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the girl

We discussed desire and longing in the training I just attended. Although the topic of the event wasn't love and relationships, it certainly always comes up. Anyway, I walked away with the idea that certain kinds of longings are not only appropriate as a Buddhist but desirable. It's more the direction were such longings take you. Does our desire lead to our longing to let go of ourself and melt back into the everything, or does it reaffirm our self? Do we long to consume the object of our desire, or do we have enough space to really acknowledge it? Can we join the object of our desire while simultaneously letting go? I think that we can but so often we are confused and we smother the objects of our desire and try to incorporate them into ourselves rather allowing them the space to be who they are in the dualistic sense and to be emtpy in the non-dualistic sense.


this is such an interesting topic to explore. the way i see it, romantic desire ultimately gives way to love. and love, if given mindfully, is one that is not clinging but liberating, which is why manhae wished for more because the "bondage" was paradoxically liberating. i think the key is allowing the intense longing and desire one feels initially for someone to grow into real love (which will encompass desire, but it lacks its "clinging" aspect). and this type of love definitely has a place in our path! nice topic.


Wow... I think the girl asks the million dollar question:

Can we join the object of our desire while simultaneously letting go?

Isn't desire a lesson in present moment awareness? There's a distinct difference between the world of fantasy that arises in our heads about the object of desire and the warmth of an embrace we are experiencing in the now. Perhaps the greatest attainment in relationship is When I'm with you, I'm with you... When I'm not with you, I'm not with you... somehow finding a way to stay in the present moment with whatever is going on right now and not making it mean anything.

And haikupoet, when you said:

i think the key is allowing the intense longing and desire one feels initially for someone to grow into real love (which will encompass desire, but it lacks its "clinging" aspect)

...that really resonates with me. I just might add that we have to remain open to the fact that whatever we are feeling for another person could grow into real love or it could not. Again... not making it mean anything... not trying to aim for a particular outcome seems to be key... staying open, being honest, and grounding ourselves in our practice throughout.

Thanks for sharing!


When I read this article I really wanted to comment on it because not only is it intriguing and puzzling, but it’s also something that I’ve been contemplating myself for a while now. However, I’m finding that my mind is so cluttered with thoughts and ideas on this topic that I can hardly write them coherently. The most important thought, from the foundation of mindfulness sutra, seems to be: know yourself. Understand why you’re motivated to be in a romantic relationship, and question everything about it. If the reasons are noble (sharing intimacy, caring for another, exploring a unique person) then go for it, but if they’re not (such as feelings of lack of love or self-worth, clinging out of fear or loneliness, etc) then I’d still say go for it =) just work on resolving the reasons behind these issues and know that they’re there (and likely to cause problems).

On the other hand, my heart is saying something completely different. My heart says to love fearlessly, give totally and unconditionally of yourself and let go of your expectations, needs and desires. Experience everything that coming together creates, and fully explore the depth that can be found in human intimacy. How else can you really live without understanding such things?


Here's an intersting link that I found on the subject...



Oops. Looks like the link got cut off for some reason. let's try that again...



Jason, Thanks for stopping by...

You give great zen advice. I can safely say that I'm not in a very clingy or needy place right now, so I think it's all good.

Love fearlessly.
Give totally.
Give unconditionally.

Those are powerful statements... things we can talk about but don't really know what they mean until we are challenged in the moment to actually do them.

I found that Dharma talk you posted on another web page this weekend. I haven't had a chance to come back and blog a bit about the things I've Googled thus far, but that was one of them... an amazing talk.

What are you planning to do with your website? Intrigued, I launched buddhistheart.org wondering what I'd find there. Keep us posted, will you?

Well, this is just the beginning of an exploration. Hope to see your comments sprinkled in along the journey.

a bow,


"Those are powerful statements... things we can talk about but don't really know what they mean until we are challenged in the moment to actually do them."

Yes! And, for me, this is really the meaning of Zen practice. Not just sitting on a cushion and grinning at my belly button, but proving the Dharma through living it. Integrating the teachings into every fiber of my being through experience. It's just worthless ink on paper (or pixels on the screen in our case =) otherwise.

Romantic relationships are certainly a much more interesting form of practice than dishes (Gads, I hate dishes =). Though, perhaps, much more complicated as well (which, I guess, is why we practice on dishes first =).

As far as my website goes (It's called, "Western Mind, Buddhist Heart"), I want it to be a place for lay Buddhists to share their perspective on practice. As lay Buddhists, we continually get the monastic perspective on practice, but, as this discussion has pointed out, there's places where the monastic practice is at odds with our lives as householders. My vision is to use the site to help facilitate organizing lay sanghas throughout the west, so that lay Buddhists can get together in real life, support each other and share their practice together in a more connected way. I guess you could think of it as Buddhist User Group meetings =).



What is it about us Westerners and doing the dishes? So many of us (me included) tend to have an aversion to washing them, or doing other chores. We seem to always want to be doing something more interesting. Thich Nhat Hanh writes about this in Peace is Every Step.

If I am incapable of washing dishes joyfully, if I want to finish them quickly so I can go and have desert, I wil be equally incapable of enjoying my dessert. With the fork in my hand, I will be thinking about what to do next, and the texture and the flavor of the desert, together with the pleasure of eating it, will be lost. I will always be dragged into the future, never able to live in the present moment.

I hope I'm not sounding preachy... What you said just reminded me to re-read that passage. That quote might just go on the wall in front of my kitchen sink. I've taken to leaving myself little zen reminders around the house.

On relationships as being a more interesting form of practice... I don't know. Engaging in relationships is certainly more challenging than washing dishes, but I guess as Thay puts it... it's all relevant... it's all important.

Jason, the whole concept of your website sounds really cool. Keep us posted, okay?


"What is it about us Westerners and doing the dishes?"

I couldn't tell ya, but if I find out you'll be the first to know =). Nice quote from Thich Nat Han, I don't think I've read that book from him yet (I'll have to check it out, and, no, not to preachy =).

Personally, relationships (of all types, not just romantic) are fascinating subjects of exploration for me. But, you're right, it's all important (Gads, I'm actually contemplating dishes now, thanks!@! =).


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