You don't drop all desire as a Buddha? I understand now as a Bodhisattva it depends on the Bhumi you are on regarding desires gross and or subtle? Can you give me suggestions on books? I am glad this is in the beginner section because my story fits this folder much better.
Thank you all so much for your thoughtful posts. I want to take the time to address all but I'm getting ready for Thanksgiving, I have my kids and grandkids and cousins I used to babysit coming over for about a week. That means lots of cooking and prep work. I want to give thanks to all of you being here
A little background on me, don't feel sad about this story it has a lovely ending so far, many of you know me from e-sangha days about my past sexual abuse as a kid and working on over coming the deep conditioning that goes with that. I saved my sisters from abuse by directing my stepfathers craving to feed off fear onto me. I know what it is to have the strong desire to save people. My conditioning however setup adult relationships that were also abusive and I used the Dharma to address this particular obstacle. My desire was to become a better mother a better person, I needed to know equanimity (upekkha) and that is why I became a Buddhist. The Dharma did it's magic, my family is well, my kids are doing well, I did the work that needed to be done. I still have no real desire to become a Buddha, but I am sure with time this desire will blossom.
My ex husband said his favorite things to do were drinking, hunting, and sex, he was not a kind or loving person, he was very abusive, full of rage. He was what I knew and was comfortable with, what I grew up with. When I figured out most of my suffering was caused by my conditioning, not the people in my life, I went into therapy and 5 years of intense vipassana retreats. I left him and that life behind after my kids had grown up. I hardly remember the person I used to be back then. Most if not all the gross conditioning from my childhood abuse was gone after five years of vipassana, panic attacks, night terrors, intense flooding thoughts and emotions, eating disorder, rage, unreasonable resentments, feeling vengeful. I can honestly say I never hated the people who hurt me and my family. Even at six or seven years old I tried to reason/talk my way out of abusive situations and came to find out my abusers where also abused themselves. If I couldn't reason my way out I fought my way out and was sent away to a foster home for awhile. I never hated my stepfather, I just wanted him to be a good father, I tried to be friends with him as an adult but he never admitted to the abuse, my family never believed me, so I walked away. When you fight crazy people to protect your family and yourself you end up looking crazy and feeling crazy, that's part of the grooming and manipulation of abusers, they isolate you and make you look bad.
When you hear me talking about protecting my family and myself you need to understand the context in which I come from. My father died when I was five, I was cooking for my Mom and sister who was 2 years younger because my Mom couldn't take care of us, she was totally freaked out. My mother had a pension for abusive men and neglecting her children. So I have been protecting and caring for people all my life. I would kill if I had to protect my family even though I can take being killed or abused, I know because I've been there. Even though I have never killed anything bigger than a chicken and I don't own any guns. I will use a gun if I have too.
So when I did all that retreat work tons of conditioning peeled away, not only the gross stuff, but things I used to protect me like the desire to paint, my interest in music, reading fiction, watching tv, to do things that were not bad per say but where used to hide. No one tells you about this part of the work when you do lose desire you may lose interest in things that used to move you. That is when the question about desire came up, OMG…what if I lose all my desires, how will I move? Gosh that was over 15 years ago.
I did use my rage to stick to my cushion during my initial vipassana retreats, I used all those really gross desires and most of them were burned up, including sexual desire. Gross desire still pops up but I am getting old and don't really care or maybe with practice they can't move me much anymore. I don't lose my temper like I used to but I can feel really intensely and feel this throughout the body, it's very odd. When I came to Vajrayana I had already done a lot of work, I still am thick with all sorts of sticky attachments, attached to personality, self, me and mine, I am nothing special, I know hundreds of people like me who have pretty much the same recovery story, different routes with the same conclusion. I've done a lot of group work with survivors. If you really want to you can move on from past trauma and gross desires that overcome your ability to have a good life.
I did take Bodhisattva vows with my first Dharma teacher Sunim, a monk from Korea, he instructed me sternly on all the things involved including the importance sticking to the path. So I figure the main difference between my vipassana training and Vajrayana practice is how desire is used. Vipassana everything is just sensation when you peel everything else away and I have seen sensation turn into sound and light, it's beautiful, just like what Vajrayana says. But dealing with gross desire is treated differently in the Theravada and Vajrayana teachings. I just wanted to do some thematic research on desire regarding the high end bodhisattvas and Buddha. So tips and suggestions regarding reading are awesome, I would like to use terms correctly.
Sharing your stories and thoughts are really helpful as well, they make me feel really happy and thank you so much. I am still crawling around like a baby regarding Vipassana and Vajrayana practice, especially integration. Most of my past Dharma practice and work was cleaning out the barn full of poop, it's composted really well now and I can use it to grow a beautiful garden. Also I think this is a great subject and story for beginners, which I am not, I am an old student and also getting pretty old as a human being.
So desire isn't a bad thing, I think from what I've experienced its how it is used. Just like men aren't bad, even thought they have harmed me and my family greatly and do most of the killing world wide with and without guns. Heck I figured that one out when I was six years old.
I hope I haven't overwhelmed you all with details but I've shared this story many times in the past, it's a really old story and it will help many of you relate to me and my posts. More reflections from my backyard creek.
Cold, clear water, hard stone, movement and reflections, divine indifference.