Two Types of Desire

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    • #31837

      This thread was also deleted yesterday. Thanks to Hojanyun for pointing that out.
      Original post by Grenier on August 19, 2020, at 10:26 am:

      “Bonjour Lal,
      I have a question first about Anatta and desires; you wrote in your post ”Is it necessary for a Buddhist to eliminate sensual desires” saying: ”Getting rid of sense desires (including a craving for food) is not necessary in the beginning and even up to the Sotapanna stage.” …but after that, we will have to desire to get rid of desires…do you agree that desire can be eliminated only by the desire to do so?….this seems paradoxical since to get rid of one’s desires one must begin by adding to them. And second, for Anatta, in your post, ”Anatta and Dukkha – True meanings” you say: ”one needs to comprehend that one is really helpless in this rebirth process” or ”one is not in control over the long run”…so, if we are not in control, how can we desire to get rid of our desires? …is it not logically absurd to suppose that human desire can be completely eliminated? Much of the world’s economy is fueled by desire and consumption …how does a lay Buddhist practice Buddhism in a culture fueled by desire?…the challenge is to live in a material culture without getting snared by it….will desire loses its power to jerk us around? Merci, Grenier”

      I gave the following answer:

      You asked: “do you agree that desire can be eliminated only by the desire to do so?”

      There are two meanings to the word “desire”.
      – One is the desire for sensory pleasures or kama raga. The desire to enjoy seeing sensual things, to eat delicious food, to have sex, etc.
      – There is another meaning of “desire” to do with spiritual progress. The desire to live a moral life and stay away from at least extreme greed, anger, etc.

      Then the desire to attain Nibbana is a Noble goal and the Pali word is “chanda”. It is a quality to be cultivated, especially after one starts to comprehend the dangers in the rebirths process.

      You asked: “is it not logically absurd to suppose that human desire can be completely eliminated?”
      – In the beginning, that is the perception most humans have.
      – That is why one needs to go step-by-step.
      – If one starts forcefully abstaining from sense pleasures, that may lead to frustration (Pali word is patigha).
      – But in the end, one will realize that those desires for sensual pleasures can only lead to suffering, especially in the rebirth process.
      – I do see them that way. I do not crave sense pleasures. But I don’t subject myself to hardships either. That is the “middle way” of the Buddha.

      Granier has more questions and I suggested continuing the discussion at the forum so that it can benefit others.

    • #31838

      On August 19, 2020 at 12:53 pm, y not posted:

      Very reasonable questions, Grenier. Justified and factual too.

      I see it this way. What someone on the Path is actually trying to do is to go beyond Nature. No less than that. But once one accepts the Buddha’s Teaching and has come to unshakeable confidence in the Dhamma and the Sangha as well, it is there that the Great Struggle begins. One has come to right view. It then becomes a tug-of-war between Nature on the one side and the Dhamma on the other, with you the knot in the middle of the rope. It is said somewhere in the suttas, in the Dhammapada if I remember correctly, that one who conquers himself (is no longer swayed this way and that by Nature) is greater that a conqueror of many lands and kingdoms. Why? Because it is much harder, obviously.

      It is certainly not natural to defy Nature, to go beyond Nature, to try to be rid of greed, aversion and delusion. Yet, reflecting on the Buddha’s teachings that not only the harm we do to other beings, but also the apparently innocent pleasures we so cheerfully indulge in, will bring us harm in the longer run and, indeed, forevermore- in that they keep us chained to sansara, much of which by far consists of existences in the apayas.

      It is no easy undertaking. Up to the Sakadagami Stage it can be said to be reasonably ‘do-able’. Beyond that, where all sensuality is given up, including sex, only Anagamis and Arahants have reached. So it is done in steps. The elimination of wrong views, not committing unwholesome deeds, observing morality the best you can, being generous…. you may be there already, I cannot tell. I sincerely hope so. Then, constantly reflecting on the Dhamma is of paramount importance. This will in time give rise to aveccappsada in the Buddha (and in the Dhamma and the Sangha). You are done with the apayas for a start.

      May the Dhamma guide you on.

    • #31839

      On August 19, 2020, at 7:40 pm, Grenier posted:

      Bonjour Lal,
      I thank you for your clarifications about ”desires”; if I understand your point, there are two categories of ”desires” : the ”good one” (dhamma-chanda or vibhava tanha) and the ”bad one”
      (kama tanha),” desires” for sensory pleasures… (but what about bhava tanha?).
      A being must develops ”good desires” to discard the ”bad one”… (desiring desirelessness).
      But a being is not in ”control” (anatta) and in that position, could he (a self) makes ”good desires”, step-by-step, not forcefully abstaining from sense pleasures (patigha…a lower level of hate, more like ”friction”), respecting the ”middle way”, and, at the end, if there is no more self (anatta), who will make “good desires” (kusala-chanda)?
      Please give light to my ”ignorance”, Merci, Grenier.

    • #31840

      On August 20, 2020, at 6:37 am, Lal Posted:

      Hello Granier,

      You asked: “the ”good one” (dhamma-chanda or vibhava tanha) and the ”bad one”
      (kama tanha), “desires” for sensory pleasures… (but what about bhava tanha?).”

      The desire to attain Nibbana (chanda) is NOT the same as vibhava tanha.
      – But I can see why one would think so.
      – The key is to realize that vibhava tanha DOES NOT mean DESIRE for no more births. It is the WRONG VIEW that there will be no more rebirths. For example, most scientists today BELIEVE that there CANNOT BE rebirths because the physical body is all one has. When the physical body dies, that is the end of the story.

      Furthermore, chanda is NOT a desire for non-existence. At least that is the wrong way to think about Nibbana.
      – Nibbana means the desire to stop all future suffering.
      – When one starts understanding the deeper teachings of the Buddha (anicca, dukkha, anatta nature) one will see that there is no “soul type” entity being reborn again and again. It is just good deeds (kamma) lead to good rebirths and bad deeds lead to bad rebirths. Since living-beings are tempted to do bad kamma (with kama tanha), most rebirths will be in bad realms.

      Therefore, all three types of tanha are “bad.” They all keep one bound to the rebirth process.
      – In the case of vibhava tanha, the wrong view that there will be no rebirths will (at least subconsciously) induce people to do immoral things to gain sense pleasures.

      Nw, bhava tanha means one does believe in rebirth. But one believes one can get a “good birth” by engaging in “good deeds” or doing good kamma.
      – But we all are likely to have done such bad deeds in past lives (if not in this life). Such kamma (vipaka) are just waiting to bring rebirth in bad realms. The only way to avoid that is to attain at least the SStream Entry (Sotapanna) by learning Dhamma.

      More information on the three types of tanha: “Kāma Tanhā, Bhava Tanhā, Vibhava Tanhā

      The other question: “if there is no more self (anatta), who will make ”good desires” (kusala-chanda)?” is a very comment question many people ask based on a wrong view they have.
      – That wrong view is based on the view that there is a “soul” going from one birth to another.
      – Rebirths happen ONLY as a result of good or bad kamma. There is no “self” or a “soul” going from this life to the next.
      – That is essentially one aspect of the concept of anatta.

      More information on that: “What Reincarnates? – Concept of a Lifestream

      Finally a note: There have been several times during the past few days where the website did not load or took a long time to load. That technical glitch is being fixed. It seems to be much better now.

    • #31841

      On August 20, 2020, at 7:26 am Grenier posted:

      Bonjour Lal,
      Thanks for your explanations I better understand those kinds of desires; but is there an other kind of desire comming from karma ( according to karma, what you have done, you become); it is not so much that we form desires, but that desires form in us…our desires are hardly ”ours”…we only figure them out, if at all, once they are fully formed. I speak about those compulsive behaviors (OCD), a form of overwhelming desire; those uncontrolled obsessions (similar to asavas), in which categories of desires could you place them ? Does my ”spiritual practice” not lead me to the cessation of desire, but merely make me more ”accident-prone”? If my intellect is not equipped to pierce through the veil of ”maya” (illusion) and apprehend the true nature of reality , there is nothing in me that can oppose the demands and dictates of will (the world as will of Arthur Schopenhauer) which drive me unwittingly into a life of inevitable struggle, frustration and pain. So that part comming from past karma (those unconscious desires) are not in my control (like anatta)?The unlighted man could say, it is our ”destiny…desire and destiny are almost the same word. ”Desire” derives from the Latin desiderare, ”to long or wish for” which itself derives from de sidere, ”from the stars”, suggesting that the original sense is ”to await what the stars will bring”. An other type of desire? Merci, Grenier

    • #31842

      On August 20, 2020, at 7:47 am, Lal Posted:

      There is a subtle point here that needs to be understood.

      As long as one does not “get the full picture of the wider world-view of the Buddha” there WILL BE a “person” doing kamma. Such activities are done with a perception of “me”. That perception CANNOT be removed by will power. It HAS TO come through understanding.

      For example, a Sotapanna (and even an Anagami to some extent) will have that perception of “me”. That is because their understanding is not yet complete.
      – That is why it is a step-by-step process.

      You asked: “Does my ”spiritual practice” not lead me to the cessation of desire?”
      – Yes. It will. But it is a gradual process.
      – However, one can experience the “loss of cravings for desires” as one makes progress.
      – The first step is, of course, to stay away from breaking the five precepts or engaging in dasa akusala as much as possible.

      For the time being, it is better to avoid philosophers. We don’t want to get confused about the world-views of philosophers. There are many of them around, some are not too bad (Schopenhauer), but still, that will only “muddy the waters.’

      Regarding your other comments, kamma is NOT deterministic. You have control:
      What is Kamma? – Is Everything Determined by Kamma?

      I would recommend reading those three posts carefully before asking any more questions.

    • #31843

      On August 20, 2020, at 10:26 am, Grenier posted:

      Bonjour Lal,
      I read carefully the posts you recommand reading and about ”What reincarnates ? – Concept of a Lifestream” on Part VI – Buddha Dhamma and Buddism , I have a question: When you say : ”Only Gati are carried to the next existence” could you inform me about scriptures (suttas) where I can find more details on that subject, please, Merci, Grenier

    • #31844

      On August 20, 2020, at 1:50 pm, Lal posted:

      I did a search on Sutta Central for the word “gati” and came with the following references:

      515 results for gati

      The first 12 are not from the Sutta Piṭaka.
      – You can see sutta references starting with the 13th entry.

      However, most translators do not translate “gati” correctly.

      Here is a good example, “Gati Sutta (AN 9.68)

      Here is that whole sutta:
      Pañcimā, bhikkhave, gatiyo. Katamā pañca? Nirayo, tiracchānayoni, pettivisayo, manussā, devā—imā kho, bhikkhave, pañca gatiyo.

      Imāsaṃ kho, bhikkhave, pañcannaṃ gatīnaṃ pahānāya … pe … ime cattāro satipaṭṭhānā bhāvetabbā”ti.

      The translation there is:
      “Mendicants, there are five destinations. What five? Hell, the animal realm, the ghost realm, humanity, and the gods. These are the five destinations.

      To give up these five destinations you should develop the four kinds of mindfulness meditation. …”

      Therefore, the translator incorrectly translates “gati” as “destination (for rebirth.)”
      – The Pali word for rebirth in the sense for the destination is “abhisamparāya“.

      Of course, rebirth (“abhisamparāya“) is according to one’s gati.
      – But the translator here seems to be just guessing the meaning of gati to be the “destination.”

      In the Maha Parinibbana Sutta (DN 16), there is the following verse: “sāḷho nāma, bhante, bhikkhu nātike kālaṅkato, tassa kā gati, ko abhisamparāyo? Nandā nāma, Bhante, bhikkhunī nātike kālaṅkatā, tassā kā gati, ko abhisamparāyo? ..”
      – The same translator of the previous sutta translates this verse as, “Sir, the monk named Sāḷha has passed away in Nādika. Where has he been reborn in his next life? The nun named Nandā, the layman named Sudatta, and the laywoman named Sujātā have passed away in Nādika. Where have they been reborn in the next life?..”
      – He does not translate BOTH words “gati” and “abhisamparāya“. May be he thinks they both have the same meaning!

      The correct translation should be “Sir, the monk named Sāḷha has passed away in Nādika. What gati (led to his rebirth) and where has he been reborn in his next life? etc.”

      I have many posts at the site on “gati“. But the following posts could be a good start:
      Key to Ānapānasati – How to Change Habits and Character (Gati)

    • #31845

      On August 21, 2020, at 5:00 am, Grenier posted:

      Bojour Lal,
      ”I am my own kamma, I am a heir to my kamma, I am born in this life from my kamma ” From the Abhinhapaccavekkhitabbathana Sutta , Anguttara Nikāya 5.57 . My question in post #31904, was about what you said in ”What reincarnates? – Concept of a Lifestream” citation : ”Only Gati are carried to the next existence” …And if the kamma is not a part of the Lifestream, by which road does he migrate from lifes to lifes? That why I ask you on which sutta we can find that ”only” gati are carried to the next life. I do not find an answer in your post #31905. Merci , Grenier

    • #31846

      On August 21, 2020, at 7:09 am, Lal posted:

      If I wrote, ” Only Gati are carried to the next existence” that is NOT correct.

      I went through the post and did not see it stated like that.

      In #4, I stated, “The only things that are carried over to the new life are those kamma seeds, which contain the “character” or “gati” of that lifestream. ”
      – That is correct.
      – But I see some places where things need to be stated a bit differently. I will do that once I hear back you about this particular statement.

      Which bullet # contains “Only Gati are carried to the next existence”?

      For everyone: Please make sure to state the bullet # when you refer to a statement in a post.

      But you seem to be “catching up quickly”, Grenier. That is great!

    • #31847

      On August 21, 2020, at 9:07 am, Grenier posted:

      Bonjour Lal,
      I have an other question about ”gati”. ”tassa kã gati ko abhisamparayo? what is his rebirth and what his destiny? MM.i.388).The definition of ”gati” in the new concise pali english dictionary :”where one goes agter death; a futur course; a state of existence.” I found nowhere a reference to ”character” or ”habit”!. ”Gati” like in your citation in ”Patisandhi Citta – How the next life is determined according to gati” …”but there let us look at how one’s gati lead to corresponding rebirths in different realms”.
      And I want to bring an other controversial issue. In ”The great craving-destruction discourse – Maha Tanhasankhaya Sutta (MN 38) Buddha’s explanations of rebirth present a position different from other schools on both sides of the issues in that he avoided the question of wheter or not there’s a ”what” that gets reborn, or if there is a ”what”, what is (SN 12:12 ; SN 12:35). He also discouraged such speculations as, ”If I take rebirth, what was I in the past, and what will I be in the future?” (MN 2). So, I ask you, in which sutta the Buddha spoke about whay is in the ”Lifestream”? Merci, Grenier

    • #31848

      On August 21, 2020, at 9:29 am, Lal posted:


      1. Did I make the statement “Only Gati are carried to the next existence” or not?
      – If I did, I need to make the correction. PLEASE respond to my questions.

      2. You do not seem to understand a key point that I am trying to make. Many people DO NOT understand some key concepts of Buddha Dhamma.
      – The Pali-English dictionary that you refer to. Was it not written by someone?
      – See, “Pāli Dictionaries – Are They Reliable?
      – Why do you think something MUST BE true if it is in a dictionary?

      3. You wrote: “And I want to bring another controversial issue. In ”The great craving-destruction discourse – Maha Tanhasankhaya Sutta (MN 38) Buddha’s explanations of rebirth present a position different from other schools..”

      – What “other schools” are you referring to?
      – What other schools CAN BE there?
      – If it is Buddha Dhamma, would not the teachings HAVE TO BE attributed to the Buddha?
      – This is related to #2 above. People keep making up their own versions of Buddha Dhamma. Such WRONG INTERPRETATIONS appear in sutta translations, dictionaries, textbooks on Buddhism, etc.

      4. You asked: “So, I ask you, in which sutta the Buddha spoke about what is in the ”Lifestream”?”

      The word “lifestream” is my usage in the English language. The Buddha did not use English.
      – The Buddha talked about a “living being” going through the rebirth process, a satta.
      – Don’t get hung up in words. Try to understand what happens in the rebirth process.

    • #31849

      On August 21, 2020, at 2:42 pm, Grenier posted:

      Bonjour Lal,
      I want to give you answers about what you ask in your post #31911.
      1) ”Did I make the statement: ”Only gati are carried…”I took that in your book, ”Pure Dhamma : A quest to recover Buddha’s true teachings”, page 814, the title of item 8
      and it is the same for the Concept of a ”Life-stream”, page 812, the title of item 2.
      2) About Pali Dictionaries, I refer to ”The Pali Text Society’s Palio-English dictionary and his first compiler, Robert Caesar Childers, updated in February 2007, and it gives a list of Pali books consulted for that Vocabulary (Canonical and post-Canonical). And for the Concise Pali-English Dictionary, it is by the Venerable Ambalangoda Polwatte Buddhadatta Mahanayake Thera.
      3) The prominent contemplative schools that I refer to, are mentioned in DN 2 …like the doctrines of Purana Kassapa, Makkhali Gosala, Ajita Kesakambala, Pakudha Kaccayana and Sanjaya Belatthaputta.
      And in Sutta MN 102, Warring Schools where we find ”Speculations about the Future and about the Past, the Nibbana here and now, etc.
      I do my best to not get hung up in words, that is why I ask you to give me the Suttas to which you refer in your affirmations. Merci, Grenier

    • #31850

      On August 21, 2020, at 3:18 pm, Lal posted:

      Hello Grenier. The following numbers refer to your post above.

      1. I am not sure which version of the eBook that you referred to. It could be an old version.

      – The eBook, “Pure Dhamma: A quest to recover Buddha’s true teachings” is updated each week by Seng Kiat Ng. You can get the newest version at,
      “Pure Dhamma Essays in Book Format”

      Can you check and see whether that statement is there in the post at the website:
      What Reincarnates? – Concept of a Lifestream
      – Please check the post and let me know if you find that statement there.

      In the future, please check the post on the website and refer to the bullet # there.

      2. It does not really matter which dictionary you refer to. If that meaning is not compatible with the Tipitaka, it needs to be rejected.
      – However, that decision is up to each individual. I have given my reasons for rejecting that translation of the word “gati.”

      3. The “teachers” that you refer to (Purana Kassapa, Makkhali Gosala, Ajita Kesakambala, Pakudha Kaccayana, and Sanjaya Belatthaputta) were contemporaries of the Buddha.
      – They had teachings that were OPPOSED TO the teachings of the Buddha.
      – The Buddha had shown their teachings to be wrong and by the time of Buddha’s Parinibbana (death), most of those wrong teachings had been discarded by society.

      This is why I asked you at the beginning what kind of exposure you have had to Buddha Dhamma.
      – So, your confusion in some of these cases seems to be reasonable. But you do need to read/listen to some background material.
      – Again, I recommend finishing the lecture set by Bhikkhu Bodhi.
      – Following is another reference that may be useful:
      A Sketch of the Buddha’s Life

    • #31851

      On August 21, 2020, at 6:00 pm, Grenier posted:

      Bonjour Lal,
      I checked the updated by Seng Kiat Ng , and for my references :
      *”What Reincarnates?” it is on page 831
      *”Only Gati…” on page 833
      I will read again Bhikkhu Bodhi and A sketch of the Buddha’s life, by Thanissaro.
      Merci, Grenier

    • #31852

      On August 21, 2020, at 7:23 pm, Lal posted:

      OK. Good luck!

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