Dealing With Desire

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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:51 pm

Indrajala wrote:This is a fault to consider and good cause for abandoning desire.


Yes, if you are practicing a path of renunciation. But in the Kali Yoga, this is not realistic.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:59 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Indrajala wrote:This is a fault to consider and good cause for abandoning desire.


Yes, if you are practicing a path of renunciation. But in the Kali Yoga, this is not realistic.


Prove it.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:22 pm

Indrajala wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Indrajala wrote:This is a fault to consider and good cause for abandoning desire.


Yes, if you are practicing a path of renunciation. But in the Kali Yoga, this is not realistic.


Prove it.



Prove what, that this is not a good time for paths of renunciation?

With logic and reason or text? Or both.

As for the first, [though you simply wont agree even when presented with a vast amount of evidence] in this day and age, the Sangha of Bhikṣus has basically come to the point where it is basically badge wearing and politics, and is completely irrelevant in the world we live in, outside of offering pastoral service to ethnic Buddhists (in ever declining numbers).

And of course there are numerous tantras that declare the path of renunciation of desire objects is no longer effective.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby oushi » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:39 pm

Indrajala wrote:
oushi wrote:When you are done with desire for relationship, try removing thirst and hunger...


I think there's a difference between a physiological desire and mental desire. Desire in the context of achieving liberation is understood more as the latter. Physical processes in the body for example can prompt sexual desire when one is exposed to pheromones perhaps, but that's different from reacting to a sense object either in a sensory field or constructed in the mind.

When something doesn't make sense as a whole, lets divide it into parts...

Itivuttaka 54
Centered,
mindful,
alert,
the Awakened One's
disciple
discerns searches,
how searches come into play,
where they cease,
& the path to their ending.

With the ending of searches, a monk
free of want
is totally unbound.


Itivuttaka 55
Sensual search, becoming-search,
together with the holy-life search
i.e., grasping at truth
based on an accumulation
of viewpoints:
through the relinquishing of searches
& the abolishing of viewpoints
of one dispassionate to
all passion,
and released in the ending
of craving,
through the ending of searches, the monk
is devoid of perplexity &
desire.


Sensual desire in one line with desire for holy-life, both binding in the same way. Dropping desires is still a desire. Drop all or nothing. If you drop all you drop nothing, if you drop nothing you drop all. This is going beyond desires.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby spot dawa » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:06 pm

Malcolm wrote:As for the first, [though you simply wont agree even when presented with a vast amount of evidence] in this day and age, the Sangha of Bhikṣus has basically come to the point where it is basically badge wearing and politics, and is completely irrelevant in the world we live in, outside of offering pastoral service to ethnic Buddhists (in ever declining numbers).

And of course there are numerous tantras that declare the path of renunciation of desire objects is no longer effective.


oushi wrote:Sensual desire in one line with desire for holy-life, both binding in the same way.


Very great points here that I have personally struggled with quite a lot.

First, there are organizations called "sanghas" just like there are building called "churches." The Jewel of Refuge that is the Sangha, may or may not overlap with robe-wearing people. The Dharma exists outside of any capitalized name groups (such as "Buddhism") and so does the Sangha. Whether it is small or large, the actual Sangha will never be irrelevant unless it ceases to exists (heh, yes it will). If you cannot take refuge in the true sangha, then you are taking refuge in a club.

There will always be high-minded and seemingly sophisticated people that declare that renunciation of desire objects is not effective. Tantra is much older than Buddhadharma in this dispensation; the opinion is not new. But to affirm this -- "renunciation doesn't work" -- is to give yourself over to desire with an impossibly spiritual motivation; and if you do this in the context of Dharma, you are sliding down razor blades. My opinion.

Desire for the Dharma, for ritual, for ceremony, is also a fetter like sensual desire or lust. However you can use Dharma to overcome lust, or lust to overcome Dharma. The Dharma also contains instructions for the cessation of attachment to the Dharma, as well as lust. Do not give up on defeating lust on the grounds that it's "the same" as being addicted to practice. It is not the same, but the antidote is the same.

I am a renunciate without an "order" but I do have a universal sangha. I am a gay man who does not cultivate lustful thought or actions, though with no vows to break. The Kali Yuga can kiss my ass.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:16 pm

spot dawa wrote:who does not cultivate lustful thought or actions...


Desire objects are not confined to sex. Bodhisattvas in Mahāyāna training are not supposed to enjoy any sense objects for their own benefit, only if it will benefit others. The general attitude in Mahāyāna towards sense objects is illustrated by Candragomin:

    Objects and poisons are alike, pleasing just when first tasted.
    Objects and poisons are alike, their result is unpleasant and unbearable.
    Objects and poisons are alike, causing one to be clouded by the darkness of ignorance.
    Objects and poisons are alike, their power is hard to reverse, and deceptive.
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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:32 pm

Malcolm wrote:As for the first, [though you simply wont agree even when presented with a vast amount of evidence] in this day and age, the Sangha of Bhikṣus has basically come to the point where it is basically badge wearing and politics, and is completely irrelevant in the world we live in, outside of offering pastoral service to ethnic Buddhists (in ever declining numbers).
I personally know quite a few sangha members that are really serious practitioners and their choice to become renunciates is part of that practice (renunciation being a practice praised by the historical Buddha). Please try to avoid the sweeping generalisations.
And of course there are numerous tantras that declare the path of renunciation of desire objects is no longer effective.
This one ain't going to work if the other party does not acknowledge the validity/authority of the text you are quoting. One may even suggest that these tantra were written by lay adepts in an attempt to legitimise their religious status during a specific historical period. I could even say that you may be using them to legitimise your current (non-monastic) path.

But hey, different strokes for different folks, live and let live... Many varying paths leading to the same goal. That is what your teachers says, right?

So you better stick to logic then.
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One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby spot dawa » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:37 pm

Malcolm wrote:
spot dawa wrote:who does not cultivate lustful thought or actions...


Desire objects are not confined to sex. Bodhisattvas in Mahāyāna training are not supposed to enjoy any sense objects for their own benefit, only if it will benefit others. The general attitude in Mahāyāna towards sense objects is illustrated by Candragomin:

    Objects and poisons are alike, pleasing just when first tasted.
    Objects and poisons are alike, their result is unpleasant and unbearable.
    Objects and poisons are alike, causing one to be clouded by the darkness of ignorance.
    Objects and poisons are alike, their power is hard to reverse, and deceptive.


Certainly true, Malcolm! There is a certain very powerful feeling of joy that comes with surrender. A person who has pledged to be of benefit to all sentient beings is drawn on to holiness by that joy, and the pleasures of compassion and lovingkindness. Those feelings of enjoyment are also capable of becoming fetters; they are to be replaced by equanimity.

Also in the same vein as desire, is aversion, as is indifference. Equanimity is the result of applying the antidote to these poisons. :namaste:
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Karma Dorje » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:40 pm

spot dawa wrote:Certainly true, Malcolm! There is a certain very powerful feeling of joy that comes with surrender. A person who has pledged to be of benefit to all sentient beings is drawn on to holiness by that joy, and the pleasures of compassion and lovingkindness. Those feelings of enjoyment are also capable of becoming fetters; they are to be replaced by equanimity.

Also in the same vein as desire, is aversion, as is indifference. Equanimity is the result of applying the antidote to these poisons. :namaste:


Applying antidotes is just housekeeping in a dream.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby oushi » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:46 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:Applying antidotes is just housekeeping in a dream.

Good one!
What about destroying antidotes?
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:46 pm

gregkavarnos wrote: Please try to avoid the sweeping generalisations.


Why? You don't.


Look around, it is not like there are thousands of arhats, or first stage bodhisattvas. We are not in India in the Pre-Gupta phase, when realization was relatively easy.

We are at the stale end of the dispensation of Śākyamuni. Hell, most [Mahāyāna] people here don't even believe the texts they follow were actually authored by the historical Buddha.

95% of all the westerners that really try to do the Bhikṣu thing give back their vows. It is a little different with bhikṣunis, because they are more ideologically motivated [which is also not exactly renunciation].

As a great Sakya master put it "What's the use of the cutting the hair on your head if you can't cut the woolly mess of concepts?"

I know a lot of bhikṣus -- and every last one of them is worldly and lacks renunciation. Not one of them lives according to Vinaya. It is different in Theravada, of course. But that is ethnic Buddhism, as far as the bhikku Sangha goes -- and even then, renunciation is in short supply in Theravadin monasteries as well.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Lhug-Pa » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:47 pm

Malcolm is correct.

My problem with these types of conversations though, is deciding whether or not it is even constructive to engage in them; because I don't know if what I say will be conducive to others getting better informed, or if it will only result in me trying to condition people who have already apparently made up their minds.

Now that the cat is out the bag here, I'll nonetheless go ahead and repeat what has been said before:

The only way chaste-celibacy could really even work for anyone, is for those who are able to go—like in the days when the Buddha Shakyumuni was teaching as a Nirmanakaya manifestation—live in the forests and mountains (very little human-contact, able to meditate all day without any distractions, very clean fresh air which in itself could help to naturally sublimate the sexual energies, etc.).

Regarding those who are more or less forced to live in urban and suburban environments, and/or who are cloistered in nunneries/monasteries, however, it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to keep up chaste-celibacy (look at the 'condoms in Bhutan' thread for example, and all the other scandals that keep coming up surrounding monastics); that is unless they have access to some powerful Vajrayana or Tantrayana methods for sexual-transmutation that work directly with the body, such as Trul Khor or 'Khrul 'Khor, Yantra Yoga, Tummo, Tsa-Lung, etc.

This is one big example of why Sutrayana alone is unrealistic for those who can't retreat to the forests to meditate, i.e. because Sutrayana doesn't have swift enough methods for transmuting the very subtle, yet very powerful sexual aspect of the Thigle/Bindu, Srog/Prana, and Tsa/Nadis.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:48 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:
spot dawa wrote:Certainly true, Malcolm! There is a certain very powerful feeling of joy that comes with surrender. A person who has pledged to be of benefit to all sentient beings is drawn on to holiness by that joy, and the pleasures of compassion and lovingkindness. Those feelings of enjoyment are also capable of becoming fetters; they are to be replaced by equanimity.

Also in the same vein as desire, is aversion, as is indifference. Equanimity is the result of applying the antidote to these poisons. :namaste:


Applying antidotes is just housekeeping in a dream.



Indeed.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby spot dawa » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:51 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:Applying antidotes is just housekeeping in a dream.


I agree, Karma Dorje. Also, making beds is just housekeeping in a dream. So is studying the Dharma. Nirvana itself arises due to conditions, empty of an inherent eternal existence.

When every thought and thing is truly a dream, pointing it out is simply a means to ending conversation. It's okay, I will bow out of this one now. Peace.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:56 pm

spot dawa wrote:Nirvana itself arises due to conditions...


No, it doesn't.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:06 pm

Malcolm wrote:Look around, it is not like there are thousands of arhats, or first stage bodhisattvas. We are not in India in the Pre-Gupta phase, when realization was relatively easy.
So what you are saying is that because there is a relative difficulty in achieving realisation (like it was ever easy) then a monastic sangha is useless? I could just as easily draw the completely opposite conclusion based on this "fact". Personally I believe that it is commendable that people still make the effort, I think that they should be praised and not denigrated for having the cajones and ovarios to do it instead of kicking back and whining about Kali Yuga. And if only 5% manage to remain monastics, hell, that's 5% more than 0%!

Defeatist is what your position is my friend.

It's like there is a war happening and you are calling for the disbanding of the army.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby wisdom » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:29 pm

Renunciation is skillful means to separate yourself from desires that you cannot otherwise control. From the point of view of the path of the Bodhisattva we need not convince ourselves of any ideology at all. Realizing the emptiness nature of all phenomena, we can be convinced that a relationship won't bring us contentment but that does not mean we must actively reject it either. In fact actively rejecting it is a break from equanimity. Furthermore rejecting it may someday bring harm to other sentient beings that we could have benefited if we did not hold that attitude, which means it could also constitute a break in our Bodhisattva vow to bring benefit and happiness to all sentient beings. In essence the attitude of rejection is more in line with a Hinayana approach and less with a Mahayana approach. This doesn't mean its good or bad, but because this is in the Mahayana forum I bring that point up.

Each Bodhisattva follows a different path and puts on a different display to attract to them the beings whose delusive karmic vision and propensities causes them to come into contact with that particular Bodhisattva. Since the Bodhisattva has realized the emptiness of phenomena they are totally indifferent to who comes into contact with them, what their status is, or what kind of relationship might form, and they are wholly free to mingle with whomsoever they please without any fear that they will accept or reject that person on the basis of some deluded perception. Since relationships only form based on karmic vision, having realized emptiness, the only thing that binds a Bodhisattva to others is their vow to be of ultimate benefit, whereas the deluded perception of sentient beings causes them to feel bound to the Bodhisattva for many reasons, all of which are deluded and based on their karma.

Therefore not only are relationships in general not harmful to a Bodhisattva, but they are the very thing the Bodhisattva desires! The more people who come into contact with them the better. If the Bodhisattva can generate even a moment of happiness, event a moment of contentment, even a moment of realization, even a single step towards Dharma, then their purpose is that much more accomplished. If the Bodhisattva can remove even a single fear from a sentient being, what joy! Furthermore all those beings that come into contact with the Bodhisattva create a karmic connection which later can fruition into a disciple-guru relationship when the Bodhisattva begins to teach.

With this view in mind, having realized emptiness, even if a Bodhisattva were to sleep with a woman, or enter into a relationship with her, and have children with her, their path would be unaffected, their equanimity would be undisturbed, and they would understand it all as a play of illusion leading towards ultimate benefit for all sentient beings. The main thing is that a Bodhisattva would never do this for personal worldly goals or to fulfill some worldly desire. They would never be under the delusion that such things bring lasting happiness, but they would also not necessarily reject them out of hand as detrimental to their path.

This is the fearlessness of the Bodhisattva path. Realizing emptiness, Samsara looses its teeth and the Bodhisattva fearlessly reincarnates into the world again and again. There are wandering Bodhisattvas, and Bodhisattvas who live on mountain tops, and Bodhisattvas who live in cities, Bodhisattvas who own businesses, Bodhisattvas who are sailors. The possible manifestations are endless, the cause is singular (the vow, the desire to benefit others).

In essence the Mahayana approach goes beyond accepting and rejecting objects of the senses as inherently good or bad, which is the essence of the practice of Equanimity. The primary focus is the benefit of others. But this can only be done once we really establish the view of emptiness.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Karma Dorje » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:31 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Look around, it is not like there are thousands of arhats, or first stage bodhisattvas. We are not in India in the Pre-Gupta phase, when realization was relatively easy.
So what you are saying is that because there is a relative difficulty in achieving realisation (like it was ever easy) then a monastic sangha is useless? I could just as easily draw the completely opposite conclusion based on this "fact". Personally I believe that it is commendable that people still make the effort, I think that they should be praised and not denigrated for having the cajones and ovarios to do it instead of kicking back and whining about Kali Yuga. And if only 5% manage to remain monastics, hell, that's 5% more than 0%!

Defeatist is what your position is my friend.

It's like there is a war happening and you are calling for the disbanding of the army.


Defeatism is to insist on the primacy of an outmoded model in spite of all evidence to the contrary. What if you threw a war and nobody came?
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:45 pm

wisdom wrote:
In essence the Mahayana approach goes beyond accepting and rejecting objects of the senses as inherently good or bad...


Well, no, it doesn't — Mahāyāna regards sense objects as negative, something to be rejected.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby wisdom » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:50 pm

Malcolm wrote:
wisdom wrote:
In essence the Mahayana approach goes beyond accepting and rejecting objects of the senses as inherently good or bad...


Well, no, it doesn't — Mahāyāna regards sense objects as negative, something to be rejected.


How does this tie into the practice of Equanimity then? I've always understood equanimity to mean that one is basically not judging anything, one is not saying "this is good, this is bad" and from the perspective of Mahayana what is good is what is beneficial to others, what is bad is what is detrimental, but that can take on many forms. Where is my view awry?
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