Tanha, 11 Definition(s)
AKA: Trishna, Tanhaa, Desire, Craving
1. Eight of the twelve Dependent Originations; negative desires that can never be sated, represented by a man drinking
2. Tanha is a term in Pali, the language of the Buddhist scriptures, that specifically means craving or misplaced desire. Buddhists recognise that there can be positive desires, such as desire for enlightenment and good wishes for others. A neutral term for such desires is chanda.
One of the three daughters of Mara, who tried to tempt the Buddha under the Ajapala nigrodha, soon after the Enlightenment. SN. p.163; S.i.124f; J.i.78, 469; DhA.i.252; iii.196, 199.
Desire or tanha in Pali is an important thing to understand. What is desire? Kama tanha is very easy to understand. This kind of desire is wanting sense pleasures through the body or the other senses and always seeking things to excite or please your senses — that is kama tanha. You can really contemplate: what is it like when you have desire for pleasure? For example, when you are eating, if you are hungry and the food tastes delicious, you can be aware of wanting to take another bite. Notice that feeling when you are tasting something pleasant; and notice how you want more of it. Don just believe this; try it out. Don think you know it because it has been that way in the past. Try it out when you eat. Taste something delicious and see what happens: a desire arises for more. That is kama tanha.
Tanha is never tired of seeing pleasant objects, man or woman whom it likes. It seeks sweet sounds. It hungers for good scent, good food and good drinks. It craves for tactile sensation and this is surely the worst craving for people who love sensual pleasure. Tanha also means liking for mind objects that are impervious to the eye, the ear and other physical organs. It is the object that we can know only mentally. According to the scriptures it means the five sensitive (pasada) rupas, the four subtle elements such as apo, etc., the mental elements (cetasikas) concepts of forms, qualities, names, etc.
tanhā, rāga; further s. mūla.
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(lit. 'thirst'): 'craving', is the chief root of suffering, and of the ever-continuing cycle of rebirths. "What, o monks, is the origin of suffering? It is that craving which gives rise to ever-fresh rebirth and, bound up with pleasure and lust, now here, now there, finds ever fresh delight. It is the
sensual craving (kāma-tanhā),
the craving for existence (bhava-tanhā),
the craving for non-existence (vibhava-tanhā)'' (D.22).
T. is the 8th link in the formula of the dependent origination (paticcasamuppāda). Cf. sacca.
Corresponding to the 6 sense-objects, there are 6 kinds of craving craving for visible objects, for sounds, odours, tastes, bodily impressions, mental impressions (rūpa-, sadda-, gandha-, rasa-, photthabba-, dhamma-tanhā). (M.9; D.15)
Corresponding to the 3-fold existence, there are 3 kinds: craving for sensual existence (kāma-tanhā), for fine-material existence (rūpa-tanhā), for immaterial existence (arūpa-tanhā). (D.33)
There are 18 'thought-channels of craving' (tanhā-vicarita) induced internally, and 18 induced externally; and as occurring in past, present and future, they total 108; see A. IV, 199; Vibh., Ch. 17 (Khuddakavatthu-Vibhanga).
According to the dependent origination, craving is conditioned by feeling; on this see D. 22 (section on the 2nd Truth).
Of craving for existence (bhava-tanhā ) it is said (A.X.62): "No first beginning of the craving for existence can be perceived, o monks, before which it was not and after which it came to be. But it can he perceived that craving for existence has its specific condition. I say, o monks, that also craving for existence has its condition that feeds it (sāharam) and is not without it. And what is it? 'Ignorance', one has to reply." - Craving for existence and ignorance are called "the outstanding causes that lead to happy and unhappy destinies (courses of existence)" (s. Vis.M. XVII, 36-42).
The most frequent synonyms of tanhā are rāga and lobha (s. mūla).
the selfish wish for things/experiences which are pleasant and fear of that which is unpleasant.
Tanha is usually translated as craving. Tanha is also another word which denotes lobha.
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