Unlike the norms of modern society and mass media messages, Buddhism does not advocate nor celebrate these 3 desires. Desire is an uncontrollable wanting. It runs like a program in the background of our consciousness. From a buddhist perspective it is like a virus that corrupt our mind.
3 types of desires lead to rebirth in cyclic existence, which is the basis for unhappiness. AKA sufferings.
Buddhist practices are meant to help us reprogram ourselves to get rid of these 3 desires. If our practice is along these objectives, then it is the Buddha way.
1. Desire for sensual pleasures.
Different people derive pleasures from different sensual experience. Sensual refers to stimulation of our senses of sight, sound,smell,taste,touch,thoughts.
If we examine the Buddhist monastic precepts, it becomes apparent that these precepts guide a person towards a lifestyle that avoid sensual pursuit. They were recommended by Buddha to men and women who wish to follow His example. (It is ironical that layman sometimes offer such indulgence to a monk or nun, believing that they are offering the best)
The desire for sensual pleasure leads to the pursuit of mundane happiness. Mundane happinesses are unsatisfactory because they are marked by impermanence.
For example, we may enjoy ice cream or certain fruits. However, that blissful state of happiness induced by that taste is marked by impermanence. You will get sick of that taste. Which is why we have to stop and eat something different.
This doesn’t mean we have to give up ice cream and never eat it again. Eating ice cream is not the problem, the desire for better tasting ice cream is.
If we examine our life and the stuffs that we possess, we can see how much time and money were spent pursuing mundane happiness. Some of these items brought momentary happiness. Then we get sick of them and they are left collecting dust in a corner.
Our spiritual practice is suppose to help us be free from the addiction to mundane happiness. Naturally, that will be the worst nightmare of businesses around the world. So we are constantly being bombarded by messages that promote the pursuit of mundane happiness.
The 1st step of our practice is to gain mindfulness again. (Concentration) Be aware of our addiction to mundane happiness. Next is to observe the unsatisfactory nature of these mundane happiness.(Wisdom) Our endless craving to pursue more and more since the mundane happiness is unsatisfactory. This inevitably leads to a feeling of a “hole” in our life. A missing piece of puzzle. An incompleteness. Sounds familiar?
Now if we step back and look at the above situation, we realise that we created the problems by ignorantly chasing after mundane happiness.
That is something we want to fix. Our practice is like an anti-virus patch we have to install in our mind. Buddhist practices such as meditation or mantra chanting allow us to become mindful again. The Dharma is a “short-cut” that help us gain wisdom.
When we are mindful, we are in control. Then we direct our mind to see reality. Observe how fast we become tired and sick of the various mundane happiness we acquired. When we start seeing the problems of our desire, we obtain wisdom. That wisdom will cause us to fix our bad habits, to get rid of desires for sensual pleasure.
Hope this provide a good summary to the purpose of buddhist practice. May all be well and happy.