What is the best way to gain control over our desires and addictions?

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What is the best way to gain control over our desires and addictions?

Post by bcol01 » Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:30 pm

What is the best way to gain control over our desires and addictions?

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Re: What is the best way to gain control over our desires and addictions?

Post by Queequeg » Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:39 pm

This is the wrong question.

Here is why:

Who gains control? Underlying the question is a notion that there is an agent who gains control, and fundamentally, that is an untenable proposition from the Buddhist perspective. People commonly think this, but its also why they suffer.

From the Buddhist perspective, there is actually no discrete agent who can gain control. Instead, the agent is actually a sort of meta-effect of desire. To suppose that the desires can be controlled is to presume a distinction between the agent and the desire. Instead, they are aspects of a agglomeration of mistakes.

Usually, this process by which the agent arises is explained through the 12 fold chain of causation. This is a very dumbed down explanation:
Ignorance leads to activity leads to sensuality leads to objects leads to six-fold senses leads to contact leads to feeling leads to craving leads to clinging leads to becoming leads to birth leads to aging and death, and back to the top.

Although that process is broken down into linearly arranged steps, keep in mind this is a pedagogical device, and these steps are also in a way instantaneous, arising together. One observation about this is that the agent arises mutually with the object of desire. To suppose that the agent can control desire makes no sense from this perspective. To suppose that its possible inevitably leads to failure.

One approach is to break the cycle of the 12 links at the feeling/craving juncture. From ignorance to feeling, there is really nothing we can do to stop that process. However, we can, according to some schools of thought, suppress craving, and thereby break the cycle. The effect of stopping the cycle there is that no new karma is created and the residual karma sooner or later exhausts itself. This ends in a final blowing out.

Another approach is to see through this process as without substance from the beginning, that each step is empty of reality, and the whole process is really just an apparition. This also ends the creation of karma because the one who sees this is no longer blindly grasping for things that they know are insubstantial. This also ends in a final blowing out.

Yet another approach involves a rejection of the sort of end described in the above two approaches and instead involves insights of the above coupled with a determination to put off the blowing out and to instead help others gain this insight. One then purposefully engages in activities aimed to help others.

Another approach adds a further insight that the blowing out itself is a false constructed distinction and that the only perfection is the perfection of helping others.

Long story short... determine to help others and take real action to do so and you'll forget about your desires.

Addictions are a slightly different phenomena and involve some sort of compulsive behavior. There is nothing to do with addictions except kick.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: What is the best way to gain control over our desires and addictions?

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:03 pm

[removed - apologies did not see I was in Nichiren forum]
Being without love would be the most appalling torment - the Inferno itself! [...] [A]ll those who have chosen the way of depersonalisation are unable to cry and [...] they have dry eyes for ever. For it is the personality which cries and which alone is capable of the "gift of tears".

Powell, Robert, and Hans Urs Von Balthasar. Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism. New York: Jermy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 2002.

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