Tanhavagga: Craving
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Alternate translation: Buddharakkhita
Alternate format: [PDF icon]
When a person lives heedlessly, his craving grows like a creeping vine. He runs now here & now there, as if looking for fruit: a monkey in the forest.
If this sticky, uncouth craving overcomes you in the world, your sorrows grow like wild grass after rain. If, in the world, you overcome this uncouth craving, hard to escape, sorrows roll off you, like water beads off a lotus.
To all of you gathered here I say: Good fortune. Dig up craving — as when seeking medicinal roots, wild grass — by the root. Don't let Mara cut you down — as a raging river, a reed — over & over again.
If its root remains undamaged & strong, a tree, even if cut, will grow back. So too if latent craving is not rooted out, this suffering returns again & again.
He whose 36 streams, flowing to what is appealing, are strong: the currents — resolves based on passion — carry him, of base views, away. They flow every which way, the streams, but the sprouted creeper stays in place. Now, seeing that the creeper's arisen, cut through its root with discernment.
Loosened & oiled are the joys of a person. People, bound by enticement, looking for ease: to birth & aging they go.
Encircled with craving, people hop round & around like a rabbit caught in a snare. Tied with fetters & bonds they go on to suffering, again & again, for long. Encircled with craving, people hop round & around like a rabbit caught in a snare. So a monk should dispel craving, should aspire to dispassion for himself.
Cleared of the underbrush but obsessed with the forest, set free from the forest, right back to the forest he runs. Come, see the person set free who runs right back to the same old chains!
That's not a strong bond — so say the enlightened — the one made of iron, of wood, or of grass. To be smitten, enthralled, with jewels & ornaments, longing for children & wives: that's the strong bond, — so say the enlightened — one that's constraining, elastic, hard to untie. But having cut it, they — the enlightened — go forth, free of longing, abandoning sensual ease. Those smitten with passion fall back into a self-made stream, like a spider snared in its web. But, having cut it, the enlightened set forth, free of longing, abandoning all suffering & stress.
Gone to the beyond of becoming, you let go of in front, let go of behind, let go of between. With a heart everywhere let-go, you don't come again to birth & aging.
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, always mindful cultivating a focus on the foul: He's the one who will make an end, the one who will cut Mara's bond.
Arrived at the finish, unfrightened, unblemished, free of craving, he has cut away the arrows of becoming. This physical heap is his last. Free from craving, ungrasping, astute in expression, knowing the combination of sounds — which comes first & which after. He's called a last-body greatly discerning great man.
All-conquering, all-knowing am I, with regard to all things, unadhering. All-abandoning, released in the ending of craving: having fully known on my own, to whom should I point as my teacher?
A gift of Dhamma conquers all gifts; the taste of Dhamma, all tastes; a delight in Dhamma, all delights; the ending of craving, all suffering & stress.
Riches ruin the man weak in discernment, but not those who seek the beyond. Through craving for riches the man weak in discernment ruins himself as he would others.
Fields are spoiled by weeds; people, by passion. So what's given to those free of passion bears great fruit. Fields are spoiled by weeds; people, by aversion. So what's given to those free of aversion bears great fruit. Fields are spoiled by weeds; people, by delusion. So what's given to those free of delusion bears great fruit. Fields are spoiled by weeds; people, by longing. So what's given to those free of longing bears great fruit.