This is a brilliant essay and desconstruction Winston. I should have answered my exam question, "Is Buddhism Nihlistic" as you did,
but alas my mind went a bit blank then, maybe I was in Nirvana?
I think many of the objections you raise against Buddhism are valid, and it is for this reason I prefer Hinduism because it is more life-
affirming, however the paradox is Hinduism says pretty much the same things as Buddhism does re desire, suffering and the supreme
goal of life being enlightenment or desirelessness. Yet, the difference is Hinduism also says that the whole universe is an act of love
of the supreme being, a higher desire. Therefore desire is the root of all being. How do we understand this paradox?
I think we can understand this paradox by understanding Buddhism within a Hindu framework. Unfortunately, as you point out there exists
some very pessimestic and nihilistic interpretations of Buddhism, and it is an easy mistake to make if one does not understand Buddhism
in terms of its wider dharmic context(Hinduism basically) If we do, we will be able to see just exactly what is being said by Buddha.
You talked about how some desires are good and do not necessarily produce unhappiness when they are spent. For example, going to
disney land and having a good day out, does not leave one with remorse that it is over. So how can this possiblty be a bad thing overal?
In order to answer this question I am going to reference what it says in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. If one touches a piece of coal, it
may appear to look cold because it is not burning hot, but in fact it may actually be very hot and burn you when you touch it. Likewise,
it may seem that the disney land experience is actually happy, but it in fact unhappiness. Let me tell you a story: a king leaves his kingdom
and goes out to be amongst the people disguised as a peasent, but he spends so much time playing the peasant, that he forgets he is the king.
The king that is use to having royal feasts, wearing the richest garments, is now eating and wearing the poorest foods and garments. Likewise,
we are are like the king, spiritual beings, but we have forgotten that and become identified with this physical body. This is also what Jesus meant
when he said, "ye are all gods" Everyone of us is in fact a spark of the divine light, and divine ourselves. The powers we have, the absolute joy, love and bliss
we are capable of is almost completely gone due to our embodiment. That spiritual aspect of us, that you may call the higher self, which we
are unconscious of, is in fact suffering due to its fall from grace. As long it remains separated from the source, its beloved, that Jesus called father, it
I have at many times in my life felt the pain of that suffering for no apparent reason. Sometimes I feel like crying, because I have
this strong yearning for the source. I actually feel the separation and it fills me with absolute love and humilty for the source, at the
same time a burning desire to be with the source. Buddhism, in what I argue is the correct interpretation of Buddha's words, is articulating the
same truth and this is why it says suffering is universal in this world. The disney land experience is still suffering, though it may not seem so
to our conscious perception. If you astral travel or interview astral travellers, you will discover that the highest pleasures of the
physical world pale to insignificance to pleasures of the astral world. The sensations are manifold times more vivid, brighter and alive,
your faculities and abilities are manifold times more powerful, and many dormant abilities are active, you are unrestricted by time and space,
you can manifest anything you desire. You can feel the presence of divinity all around. And there are still higher worlds, and the higher
you go the better it gets.