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Does Buddhism celebrate life?

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I was re-reading the Dhammapada when I came across this.

--- Quote ---Resist the pleasure of life
And the desire to hurt --
Till sorrows vanish.

--- End quote ---
The second line makes sense to me: if I resist the desire to hurt others, I can help make sorrows vanish.

But, the first line seems to suggest that the Buddhist should be an ascetic, too, which I thought was something that went against the Middle Way.

If the Buddhist is to Resist the pleasure of life, how can one celebrate or take joy in life?

Sister Seagull:
The idea is that pleasure as well as suffering can be an "attachment".  To rid yourself of your attachments is key to finding inner peace according to Buddhist philosophy.  This really is the "Middle Way" if you think about it.

"The Buddha’s message was simple but profound. Neither a life of self-indulgence nor one of self-mortification can bring happiness. Only a middle path, avoiding these two extremes, leads to peace of mind, wisdom, & complete liberation from the dissatisfactions of life.”

~Bhante Gunaratana
Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness

Do a google search for "Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness" - I think there's an online version of that book.  This book (and others by the same author) shows that you can still live a Buddhist lifestyle, just not to the extremes required of a monk.

This is why I don't like more popular versions of Buddhism.  Many have translated it to be "life is suffering" an attempt to meditate all day and give up material posessions.

But it's not really "life" that is suffering, but attachment and excess.  Rejecting society is just as bad as buying a shiny BMW to impress people.  The truly enlightened person will gain a high social standing and consume of the material world, understanding that neither those materials nor social status makes him any happier or smarter.

Attaching yourself to the idea of non-attachment was never a method of enlightenment.


--- Quote from: redfish the metaphysician on April 22, 2008, 02:38:13 pm ---Suffering may be unpleasant, but it can be very useful at times.

--- End quote ---
I have a love/hate relationship with this idea. Suffering is indeed a teacher. I'd just prefer a different teacher.

But again, there's preference rearing its ugly head.

Suffering is like the school teacher who becomes strict when her class won't sit still and shut up.  It was never necessary for learning to be painful.  The teacher was only harsh because we wouldn't sit still.

That's all meditation is.  It is being willing to sit still and shut up, so you can learn how foolishly you've been living your life.


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