"MBS" TO PL: "I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than attempting to satisfy them."

MBS's previous comment on my Stages of Healing series was this: "Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities."

PL to MBS:

Okay, so there's a theme here, and I feel that I need to be a bit pedantic about it. MBS, you're espousing a typical distortion of Buddhist philosophy, which is that the goal of a spiritual life is to inhibit and/or transcend human desires somehow. As happens with all of the great spiritual masters, Buddha's teachings, like Jesus's, have been mangled to suit the aims of the human ego's grandiosity which presumes in its attempts at "rising above" our humanity that All That Is/God/Nature is flawed and needs correcting by hubristic homo sapiens.

I don't think so. God doesn't make mistakes, or sadistically infuse us with powerful desires that we must then overcome or "limit." Jesus made a point of associating himself with "sinners" and reminded us that none of us should throw stones at those who are lustful.

Mark Epstein, my favorite Buddhist writer and psychotherapist wrote a brilliant piece called, "OPEN TO DESIRE.," in which he elaborates on how Buddha's teachings on desire and suffering ("dukkha") have been distorted. Here's an excerpt from Epstein:

"The problem with denying any aspect of the self is that it persists as a shadow. Clearly, it is not possible to eliminate desire by pretending it is not there. It resurfaces, insistently. With a regularity that has been mirrored in more traditional Western religious communities, those who believed they were stronger than their desires were proven wrong."

Beautifully said, Mark. Desire, which is what motivates human beings to seek, causes "suffering" in the sense that as long as we are growing and evolving, we can never be fully satisfied. But only if we judge suffering as something "bad," or fear it as something unbearable, do we then feel a need to eliminate desire.

Epstein finishes his piece with this French quote:

"Chassez le naturel, il revient au galop." (Chase away the natural, and it comes back at a gallop.)

No comments:


blogger templates 3 columns | Make Money Online