Should we try to extinguish all desires?

What are the fundamental claims? For example, in Buddhism the goal is to extinguish hunger, extinguish desire. I remember talking to the first woman monk who was from Thailand to be ordained into the Buddhist priesthood but Thai Buddhists do not ordain women so she went to Sri Lanka to be ordained and she has a PhD in philosophy from McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario and Waterloo. I guess Ontario Mcmaster did a university there. Got her PhD in philosophy and she gave me the first interview. We chatted for well over an hour one-on-one and I sort of angled into some questions because I didn’t want to be too discourteous. And one of the things I said to her is “I hear you’re married” and she said “yes”. I said “You have children?”. She said “yes”. I said “but you’re living in a temple by yourself”. She said “yes”. I said “do you not see your children?”. She started crying. She said “I have a car.” I said “you have a car?” She said “yeah”. I said okay so she drove herself because she can’t allow a man to drive her. She said so she has to drive herself and she says every evening at the end of the day I try and meet up with one of my children. She said “this is the hardest part of my life.” I said “So you are on the journey to extinguishing the desire to be with your children. Is that right? Is that a fair assessment?” She kept quiet and then I said “The dalaI lama has as his primary pursuit now the freedom of Tibet.” She said “that’s right”. I said “why does he desire that?” She looked at me and she said “We try not to get into these philosophical questions. Let’s just say that he chooses to.”

If you think detaching from desire is how you attain enlightenment, aren’t you contradicting yourself by desiring enlightenment? You see that? How can you detach from desire to attain enlightenment if you desire enlightenment? You see? So that is that’s just a common sense argument that just makes it so ridiculous. Now some of these eastern religions people especially buddhists, they might try to be more specific, they might go “No, you misunderstand. What we mean by desire is we need to detach ourselves from craving pleasures and material goods, basically the worldly goods. So that’s what they’ll try to change into. Now trust me, the majority of buddhists don’t catch that because they don’t study buddhism that much or eastern religions. Only the ones who dig deep will probably say that, will probably give that answer. But the simple answer to that is this: that still doesn’t answer the question of what particular desire to detach yourself from. Oh no, detach yourself from earthly, worldly goods and craving pleasures. No, that doesn’t answer it because up to what point because here let me just give you several examples all right? How do you really know this particular thing, this worldly craving pleasure or detachment is the root cause of your suffering?

So let me get back to enlightenment. The reason why they want to achieve enlightenment you must understand, to detach from worldly desires, is because of suffering in this world. So a lot of people go through suffering and they don’t like suffering so they think the root cause of all suffering is all the desires of this world, craving pleasures. So then they say this if I detach myself from those desires, then I detach myself from that suffering and attain enlightenment. All right, so that’s what they mean. So here’s the thing: they think that this particular earthly worldly or craving desire is really the cause of my suffering but here’s my question: up to what particular craving worldly earthly desire is the cause of suffering. Let me give you examples all right, that will help you. Are we to detach ourselves from our desire for families? That’s worldly, they’re part of the world so am I supposed to separate, abandon my wife and children. Well if you’re like Buddha, he did. You can do what he did. I’m sure the monks won’t tell you that. They’re not going to tell you that because they know that family is a big deal in asian culture. So are we to detach ourselves for our desire from families? What about desire for work that’s part of the world? We need to make a living so that’s the root cause of my suffering, detach yourself from work then get your family and yourself to starve.