There is a very interesting and useful teaching within Buddhism that explains eight different worldly desires that bind you to the never ending cycles of suffering and prevent you from achieving lasting happiness. Because everyone wants to be happy and no-one wants to suffer this is a very important and universal teaching.
The idea comes from the first noble truth of Buddhism which says that desire causes suffering. But what type of desire? The desires are all related to the ego and the false idea that by accumulating or ridding yourself of certain things happiness can be attained. Essentially this comes under attachment and aversion which is the root cause of unhappiness according to Buddha.
The 8 Concerns That Prevent Happiness:
- Taking delight in having money and material possessions,
- Being disappointed, upset, angry when we lose possessions or don’t get them.
- Feeling delighted when people praise us and approve of us and tell us how wonderful we are.
- Feeling very upset and dejected when they criticize us and disapprove of us—even if they are telling us the truth!
- Feeling delighted when we have a good reputation and a good image.
- Being dejected and upset when we have a bad reputation.
- Feeling delighted when we experience sense pleasures—fantastic sights, sounds, odors, tastes and tactile sensations.
- Feeling dejected and upset when we have unpleasant sensations.
To give up these eight worldly concerns and focus on becoming enlightened is what it means to be a spiritual person. These days the word ‘spiritual’ gets thrown around quiet a bit and has lost all meaning but in ancient India there was a clear dividing line between a worldly person a spiritual person and it revolves around what you give up and what you are trying to attain. Of course you can try and be loving, kind and wise in your worldly life but that is trying to have your cake and eat it too and has limited effects.