Selfishness [6] – Renunciation of wants

Wants should be carefully distinguished from needs. Pride and anger,greed and lust, are all different from needs. You might think, “I need all that I want,” but this is a mistake. If you are thirsty in a desert, what you need is good water, not lemonade.

As long as one has a body there will be some needs, and it is necessary to meet those needs. But wants are an outcome of infatuated imagination. They must be scrupulously killed if there is to be any happiness. As the very being of selfishness consists of desires, renunciation of wants becomes a process of death.

Dying in the ordinary sense means parting with the physical body, but dying in the real sense means renunciation of low desires. The priests prepare people for false death by painting gloomy pictures of hell and heaven; but their death is illusory, as life is one unbroken continuity. The real death consists of the cessation of desires, and it comes by gradual stages.

-Discourses, 7th Ed, p 12

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