The Riddle of Desire: Introduction

Mark Matousek

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In early winter's rain
I'm pleased when up at the peak
Clouds spread open
To show me the moon I longed to see:
A storm that knows compassion.
                      —Saigyō

There comes a moment in everyone's practice when our fixed ideas of what is spiritual, and what's not, collapse in a paradoxical heap before our very eyes. We're troubled, mystified, frequently angered by these intrusions of too—messy life into the glass house of our idealized self; we're left to wonder, very often, where desire parts ways with wisdom.

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