Lobha, Raga and Kamachanda, Kamaraga

There are various names for greed in Pali. Each has a different meaning and the differences are significant.

1. Let us look at the the two terms “lobha” and “raga” first.

Lobha is the more stronger term of the two. In a deep sense, lobha (“lo” + “bha” where “lo” is for the lokaya or world and “bha” is for “bihiveema” (arise or establish) is the main reason how the material world is created and sustained with greed.

Lobha is the extreme form of greed, what is called a “päpa kamma”, that makes one destined to the apayas. When someone has lobha, it is exhibited in two ways:

  1. one wishes that all the “riches” should come to oneself and not to others (one may be already “rich”, but wants more for oneself).
  2. one is not willingly to share some of the “excess” one has with others, and does not share with even the family.

It is hard to quantify these, but the idea is that “lobha” is manifestation of the overbearing attachment one has to worldly things.

  • It must be noted that lobha is one of 52 cetasika (mental factors). It is reduced in stages: kamachanda removed at the Sotapanna stage, kama raga removed at the Anagami stage, and rupa raga and arupa raga removed only at the Arahant stage.

3. Raga (“” means wander around, “agga” means give priority) means one believes there is pleasures to be had in staying in sansara (rebirth process), and thus one likes to stay around and enjoy the worldly pleasures.

  • When one is born rich (or acquires wealth), and enjoys life with sense pleasures, that is not lobha, that is just raga. Such a person is not doing harm to the others; but such a person COULD have lobha too. It is said that no matter how much one has, one wants more.
  • When one has lobha, one could do things highly immoral acts (even if one is rich). If one is willing to kill, steal, lie, etc. to gain something one desires, then that is when one could acquire “apayagamikamma. One does not necessarily has to carry out these acts or speech; just thinking about it and making abhisankhara (planning or even enjoying such thoughts) itself is lobha. Thus even the poorest person can have lobha.
  • Even the Devas in deva loka have raga; they like to enjoy sense pleasures, but they don’t crave for what others have; they do not have lobha.

4. Then there is kamachanda and kama raga, another set of decreasing levels (in that order) of attachment to kama loka. Käma means attachment to the sense pleasure available in the kama loka, i.e., those available for the gratification of the five senses.

  • Kamachanda is the highest level of that attachment. Here one is willing to do abhorrent acts (killing, raping, etc) to satisfy one’s desires.  When one has developed kama to the kamachanda level, one becomes unaware of the bad consequences of one’s actions; it is said that “one loses one’s mind” (kämachanda = “käma” + “ichcha” +”anda” where “ichcha” is liking and “anda” is becomes blind; thus kamachanda means blinded by attachment to sense pleasures).
  • Thus, one needs to be mindful not to let one’s kama raga develop into kamachanda, which is one of the five hindrances that “cover the mind”.

5. When one has kama raga, one likes to enjoy sense pleasures, but not at the expense of others. Thus when husband and wife engage in sexual activity, that is due to kama raga.

  • Inappropriate sexual activity (affairs outside marriage and rape) are done with kamachanda, i.e., when one becomes blind with kama.

6. It is also helpful to see how these different levels of greed are removed at various stages of Nibbana. This will give a better sense of differentiation.

  • A Sotapanna has permanently removed kamachanda and also does not have the worst level of lobha. Thus he/she will not engage in “apayagami” acts to gain sense pleasures. A Sotapanna has not given up kama raga.
  • A Sakadagami also has kama raga to a lesser extent; this is why he could be reborn in the kamaloka for one more time.
  • An Anagami has removed kama raga; he will not return to any of the 11 eleven kama loka realms, including the human and deva realms, and will be reborn in the suddavasa in the rupa loka, and will attain Nibbana there.

7. Some may have given up the desire to enjoy pleasures in kama loka, but like the jhanic pleasures. Thus they have rupa raga and arupa raga (or the liking to wander about in rupa loka and arupa loka). Rupa raga and arupa raga are removed only at the Arahant stage.

Next, “Lobha,Dosa, Moha Versus Raga, Patigha, Avijja“, ……..

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