Lysander wrote:Hello there, I am new to Buddhism. I hope i can find a satisfactory answer for the question i have here.
Is the prescription for dealing with suffering, i.e. the renunciation of all worldly desires flawed? The desiring part of us -- call it eros, taṇhā, the id, the amygdala, or whatever you will -- is ultimately still a part of us. We are embodied beings, with physical cravings and wants. We can't disown our desires, because they are us.
My thoughts are that it's not a "prescription" where you "use" the renunciation to deal with suffering, but rather the insight that desire itself is suffering. For example, a bug bites and it itches, and scratching it feels good... but the better condition would be not having an itch in the first place. If you hold your breath for a long time, the first breath you take feels so good, but the better condition would be to not be deprived of oxygen in the first place. Desire creates a tension, one that is released when we obtain the object of desire, but the better condition would be to not desire in the first place. However this is not something that can be willed or forced, but realized through insight gained.
Desire also has other drawbacks, for example despite all the time and effort I put into fulfilling desire, it's only a matter of time before I desire something new and chase after it. Meaning, the pleasant effect of fulfillment disappears in time. Moreover, after the pleasant effect wears off, the costs might still remain: having to pay off installments/credit card bills for things that are no longer pleasant, health costs after enjoying drugs or even a fat-laden meal, unwanted children/abortions after a wild night out.
As for the desiring part being part of you, well, your hands are part of you, and you can't disown them. They are capable of killing, stealing or hurting someone, but you can choose to use them in such ways.