The Buddha's admonition to rid ourselves of desire is seen by many people as an austere rejection of pleasure. What motivation do we have for living if we are not to desire? I think this misunderstanding comes from taking the word "desire" too literally. Of course you must desire to be free from suffering to even start to learn about Buddhism.
The kind of desire we must investigate is the desire to reject reality. We look around us and categorize the world into:
- Stuff I like (the good)
- Stuff I don't like (the bad)
- Stuff I don't care about (the neutral)