely trying to show that "innate happiness" too must be conditioned.  perhaps i will try another tack, since you prefer not to discuss this one: why is it that only some people reach "enlightenment" (as you define it)?  surely there must be some condition that determines that some people reach it and not others.

>> do they feel hunger if you take them from food?
Yes, but it does not disturb their contentment or their happiness.

so they experience one kind of pleasure while experiencing another kind of displeasure?  it sounds to me that these folks have something to be happy for in their lives- taking away their food does not take away this thing- yet it certainly is painful in its own right.

>> do they feel loneliness if you take them from people?
Beacuse they do not associate their happiness with their contact with others, they do not suffer from loneliness.

this inference could only be valid if two kinds of happiness/unhappiness were mutually exclusive; yet it is perfectly possible to feel happiness in one regard and unhappiness in another.  consider the person who enjoys the company of friends while suffering from hunger.

Quote:

>> do they feel the pain of compassion for their fellow human beings?
If I answer this truthfully, you will draw an erroneous connection between compassion and desire.



you understand the point i'm making; how is it erroneous?

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His physical organism will die. His brain will stop working. His gross consciousnesses will cease. However, his subtle consciousness will continue. It is a mistake to think that all consciousness originates and ceases with the brain. I will not offer reasons for you to believe this because you have already closed your mind to it.



that statement that i've closed my mind is absolutely unfair.  first, i have an open mind about this- in the past i used to follow a similar philosophy as you espouse; in the past i used to believe that consciousness transcended death; it is only because i have an open mind that i was drawn to my current conclusions.

i am curious what you believe and why you believe it.  i think there may be truth to your view, and i am curious to learn something.  nevertheless, i suspect that the way your belief is true will have no bearing on the argument because i suspect you may have made an error of reasoning.  yet, like a scientist, i will follow where the facts go, even if they contradict my assumptions.

Quote:

You will become hungry again.



first i'd like to point out that even though i will be hungry again, my one desire for captain crunch, that particular day, was indeed satisfied, and indeed brought me joy.  and furthermore, since it culminated in joy, desire must not be always be the source of suffering.  instead the source of suffering must be unsatisfied desire.

you can argue that i still suffer in other ways (for example i stubbed my toe today).  but in regards to the captain crunch, and the desire for captain crunch, i experienced no suffering but only joy.

and my joy was boundless.

Quote:

When there is no Captain Crunch in the cupboard, you will lose your happiness to your hunger inasmuch as you depend on Captain Crunch for the smile on your face. In this way neither Captain Crunch nor the actual satisfaction of your hunger bring you real happiness. Real happiness is stable. It does not depend on these circumstances. Inauthentic happiness is just the temporary alleviation of certain sufferings.



okay, it sounds like you're distinguishing between two kinds of happiness: "real" happiness and regular happiness.  yet does regular happiness not feel the same as the "real" happiness you believe in, even momentarily?

Quote:

>> 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.

Animals are deceived by exactly the same ignorance as we. However, they lack the intelligence necessary to consider their circumstances, dispel their ignorance, and become happy. This is why they suffer exactly as we do. The sufferings of human beings as well as animals have the same cause. The variance in the outward manifestation of these sufferings has only to do with the variance between different species, their capcities, and their inclinations.



yet your response dodges the point.  the point is, if happiness were innate, and our natural state, then surely only a more developed mind could deviate it from it.

secondly, we can look at simpler and simpler organisms and find this is not true.  are you really trying to argue that an organism that functions with a single neuron that determines the direction the organism moves (from dark to light) is suffering from an inaccurate attribution of a the source of desire?  it doesn't even have the capacity to make attributions in the first place.

thirdly, if this state were innate, and unconditional, then how could any creature ever move away from this state?  if such happiness exists beyond conditions, then no condition could remove this happiness or "decenter" the organism.

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From your posts, I get the distinct impression that you are not interested in sharing ideas, deepening your knowledge, or even coming to understand a perspective which differs from your own. You are commanding that hard evidence be presented, but it is impossible for such evidence to be provided. The hard evidence is found in the reasoning and examples already offered.



this only problem i have with your posts is the reasoning in them.  that's the only thing.  i am understand your perspective,  does that mean i have to agree with it?  or do you allow for the possibility (slim as it may be) that you could be wrong?  let me tell you that it is very possible that i am wrong, but i will only be convinced if you can provide me with some solid reasoning.

finally, if (as you seem to imply) you do not believe that there can be any evidence provided for your position, then i'd really like to understand why you believe in it.  if there's some other cause for your beliefs besides evidence, then good for you; no harm done; i don't think you're any less of a person for it.  however this is a forum where debate is allowed.  if your belief about desire doesn't stand up under scrutiny then perhaps this forum is not the best place it.

Quote:

The actual truth is found in testing these principles through practise. It seems clear that you are not interested in either of these things.



on the contrary, i used to practice this but found it lacking.  i have outlined the reasons in these posts.  it just does not ring true for me, and i have outlined the reasons why.

Quote:

Perhaps it is best we do as Deviate suggests and agree to disagree.



that's fine, if you prefer it that way.  personally, i'm curious about exploring the ins and outs of this debate.  if it's possible to be unconditionally happy, i'd like to know about it.  that would be very interesting, for one thing, and for another, i'd like the option.  but if you prefer to stay silent, then god bless you, and thanks for exposing me to your debating style, which i found very challenging.

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External conditions might make us feel very pleasant and happy, but external conditions are in the nature of change. When external conditions change, this is suffering. Our pleasant feelings disappear. If we cut our dependence on external conditions for our happiness, and instead learn to depend on internal conditions, we will never experience this pain. Never having to endure this pain is true happiness.



respectfully, i disagree with this, since it seems to contradict your earlier text.  you seem to be saying that depending on internal conditions alone is sufficient for relief from pain.  yet at the same time you seem to be saying that the enlightened spiritual practitioners you know still experience the pain of hunger if you take them from food (for example).

secondly, regarding the dependance on internal conditions; are these internal conditions not predicated on things themselves?  for example, if i fulfill my desire to nurture, by nurturing myself, is this not predicated on my capacity to nurture myself?  is this not conditional?

also, what of hunger?  surely one cannot satisfy every desire this way; eventually a person will run out of self to munch upon.

and what of loneliness?  does the lonely buddhist, in your opinion, begin talking to themself as a form of solace?

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Freedom from this oppression does not mean that we neglect our body, neglect our finances, or avoid other people. It means that we no longer work so endlessly to arrange these outer circumstances in such a way that it allows us to remain comfortable and distracted.



does this not imply neglect?  take the example of food.  what's wrong with desiring food?  what's the proper way to approach food, in your opinion?

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Craving, or desire, is the source of our fear, anxiety, our despair, our depression, our hopelessness. It is the source of all suffering.



and the source of all our joy in my view.  must you not concede that it is at least the source of much joy?

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It's in stopping the deeply ingrained mental habit which seeks happiness outside ourself that we stop fear, anxiety, despair, depression and hopelessness. It's in stopping this mental habit that we overcome loneliness and replace it with a profound feeling of closeness and empathy with others.



really, i think the mental habit, and empathy, are different things, and one does not lead to the other, unless some other circumstance (that generates empathy) is present.

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This feeling of closeness, empathy, and inner contentment, is what actually has the power to protect us from all suffering.



to me this sounds like, using the present circumstances to satisfy one's needs.  if one is lonely, perhaps a person can satisfy the loneliness to some degree through empathy.  yet this seems no different to me than eating tuna to satisfy my hunger, even if i'd rather be eating eggs, when i have no eggs.

Quote:

Closeness and empathy with others, a sense of inner contentment, these are inner circumstances. They fill us with an ephemeral joy that never leaves us, no matter what we might have to experience. It transcends the fleeting elation which comes from the satisfaction of our endless craving, and leads us to a divine and blissful place which is as still as the clear night sky. Please believe me when I tell you, in this world there is nothing to attain which is holier and more precious than this.



feeling connected with others is important.  still, i believe there is more than one way to do this, and i beleive that other things are important too.

for example, self-esteem is important.  i believe that that new car (if that's what it is) can be important- and a feeling of connection with others.  why can't we have both?  why not maximize joy?  yet surely one cannot do this without listening to the heart.


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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: crunchytoast]
    #5046198 - 12/11/05 12:11 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

>> I can see, that it is possible to stay happy, if my hand is burned, while not reacting and accepting this as the way it is and such.

It's not about how we react and choose to process a given experience. Managing how we process experiences, or taking an active role in deciding how we will react, this kind of behavior is focused outward.

We cannot ignore our internal circumstance for the sake of adopting another or "better" philosophy, because it is impossible to take something from the outside and actually internalize it. Instead, by remaining alert to our consciuosness, and constantly comparing the tendencies of our mind to certain truths, we take an approach which resembles sailing: we take the momentum of our present mind and use it to carry us to our destination: real happiness.


>> But it doesn't make sense. It's better to pull his hand away to achieve happiness in regard to this subject.

Of course it is important to pull our hand away when it is being burned. That is the first thing we should do. But if this experience causes us to become upset and unhappy, and we neglect to examine our situation to discover that our happiness should not have any dependence on circumstances like these, outer problems will always have the power to destroy our happiness.


>> I think buddha would say in this case to keep calm, stay happy and mindfully remove your hand from the fire.

Buddha said something exactly in step with this statement. He said "In all things, rely upon a happy mind alone." I think we have to be careful how we implement this, however. If after being burned our tendency is to react and become upset, it's not appropriate to squash those feelings because a "better" philosophy tells us that we'd be better off without them. Much more helpful it is to allow those feelings to surface, so long as they don't cause our behavior to harm ourself and others. Once they have surfaced, we then examine them alongside other ways of processing things. In this way we familiarize our mind with non-attachment and gradually move in that direction.





>> i could attain "inner" happiness (which i would now call happiness i don't know the cause of) yet this happiness would inevitably pass.

If it passed, then you did not attain it. If you have attained it, it does not pass. It is not something which is easy to obtain. It takes tremendous patience, alertness, concentration, and effort.


>> whether it was a bad dream, or some trivial disappointment of day-to-day living, numerous things would always "uncenter" me.

They have the power to uncenter you because you are still attached to those things.


>> according to this philosophy, i should not be able to be uncentered, because being centered meant being unconditionally happy. now if there's some event, any event, that could make me unhappy, or disappointed, or frustrated, even in the slightest degree, even for the most minor thing, then that must mean that my happiness was conditioned.

Attachment, or conditioned happiness as we're calling it, is not something which can be flipped on and off like a light switch. We can't read a few inspiring words about freedom from attachment, practise it for a few days, acheive a sense of peace, and then expect that we've attained liberation. There are gross attachments, such as preferences for certain foods, subtle attachments, such as those we have to fond memories, and very subtle attachments, such as attachment to the idea of our own inherent existence. It takes a long time to dispel these attachments, but if we maintain a constant vigilience, our sense of freedom and joy will only increase.


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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Ped]
    #5046389 - 12/11/05 01:21 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

We cannot ignore our internal circumstance for the sake of adopting another or "better" philosophy, because it is impossible to take something from the outside and actually internalize it. Instead, by remaining alert to our consciuosness, and constantly comparing the tendencies of our mind to certain truths, we take an approach which resembles sailing: we take the momentum of our present mind and use it to carry us to our destination: real happiness.



since you seem to agree that repression exists, what makes you think that fruit of such a task are not the result of repression? surely a repressive person will think themselves happy but not really be. yet this would completely explain the same phenomena you predict. indeed, it is much likelier, since your explanation relies on the same number of principles, plus one: enlightenment.

Quote:

>> But it doesn't make sense. It's better to pull his hand away to achieve happiness in regard to this subject.

Of course it is important to pull our hand away when it is being burned. That is the first thing we should do. But if this experience causes us to become upset and unhappy, and we neglect to examine our situation to discover that our happiness should not have any dependence on circumstances like these, outer problems will always have the power to destroy our happiness.



you seem to distinguish between the unhappiness and the experience, but plainly the pain we've conceived of with this example, is in the experience, and not something that happens "after" or separate from the experience at all.

Quote:

>> I think buddha would say in this case to keep calm, stay happy and mindfully remove your hand from the fire.

Buddha said something exactly in step with this statement. He said "In all things, rely upon a happy mind alone."



he should have said rely on your feelings to tell you what's good and bad for you, and your intelligence to keep you from the bad and near the good! happy mind alone will soon find itself unhappy.

Quote:

I think we have to be careful how we implement this, however. If after being burned our tendency is to react and become upset,



burning is intrinsically painful

Quote:

it's not appropriate to squash those feelings because a "better" philosophy tells us that we'd be better off without them. Much more helpful it is to allow those feelings to surface, so long as they don't cause our behavior to harm ourself and others. Once they have surfaced, we then examine them alongside other ways of processing things. In this way we familiarize our mind with non-attachment and gradually move in that direction.



i believe fakirs are able to accomplish feats that repress pain, and walk on hot coals for example. yet such endeavors may not always be the wisest pursuits.


Quote:

>> i could attain "inner" happiness (which i would now call happiness i don't know the cause of) yet this happiness would inevitably pass.

If it passed, then you did not attain it. If you have attained it, it does not pass. It is not something which is easy to obtain. It takes tremendous patience, alertness, concentration, and effort.



this supposed happiness must be qualitatively different than regular happiness in that it does not pass. regular happiness plainly exists, i think we both agree that it does. surely you can concede that a person who is regularly happy can be regularly happy for an extended period of time, for example i am studying for the lsats and i was happy for days when after a short period of studying my score improved by a unusually large amount for the time i studied. now, considering that a person can be regularly happy, and regularly happy for an extended period of time, what makes you think that the spiritual people you're talking about are engaged in happiness of an intransient sort, rather than regular happiness of an extended sort?

surely the explanation more in line with occam's razor is that these people are happy for some reason they are not conscious of; and this happiness is merely of the regular, extended variety, and not the intransient variety whatsoever.


Quote:

>> whether it was a bad dream, or some trivial disappointment of day-to-day living, numerous things would always "uncenter" me.

They have the power to uncenter you because you are still attached to those things.



these included things i did not even know of before being centered- for example after being centered, i ate at this pizza joint. the pizza had a particularly pleasant taste on my tastebuds (pleasant in the same fashion that fire is painful). i went there the next day, still centered. suprisingly, no matter how centered i was beforehand, when it turned out they were out of that ingredient that day, i felt disappointment. the feeling of disappointment was as real as the pleasure i had felt the day before, and as real as the pain of fire. surely i have no control over such sensations.

Quote:

Attachment, or conditioned happiness as we're calling it, is not something which can be flipped on and off like a light switch. We can't read a few inspiring words about freedom from attachment, practise it for a few days, acheive a sense of peace, and then expect that we've attained liberation. There are gross attachments, such as preferences for certain foods, subtle attachments, such as those we have to fond memories, and very subtle attachments, such as attachment to the idea of our own inherent existence. It takes a long time to dispel these attachments, but if we maintain a constant vigilience, our sense of freedom and joy will only increase.




yet this contradicts what you said earlier, which was that these enlightened beings you know of, and feel pain just like the rest of us. how could they unless they remained attached?

of course, pain is always painful, and sadness is always sad.


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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: crunchytoast]
    #5049922 - 12/11/05 10:51 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

>> since you seem to agree that repression exists, what makes you think that fruit of such a task are not the result of repression? surely a repressive person will think themselves happy but not really be. yet this would completely explain the same phenomena you predict. indeed, it is much likelier, since your explanation relies on the same number of principles, plus one: enlightenment.

This is becoming way more complicated that it needs to be. Simply because a person is able to practise non-attachment in a convoluted way that basically amounts to repression does not mean that practising non-attachment equates to repression. This is like saying that because one person got into an car accident, all people who drive cars will have accidents.

This is how it is possible to take teachings on non-attachment and use them repressively: We hear teachings informing us that our happiness depends on external circumstances only because we assume this to be true. Upon hearing these teachings we generate a new ego-construct for ourselves which must abide by certain dictums we have imposed upon ourself: that we must not become unhappy when external conditions change. When external conditions change, we effectively disallow ourself to experience what otherwise what we would naturally feel. This is denial. It's like putting a small band-aid on a pierced artery and thinking that we are healed. We are still bleeding to death moment by moment.

This is how it is possible to take teachings on non-attachment and acheive freedom from suffering and disatisfacton: We hear teachings informing us that bad feelings don't come from external circumstances, and that in reality they come from our unskilful methods for participating in those circumstances. We then turn our attention to our mind so that we might verify this as truth. We pay closer attention to changing circumstances and the way in which our mind handles them. We question to see if we are behaving realistically, and compare our conclusions with the teachings we have received. If we see the mistake of conscious apprehension that disturbed our mind, we make note of that and continue on with our day. If we keep up this practise, our mind will naturally move away from a place where it is prone to suffering and arrive at a place where our contentment is less and less vulnerable to the fluctuations of our outer environment. When this process has reached it's completion, suffering stops completely, and we have attained liberation.

It seems to me that our debate is going around in circles. I am putting forward examples and saying "look, this is how suffering can stop", and you are putting forward examples and saying "look, this is how suffering can't stop."


>> he should have said rely on your feelings to tell you what's good and bad for you, and your intelligence to keep you from the bad and near the good! happy mind alone will soon find itself unhappy.

Our feelings never inform us properly about what is good and bad for us. Our feelings tell us that smoking cigarettes or shooting heroin is good for us. Our feelings tell us that unprotected sex is good for us. Our feelings tell us that gambling is good for us. Our feelings tell us that overeating is good for us. Employing intelligence alone to keep our emotions in check is not adequate because it does not address the root of the problem: the desire which arises from our mistaken awareness. If our feelings tell us that overeating is good for us, but we use our intelligence to prevent ourself from overeating and reason that becoming overweight is unhealthy, is this not simply repressing our feelings? Far better it is to cut the root of desire and be physically healthy and content with the portions of food we eat at the same time.

When Buddha is saying that we should rely upon a happy mind alone, he is saying that we should not trust our distrubed states of consciousness to inform us about reality, because these disturbed states are unbalanced by their nature and are full of bias.


>> burning is intrinsically painful

Invariably, when a living physical organism contacts a hot surface, pain signals will be sent to the brain and a sharp sensation will be felt. Of course this is true. The extent to which this experience has the power to disturb our mind, however, is completely up to us. The extent to which being burned has the power to cause us mental unrest is directly proportionate to the extent we are enslaved by attachment to external circumstances.

Let me tell you a story about Gen Kelsang Tharchin, my teacher's teacher. Gen Tharchin is a highly realized monk who lives in Arizona. One day, he was meditating in the desert outside his temple when a snake happened upon him and bit him on the leg. Gen Tharchin tells the story that he felt the sting of the of the snake's fangs on his leg. He felt it slither over his lap and away from him. Seconds later, Gen Tharchin could feel the venom moving through his veins; he said it was a peculiar sensation. He could feel his heart rate slow down and his breathing become laboured. Knowing his life was in danger, he roused himself from meditation and made his way back inside the temple, where he told his disciples he had been bitten and described the appearance of the snake.

Gen Tharchin's disciples were frantic, terrified that their teacher, whom they loved, was about to die. They asked him why he was so calm, and he said there is no reason to lose his peace, because he was not afraid. He said (and this is a famous quote in our tradition) "My body was condemend to die the moment it was born. Why would I cling to something that is only borrowed?" They administered him the anti-venom they had on hand and called an ambulance.

Because of our attachment to our life and our bodies, most of us would have leapt up upon being bitten, ran inside and fumbled with the telephone in our panic. We might even go back outside and try to kill the snake, who was only behaving in the way he knows how. There is no telling the irrational things we might do when we feel our life is about to end suddenly. Why is it that a snake bite can affect one individual's sense of peace so strongly, whereby it had no effect whatsoever on somebody else? It is because external circumstances have no intrinsic power to consume our happiness. They can only consume our happiness if, by continuing to experience the world through the conduit of desire, we allow external circumstances to affect our consciousness.


>> this supposed happiness must be qualitatively different than regular happiness in that it does not pass. regular happiness plainly exists, i think we both agree that it does. surely you can concede that a person who is regularly happy can be regularly happy for an extended period of time

We do agree on these points.


>> now, considering that a person can be regularly happy, and regularly happy for an extended period of time, what makes you think that the spiritual people you're talking about are engaged in happiness of an intransient sort, rather than regular happiness of an extended sort?

All happiness, be it extremely brief or long lasting, is ultimately temporary happiness until we have cut the root of suffering, desire. The people I am talking about are not engaged in a happiness of an intransient sort: rather, they are cultivating a happiness of an intransient sort. As I said before, it is not so black and white. It is not that we are either absolutely pervaded by attachment and totally dependent on conditioned happiness, or utterly non-attached and totally content within ourself. Moving from one dispostion to the other is a gradual process that takes a long time.

The root of our argument, I think, is whether or not unconditioned happiness can be attained. I'm not sure if this is something that can be discovered by debating amongst each other. I can tell you from my personal experience that such happiness definitely can be attained. That's not to say that I've attained it. Far from it, in fact. But over the last three years that I've been practising Buddha's teachings, the power my desires have over me has become less and less. I used to have a terrible temper; it used to be that the slightest disturbance outside myself would cause me to become very angry and very unsettled. I was the sort of person who required that his living space be just so: everything needed to be in it's place and not a single speck of dust was tolerated. Looking back, it was an extremely neurotic way of relating to my surroundings. Now, however, after practising Buddha's teachings, these things no longer matter to me. I am still very organized, but if something happens which causes my living space to become disorgnized or messy, this no longer has the power to upset me. It is because I have softened my desires in that respect.

This is not to say that I have some special attainment. Just a few months ago I underwent seperation from the woman I thought I'd marry. This was incredibly tumultuous for me; I was very aggitated, confused and unhappy. However, I look back at the experience through the lense of Buddha's teachings, and I see that I was under the control of my desirous attachment. In reality, my seperation from her was just a change in the terms of our relationship, and a change in physical proximity. It only became more than this when my attachment to the comfort of different circumstances was frustrated. I do miss her and of course I still love her, but through informing me about the nature of suffering, that fact of our separation now increases my happiness instead of detracting from it.


>> this contradicts what you said earlier, which was that these enlightened beings you know of, and feel pain just like the rest of us. how could they unless they remained attached?

I do not know any enlightened beings personally. I know of beings who are engaged in a practise that leads to the cessation of suffering. They feel pain just like the rest of us. Some of that pain comes from their remaining attachments. Each day that they practise non-attachment makes them less vulnerable to suffering and brings them closer to liberation.

Buddha said "like drops in a bucket, soon the bucket is full." This is the gradual Buddhist path.


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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Ped]
    #5055578 - 12/13/05 01:58 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

>> since you seem to agree that repression exists, what makes you think that fruit of such a task are not the result of repression? surely a repressive person will think themselves happy but not really be. yet this would completely explain the same phenomena you predict. indeed, it is much likelier, since your explanation relies on the same number of principles, plus one: enlightenment.

This is becoming way more complicated that it needs to be. Simply because a person is able to practise non-attachment in a convoluted way that basically amounts to repression does not mean that practising non-attachment equates to repression. This is like saying that because one person got into an car accident, all people who drive cars will have accidents.



well the example about driving cars is not pertinent, since it can be shown that many who drive cars don't have accidents.  yet it can't be shown in a single way tht non-attachment, as you define it, is ever not repression.

what remains is cut away by occam's razor, which is a tool used only when there is no more evidence available to decide an issue.

Quote:

This is how it is possible to take teachings on non-attachment and use them repressively: We hear teachings informing us that our happiness depends on external circumstances only because we assume this to be true. Upon hearing these teachings we generate a new ego-construct for ourselves which must abide by certain dictums we have imposed upon ourself: that we must not become unhappy when external conditions change. When external conditions change, we effectively disallow ourself to experience what otherwise what we would naturally feel. This is denial. It's like putting a small band-aid on a pierced artery and thinking that we are healed. We are still bleeding to death moment by moment.



agreed :thumbup:

Quote:

This is how it is possible to take teachings on non-attachment and acheive freedom from suffering and disatisfacton: We hear teachings informing us that bad feelings don't come from external circumstances, and that in reality they come from our unskilful methods for participating in those circumstances. We then turn our attention to our mind so that we might verify this as truth. We pay closer attention to changing circumstances and the way in which our mind handles them. We question to see if we are behaving realistically, and compare our conclusions with the teachings we have received. If we see the mistake of conscious apprehension that disturbed our mind, we make note of that and continue on with our day. If we keep up this practise, our mind will naturally move away from a place where it is prone to suffering and arrive at a place where our contentment is less and less vulnerable to the fluctuations of our outer environment. When this process has reached it's completion, suffering stops completely, and we have attained liberation.



by suffering i assume mean pain, such as the pain of hunger and loneliness (which is different than the way, for example, bluecoyote uses the word suffering, as something distinct from pain).

now, assuming that, i don't see why the first example (repression) couldn't perfectly explain the second example (enlightened non-attachment).

Quote:

It seems to me that our debate is going around in circles. I am putting forward examples and saying "look, this is how suffering can stop", and you are putting forward examples and saying "look, this is how suffering can't stop."



i don't think this means the debate is going in circles.  i think there is something that could resolve the issue here: whether or not repression can explain non-attachment.  if it can, then occam's razor sides with my position.

Quote:

>> he should have said rely on your feelings to tell you what's good and bad for you, and your intelligence to keep you from the bad and near the good! happy mind alone will soon find itself unhappy.

Our feelings never inform us properly about what is good and bad for us. Our feelings tell us that smoking cigarettes or shooting heroin is good for us. Our feelings tell us that unprotected sex is good for us. Our feelings tell us that gambling is good for us. Our feelings tell us that overeating is good for us.



certain feelings may tell us these things are good for us.  yet other feelings will inform us otherwise.  why is it that i feel guilty after overeating?  why is it that i feel scared before and after unprotected sex?  why is it that i worry about lung cancer after smoking a cigarette?  while some feelings, taken out of context, are pleasurable during "unhealthy" endeavors such as these- other feelings are repressed (such as the guilt, fear, and worry in these examples).

i hold that these feelings each signify a need; what is the psychological meaning of smoking for a person?  why does a person worry about their health when they smoke?  i believe "un-repressing" various emotions allows a person to integrate them into their personality, and find outlets for the underlying needs that result in fewer conflicts among the varying needs.

Quote:

Employing intelligence alone to keep our emotions in check is not adequate because it does not address the root of the problem: the desire which arises from our mistaken awareness. If our feelings tell us that overeating is good for us, but we use our intelligence to prevent ourself from overeating and reason that becoming overweight is unhealthy, is this not simply repressing our feelings?



the feeling of pleasure (which would vary depending on the individual) could be found in other ways; the pleasure implies a need; the need could find an object different than overeating.

Quote:

Far better it is to cut the root of desire and be physically healthy and content with the portions of food we eat at the same time.



first, this begs the question of whether this is possible, and i have shown how unlikely this is possible, with my occam's razor argument.

secondly, i believe the repression happens in these cases of what we must call "pathological" behaviors (for the sake of this argument), and resolving the repression in the personality, and integrated the repressed need with the unrepressed need, would solve the problems.

Quote:

When Buddha is saying that we should rely upon a happy mind alone, he is saying that we should not trust our distrubed states of consciousness to inform us about reality, because these disturbed states are unbalanced by their nature and are full of bias.



yet this contradicts the fact of these disturbed states: what is your explanation of why we have evolved with these disturbed states?  my explanation is that evolution provided us with them because they helped our anscestors survive; and how could they help any organism surivve unless these states provide information about reality (for example, the way hunger provides information about the reality of an unfed belly).

Quote:

>> burning is intrinsically painful
Invariably, when a living physical organism contacts a hot surface, pain signals will be sent to the brain and a sharp sensation will be felt. Of course this is true. The extent to which this experience has the power to disturb our mind, however, is completely up to us. The extent to which being burned has the power to cause us mental unrest is directly proportionate to the extent we are enslaved by attachment to external circumstances.



what do you mean by unrest?
for example, can loneliness be merely pain or must it always be unrest?

Quote:

Let me tell you a story about Gen Kelsang Tharchin, my teacher's teacher. Gen Tharchin is a highly realized monk who lives in Arizona. One day, he was meditating in the desert outside his temple when a snake happened upon him and bit him on the leg. Gen Tharchin tells the story that he felt the sting of the of the snake's fangs on his leg. He felt it slither over his lap and away from him. Seconds later, Gen Tharchin could feel the venom moving through his veins; he said it was a peculiar sensation. He could feel his heart rate slow down and his breathing become laboured. Knowing his life was in danger, he roused himself from meditation and made his way back inside the temple, where he told his disciples he had been bitten and described the appearance of the snake.

Gen Tharchin's disciples were frantic, terrified that their teacher, whom they loved, was about to die. They asked him why he was so calm, and he said there is no reason to lose his peace, because he was not afraid. He said (and this is a famous quote in our tradition) "My body was condemend to die the moment it was born. Why would I cling to something that is only borrowed?" They administered him the anti-venom they had on hand and called an ambulance.

Because of our attachment to our life and our bodies, most of us would have leapt up upon being bitten, ran inside and fumbled with the telephone in our panic. We might even go back outside and try to kill the snake, who was only behaving in the way he knows how. There is no telling the irrational things we might do when we feel our life is about to end suddenly. Why is it that a snake bite can affect one individual's sense of peace so strongly, whereby it had no effect whatsoever on somebody else? It is because external circumstances have no intrinsic power to consume our happiness. They can only consume our happiness if, by continuing to experience the world through the conduit of desire, we allow external circumstances to affect our consciousness.



i disagree.  a counterexample in the abstract would be a person with a larger stomach who feels hunger more easily.

specifically, in this case, if this person doesn't really care about staying alive so much, because he truly believes dying isn't going to stop him from acheiving his deepest desire (enlightened reincarnation) then it's perfectly possible that he acted this way.

yet what is different about this person is the beliefs he truly has about the world.  like, if i believe there's a monster in my closet, i won't open it.  yet if person X doesn't believe there's a monster, he'll open it whenever he wants.

so here's an explanation for this person's behavior that does not rely on the dissolution of desire.

Quote:

>> now, considering that a person can be regularly happy, and regularly happy for an extended period of time, what makes you think that the spiritual people you're talking about are engaged in happiness of an intransient sort, rather than regular happiness of an extended sort?

All happiness, be it extremely brief or long lasting, is ultimately temporary happiness until we have cut the root of suffering, desire. The people I am talking about are not engaged in a happiness of an intransient sort: rather, they are cultivating a happiness of an intransient sort. As I said before, it is not so black and white. It is not that we are either absolutely pervaded by attachment and totally dependent on conditioned happiness, or utterly non-attached and totally content within ourself. Moving from one dispostion to the other is a gradual process that takes a long time.



yet the happiness these people apparently have could still be attributed to long-lasting happiness.  my question was, why do you interpret this as intransient happiness, instead of long-lasting happiness?  how can you tell the difference?  it seems you have merely re-asserted that this happiness is intransient, without offering an explanation of why you think it's intransient rather than transient.

the reason i ask is because, as far as i can tell, there's no difference; and the reason i think it's transient, is this is the explanation that accords with occam's razor.

Quote:

The root of our argument, I think, is whether or not unconditioned happiness can be attained. I'm not sure if this is something that can be discovered by debating amongst each other. I can tell you from my personal experience that such happiness definitely can be attained. That's not to say that I've attained it. Far from it, in fact. But over the last three years that I've been practising Buddha's teachings, the power my desires have over me has become less and less. I used to have a terrible temper; it used to be that the slightest disturbance outside myself would cause me to become very angry and very unsettled. I was the sort of person who required that his living space be just so: everything needed to be in it's place and not a single speck of dust was tolerated. Looking back, it was an extremely neurotic way of relating to my surroundings. Now, however, after practising Buddha's teachings, these things no longer matter to me. I am still very organized, but if something happens which causes my living space to become disorgnized or messy, this no longer has the power to upset me. It is because I have softened my desires in that respect.



well listen, as an aside, i'm glad you feel changed in a way that makes you feel happier with how you relate to your world :thumbup:

back to the debate: maybe there's another explanation for these phenomena, than cessation of desire.  for example, people on this board have mentioned to posssibility of not acting on a desire when you have it, and it's been impressed on me that buddhism teaches this.  that could explain at least some of the phenomena you've experienced.  another thing is that it's not improbable that people who meditate and mindfully watch their thoughts and feelings as they arise, could therefore become less repressed in the process of meditation, and consequently integrate repressed feelings in a way that leads away from neuroticism.

Quote:

This is not to say that I have some special attainment. Just a few months ago I underwent seperation from the woman I thought I'd marry. This was incredibly tumultuous for me; I was very aggitated, confused and unhappy. However, I look back at the experience through the lense of Buddha's teachings, and I see that I was under the control of my desirous attachment. In reality, my seperation from her was just a change in the terms of our relationship, and a change in physical proximity. It only became more than this when my attachment to the comfort of different circumstances was frustrated. I do miss her and of course I still love her, but through informing me about the nature of suffering, that fact of our separation now increases my happiness instead of detracting from it.



debate aside, i'm glad you found some meaning through this experience, ped :heart:

Quote:

I do not know any enlightened beings personally. I know of beings who are engaged in a practise that leads to the cessation of suffering. They feel pain just like the rest of us. Some of that pain comes from their remaining attachments. Each day that they practise non-attachment makes them less vulnerable to suffering and brings them closer to liberation.

Buddha said "like drops in a bucket, soon the bucket is full." This is the gradual Buddhist path.



bluecoyote on this board (and i've seen the idea posted before) stated that there's a difference between pain and suffering.  for example, pain happens when a person touches a hot stove, or is isolated from people; yet suffering (in this conception) more-or-less means that a person is reacting to pain in an "unskilful" manner.

i don't know, but i wonder if perhaps conceiving of suffering in this way could reconcile the objections i have, and the buddhism you practice.

what do you think?


--------------------
"consensus on the nature of equilibrium is usually established by periodic conflict." -henry kissinger


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OfflinePed
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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: crunchytoast]
    #5055897 - 12/13/05 04:39 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

>> yet it can't be shown in a single way tht non-attachment, as you define it, is ever not repression.

That's true.  However, just because it can't be shown doesn't mean it can't occur. 


>> if this person doesn't really care about staying alive so much,

If he did not care about dying, then why did he rouse himself to obtain medical help?  Why not did he simply remain with the intriguing sensations he was feeling until his death? 

There is an answer to this question that comes directly from his own mouth, although I don't have the exact quote accessible to me, so I will have to paraphrase.  Gen Tharchin said, "knowing that there is no certainty of continuing my Dharma practise in the next life, I should seek medical help so that I might preserve the opportunity I have now to attain enlightenment.  This is the only way I will be able to benefit living beings directly as the actual expression of Buddha's great compassion."


>> yet the happiness these people apparently have could still be attributed to long-lasting happiness. my question was, why do you interpret this as intransient happiness, instead of long-lasting happiness? how can you tell the difference? it seems you have merely re-asserted that this happiness is intransient, without offering an explanation of why you think it's intransient rather than transient.

This leads us back to the question:  "Can intransient happiness actually exist."

Let me clarify how I understand these spiritual people.  Until they have achieved liberation, whatever happiness they are experiencing now is temporary.  This is because they have not yet cut the root of desire:  ignorance.  However, they are engaged in a practise which transmutes ignorance in to wisdom.  The extent to which they've had success with this is the extent to which they are free from suffering.  It's not until they've stopped ignorance completely and achieved liberation that suffering has stopped and their happiness becomes intransient.

This happiness is intransient because it does not depend on transient things, such as outer circumstances, or the idea of self-existence.


>> people on this board have mentioned to posssibility of not acting on a desire when you have it, and it's been impressed on me that buddhism teaches this. that could explain at least some of the phenomena you've experienced. another thing is that it's not improbable that people who meditate and mindfully watch their thoughts and feelings as they arise, could therefore become less repressed in the process of meditation, and consequently integrate repressed feelings in a way that leads away from neuroticism.

Buddhism does not teach that we do not act on desire when it appears.  In fact it's when desire appears that we are most active.  Buddhism involves the actual applied study of desire.  What better opportunity to study desire than when it appears to us directly!

The difference between the way a Buddhist handles desire and the way a person unengaged in the spiritual path handles desires is as follows.  The person uninterested in spiritual progress becomes absorbed by their desires.  They begin to identify with them.  They sell themselves and give up all their possessions for their desires. For the satisfaction of their desires, they fight with each other and hurt even those they love.  Such is the power of desire to guide our actions in many ways that harm us.  A Buddhist, or anyone interested in stopping this problem, on the other hand, becomes acutely aware of their desires when they appear, and, without becoming absorbed them, scrutinizes them for the authenticity of perspective which gives rise to them, and their actual potential to alleviate suffering.

This is a dispassionate way of relating to the mind and to the world, but it is not repressive.  It allows a person's feelings and inclinations to arise completely, and cease of their own volition, just as a person controlled by their desires would experience.  The difference is that an alertness exists in the mind of the one who is interested in ending their suffering.  It is a kind of awareness which functions to guide us away from suffering and in to real happiness.


>> there's a difference between pain and suffering. for example, pain happens when a person touches a hot stove, or is isolated from people; yet suffering (in this conception) more-or-less means that a person is reacting to pain in an "unskilful" manner.

This is about as close as we have come to agreeing yet! :smile:

Pain does not cause suffering.  Suffering is a mistake that occurs only within the mind.  If this is the meaning of what's quoted above, then we agree.


--------------------


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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: crunchytoast]
    #5057036 - 12/13/05 01:58 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

crunchytoast said:
yet i feel like i don't get my point across in these threads.  as right as you are, i'm under the impression that many people are still going to walk away believing they can choose to be happy by "reprogramming" alone- which doesn't make sense:

if a need is real, then the need must be satisfied (i agree it can be tuna or eggs).  simply "reprogramming" one's brain, however, doesn't satisfy any need, cause a person's still got to eat in the first place.




I think the result of all of this difference in viewpoints is that you seem to blur the distinctions between physical needs and desires. Most of your examples and points agansit the concept of "mental programming" relate to the need to eat and the experience of being hungry which prompts one to eat. I will not deny that hunger is a signal expressing a need to consume sustenance, and that responding to the signal by gathering and thus consuming sustenance is beneficial to the health and wellbeing of the individual. I will also not deny that, if one is operating with desires within one's mind, these desires will be experienced similarily to physical needs. If the distinction is not made between physical necessities that are suggested to us that we become conscious of them through mental signals, and thought-based desires that operate as a mechanism that identifies a suspossed need and manipulates our experience of our emotional being to send signals to our conscious presence that suggest we fufill those needs, then it is perfectly understandable that one would not see the benefit of mentally reprogramming these mental desires, as one would thus find them as necessary and their needs as real.

It is not a physical neccessity for us to feel as though we are bored in a situation where we are not faced with a certain stimulation that we are partial towards. If I am sitting in a doctor's waiting room, and the situation that has brought me to be in such a circumstance is such that we do not feel it is beneficial to bring ourselves elsewhere, and the only real options for activity as we wait are to read out-dated magazines or sit silently and observe the room.... Is it a physical necessity for us to receive the signal that specifies that this situation is boring and lacking substance, in order to provoke us to fufill the need to be satisfied in whichever manner it is we wish to satisfy ourselves (television, friends, guitar, etc.)?

Is it a physical necessity for myself to feel fear when contemplating the possibillity of losing one's job and the possible chance of having difficulity in securing another occupation? While the necessity relative to one's living situation demands that one is employed in order to sustain one's livelihood within that situation, the experience of an emotional signal such as fear will only seperate oneself from the present experience one is in, which would interfere with one's ability to interact with their environment in a manner that would demonstate that it would not be wise for their employer to fire them.

If one is a conscious, understanding, aware individual who realizes the possibillity of losing one's job and the prospect of finding a new one, one wouldn't need a signal that drains that consciousness and thus inhibits one's ability to work towards a preferred outcome. Upgrading one's desires into preferences that do not inflict negative emotions or disrupt our continuous center in being and peace by rewarding one for taking action towards one's desire with positive emotions gives oneself more ability to fufill their preferences. If the situation that reality presents is not preferential, as reality is so vast and contains near limitless, interacting variables that it is fact that it will not always unfold as one prefers or demands, then one does not become emotionally upset and seperate one from the only oppurtunity one has in which to interact and experience.

Quote:

you can bet your bottom dollar that its antithesis will remain popular.




One's mind is actively reprogramming itself naturally, as it interacts with reality in every instant as it directly perceives it through its senses, whether one is consciously participating in that mental programming or not. Any desire stems from one's illusory sense of self, and as one's sense of self can take any form possible, relative to the confines of our experience, it is entirely possible to focus on one's conscious presence and fully create oneself as one wishes.

Is it possible to learn a new language? Definitely. Is it possible to go through therapy to overcome fears or addictions? Most certainly. Is it conceivable that one can induce a fantastic experience with mushrooms and experience oneself in entirely new forms? D'uh. Can one determinedly put themselves through intense, focused practice such as meditation or physical training in order to change aspects of themselves permanently? Can one enter new patterns of behavior that will become routine, such as taking the new dog outside to use nature's facilities?

We can choose to change ourselves. The more we understand ourselves and what composes us and is responsible for who we are and our perspective and understanding, the more able we are to truly create ourselves in a higher, present, aware form. We can upgrade our mind and its thought patterns and behaviors to a new, upgraded format that will serve as a more effective tool for conducting our experience of life. Blurring the lines between physical necessity and emotion-bound desire presenting itself as physical need that is merely an unecessary, disadvantageous abstraction is the first obstruction from being able to initialize such profound, meaningful transformation.

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?




This is a prime display of the fundamental source of your inability to realize what it is that I am expressing. "Force of will" (force has absolutely nothing to do with it :lol:), mental programming is not being proposed as a means by which to satisfy some suspossed need. It is being presented as the ability to remove the unnecessary parasite that is the abstractive desire by reprogramming the glitch in one's thought processes responsible for that desire. There is no point in trying to satisfy a delusional necessity as doing so is folly. It is as simple as burning off the tick with one's wildfire of awareness, consciousness, being. :smirk:

:headbang: :headbang: :satansmoking:
Peace. :mushroom2:


--------------------
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If I should die this very moment
I wouldn't fear
For I've never known completeness
Like being here
Wrapped in the warmth of you
Loving every breath of you

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Re: the root of suffering is desire [Re: Ped]
    #5057067 - 12/13/05 02:04 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

Ped said:
Pain does not cause suffering.  Suffering is a mistake that occurs only within the mind.  If this is the meaning of what's quoted above, then we agree.




I haven't had the time yet to catch up on this exchange, but this distinction between pain and suffering is of the same essence of my illustrations of the distinction between one's physical needs (such as hunger) and one's mental desires presented as physical needs (such as loneliness or boredom). Does that help at all, crunchy?

And at that, it is now bed-time. :grin:

:headbang: :headbang: :headbang: :satansmoking:
Peace. :mushroom2:


--------------------
:redpanda:
If I should die this very moment
I wouldn't fear
For I've never known completeness
Like being here
Wrapped in the warmth of you
Loving every breath of you

:heartpump: :bunnyhug: :yinyang:

:yinyang: :levitate: :earth: :levitate: :yinyang:


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