In the ‘Four Noble Truths Sutra’ the Buddha states:
Bikkhus, these two extremes should not be followed by one who has gone forth into homelessness. What two? The pursuit of sensual happiness in sensual pleasures … and the pursuit of self-mortification.
Right from the Buddha’s first teaching known as the ‘First Turning of the Wheel of Dharma’ teaching, the Buddha states that seeking sensual pleasures is an extreme that will lead us away from happiness.
Outside of work, a lot of time outside of work is spent pursuing sensual pleasures, whether it is the fetishization of food, sexual indulgence, or the accumulation of possessions.
Of course, it is important to meet the needs of the body, but these sensual pleasures are beyond fulfilling those basic needs. We need to be responsible and take care of our bodies, that includes having nutritious food, meeting sexual needs, and the possessions that make us comfortable. Instead, the extreme of sensual pleasures are more attuned to a hedonistic lifestyle, beyond meeting our basic needs.
We found that these sensual pleasures take a lot of time and energy to acquire, whether it is to prepare the decadent meal, to arrange the sexual meetings, or carefully acquiring the possessions. Once acquired they might only provide some short-term pleasure or joy, but provide no real long lasting happiness or sense of fulfillment.
On reflection this simple observation cuts away at the majority of the materialistic pursuits of modern society, from reality cooking and kitchen shows, the sexualization of everything, as well as 24 hour online shopping and the fetishization of collector items.