sekha silapada wrote:I have a question on right view of desire and depression. I used to practice Buddhism, and after a while it made me feel empty and made life feel meaningless. I viewed desire as harmful, so I worked to get rid of desire, but it ended up making me depressed, feeling as though everything was pointless. I mean, yeah, sure Nibbana and all, but life should be enjoyed in the moment, and how can life be enjoyed unless one has desire?
But the main definition of Nibbana, according to Ajahn Brahm, is the "highest happiness". So enjoy Nibbana in the moment, to have the greatest enjoyment possible in the moment! (of course, getting there will require the work of (probably) decades, perhaps through some "empty, meaningless" patches lasting many weeks...)
Don't you enjoy meditation? It might not give you the immediate "rush" of, say, playing tennis, but I find, when I'm watching the breath "correctly", then it's at least somewhat calming, and often joyful - and eventually after many days and many hours you get a better "rush" than anything has given you - even well before Jhana.
If you get an empty feeling just "let it go", again and again, and refocus more tightly on the breath.
And as Ajahn Chah said - when you feel like meditating, meditate. When you don't feel like meditating, meditate.
Meditate for some time each day - even if only ten minutes, keep it going, the "dull periods" will lift (at least I find it so.) And don't demand too much, better, don't demand anything. Even if it's no better than a less interesting change from the housework, at least it's a rest (and persevere, it should quickly become more than that, and, slowly, much more!)
If you are asking "how can life be enjoyed unless one has desire?" then you have not got very far in your practice and study of Buddhism - try reading "Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond" by Ajahn Brahm and weigh every word carefully. See what real enjoyment is!
sekha silapada wrote:Even simple things, like a cool fall breeze, brings joy because it is desireable (because such breezes are rare for most of the year, you can't control when you receive them, they feel nice). If things are no longer desirable, you can no longer extract joy from them.
This is just plain wrong, the breeze brings (mundane) joy whether you are desiring it or not. Just don't crave it or seek it!
If you get no joy from the breeze then it's the depression that's destroying the joy, not the fact that you desire it or not.
sekha silapada wrote:I personally don't find picking and choosing to practice what you find agreeable or convenient be very growth stimulating.
But the Buddha recommended different techniques for different people - so you *should* "pick and choose to practice what you find agreeable or convenient" - as long as it is recommended by the Buddha!
sekha silapada wrote:I was reading a recent thread where people were discussing "good" versus "bad" desire. I feel like the idea is very logical to me- some kinds of desire can be positive/helpful, some negative/harmful. I'd love to think/know that this is what Buddhism teaches. But I don't know how well this fits into a Buddhist context- again, I was taught that all desire should be removed.
Ajahn Brahm discusses this in some depth - roughly speaking desire for Jhana & Nibbana is good, but involves losing desire for everything else, and eventually you need to lose desire for Jhana and Nibbana to get Nibanna, but at that point desire just slips away, so you don't have to tie yourself in knots desiring to desire nothing (!)
sekha silapada wrote:In conclusion, I don't know whether the view on desire I have been taught it a right view, and if not, I would love some explanation on desire and right view/what I'm missing.
What exactly were you taught? Can you quote chapter and verse?