The desire to stop suffering

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Arjan Dirkse
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The desire to stop suffering

Post by Arjan Dirkse » Fri May 03, 2019 3:41 am

I struggle with this point. Desire is the root of all suffering, but is it bad to have a desire to stop samsara?

For instance, I feel bad when I realize some awful things are happening. And I feel a desire to help people, to stop them suffering. Is feeling this desire a bad thing? If so, is it better to "not care" when people are suffering? I feel like this is some kind of double bind, a catch 22.

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Jerafreyr
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Re: The desire to stop suffering

Post by Jerafreyr » Fri May 03, 2019 7:27 pm

43. 1 shall be tenacious in this matter; and fixed on revenge, I shall wage war, except against those mental afflictions that are related to the elimination of mental afflictions. 44. Let my entrails ooze out and my head fall off, but by no means shall I bow down to my enemies, the mental afflictions.

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Miroku
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Re: The desire to stop suffering

Post by Miroku » Fri May 03, 2019 8:20 pm

Jerafreyr wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 7:27 pm
43. 1 shall be tenacious in this matter; and fixed on revenge, I shall wage war, except against those mental afflictions that are related to the elimination of mental afflictions. 44. Let my entrails ooze out and my head fall off, but by no means shall I bow down to my enemies, the mental afflictions.
source please
A boat delivers you to the other riverbank.
A needle stitches up your clothes.
A horse takes you where you want to go.
Bodhicitta will bring you to Buddhahood.
~ Khunu Lama Rinpoche

Even non-buddhists have many virtuous accomplishments
~ Jigten Sumgon

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Miroku
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Re: The desire to stop suffering

Post by Miroku » Fri May 03, 2019 8:23 pm

Arjan Dirkse wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 3:41 am
I struggle with this point. Desire is the root of all suffering, but is it bad to have a desire to stop samsara?

For instance, I feel bad when I realize some awful things are happening. And I feel a desire to help people, to stop them suffering. Is feeling this desire a bad thing? If so, is it better to "not care" when people are suffering? I feel like this is some kind of double bind, a catch 22.
Desire by itself is not that bad. The bad thing is we either accept or reject it. Emotions and thoughts arise constantly. What binds us to samsara is our attachment to them.

Desire to help can be good. Look at your motivation. Is it just to help them or is it to make you feel good. Then correct it so you have the correct motivation of bodhisattva and do your best.
A boat delivers you to the other riverbank.
A needle stitches up your clothes.
A horse takes you where you want to go.
Bodhicitta will bring you to Buddhahood.
~ Khunu Lama Rinpoche

Even non-buddhists have many virtuous accomplishments
~ Jigten Sumgon

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Jerafreyr
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Re: The desire to stop suffering

Post by Jerafreyr » Fri May 03, 2019 9:26 pm

Miroku wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 8:20 pm
Jerafreyr wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 7:27 pm
43. 1 shall be tenacious in this matter; and fixed on revenge, I shall wage war, except against those mental afflictions that are related to the elimination of mental afflictions. 44. Let my entrails ooze out and my head fall off, but by no means shall I bow down to my enemies, the mental afflictions.
source please
Shantideva - Bodhicaryavatara

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Mönlam Tharchin
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Re: The desire to stop suffering

Post by Mönlam Tharchin » Fri May 03, 2019 9:38 pm

Why are buddhas compassionate to begin with? And what does bodhicitta look like in each specific situation of daily life? Those two lines of inquiry are beneficial and clarify the context for the answer to your question.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-amida-butsu. -- Ippen

If in your heart you hold the thought, "I shall continue to utter the nembutsu," the Buddha will turn his attention to you, and thus you are one among those who are thought about and cherished. -- Master Hōnen

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Vasana
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Re: The desire to stop suffering

Post by Vasana » Sat May 04, 2019 9:13 am

In the suttas there is a distinction between wise/unwise & skillfull/unskillful desire. In other words, desire can be ethically variable with different consequences. Wise, skillfull and ethical desires such as the desire to stop suffering are obviously preferable to their opposite since one is is a consequence of being ignorant about the nature of reality and one is marked by clear knowledge and eventually direct perception of reality, the four noble truths, dependent origination, karma , cause and effect and so on.

Ajahn Sucitto states:
  • Desire as an eagerness to offer, to commit, to apply oneself to meditation, is called chanda. It’s a psychological “yes,” a choice, not a pathology. In fact, you could summarize Dhamma training as the transformation of taṇhā into chanda.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ta%E1%B9%87h%C4%81
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chanda_(Buddhism)
  • "And what, monks, is right effort? There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds and exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen . . . He upholds and exerts his intent for the sake of the abandonment of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen. He . . . upholds and exerts his intent for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen. He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds and exerts his intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, and culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen: This, monks, is called right effort.
    (Samyutta Nikaya 45.8; trans. Thanissaro Bhikkhu)

    “Monks, if a monk attains concentration, attains singleness of mind founded on desire, that is called concentration founded on desire. He generates desire, endeavors, arouses persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen… for the sake of the abandoning of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen… for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen… (and) for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen. These are called the fabrications of exertion. This is desire, this is concentration founded on desire, these are the fabrications of exertion. This is called the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire & the fabrications of exertion.
    Chanda Sutta (SN 51:13)


As for the Mahayana, Studies show that basic human nature is compassionate and even animals seem to display this - since in buddhism, compassion and wisdom are two sides of the same coin, feeling compassion towards the suffering of others and yourself is in closer alignment with the wisdom and knowledge of reality we're cultivating. If we lacked Buddhanature we wouldn't feel aversion to suffering or have the possibility to experience compassion. This is why we're encouraged to practice things like the four immeasurables as well as the meditations more focussed on the wisdom aspect of our nature. It may be worthwhile checking out some books from the Dalai Lama.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

smcj
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Re: The desire to stop suffering

Post by smcj » Sat May 04, 2019 8:34 pm

I believe in the Uttaratantra it is said that not wanting suffering is evidence of your Buddha Nature.

I think the idea is that suffering is ignorance becoming awareness. It’s like the red line under a misspelled word. It gets your attention and motivates you to do something to correct it. Unfortunately most suffering is caused by unaware actions we no longer remember. That’s why a Buddha needs to explain the process and what to do about it. If it was obvious everybody would be hip to what is going on and straighten up their act.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post/by ?)
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Through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

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SunWuKong
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Re: The desire to stop suffering

Post by SunWuKong » Sun May 05, 2019 1:42 am

smcj wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 8:34 pm
I believe in the Uttaratantra it is said that not wanting suffering is evidence of your Buddha Nature.

I think the idea is that suffering is ignorance becoming awareness. It’s like the red line under a misspelled word. It gets your attention and motivates you to do something to correct it. Unfortunately most suffering is caused by unaware actions we no longer remember. That’s why a Buddha needs to explain the process and what to do about it. If it was obvious everybody would be hip to what is going on and straighten up their act.
"be hip to the truth of your consciousness" i heard that said once, lol
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

Arjan Dirkse
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Re: The desire to stop suffering

Post by Arjan Dirkse » Sun May 05, 2019 4:59 am

Thanks for the answers. I've not quite figured it out yet but it's very helpful.

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Dechen Norbu
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Re: The desire to stop suffering

Post by Dechen Norbu » Mon May 06, 2019 7:51 pm

I'm not sure if the problem isn't more of a translation nature than anything else. There's a distinction between chanda and trishna (there are 3 kinds), intention to act and thirst, craving. By calling both "desire", a problem appears where there is none. Chanda, the intent to do something, achieve a goal, etc., can be positive or negative while trishna is always negative. The usual connotation of the word desire is closer to trishna. But the "desire," I prefer "intent", of doing something wholesome has no problem whatsoever.

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: The desire to stop suffering

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Tue May 07, 2019 1:42 am

Desire, craving, have no intrinsic reality to them.
desire doesn't exist separately from an object of desire.
So, "desire" as some abstract function isn't really the problem.
If you don't want desire, that's also desire, right?
If you don't want to be a hypocrite, that's also a desire.

Suffering results from desire, or craving,
which basically means that your mind is not at rest.
As I recently heard one teacher put it, we are always not quite arrived yet.
there is always one more level we all want to be at in life,
we never feel that we are finished.

So, the desire to stop suffering is a desire at first, because that's where we start.
At some point, the true nature of that desire itself is seen, experienced as nothing other than the mind itself,
then, as long as you aren't clinging to that desire, it isn't so strong.
If you are hungry and you desire a meal, that's pretty typical.
Buddha eventually realized that when you are hungry, you have to eat.

But if you think that meal you crave will forever free you from being hungry,
that is the mistake most people make. They think that temporary things will bring lasting satisfaction
and they cling to one thing, then another, then the next thing, on and on.
But desire to stop that cycle of existence, to get off that treadmill, eventually, even that desire evaporates,
you go beyond the dualistic distinction between desire and no desire,
then you realize you are already buddha, and the desire was just an illusion.

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confusedlayman
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Re: The desire to stop suffering

Post by confusedlayman » Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:11 am

it is skilful desire so can be pursued.
you have desire to reach beach, after reaching you don't have that desire when already standing in beach.

unskilful desire cause pain and suffering.like desire on impermanent things becauses once its disappear u need it reappear and cycle goes on.

desire itself is not bad or good

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