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Greed and desire

DelDel BC Canada New

Hi All

I was referred by a health care provider a few years ago to a mindfulness course to help me with anxiety I have had for my entire life. I really found this mindfulness course helpful and it has lead me to reading and discovering more about buddhism. The internet has made this process relatively easy lots of experiences to read, video, podcasts and list of books to explore. I just had another question though about one thing that has come to my mind a few times over the years and I just wanted to get people’s thoughts on it.

Greed and desire, I have seen referred to or described as the material (desiring things) or the positional (position of power or influence). Currently I have been noticing that rather than people talking about the desire for these things it seems more about the desire for experience, the holiday, the restaurant, the party etc… I am also wondering if these are just different sides to the same coin.

Just wondering as most of the material I have listened to and read as often used objects as the examples, what do people think?

Del

Shoshin

Comments

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    It is the desire that is the issue not the object of it. Basically, because when we desire something (whether it's new shoes, a vacation, a relationship or what) not getting it leads us to suffering. Cutting that tie decreases suffering. That doesn't mean though that we should never want/desire anything. It means moreso that we should let go of our attachment to the expectation of a particular outcome of that desire. So that if we don't get it (or get it in the way we think we should) it does not cause us suffering.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited July 3

    The way I have heard it the objects don't fulfill the desire which is the problem. So deep in the desire there is something that is just the nature of mind as 'sensitivity'. So we have as our nature some kind of desire and we try to fulfill it with things that will never work. Those objects aren't 'wrong' plagues but they are impermanent and unreliable and so forth. But the way I am describing is in the tantric teachings where we find the heart of desire and anger and ignorance to be transformed into sensitivity, clarity, and spaciousness. But the easy part to see (having no reading experience of tantra) is that the objects aren't reliable to fulfill the desire. So then the next step is to turn back to look at the desire itself and say "what is that?" why do I want 'such and such'?

    But when you let go of all the objects what is left? Is desire for enlightenment another object? Is enlightenment going to be another object akin to a piece of pie or a trip to Paris?

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Good points from @Jeffrey

    Mindfulness is a spectrum of awareness. There are objects, mind clutter/objects and things we object to or are attracted to. Equanimity/Ye Olde Middle Way is aware and mindful of these and Tantra/sutra and Mr S.* Buddha move us towards a peaceful/safe place in our self ...

    Monkey mind, our dukkha grabbing self, grasps at pleasure and pain.

    Relax and let go ... Breath away the tightness ...

    *Shake Ya Moony/booty

  • DelDel BC Canada New

    Thanks for the input. seems like desire that causes suffering can be had from almost any type of desire.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    (There's no 'seems' about it. ;) )

    Welcome to the forum. :)

    upekka
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited July 3

    I've found the more ephemeral desires take more insight and time to recognise and deal with, than a simple desire for a nice car or new shoes. It took me a long time to find that since childhood I had held a dream of being socially successful, with a wide circle of friends, and that this was part of why I felt lonely at times.

    The dynamics of ones desires go into some deep waters, often one desire hiding behind another. You desire new shoes because you want to look beautiful, you want to look beautiful because you want others to adore you, etcetera. It often goes back to what happened to you in childhood.

    In the end you have to do the work of uncovering these things, it's mindfully examining yourself and learning not to look away or ignore or avoid what you see. And often moments where you are being challenged can be the most useful, because they bring things to the surface that you don't often see.

    ShoshinJeffreysilver
  • GuiGui Veteran

    Ultimately when desires arise, try to find whom is expressing them and you might come up empty.

    Shoshin
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Eg.... People often misquote the Bible as saying, "Money is the root of all evil." The correct quote is, "the love of money is the root of all evil."

    Sticking with the roots for a moment and sidestepping the inevitable pissing contest about "evil," it's the same in Buddhism. Craving is the stumbling block.

    upekka
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Del said:
    Thanks for the input. seems like desire that causes suffering can be had from almost any type of desire.

    Indeed.

    Some follow the ascetic model, some go the tantra tantrum wheel way to overcome the raving craving dance ...

    My lay practioner model is somewhere between voluntary simplicity and bursts of hedonism when the Buddha is not being mindful ...

    My understanding of moderation is, 'everything in moderation, including moderation' ... o:)

    silverpommesetoranges
  • NamadaNamada Veteran
    edited July 5

    Desire is what it is, just like anger, jelousy, resentment and so on, it is empty and not lasting. It can be very strong though and difficult to deal with at certain times.
    Like sugar craving

    Oposite of desire, is to be content with what you have, its good enough.
    Thats kind of oposite of what "normal" people think, in our modern world success is always to get more of x and y. But success in buddhism its to be ok with what you already have in the present moment.

    lobster
  • NamadaNamada Veteran
    edited July 5

    awsome picture, To be content with your own trash, thats art (and hardcore dharma) :)
    You eat really healthy stuff by the way, where is the chocolate paper?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Tracey Emin made a fortune out of a far less attractive exhibition. Really nice photo, @lobster! Seems you do have some useful talents after all! :p
    :D

    lobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    What a load of rubbish :winky:

    upekkalobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Thanks guys. That is the compost recycling for the garden.
    Choccy paper, plastics etc go elsewhere and are removed by council ...

    I am using a new filter app, 'prisma'. Wonderful it be ...

  • namarupanamarupa Veteran

    There's a level of greed, desire, anger, hate, delusion, and ignorance where they arise and pass away without giving us any trouble. There's also another level where they take over our being completely and leave us in more trouble than we can handle. If we practice mindfulness enough, it does seem quite possible that we should be able to bring it back to the level where it does not cause us suffering.

    lobsterupekka
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Most of us ... oh OK maybe just me are out of control. In other words not attentive/mindful/detached/objective about the subtleties of greed, desire, anger, hate, delusion, and ignorance that @namarupa mentions ...

    This is where sangha/companions are a kind of sounding board that remind/reframe/expose our hypocrisy.

    It really does not matter what people think or say they are like.
    They are in reality and finally in Reality very different . . . B)

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Who you are, is what you do."

  • upekkaupekka Veteran

    @federica said:
    Who you are, is what you do."

    Hmmm...

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @federica said:
    Who you are, is what you do.

    Then no transformation would be possible without action. You might find that thought, the stream of consciousness, breathing are all actions...

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    What I mean is this:
    There can be no happiness, contentment peace and fulfilment if the things you say are different to the things you do.

    If we say one thing, but do another, we reveal the truth about ourselves.
    Actions speak louder than words.

    In the mildest form, I have a colleague who considers herself to be overweight, and keeps saying "I going to go on a diet...!"

    To date, that 'intention' remains unfulfilled.

    No-one believes her, anyway.....

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Del said:
    Greed and desire, I have seen referred to or described as the material (desiring things) or the positional (position of power or influence). Currently I have been noticing that rather than people talking about the desire for these things it seems more about the desire for experience, the holiday, the restaurant, the party etc… I am also wondering if these are just different sides to the same coin.

    In the negative skill set that we karmically inherit, we may find greed and desire. How to skilfully reassign this useless capacity gangham tantra style?

    • Holy day a retreat - get greedy for real way out way in experience
    • Cook your own food/health/medicine, become greedy for well being and being well
    • Party with those desiring liberation aka the Sangha
  • upekkaupekka Veteran
    edited July 6

    be greed to get rid of greed

    Chanda (greed) is one of the four bases of power/ Irdhipada (within 37 Wings to awakening/37 Bojjanga)

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @federica said:
    What I mean is this:
    There can be no happiness, contentment peace and fulfilment if the things you say are different to the things you do.

    If we say one thing, but do another, we reveal the truth about ourselves.
    Actions speak louder than words.

    In the mildest form, I have a colleague who considers herself to be overweight, and keeps saying "I going to go on a diet...!"

    To date, that 'intention' remains unfulfilled.

    No-one believes her, anyway.....

    I agree. It is a rather natural human trait to be bigger talkers than do-ers. That's true in all religions. I was surprised and disappointed recently to find that -- at least in one particular area -- my words were stronger than my actions. Gotta work on that!

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Del said:
    Hi All

    I was referred by a health care provider a few years ago to a mindfulness course to help me with anxiety I have had for my entire life. I really found this mindfulness course helpful and it has lead me to reading and discovering more about buddhism. The internet has made this process relatively easy lots of experiences to read, video, podcasts and list of books to explore. I just had another question though about one thing that has come to my mind a few times over the years and I just wanted to get people’s thoughts on it.

    Greed and desire, I have seen referred to or described as the material (desiring things) or the positional (position of power or influence). Currently I have been noticing that rather than people talking about the desire for these things it seems more about the desire for experience, the holiday, the restaurant, the party etc… I am also wondering if these are just different sides to the same coin.

    Just wondering as most of the material I have listened to and read as often used objects as the examples, what do people think?

    Del

    Simple answer "Yes" you're on the right track (or path as one would say in Buddhism)
    Just as Desire & Aversion are two sides of the same coin....

    lobster
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    It can be really hard to stick to your actions versus just words when you are involved with other people. I can be sound in what I believe, but acting out of it sometimes creates more problems with people who don't think the same, mostly family in my case. When my practice comes into play, for example, when dealing with kid issues, sometimes what I believe in doing is in conflict with my husband, because of how he was raised and how he sticks with that being the right way which sometimes is completely opposite of what I want to do. Most of the time, I insist on "my way" but then I have to go and repair arguments with him over it because he feels I just run over his thoughts and feelings. So, it is difficult. Sometimes I know the more skillful action, but I also know that it's going to cause problems with someone. So, I might talk about it but not be able to put it in action.

    I don't regret being married and having a family. That is my path in this life. But trying to maintain practice within it is definitely a challenge and it's easy to see why they recommend not being a householder if you want to delve seriously into living your practice. I think having a family offers unique opportunities to practice. But, you cannot have a family without considering the needs and beliefs of others, even if they are in stark contrast to yourself. And then you have to negotiate and compromise your beliefs to keep the peace.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @vinlyn said:
    I agree. It is a rather natural human trait to be bigger talkers than do-ers. That's true in all religions. I was surprised and disappointed recently to find that -- at least in one particular area -- my words were stronger than my actions. Gotta work on that!

    B)
    Me too.

    Kindness and compassion for our human traits. Becoming aware of the divide between ideal and our state of mind/speech/sensations is always a work/Buddha in progress ...

    Hukuna Matata

    Hozan
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