Intention is simply an inclination, a mental pull towards an object. It can be simply understood as “a wish to do.” Nothing more.
Intention is not same as a desire in the conventional sense. It is not wanting, craving, or lust, but simply a mental inclination.
Intention is neither unwholesome nor wholesome. Intention becomes unwholesome—a desire—if it combines with unwholesome elements such as greed, hatred, delusion, and so on. In other words, only an unwholesome intention is a desire.
Greedy Intention = Desire.
Hateful Intention = Desire.
Deluded Intention = Desire.
Greedy intention (a desire) would be present in the case of a man or a woman pursuing a rich spouse to acquire wealth. Hateful intention (a desire) would be present in the case of a vendetta.
Intention becomes wholesome—a will—if it combines with wholesome elements of non-greed (generosity), non-hatred (loving-kindness), non-delusion (wisdom), and so on. In other words, an intention to do a wholesome act is not a desire but a will.
Generous Intention = Will.
Loving Intention = Will.
Wise Intention = Will.
Generous intention (a will and not desire) would be present in case of a devoted social worker serving needy communities. Loving intention (a will and not a desire) is present in case of a missionary who preaches a message of love. If you are doing meditation and pursuing enlightenment, you are not having a desire. You are simply exercising a will.
If an author publishes a book with an intention of becoming famous and rich, then such an intention is a desire. A desire is not worth pursuing because it defiles the mind with greed.
SOUL RESEARCH INSTITUTE NEWSLETTER, AUGUST 2010
EVENTS AT S.R.I.
Open Eye Meditation Workshop
Sunday Gathering and Potluck
Sam Adettiwar is back from India. He will conduct the workshop on coming Sunday, August 22, 2010. Timings as usual (see below).
Come and go anytime as you likeNO FEES. JUST PRACTICE.
10.00-10.30am: Soul Yoga
10.30-11.00am: Soul Breathing
11.00-11.30am: Open Eye Meditation
Noon - 12.30pm: Potluck (Veg.)
12.30 - Whatever: Noble Discussion
Where: Fire Dept. Hall: 2490 Research Parkway, Briargate Area, Colorado Springs, CO
"Will is character in action."
"Men can do great things if they will (and not desire)."
"I used to desire.. but now I have the (will) to get rid of all my desires."
However, if an author's intention is genuinely to help large number of people through publishing a book, then such an intention is a matter of will and not desire. A will is synonymous with character strength, motivation, spirit, and so on.
In summary, only an unwholesome intention equate to having a desire. An intention in itself or a will is not same as a desire.
Such understanding is vital, especially for those spiritual practitioners who abandon the world or become disenchanted with it because of misunderstanding the doctrine of desirelessness. Such understanding is also vital for those who cleverly hide sensual desires and passions behind the curtain of will.
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People who are aware and wise (rather than clever) can easily determine whether their intentions are desires or the will to act. Truthfully, these words and definitions don’t matter much, as long as the message is clear:
Employ “will” and fire “desire.”
Will, when it becomes exceptional, leads to accomplishment, as it plays an instrumental role in leading and channeling all our actions towards a single target. In this sense, it paves the way for success in any wholesome endeavor.