Are desire and passion really bad :(

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Are desire and passion really bad :(

Postby rybak303 » Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:59 am

I've heard alot of talk in Buddhism about desire and passion being bad and in fact being the root causes of all suffering. But are there some desires and passions that are good? For example the desire to eat food and have sex is vital to the procreation of life. Or the passion a composer has to create symphonies, or a painter to paint? Are these passions really bad? Would it really be a good thing for a composer to be in a state of dispassion in regards to music?
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Re: Are desire and passion really bad :(

Postby Bakmoon » Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:31 am

rybak303 wrote:I've heard alot of talk in Buddhism about desire and passion being bad and in fact being the root causes of all suffering. But are there some desires and passions that are good? For example the desire to eat food and have sex is vital to the procreation of life. Or the passion a composer has to create symphonies, or a painter to paint? Are these passions really bad? Would it really be a good thing for a composer to be in a state of dispassion in regards to music?


Not all desires are bad. Only those based in one of the three unwholesome greed, hatred, or delusion are bad. And even those that are based in them can be bad to different degrees than others. There are plenty of examples of good desires. For example, after the Buddha became enlightened, he was motivated by compassion and desired to help people by teaching them. This is a good desire.

The things that you mention in your post are mostly examples of desires that are based in the three unwholesome roots, but that doesn't mean that they aren't allowed. When we start abandoning our desires and cravings, we start off by focusing on the more obvious and gross forms of negative desire, and only give up everything if we are willing to go all the way and ordain as a monk or nun. For laypeople, it is best to focus on giving up anger and hatred towards other people and our more obvious forms of greed such as obsessing over material possessions and money before starting to worry about these more benign forms of desire.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.
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Re: Are desire and passion really bad :(

Postby Digity » Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:11 am

The Buddha never said all desires are bad. The desire to practice his teachings is obviously good and necessary to walk the path. Although, at some point we must be released from all craving, but that happens further down the path. If you're just starting off on the path then I wouldn't get too discouraged by the sounds of this. Focus elsewhere like working on sila or doing meditation. But again, there will come a time when you must release yourself from craving and when you're ready for that it won't be something undesirable and scary...it will be wholesome and you'll have the wisdom to see why. That is how I see it...
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