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Over the last few weeks my dad had a visit from his ex-wife from long ago. She is a Jewish american, now 81 years old, and on the return leg of a long journey through Israel, Greece and Jordan, visiting places and friends she had known for a long time, she stopped by in the Netherlands. We got the impression that she knew that she wasn’t going to be able to do this again, and so that this was kind of a saying goodbye tour.
She was staying with my dad and he had asked me whether I could take over accompanying her for a day, to free him up to go to a concert. So I took her to a lovely museum, and travelling on the way back by train we were discussing life and everything. Then she said to me that it wasn’t enough just to drift through life, that one had to have a passion, something that really gave you joy. Now I respect and love her tremendously, she is a wonderful lady, but this set me to thinking.
Buddhism generally doesn’t encourage you to have passions, because passions tend to be things you cling to. It leads to a very free and peaceful mode of existence, you often hear that reflected in the voices of the more advanced monks, with a certain joy and focus. But do you think that to be a complete human being one needs to have passions? Things that you could let go of but that you keep?
Would you agree that without passions you tend to end up drifting, unmotivated in life?