Wholesome Desire

Sunlit oak on the Blackdown Hills, DevonWhile trav­el­ling in the coun­try­side and see­ing an enor­mous tree with over­ar­ch­ing branch­es and abun­dant green leaves, some­one whose mind is expan­sive and appre­ci­ates the beau­ty of nature will delight in the splen­dour and mag­nif­i­cence of that tree and wish for it to pros­per and be free from danger.

In that moment the mind is devot­ed and direct­ed to the tree’s well­be­ing. One’s thoughts are benev­o­lent; they are not self­ish, acquis­i­tive, or cov­etous. The mind delights in the healthy, nat­ur­al state of the tree. This state of mind is whole­some, vir­tu­ous, and peace­ful; it is ben­e­fi­cial to that per­son and to oth­ers. The plea­sure in wit­ness­ing the ful­fil­ment of this tree or the wish for it to exist in a state of com­plete­ness is whole­some desire (chan­da). One can say that one feels good­will towards the tree.

Sunlit beech tree on the Blackdown Hills, Devon

In the same man­ner, we may see oth­er peo­ple in good health, strong and at ease, and we delight in their well­be­ing, wish­ing for them to be hap­py, healthy, and free from ill­ness. This state of mind radi­ates out­wards and does not revolve around self­ish con­cerns. This wish for oth­er beings to exist in a state of hap­pi­ness and ful­fil­ment is whole­some desire as it is expressed towards liv­ing crea­tures, and it is giv­en the spe­cial des­ig­na­tion as lov­ing-kind­ness (met­tā).

Novice and dog at Wat Pah Boon Lawm

From chap­ter 21 of Ven. Phra Payut­to’s Bud­dhad­ham­ma on the Bud­dhist teach­ings on desire.


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