Zen and Desire

  • Kiyozumi Seijun IshiiEmail author
  • Akihiko Masuda
  • Kayla Sargent
Part of the Mindfulness in Behavioral Health book series (MIBH)


In Zen and Desire, Prof. Seijun Ishii of Komazawa University explains how Zen Buddhism offers a unique account of desire, discussing desire itself as well as attachment to specific desires (bonno in Japanese), sometimes referred to as earthly desire. According to Ishii, Zen is based upon the absolute validation or affirmation of the self and reality, fostering a fundamental assumption that desires are not a separate entity, and they do not inherently prevent people from becoming a Buddha. From a Zen perspective, individuals are essentially pure, and the Buddha Nature exists in every sentient being. Ishii presents a historical perspective in terms of how desire has been approached by various Buddhist patriarchs and how those perspectives influence how desire is conceptualized in modern-day Zen. Within Zen Buddhism, worldly desires are not events to be eliminated deliberately. Instead, they are the internal events to which one must learn to relate to wisely. To unfold the Buddha Nature, one must continue to practice.


Zen Buddhism Behavioral health Desire Bonno 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kiyozumi Seijun Ishii
    • 1
    Email author
  • Akihiko Masuda
    • 2
  • Kayla Sargent
    • 2
  1. 1.Komazawa UniversityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.University of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA

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