Friday, July 2, 2010

Temptations on Rue Dauphine

Every day, as I walk out of our hotel, on rue Dauphine, temptations await in the form of Desigual dresses and fancy sandals, and purses on sale for 60% off. I have sworn I will not buy anything during this trip. Now, I find my resolution waning.

I am reminded of the story about the Dalai Lama, driving down Fifth Avenue during Christmas, and being awed, and tempted by all the goods displayed in the store windows. And laughing about it . . . 

The Dalai Lama's human-ness serves to show me the difference between feeling the craving, and indulging it. It is actually quite an interesting process. Getting in touch with the unpleasantness, the physical tug at the throat, the frazzled energy that besiege me as I dwell in the wanting. And then imagining the temporary high from buying the Desigual dress, and the letdown that will follow. 

Revisiting my notes from earlier retreat with  Andrea Fella two months ago, particularly her talk on the Second Noble Truth:

When we get what we want, we get a double hit of pleasantness:
1) getting what we want
2) having pain of wanting go away

We start to believe the only way to get happiness is to get what we want combined with release of the wanting. As the pleasure of the satisfied craving fades away, we want more of same thing, or we create more wants. This is a perpetual cycle.
. . .

The Buddha recognized this was not very satisfying, and that a deeper happiness resulted from letting go of the craving. This requires a leap of faith. There are lots of opportunities for testing this out . . . Of getting in touch with feelings of wanting, and the experience of unpleasantness associated with wanting itself. Realizing that wanting is dependent on causes. Also seeing that feeling of wanting eventually disappears, and leads to feeling of satisfaction. This can get tricky, as when we start looking for, wanting moment when wanting disappear. It is not about getting rid of wanting, but instead understanding it, and as we do, it will let go of itself.

Using every moment as opportunity to practice. Forsaking the indulgence of small cravings for the chance to experience real, unconditioned happiness.


  1. I've been doing a lot of this myself lately. When I see something and that 'wanting' feeling creeps up I am starting to look at it and examine it more. How does it feel? Where do I feel it in my body? And finally...can I just be with it. Naturally, if I just be with it, the wanting goes away and I am reminded of the impermanence all things.

  2. Wonderful, Nate! and thank you for sharing your progress along the path.

    With much metta :)

  3. Thank-you for this post. It hits a spot this morning, as I work with the craving I had toward this home we are renting (that we have confirmed information is not for sale) and the antsy discomfort of wanting to have the whole house finding thing tied up.

    " getting what we want & having pain of wanting go away". These are "the ornaments of my practice these last few days".(Dilgo Khyenste Rinpoche)

  4. Thank you zendot! I do wish you best in your 'permanent home' search. I understand from your writings how much you have bonded with this new place, and of course, the disappointment from not being able to 'have' it. All the Noble Truths wrapped up in that one search, including the right understanding that you bring, and that makes all the difference . . .

    Much metta to you, sister!

  5. Hi Marguerite,
    I'm glad you liked the post about Wonhyo. He really gets to the point, doesn't he!
    Thanks also for the link to the Dharma talks by Ajahn Chah, those are really nice!

  6. I love how the Web enables us to enlarge our well of wisdom, through the sharing of our favorite teachings . . .