Excerpts from the book 'Open to desire - the Truth about what the Buddha Taught' by Mark Epstein

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  1. Lirudu

    Lirudu Fapstronaut

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    The infinite can be known through an acceptance of, and opening to, the unending quality of yearning (p. 9).

    - please comment with your experiences... thank you! -
     
  2. Lirudu

    Lirudu Fapstronaut

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    The actual word that the Buddha used to describe the cause of 'dukkha' was not desire, it was 'tanha', which means 'thirst', or 'craving'. It connotes what we might also call clinging: the attempt to hold on to an ungraspable experience, not the desire for happiness or completion.

    Buddhism was not intended to be a path of destruction, it was a path of self-understanding. It did not seek to divide and conquer, it sought wholeness and integration.

    ... There is an understanding in both traditions (Buddhism & psychoanalysis) of the multidimensional levels of what we call the self, the ways in which we can be seeking comfort, closeness, pleasure, affirmation, release and oblivion all at the same time, from the same persons, places or things. [red. just like in other kinds of addictions]
     
  3. Lirudu

    Lirudu Fapstronaut

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    ... a gradual change in the way we relate to desire, in which longing becomes a teacher in its own right. The key to this path is to make desire into a meditation....
    It is much easier to set desire up as the enemy and isolate it from everything else that we value. When it is split off or demonized it can still be enjoyed guiltily but it never has to be integrated with our loftier impulses. We can continue to look down on desire, or on those who are desiring, when we are not in the grip of it ourselves, and thereby preserve some spurious notion of superiority. As Freud suggested many years ago, there is something vaguely disgusting about desire, something that might have its origins in a repugnance that many feel towards the genitals...'we are born between urine and feces'...it is this shame or reticence toward desire that has marked most of the spiritual traditions...

    Buddha found that he would kill himself with such practices [asceticism] before achieving any kind of lasting peace of mind. In taking his penance to its logical extreme, the Buddha realized that the world would not tolerate his elimination of eros. It would eliminate himself instead. He concluded that there had to be another way and went on to evolve the route between austerities and sensory indulgence that became known as the Middle Path.
    It is a space where desire is not pushed away but where we open to it just as it is. In this place, one does not reject pleasure but one is not dependent on it either. Desire is given room to breathe while the desirer is urged to examine its qualities. 'Look into the nature of desire' counseled the great Tibetan yogi Padmasambhava, 'and there is boundless light.'
     
  4. Lirudu

    Lirudu Fapstronaut

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    The Buddha's path did not focus on desire as an enemy to be conquered but rather as an energy to e perceived correctly.

    When desire is not denied or suppressed, but instead allowed to grow in the light of there being no ultimately satisfying self or object, a tremendous development of inner life is possible. The finding of a third way with desire, not denying and not grasping, is what the Buddha's psychology makes possible. Out of this new approach comes the ability to empathize with another's personal experience. No longer relating to others as 'objects' that exist solely to gratify or deny us, a person in this phase is able to transform his or her intimate experiences into spiritual nourishment.
     
  5. Lirudu

    Lirudu Fapstronaut

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    The gap between lover and beloved is the space where the most critical emotional and spiritual work takes place.

    [Training of the mind is so important...] to break down the tendency to objectify the beloved and open up an appreciation of the subjective, and ungraspable, aspect of another's experience.

    The object always disappoints.
     
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  6. Lirudu

    Lirudu Fapstronaut

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    What the Buddha actually suggested is that it is the avoidane of the elusiveness of the object of desire that is the origin of suffering. The problem is not desire: it is clinging to, or craving, a particular outcome, one in which there is no remainder, in which the object is completely under our power.

    ... as an object of desire, that which we long for causes suffering, but as an object of mindfulness it can lead to awakening. The trick, as far as Buddhism is concerned, is to accept the fact that no experience can ever be as complete as we would wish, that no object can ever satisfy completely.

    The dualities [gratifying and frustrating, sweet and bitter, pleasand and painful, succesful and yet coming up short] that desire seems to take for granted can be resolved through a willingness to drop into the gap between them.
     
  7. Lirudu

    Lirudu Fapstronaut

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    There is a value in being uncomfortable. If we learn to attend to it in a meditative manner, it can bring us to the state of openess and stillness that Buddhism so values. The kind of discomfort that desire engenders is actually closer to what the Buddhists see as reality than the more assured position that we mask ourselves with. Balance comes when we learn to be off balance, not when we hold ourselves aloof. It is from this place that our inner life grows.

    In Zen they say, 'if something is boring for two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, try it for eight, sixteen, thirty-two, and so on...'
     
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  8. Lirudu

    Lirudu Fapstronaut

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    We look to union or merger, as the antidote to our suffering. But this kind of satisfaction is impossible because the qualities that we project onto the desired object - of the permanence, stability or 'thingness' - do not really exist. As a result, we are inevitably disappointed. The disparity between the way we perceive things and the way they actually are is at the root of our struggling with desire. Once we learn how to make that disparity part of our experience, however, desire can be a teacher rather than an affliction. We can open to it more when we stop fighting with the way it disappoints us.
     
  9. Lirudu

    Lirudu Fapstronaut

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    We want to possess, or be possessed; but nothing is substantial enough, lasting enough, permanent enough or real enough, to ultimately come through. In Buddhist language, it is said that nothing is real enough in its own right to be ultimately satisfying. Indeed, the transcendence that desire seeks can only be found by accepting this.

    Desire must confront the gap that our clinging wishes to eradicate. How we handle this gap makes all the difference in our own unfolding lives. Do we weep but persevere like Nasruddin (https://katexic.com/work/mullah-nasruddin-and-the-hot-peppers/)?
     

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