The Nature of Craving




August 14, 2013


Is unquestioning faith necessary?

We feel that if we have doubts, it means that we are denying the teachings and that we should really have unquestioning faith. Now in certain religions, unquestioning faith is considered a desirable quality. But in the Buddha-dharma, this is not necessarily so. Referring to the dharma, the Buddha said, ‘ehi passiko,’ which means ‘come and see,’ or ‘come and investigate,’ not ‘come and believe.’  – Ani Tenzin Palmo, “Necessary Doubt

The Nature of Craving

(some material adapted from Dancing With Life by Phillip Moffitt – An excellent book on the Four Noble Truths)

What is the problem with craving?

“When the mind starts craving, suffering will inevitably arise.”  The Buddha

“Pain is an unavoidable part of life; suffering is not”

How does suffering come to be?

First desire arises and if we make contact with it and our mind finds it pleasurable or averse, craving starts (to get more of or less of) and leads to suffering.  A more extreme form of craving is clinging.  We are bombarded in life by desire – just look at the ads on TV!

What types of craving are there?

Desire for sensual pleasures (hearing, seeing, touch, smell, taste, thoughts/memories)

Desire for existence (craving to be different than we are)

Desire for non-existence (fed up with life, depressed)

Are desires bad?

Desires just are.  What we do with them determines whether we suffer or not.

How can we deal with craving?

Recognize it in yourself in a non-judgmental way

Practice ethical behavior including observing the Five Precepts (no killing, no stealing, no incorrect speech (lying), no sexual misconduct, no taking of intoxicants that lead to careless behavior).

Cultivate wisdom through mindfulness

Know that you have no control over what happens to you or to whom you care about.


Take an inventory of your cravings.  Write them down.  Do not judge them such as thinking I should not have this desire.  Be mindful of each one and experience that each craving is impermanent, unsatisfactory, and selfless.