I have been away for a really long time now and realized how much I missed posting. So here I am! In my recent zadankai (monthly meetings) I was a part of the study group, like always, this time the concept was Earthly Desires are Enlightenment. During the study meetings, there was a lot of too and fro relating to the meaning of this concept. We all had our own version of explaining and understanding what desires really mean to us. It is said that there are some 84000 desires among them anger, stupidity and greed being the 3 poisons. The practice emphasizes on transforming these desires rather than eliminating them.
Desires could be of anything. We are born with many instinctive desires, including the most vital one, which is the basic desire to live. Since desires are necessary to the maintenance of human life, they are in that sense beneficial. But simply to pursue desires with no higher aim is to become a slave to desire, and this can lead only to misfortune for oneself and others. These desires lead to attachments. Attachments are, after all, natural human feelings, and desires are a vital and necessary aspect of life. These attachments become the fundamental cause of people’s unhappiness. Desires and attachments lead to anger, greed and stupidity. It could be anger or hatred towards someone, or greed for wanting more of something or a greed which in the end turns into stupidity.
How we transform them is by chanting. By chanting we get the wisdom, wisdom to desire for something, not for ourselves but for our loved ones. Why do we all have different desires? It’s because we all want happiness. So when you see your loved ones happy, automatically you will feel the joy and in the end be happy.
We were 5 of us in the study group and each one of us had some desire which we all shared with other members. We changed our desires with the help of chanting. It did work for me. There was one member who felt hatred and anger towards her certain set of family members, which became the reason for her to join the practice in the first place. She was advised by our senior leaders to chant for their happiness and today she feels at peace and has become a much calmer person.
We make these desires and attachments the purpose of our life. I feel we should make the desires of our loved ones our life, so once they are fulfilled, obviously you are going to be happy for them and with them. Happiness will only grow!