Buddhism vs Law of Attraction

Profile photo of Alex Alex (@ajgg) 5 years, 2 months ago

The aim of Buddhism is to extinguish desire and ultimately achieve enlightenment. But the Law of Attraction says we should have a burning desire and move towards it with resolve. What are your thoughts on how to resolve this?

February 26, 2012 at 10:09 pm
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Jason (111) (@thinknowlivenow) 5 years, 2 months ago ago

Buddhism is focused heavily on internal mastery (which is very good), and The Law of Attraction is based around the strategic use of intent to manifest desires. The Law of Attraction is at work right now, whether you believe it or not; every single thought in your head is “pulling” probable futures towards you as you read this.

It’s a matter of broken logic, really. There is no problem anymore than there is a problem with eating a tomato or a cucumber; nobody says you have to choose just one. Put them together into a salad and see what happens ; )

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Daniel (315) (@qwuakeup) 5 years, 2 months ago ago


Ultimately everything is internal mastery, even manifestation, for all that is outside is within. But I understand what your’e saying.

In Buddhism, it is also commonly stated that “your thoughts matter”.

What I think this refers to is actually that your thoughts, turn into matter.

The modern day LOA focuses on achieving material objects, such as cars and houses, as seen in the secret. This could just be introducing people to a new perspective of life. Draw people in by material objects so they can learn, and find out that material objects themselves don’t make you happy. And thus begin their spiritual path.

Attracting material objects is using the law of attraction in the ‘left-minded” way, very based into physical reality. There needs to be a balance, between earth and spirit and I think this is what Buddhism is trying to achieve. A balance point in our duality, similarly with Ying-Yang.

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St Emilion (2,990) (@manimal) 5 years, 2 months ago ago

Law of A is running constantly, whether you deliberately use it or not. Buddhism is so full of religious dogma, I doubt that the actual buddha really advocated that extinguishing of desire.

Desire is life, it’s the connection that turns the duality into a whole.

Using the law of A is also a part of inner mastery. Ignoring things like these, and even saying these things are wrong, that’s not enlightened at all. That’s fear, nothing but fear.

Check out this thread http://www.highexistence.com/discussions/topic/possessions-and-desires/

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WryJester (93) (@wryjester) 5 years, 2 months ago ago

I don’t know, I’m with Daniel on this. Yea, while Buddha advocated extinguishing desire, I would imagine it could have been taking out of context.

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Grand Kahlib (76) (@kahlib) 5 years, 2 months ago ago

to me it seems like one of those situations where you either have to drop one of these ideas, or be able to hold two contradictory terms at the same time.

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Alex (550) (@hollowinfinity) 5 years, 2 months ago ago

Or perhaps Buddhism was referring to extinguishing egotistical desire. The law of attractions works outside the ego, and Buddhism focus’ on tackling the ego and freeing yourself from it.

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Grand Kahlib (76) (@kahlib) 5 years, 2 months ago ago

I don’t know Alex. From what little I understand of Buddhism, it seems pretty specific in what it means by freeing one’s self from materialistic desires.

And mANIMAl, just because you don’t agree with the dogma of Buddhism doesn’t mean you have to paint a different picture of what it is. You say life is desire: to me, that is exactly why Buddhism seeks to free one from the cycle of reincarnation- because both life and desire are held to be ultimately meaningless.

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Jason (111) (@thinknowlivenow) 5 years, 2 months ago ago

Freeing one from material desires could also be referencing the transcendence of materialism. This would imply that one’s actions aren’t controlled by material objects (and their acquisition), but they may still have them or get them. They just aren’t the driving incentive to do anything in life; there is a big difference.

Those who transcend money are no lounger bound by its control, yet will most likely still be using it since they live in a society that functions on value etc. There is a fine line between rejection and transcendence, and as usual, binary thinking makes it impossible for most people to discern.

A lot of this romanticized buddhism/religion stuff causes people to start thinking with a hammer, just like any scientific theory. Don’t think in terms of absolutes; think of all of these ideologies as small slices/reflections/shadows of a higher holistic truth.

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Alex (1) (@ajgg) 5 years, 2 months ago ago

Wow, these are all great ideas. thanks guys

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Jason (111) (@thinknowlivenow) 5 years, 2 months ago ago

^”We might know that quantum physics has revealed solid matter to be forms of energy and process, but we prefer not to consider the implications of the fact that, with such discoveries, materialism is transcending itself.”


Also, I don’t know why more scientists don’t hypothesize that the big bang was just the ass-end of a black hole, dumping matter into a new space, where it has evolved into the universe we observe today. We know these things are the only phenomena capable of completely destroying the constant that is the speed of light, so this seems very, very logical to me.

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Evan L (0) (@elmoak) 5 years, 2 months ago ago

When synthesizing eclectic ‘philosophies’, viewing things from creative angles is important. Contradictions are unimportant if you keep in mind the similarities.

They/we are all trying to answer the same basic questions on some level.

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Joris (3) (@joris) 5 years, 2 months ago ago

I’m halfway in The Power of Now, and I think this book kind of talks about this too. Being present is a good way to feel good, you shouldn’t have your sights on the future thinking reaching your goals will make you happy.
Maybe read a few pages of the book to see if you like it. I’m gonna try to reread the beak after I’m finished to really soak in the information and apply it to real life.

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Grand Kahlib (76) (@kahlib) 5 years, 1 month ago ago

While I am into more of what Evan L calls “eclectic philosophy” I still recognize that these worldviews have irreconciliable differences. Therefore I cannot truly say I believe in any of them, but something which transcends them. Just because I borrow a belief from Buddhism does not make me a Buddhist, nor does it make the traditional views of Buddhism flawed (within the context of it’s own system). Therefore I must also recognize that while I may try to understand it, I will never be viewed as more than a tourist to the true adherents of these religions. Because I can be honest about these things, I gotta say that the differences do matter- and in a standpoint of the process of elimination perhaps they matter more than what they have in common.

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Psychonaut (88) (@soulpilgrim) 5 years, 1 month ago ago

@joris. Download the audiobook & play it in your car. It really sinks in then.

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Exist (12) (@exist) 5 years, 1 month ago ago

You can pretty much integrate both into your experience.

One thing I’ve found is that meditation has increased my focus by an unprecedented magnitude. With a clear, relaxed mind, I can sometimes focus on an object or task so deeply that it’s like there’s nothing in the universe except it and my awareness.

So yeah I’d say that comes first, learn to master your mind so that when it comes to a task, you can devote your full conscious awareness to it and engage it with your full effort, externally and internally.

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Trevor Emdon (0) (@tremdon) 4 years, 6 months ago ago

@ajgg, I think the Buddhist precept that desirelessness is desirable (lol) has been misunderstood.

The purpose of life is to fulfil desires. It is impossible to live a physical life without desire. Even the desire to eat or pee or sleep will eventually rear itself, won’t it?

Therefore, I believe Buddhism is teaching that desirelessness is ultimate fulfilment – a state of nirvana where even the desire to be alive in physical form is no longer present.

Meanwhile, whilst we are in physical form, the law of attraction teaches that the attainment of all our desires is possible for us. Desires are there so that we may follow our personal dharma, (path), not so that they can be thwarted and we end up living frustrated and unfulfilled. As we grasp this teaching and begin to live it we are also progressing towards our personal nirvana because we come increasingly to the understanding that life’s only purpose is to experience desires and have fun with the challenge of fulfilling them.

Eventually we will reach a point – perhaps many lifetimes from now or maybe in this one – where a desire will be fulfilled at the same instant it is experienced, thus making desire itself irrelevant … and the Buddhist ideal will then have been achieved.

There is therefore no conflict between the two teachings.

Hope that makes sense!

Landing 2

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olive (0) (@oliveandleaf) 3 years, 5 months ago ago

what i think is beautiful/ strange is the fact that we were born into this particular frequency of reality with our experience opearting at a certain speed and with the known universe already in our experience. I’ve practised much of living in the present moment and I managed to extinguish all of my desires, and ignore my ego. at this point I felt so much love that I did not see the point of being in this physical experience I wanted to drift off and create new realitites because I felt like I had unlimited power (quite aware i may sound insane).

Something stopped me and that was wondering what it would be like to feel a specific kind of love again, one that was more personal and the one where I loved my mum and family and wanted to make a difference in the world.

So I didn’t surrender to nothingness.

And I’m glad I didn’t.

For a few nights later (in my sleep) I felt myself drifting off down a dark tunnel full of changing patterns and I felt sick to my stomach at all things and a desire to be dead.

What I think I have figured out that non attachment, isn’t actually that cool. If our minds have the power to create our world, what can we imagine that we havn’t seen before on earth? We are naturally born with desire and a desire to create or experience.

If we completely surrender to non attachment and nothingness, we become nothing.

As we live totally unattached in the moment we become atoms and molecules, If we surrender to this more we become free floating conciousness without direction and we re experience everything in our lives, everything we are afraid of and everything we desire or if we have totally surrended our egos, we become nothing at all. Great. Is that not a will to death?

So where did this life as we know it come from? I don’t know. But I think it no chance that we operate on a particular frequency and and have the power to bring our dreams forth in this particular reality.

It seems some mind has given us all the tools (and limitations) we need to create a beautiful life for ourselves.

If we say there is more to life than this or what am I really we break up all the gathered atoms and molecules and split into a million (or more) peices and become nothing.
(lost in the abyss)
So if that is our natural state to be nothing, then why are we here? why have we created this divine reality? Did just our one mind create all of it?

Are we supposed to push the walls away and enter other frequencies?

It seems to me that whatever mind created us did so with the perfect tools to keep our structure in tact and give us the ability to experience and express love on this planet.

We can try to become nothingness, but we may get stuck there without the ability of divine imagination.

(I know this is quite badly written and I hope someone can take something out of it as it’s hard for me to get my head around)

But maybe what I’m trying to say is that the law of attraction seems to me like the divine minds gift to us on this planet, and that is great as Buddhism is in some respects if you become totally ego less and without desire it is much harder to be of any use on this planet and frequency or to create anything at all (because our thoughts are gathered from our earth experience). Buddhism in some ways is a desire to nothingness, the opposite of life.

ah, hope you apprectiate the massive post.


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olive (0) (@oliveandleaf) 3 years, 5 months ago ago

@tremdon, Thanks Trevor, I think I’m trying to say what you just said :)
Desire is life expressing itself
non desire is death and nothingness


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olive (0) (@oliveandleaf) 3 years, 5 months ago ago

and maybe we need super good control over our minds so we only think good, therefore can only create good

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Anonymous (21) (@) 3 years, 5 months ago ago

I think @tremdon and @oliveandleaf have put it quite in the track.

For me ate least (and it may be the problem for others), the thing with buddhism is lack of research, I never delved in their literature properly. What I know about buddhism came from google. I guess I was so unsatisfied with life that living like a monk seemed very “right” and the proper path. So I began to adopt views I did not really comprehend. I don’t think that ascetic life is for everyone. It is more likely, like @tredom said, to be a future state for everyone. In future lives. But you can’t just push it. Desire for it. I think the idea that we are here just to realize this is meaningless a little silly and pointless. Like @oliveandleaf

You get into a ferrari with no gas, you still enjoy the comfort of the car, you leave the car because you may realize you’re not going anywhere with it. If you do it just because your friends told you have no gas but never gave you the keys too check for your self, you may end up fooling yourself and cheating yourself out of a nice ride. You may want to live in the car and never leave it. Ultimately you’ll realize you cannot live inside that car. But just then should you leave it in my view. When you feel it.

So I don’t think these are contradictory views, you have to follow your gut. Thinks will come in due time. I like it here. There are things I still wanna do. Buddhism helped me to not become so attached to material stuff. In the things I wanna do I see a higher purpose now. Not just getting a car or big house. I guess I moved out of the egoistic state. If the universe is perfect I don’t think we should be afraid of breaking it.

Here: http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2294

This helped me a fair deal

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i4c1m2b (70) (@i4CiM2B) 3 years, 5 months ago ago

@oliveandl@oliveandleaf, i can really identify with what your saying. As i was reading about half way through , I thought ,wow sounds like me lately. different words, similar meanings . Really close on the feeling level.It’s hard to put a word to it , Angst came to mind. I had to look up the actual meaning to see if it fit. Here’s what I found in the urban dictionary:

Angst, often confused with anxiety, is a transcendent emotion in that it combines the unbearable anguish of life with the hopes of overcoming this seemingly impossible situation. Without the important element of hope, then the emotion is anxiety, not angst. Angst denotes the constant struggle one has with the burdens of life that weighs on the dispossessed and not knowing when the salvation will appear.

Yes, thats probably the best word I’ll find for my discordant thoughts and the feeling attached to them. When thoughts come to me as random bits and pieces, lacking cohesion or completeness. It’s as if I’ve been disabled by a nonsensical mental stutter, or worse , Metaphysical Madness and it’s inevitable quest to find the mythical Key to Oblivion where consciousness evaporates into the sweet silence of nothingness .
this is usually the moment when old elven friend takes up a straw and fires a spitball at my memory and I am reminded of the stone sifter and the explanation it provided for this current state of mind Make a wooden frame, attach a piece of that wire mesh used to make small animal cages to the bottom. Dump a shovel full of stones onto the mesh , shake it back and forth and only the stones small enough to get through the wire mesh get through. In this case , however, it’s letters and words being sifted, These jumbled thought that I think should be telling me something right now are incomplete as bits and pieces are being sifted through the fabric of time space. The Angst is the result of trying to force the thought to its completion. If it doesn’t make sense at the moment, pay no attention to it. Focus my energy elsewhere . Let it complete in its own time. When it does, I’ll feel it rise into my conscious, tailor made for my understanding . Answers to questions asked and forgotten, Whole new concepts to contemplate, new ways to explain older ideas. My very own spirit world , soul to soul special delivery surprise package . As always , that handwritten note reminding me that with hard work, meditation, mind body integration and belief mutation, I to, can vibrate myself into the 5th Dimension.
It all sounds great till they hand you a new name tag, squeeze you into a microscopic prize winning fish and then put you to sleep long enough to forget who you are, only to be rudely awakened by some giant who’s trying to tear your head off while some bitch is screaming’ bloody murder and everybody is pinning the blame on you. But the worst part is when the giant dude smacks you on the ass, and cuts off your food supply and while screaming for mercy, you get some silly notion that it was you who actually planned this fiasco. Yea whatever…

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Josh (212) (@reinvented2012) 3 years, 5 months ago ago

@thinknowlivenow, Love it. Make a salad. I love salads. Thats what I feel like I have to do because I know a little about different religions and things like the law of attraction and feel its best for me now to pick and choose what I like.

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Kris (328) (@kjbaran) 3 years, 5 months ago ago

@ajgg, The difference in the desires is “head” or “heart”. Applying the law of attraction can be more effective once you uncover the illusion like Buddhism teaches. Vice versa, following your heart can lead you to understanding Buddhism.

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i4c1m2b (70) (@i4CiM2B) 3 years, 5 months ago ago

@ajgg, Buddhism doesn’t seek to extinguish desire. Rather it is the “Attachment” to desire that the Buddhist tries to break from. Buddha did object to the acquisition of wealth only that it be attained by right thought, right action, right speech and right action. Take note. It’s called the law of attraction not the law of desire. Buddhism and LOA have more in common with each other than not.

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