Need help ending sense-desire. - Dhamma Wheel

Need help ending sense-desire.

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Need help ending sense-desire.

Postby budo » Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:20 am

I am a hungry ghost, I suffer from severe Crohn's disease, and can only eat simple carbs which cannot be found in prepared food that's usually in restaurants, convenience stores, and can only be made by hand. Most of the time I am hungry, but when I eat regular food my intestines flare up, get infected and I "burn up" inside. This is especially hard because at my job everyone goes to lunch together and it's hard to say no to people. Also at my job there are snacks in the kitchen, some of which are healthy but most of the time unhealthy. Sometimes I work late, and my job will order us dinner, but I cannot eat it, however because I am so hungry and I see others eating, I eat and suffer.

My problem is that I give in to sense desire, I know it's bad for me to eat this food, but I still eat it anyways. I know I will suffer from severe pain after I eat it, but I still eat it. I cannot control myself, especially when coworkers and bosses are bringing in donuts and sharing them.

I know the Buddha says reflect your actions before you do them, while you are doing them, and after you do them, this helps me, I have more control than before, but sometimes the desire is too great. I need a shortcut to end sense-desire. To kill it once and for all, I want to be able to look at people eating donuts and absolutely have no desire for it, even if someone puts one in front of me. How can I develop this will power?

I feel like a fruit fly that will fly straight into a cup of sugar and kill itself with desire.

Your help is appreciated.
Energy flows where attention goes

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Re: Need help ending sense-desire.

Postby chownah » Fri Nov 19, 2010 1:43 pm

Seems like you've got a good understanding of what is going on with don't really see what it is you need help with. You know if you indulge in sense desire then you will suffer.....this is true for all of us but for most of us the suffering is not so immediate so its harder for us to make the connection are lucky in that the suffering is immediate (or nearly so) so it is easy for you to understand the lesson its just up to you to live your life the way you want.....what help are you wanting????.....just pay attention....which it seems is what you are doing.....there is no magic wand that will "fix" need to fix yourself if you need fixing at all........this post probably seems harsh but I don't intend it to be so....I hope it is helpful......

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Re: Need help ending sense-desire.

Postby Hanzze » Fri Nov 19, 2010 1:48 pm

Last edited by Hanzze on Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Re: Need help ending sense-desire.

Postby Individual » Fri Nov 19, 2010 1:51 pm

The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Need help ending sense-desire.

Postby turquoiseJack » Fri Nov 19, 2010 2:00 pm

I came across this shocking but helpful sutta - . Part of it is about trying to view food for what it really is, just stuff that this body needs to keep going and not something which one should take delight in.
Last edited by turquoiseJack on Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Need help ending sense-desire.

Postby phil » Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:23 am

Hi budo,

I can really relate to the hungry ghost thing. As someone pointed out, we are not literally hungry ghosts when we are in the human realm, but I sometimes feel I have recenly (in a past life) been liberated from that realm, or are destined for it if I don't smarten up. At least you have a physiological reason that leads to your suffering in this area, for me there is no excuse but the power of my lobha (greed) and the weakness of wholesome factors that give rise to abstinence from obsessive munching (at work at my language school, where I munch between every lesson I teach, no one else does like me.) According to classical Theravada, people are born with a different preponderance of the 6 roots (greed, aversion and delusion on the unwholesome side, generosity, friendliness and wisdom on the wholesome side.) It is a good way to understand that we are born with certain tendencies, and to change the direction of the tendencies involves the kind of effort that the Buddha refers to as changing the flow of the Ganges to make it go upstream or something like that. It's tough. So let's not be too hard on ourselves and expect the powerful, conditioned flow of our tendencies to change overnight) but let's continue to talk to Dhamma friends when our behaviour has been out of control. They can help encourage us to fight the good fight to weaken the power of our unwholesome tendencies, whether that relates to unwise eating or unwise sex or lying or stealing or whatever...

How about a reward system? For example, if I have behaved in some way that goes against my moral standards, I don't let myself study deep Dhamma teachings the rest of that day, I only touch Dhamma books if I have behaved in a way that shows that I take behaviour seriously. I don't want to use the Dhamma as a feelgood mind candy to justify unwise behaviour by seeing it as anatta, conditioned etc... So at the end of a day when I have behaved in the way I have vowed to, reading a Dhamma book at bedtime feels like I am reading it with due respect to the Buddha, that I have been able to improve my behaviour in the light of his teaching.

Looking at the Buddhist teaching on nutriments could be interesting too. What we "eat" is not just food, according to the Buddha, but all sensory objects, and other factors too... ... el105.html
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

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