The Buddhist Tradition - The Dhammapada

24. Craving

The desire of a thoughtlessly living man grows like a creeper. He drifts from one life to another like a monkey looking for fruit in the forest. 334 

 When one is overcome by this wretched, clinging desire in the world, one's sorrows increase like grass growing up after a lot of rain. 335 

 But when one masters this wretched desire, which is so hard to overcome, then one's sorrows just drop off, like a drop of water off a lotus. 336 

 This is what I say to you - Good luck be with you, gathered here. Dig up the root of craving, as one does a weed for its fragrant root. Don't let Mara destroy you again and again, like a stream does its reeds. 337 

 In the same way that even a felled tree will grow again if its root is strong and undamaged, so if latent desire has not been rooted out, then suffering shoots up again and again. 338 

 When the thirty six pleasure-bound streams of craving are strong in a man, then numerous desire-based thoughts pull the deluded man along. 339 

 The streams (of craving) flow everywhere, and the creeper hoots up and establishes itself, so when you see the creeper shooting up, cut away its root with your understanding. 340 

 The recollection and attraction of pleasures occur to a man, and those who are attached to the agreeable and seeking enjoyment, they are the people subject to birth and aging. 341 

 People beset by desire run here and there, like a snared rabbit, and those trapped in the bonds of attachments keep returning for a long time to suffering. 342 

 People beset by desire run here and there, like a snared rabbit, so one should get rid of one's craving if it is freedom from desire that one wants. 343 

 When a man out of the forest of desire is drawn back into the forest, then free from the forest as he is, he runs back into it. Look at him - free, he is running back to chains. 344 

 The wise say that it is not an iron, wooden or fibre fetter which is a strong one, but the besotted hankering after trinkets, children and wives, that, say the wise, is the strong fetter. It drags one down, and loose as it feels, it is hard to break. Breaking this fetter, people renounce the world, free from longing and abandoning sensuality. 345, 346 

 Those on fire with desire follow the stream of their desires, like a spider follows the strands of its self-made web. Breaking the bond, the wise walk on free from longing, and leaving all suffering behind. 347 

 Let go the past, let go the future, and let go what is in between, transcending the things of time. With your mind free in every direction, you will not return to birth and aging. 348 

 When a man is stimulated by his own thoughts, full of desire and dwelling on what is attractive, his craving increases even more. He is making the fetter even stronger. But he who takes pleasure in stilling his thoughts, practising the contemplation of what is repulsive, and remaining recollected, now he will make an end of craving, he will snap the bonds of Mara. His aim is accomplished, he is without fear, rid of craving and without stain. He has removed the arrows of changing existence. This is his last body. 349, 350, 351 

 Rid of craving and without clinging, an expert in the study of texts, and understanding the right sequence of the words, he may indeed be called "In his last body", "Great in wisdom" and a "Great man". 352 

 All-conquering and all-knowing am I. Amidst all states of mind, unaffected am I. By abandoning everything, I am liberated by the cessation of desire. Having achieved Realisation by myself, who should I point to as my teacher? 353 

 The gift of the Truth beats all other gifts. The flavour of the Truth beats all other tastes. The joy of the Truth beats all other joys, and the cessation of desire conquers all suffering. 354 

 Riches destroy a fool, but not those who are seeking the other shore. The fool destroys himself by his craving for riches, as he destroys others too. 355 

 Weeds are the blight of fields. Desire is the blight of mankind. Consequently offerings to those free from desire are of great fruit. 356 

 Weeds are the blight of fields. Anger is the blight of mankind. Consequently offerings to those free from anger are of great fruit. 357 

 Weeds are the blight of fields. Delusion is the blight of mankind. Consequently offerings to those free from delusion are of great fruit. 358 

 Weeds are the blight of fields. Self-seeking is the blight of mankind. Consequently offerings to those free from self-seeking are of great fruit. 359