People’s desires are limitless. There is the basic desire to live. There is also the instinctual desire for food, the materialistic desire for possessions, and the psychological desire to be noticed. . . . We could not live without desires. Often, desires generate the energy that enables us to move forward and improve ourselves. . . . The key question, therefore, is how we direct our desires.
The Buddha’s enlightenment does not lie in “eradicating” earthly desires, but in infusing them with compassion and wisdom. It is a matter of transforming the turbid river of earthly desires, karma, suffering and negativity into a pure stream of compassion and wisdom. . . . Those who achieve this possess a perfectly tranquil and serene state of life in that they are not troubled by earthly desires; at the same time, their lives have a vigorous dynamism. Such a state of life is like the ocean. No matter what turmoil there may be on the surface, in its depths there is absolute calm and tranquility.
We are born with many instinctive desires, including the most vital one, which is the basic desire to live. . . . Since desires are necessary to the maintenance of human life, they are in that sense beneficial. But simply to pursue desires with no higher aim is to become a slave to desire, and this can lead only to misfortune for oneself and others.