“The Second Truth” of the “Four Noble Truths” of Buddhism describes the origin of dukkha (misery, suffering). The theory states that the following things are the reasons of our sufferings and misery—
- Craving for sense-pleasures (kama-tanha): this is craving for sense objects which provide pleasant feeling, or craving for sensory pleasures.
- Craving to be (bhava-tanha): this is craving to be something, to unite with an experience. This includes craving to be solid and ongoing, to be a being that has a past and a future, and craving to prevail and dominate over others.
- Craving not to be (vibhava-tanha): this is craving to not experience the world, and to be nothing; a wish to be separated from painful feelings.
Now the word “craving” means “a powerful desire for something”, so Gautama Buddha told that “desire” is a reason of our sufferings.
Indian monk and philosopher Swami Vivekananda also suggested “not to desire anything” or to “try to be desireless” In this article we’ll attempt to make a collection of Swami Vivekananda’s suggestions and explanations on “not desiring anything”.
“Do not desire anything. . .”Swami Vivekananda told—
- Do not desire anything. What makes us miserable? The cause of all miseries from which we suffer is desire. You desire something, and the desire is not fulfilled; the result is distress. If there is no desire, there is no suffering. But here, too, there is the danger of my being misunderstood. So it is necessary to explain what I mean by giving up desire and becoming free from all misery. The walls have no desire and they never suffer. True, but they never evolve. This chair has no desires, it never suffers; but it is always a chair. There is a glory in happiness, there is a glory in suffering. If I may dare to say so, there is a utility in evil too. The great lesson in misery we all know. There are hundreds of things we have done in our lives which we wish we had never done, but which, at the same time, have been great teachers. As for me, I am glad I have done something good and many things bad; glad I have done something right, and glad I have committed many errors, because every one of them has been a great lesson. I, as I am now, am the resultant of all I have done, all I have thought. Every action and thought have had their effect, and these effects are the sum total of my progress. [Source]
- Do not desire, for what you desire you get, and with it comes terrible bondage. It is nothing but bringing “noses on us,” as in the case of the man who had three boons to ask. We never get freedom until we are self-contained. “Self is the Saviour of self, none else.[Source]
- Desire nothing; think of God and look for no return. It is the desireless who bring results. The begging monks carry religion to every man’s door; but they think that they do nothing, they claim nothing, their work is unconsciously done. If they should eat of the tree of knowledge, they would become egoists, and all the good they do would fly away. As soon as we say “I”, we are humbugged all the time; and we call it “knowable”, but it is only going round and round like a bullock tied to a tree. The Lord has hidden Himself best, and His work is best; so he who hides himself best, accomplishes most. Conquer yourself, and the whole universe is yours.[Source]
“Desire brings misery. . .”Swami Vivekananda observed and suggested—
Main article: Swami Vivekananda’s quotes on desire
- As desire increases, so increases the power of pleasure, so the power of pain.[Source]
- Be not bound by good deeds or by desire for name and fame. Those who know this secret pass beyond this round of birth and death and become immortal.[Source]
- Desire is infinite. Its fulfilment is very limited.. There is no end to our desires; but when we go to fulfil them, the difficulty comes. It has been so with the most primitive minds, when their desires were [few]. Even [these] could not be accomplished. Now, with our arts and sciences improved and multiplied, our desires cannot be fulfilled [either]. On the other hand, we are struggling to perfect means for the fulfilment of desires, and the desires are increasing. …[Source]
- Desire makes slaves of us, it is an insatiable tyrant and gives its victims no rest.[Source]
- Desire, want, is the father of all misery. Desires are bound by the laws of success and failure. Desires must bring misery.[Source]
- It is our desire that binds us. If we take the results of actions, whether good or evil, we will have to bear them.[Source]
- Man’s thirst, says the Hindu, man’s thirst, says the Buddhist, is a burning, unquenchable thirst for more and more.[Source]
- While we hope for anything, desire still rules us.[Source]