Once upon a time a man owned a beautiful garden full of awesome flowers and fruit trees. Melodious and colorful birds tweeted, bees droned and butterflies fluttered about in that garden. It was a lively place, like a piece of paradise. It had a small pond too housing many kinds of lotuses. The owner cared for his garden more than anything else in the world. In particular, he loved a rare flower, a black Himalayan lotus with a heady scent that flowered in all seasons.
One morning, he was tending to the roses and tulips while a nightingale sang most sweetly. He longed to see the bird more closely and went in the direction of the sound. There he saw the young bird pecking at the black lotus. Its petals had come off and the lotus was mostly destroyed. He was furious and hurled a rock at the bird but the nightingale took a swift flight and escaped unscathed.
Grieved and angered, he vowed to catch and kill the bird. Scattering barley, sesame seeds and jaggery near the pond, he spread a net and waited patiently. Surely, a little while later, the nightingale came flying again and noticed the food. She landed on the mesh and ate to her heart’s content but, realized her mistake when it was time to take off; she was stuck.
The man got hold of the bird and clutched it tightly by the neck. “I’ll kill you,” he said.
“Kill me? But, why? The food was lying on the ground. I didn’t steal from your granary.”
“No, not for these grains but because you destroyed my black lotus.”
“I’m sorry,” the nightingale pleaded. “I was only following my food chain. Have mercy. I always thought that the owner of this beautiful garden must be a tender, caring and a loving person. Little did I know…”
The man thought about it and a sense of compassion enveloped him.
“Okay, I’ll let you go.” He loosened his grip.
“I want to tell you a secret, my friend,” the nightingale said. “My vision is penetrating. There’s buried a pot full of gold at the root of the old peepul tree in your garden. It’s yours for the taking.”
The man dug up the pot filled with gold coins and was ecstatic beyond bear.
“I’m curious,” he said to the nightingale perched on the bough. “How come you could see the treasure hidden under the land but couldn’t see the wide net clearly spread on the ground?”
“I had no use or craving for the gold, but I longed to eat the sesame seeds and jaggery. While flying towards the food, all I could see was the food. My desire had made me blind.”
That’s pretty much all one needs to know: desires make us blind. A mad pursuit of endless desires makes one oblivious to what’s already there to be enjoyed. That’s why Buddha called it the root of all suffering and that’s why Krishna preached detachment from the outcome of desires. Desires keep you busy, they keep you on your toes, and above all, they make everything you already have appear small and lacking.
18 thoughts on “Desire.”
One of the toughest lessons to e,part to our kids is to know the difference between what you need and what you want.
It was not always so here Chuck. It is only in the last couple of decades that it has become so here. That is because, before that we were a moribund socialist nation.
I think it’s good to have some desires — in the right amount they can be energizing. The trick is to enjoy them without becoming too attached and losing one’s perspective..
Cheerful Monk recently posted..Busy Girl
What is your answer to that question?
What the Buddha said. “Drop it!” With practice and proper meditation one can.
Desires “make everything you already have appear small and lacking”. No, not all. Your life can be a pot full of gold (figuratively speaking) you may still ‘desire’ something else. Something so negligible as to be ignored by those who’d easily be able to provide it.
How does one define desire? There is the obvious one. And there are not easily defined ones. Neither do I think that desire makes us ‘blind’. Quite the opposite. It makes us focus. (Yes, good old focus – my holy grail).
On the whole, to stick with your story: I don’t eat other people’s petals, I see a net when I see it, and if I found you a pot of gold in your garden I hope you’d share it with me. Others have eaten my petals, I don’t put down traps for them, and treasure is where it’s found.
Ursula recently posted..Tizz
I would love to be a bird in your garden.
you know the old saying…
“careful what you wish for. you might just get it.”
the older i get the less i desire. desiring ‘things’ not an issue.
but never was.
though i do sometimes desire to live in a climate more gentle.
tammyj recently posted..i walk into a flower
The moral of the story I think in this context is that if you wish for nothing you will get nothing! Not quite what the LOA gang will tell you.
I don’t have desires, I just have fun!
Grannymar recently posted..How now bronze cow
This is something I’ve been grappling with, especially since going on Disability (1 smallish check a month to live on). I have never been especially interested in “status” items, per se and I still am not. What I have been grappling with is envy. Pure and simple. For example, our Hindi Study Group meets a coffee shop, and can never get anything. There is a part of me that chaffes at that, at the same time it embarrasses me. The lady next door, today, is grilling out and envy poked her ugly head out again. Can’t TELL you the last time I had something like that…I was literally fantasizing about going to the grocery store and being able to get everything I wanted, this morning. They’re simple things; but envy is envy. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a new car or a burger on the grill (sorry Vegetarians! Not there, yet). I am trying to come to terms with it, and hopefully, will succeed. Wishes and prayers gratefully accepted!
You have both in abundant measure from me and I am sure all my friends who have read your very touching comment Becky. Keep at it. I know that you can handle it and succeed eventually.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with desires, if that simply means a wish to improve your life (or yourself) in some way. Without desires, surely we would all still be living in caves and wearing animal skins. What is really wrong is greed, wanting more and more of everything just for the sake of it and to trounce other people.
Yes, quite when one stops and the other stops is what should worry us.
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