Tanha or Craving in Buddhism
"There are these three cravings. Which three? Craving for sensuality, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming. These are the three cravings."
— Itivuttaka 58
An arrow in the heart
"Craving is... an arrow. The poison of ignorance spreads its toxin through desire, passion, & ill will."
— Majjhima Nikaya 105
Six kinds of craving
"There are these six classes of craving: craving for forms, craving for sounds, craving for odors, craving for flavors, craving for tangibles, craving for mind-objects."
— Majjhima Nikaya 9
What traps us in samsara
"Monks, I don't envision even one other fetter — fettered by which beings conjoined go wandering and transmigrating on for a long, long time — like the fetter of craving. Fettered with the fetter of craving, beings conjoined go wandering and transmigrating on for a long, long time."
— Itivuttaka 15
Bound with the bondage of craving,
their minds smitten with becoming & non-,
they are bound with the bondage of Mara —
people with no safety from bondage,
beings going through the wandering-on,
headed for birth & death.
While those who've abandoned craving,
free from the craving for becoming & non-,
reaching the ending of fermentations,
though in the world,
have gone beyond.
— Itivuttaka 58
A cause of dukkha
"And what is the cause by which stress comes into play? Craving is the cause by which stress comes into play.
— AN VI.63
Cutting the roots of craving
If its root remains
undamaged and strong,
a tree, even if cut,
will grow back.
So too if latent craving
is not rooted out,
this suffering returns
— Dhammapada 338
Encircled with craving,
people hop round and around
like a rabbit caught in a snare.
Tied with fetters and bonds
they go on to suffering,
again and again, for long.
— Dhammapada 342
For a person
forced on by his thinking,
fierce in his passion,
focused on beauty,
craving grows all the more.
He's the one
who tightens the bond.
But one who delights
in the stilling of thinking,
a focus on the foul:
He's the one
who will make an end,
the one who will cut Mara's bond.
— Dhammapada 349-350
Where does craving arise, and where does it dwell?
"And where does this craving, when arising, arise? And where, when dwelling, does it dwell? Whatever is endearing & alluring in terms of the world: that is where this craving, when arising, arises. That is where, when dwelling, it dwells.
"And what is endearing & alluring in terms of the world? The eye is endearing & alluring in terms of the world. That is where this craving, when arising, arises. That is where, when dwelling, it dwells.
"The ear... The nose... The tongue... The body... The intellect...
"Forms... Sounds... Smells... Tastes... Tactile sensations... Ideas...
"Eye-consciousness... Ear-consciousness... Nose-consciousness... Tongue-consciousness... Body-consciousness... Intellect-consciousness...
"Eye-contact... Ear-contact... Nose-contact... Tongue-contact... Body-contact... Intellect-contact...
"Feeling born of eye-contact... Feeling born of ear-contact... Feeling born of nose-contact... Feeling born of tongue-contact... Feeling born of body-contact... Feeling born of intellect-contact...
"Perception of forms... Perception of sounds... Perception of smells... Perception of tastes... Perception of tactile sensations... Perception of ideas...
"Intention for forms... Intention for sounds... Intention for smells... Intention for tastes... Intention for tactile sensations... Intention for ideas...
"Craving for forms... Craving for sounds... Craving for smells... Craving for tastes... Craving for tactile sensations... Craving for ideas...
"Thought directed at forms... Thought directed at sounds... Thought directed at smells... Thought directed at tastes... Thought directed at tactile sensations... Thought directed at ideas...
"Evaluation of forms... Evaluation of sounds... Evaluation of smells... Evaluation of tastes... Evaluation of tactile sensations... Evaluation of ideas is endearing & alluring in terms of the world. That is where this craving, when arising, arises. That is where, when dwelling, it dwells.
— Digha Nikaya 22
Suggestions for Further Reading
- Buddhism - The Concept of Anatta or No Self
- Anatta or Anatma in Buddhism
- Anicca or Anitya in Buddhism
- The Buddha on God
- The Buddha on Avijja or Ignorance and on the Origin of Life
- The Eightfold Path Of Buddhism
- The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism
- Buddhism - Right Living On The Eightfold Path
- Handbook for the Relief of Suffering by Ajaan Lee
- Meat Eating or Vegetarianism in Buddhism
- The Agendas of Mindfulness
- Meditation on Anicca or Impermanence in Buddhism
- A Sketch of the Buddha's Life
- What is Ignorance And Cessation Of Ignorance
- The Meaning of the Buddha's Awakening
- Basic Breath Meditation Practice
- Buddha's Teachings on Kamma or Karma
- Affinities Of Buddhism And Christianity
- Death and Dying in Buddhism
- Buddhism In A Nutshell
- The Buddha on Ignorance or Avijja
- Dhamma for Everyone by Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo
- Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism
- Four Discourses of the Buddha on Everyman's Ethics
- The Five Aggregates A Study Guide
- The Healing Power of the Five Buddhist Percepts
- The Working of Maya or Illusion - A Buddhist Perspective
- Buddhism - Kamma (Karma) and its Fruit
- Buddhism - Kamma (Karma) A Study Guide
- Buddhism - Living the Dhamma A Practice Guide
- What Anatta or No-Self is All About
- Buddhism - The Middle Way
- The Buddhist Monastic Code, Dhamma-Vinaya
- Nibbana, or Nivranva in Buddhsim
- Why The Buddha Taught the Anatta or Not-Self Doctrine
- The Status of Women in Buddhist Societies
- Buddhism - The Practice of Loving-Kindness (Metta)
- Buddhism - Does Rebirth Make Sense
- Buddhism - Right Concentration
- Buddhism - Intentions and Nirvana
- The Round of Rebirth - Samsara
- The Role of Samavega in Buddhism
- The Chaos Theory and Nirvana in Buddhism
- A Christian's Journey Into Buddhism
- A Simple Guide to Buddhism
- Buddhist Cosmology - The Thirty one Realms of Existence
- Buddhism and the concept of renunciation
- Sankharas (Samskaras) in Buddhism
- Vedanta and Buddhism A Comparative Study
- Buddhism - Vipansana or Insight Meditation
- The Right Approach To End Suffering in Buddhismm
- Essays On Dharma
- Esoteric Mystic Hinduism
- Introduction to Hinduism
- Hindu Way of Life
- Essays On Karma
- Hindu Rites and Rituals
- The Origin of The Sanskrit Language
- Symbolism in Hinduism
- Essays on The Upanishads
- Concepts of Hinduism
- Essays on Atman
- Hindu Festivals
- Spiritual Practice
- Right Living
- Yoga of Sorrow
- Mental Health
- Concepts of Buddhism
- General Essays
Source: Reproduced and reformatted from Access to Insight edition © 2005 For free distribution. This work may be republished, reformatted, reprinted, and redistributed in any medium. It is the author's wish, however, that any such republication and redistribution be made available to the public on a free and unrestricted basis and that translations and other derivative works be clearly marked as such.
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