ADVERTISING
 
Friday, July 19   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
Society
Should Christians join social protests?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



René Breuel
 

Is desire good or bad?

Desire itself is not evil, on the contrary, it is a delight in pleasure implanted by an infinitely festive Creator.

CULTURE MAKING AUTHOR René Breuel 27 JANUARY 2018 18:00 h GMT+1

I’ve been doing some reading on Buddhism, and what a blast I’m having. Doctrines shine when placed next to an equivalent: contrasts emerge, colors become vivid, contours more precise.’



Take Buddha’s definition of karma, for instance. What is the problem with the world? What is wrong with us? What do we have to overcome? “It is volition that I call ‘karma’. Having willed, one [then] acts by body, speech, and mind.” Another section of Buddhist scriptures affirms:



This, truly, is Peace, this is the Highest, namely the end of all karma formations, the forsaking of every substratum of rebirth, the fading away of craving, detachment…. Ah, happy indeed the Arahants [noble person]!  In them no craving’s found. The ‘I am’ conceit is rooted out; confusion’s net is burst. Lust-free they have attained; translucent is the mind of them.[1]


I found that utterly fascinating. For the faith that I know best (and believe in), Christianity, gives an apparently similar but in the end quite different answer to the same problem. For Christians the problem is not the will per se, nor is the solution the cessation of desire.



Rather, it is that our will is bent, in Augustine’s image, it is bound, as Luther portrayed it: we desire the wrong things. Desire itself is not evil, on the contrary, it is a delight in pleasure implanted by an infinitely festive Creator.



This difference leads to rather different worldviews. For Christians, this world and its matter are profoundly good. It is so good that we long for, in the end, resurrected bodies in a new heaven and a new earth.



This life is to be appreciated. Love is the ultimate virtue, a love so strong and particular that calls us to give of ourselves to others like Jesus gave himself for us.



For Buddhism, however, if the objective is to overcome suffering and the problem is desire itself, ultimate redemption is the escape from this world. It is detachment, indifference (at least as far as I understand it; please correct me if I’m wrong, Buddhist friends).



The path toward Nirvana is one of relinquishment of desire, the emptying of the will. That is conformity to the highest wisdom, resulting in ultimate indifference.



Since nothing can be grasped, what is the Buddha, what is wisdom, what is bodhisttva [a wise person], what is revelation? All the components are by nature empty–just convention, just names, agreed tokens, coverings….  Therefore, O Sariputra, it is because of his indifference to any kind of personal attainment that a Bodhisattva … end the end he attains to Nirvana.[2]


What a contrast emerges, however, when we compare this worldview to Christianity. Here not only does God define himself as “I am who I am” to Moses–the supreme affirmation of personhood  in the heart of divinity–but Jesus presents himself with echoes of the same language.



I am the light of the world. I am the bread of life. I am the truth, the way, and the life. To be divine is to be a person. It is to be a Trinitarian community of persons defined by mutual love. A love so large that God decides to create an universe to share his love with intelligent beings. A world desired to foster desire, attachment, gratitude.



Fascinating. Have a good week, friends.



[1] Reproduced in Philip Novak, The World’s Wisdom: Sacred Texts of the World’s Religions (New York: HarperOne, 1994), 75, 76



[2] Reproduced in Philip Novak, The World’s Wisdom: Sacred Texts of the World’s Religions (New York: HarperOne, 1994), 79


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Is desire good or bad?
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

 
Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Testimony: Wildfires near Athens Testimony: Wildfires near Athens

Nico Spies, a Christian worker in Athens, gives details about the wildfires in Greece.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
IFES World Assembly: ‘Messengers of Hope’ IFES World Assembly: ‘Messengers of Hope’

Students, graduates and staff of the global evangelical student movement reflected together on how the books of Luke and Acts apply to today's universities.

 
Christians at work - the missing link in fulfilling the Great Commission Christians at work - the missing link in fulfilling the Great Commission

Photos of the Lausanne Movement Global Workplace Forum, celebrated in Manila.

 
European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference

Images of the fifth EFN gathering. Experts, activists, counsellors and church leaders met in Pescara, Italy.

 
Glimpses of the ELF 2019 conference Glimpses of the ELF 2019 conference

Evangelical leaders from across Europe meet in Wisla (Poland) to network for mission in a range of fields. The vision is to renew the biblical church and evangelise Europe.

 
‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’ ‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’

Photos of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance’s annual gathering “Idea 2019”, in Murcia. Politicians and church leaders discussed about the role of minorities in society.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Practical ways to bring Christians from different generations together Practical ways to bring Christians from different generations together

What if young people were on church committees? asks David Hilborn, Principal of St John's College (UK).

 
Evangelical students from around the world gather in South Africa Evangelical students from around the world gather in South Africa

A short video summary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) World Assembly, July 3-10.

 
GWF in Manila: “Kingdom building requires global collaboration” GWF in Manila: “Kingdom building requires global collaboration”

850 from 108 countries met for the Global Workplace Forum, June 25-29. The gathering was organised by the Lausanne Movement. “Every workplace is a place of ministry”.

 
Luis Palau arrives in Madrid for first overseas outreach since his diagnosis of cancer Luis Palau arrives in Madrid for first overseas outreach since his diagnosis of cancer
At the invitation of hundreds of churches in Spain, the Luis Palau Association are sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ in Madrid, June 15-23, 2019, through numerous outreach events and a 2-day family festival in the heart of the city.
 
What are the most important truths that Christians should seek to convey in a secular context? What are the most important truths that Christians should seek to convey in a secular context?

Espen Ottosen talks about the truths Christians should share with people who have little knowledge and/or many prejudices about Christian belief.  

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.