There is a misleading misconception in religious and spiritual circles, that the senses lead to worldly desire.

The senses can only lead to wanting and wordly desire when they are focusing.

Focusing does not automatically lead to wanting or worldly desire. But when we focus and it causes pleasure or displeasure, sometimes – depending on the degree of pleasure or displeasure – it leads to wanting, or to fearing it. And once we want (or fear) something we will periodically and repetitiously remember it – we will refocus on it – thinking about it again in our minds, wanting it (or avoiding it) again in our actions.

Wanting and worldly desire are always intrinsically connected with focusing. They're caused in part by focusing, and they always result in focusing.

Wanting and pleasure always result in repetitions, either an idea will repeat in our memory or an actual repetition in practical life, and this implicitly binds us to karma. But focusing isn't the only thing our senses can do.

Animals have a way of using their senses without focusing. It is a general receptive awareness of everything all around. Animals use this to see, hear, and smell everything which is happening in their immediate environment at this present moment. It can only be done now. Sensing like this doesn't lead anywhere else. I call it panoramic sensing. The only thing panoramic sensing leads to, if it is pleasurable, is more panoramic sensing.

In order for animals to use the panoramic senses with any intensity, it is necessary for them to stop focusing on what they are doing, wanting, and getting. Panoramic sensing is the easiest, most natural and obvious way to neutralise thinking, and to temporarily interrupt all sensory desire and wanting.

The Panoramic Senses are introduced on the central, first page summary : The Sense of it All.

Part 3 continues with The Basic Truths of Buddhism

Back to Part 3 : Buddhism