Monday, November 9, 2009

Dhammapada: Verses on Craving

Treasury of Truth: Dhammapada (

Verse 334: The increase of Craving

As creeping ivy craving grows
in one living carelessly.
Like this, one leaps from life to life
as ape in the forest seeking fruit.

Explanation: Human craving grows like the maluva creeper. In the end, it destroys the tree. And like a restless monkey unhappy with the fruit to be found in any tree, humans possessed by craving keep jumping from one existence to another.

Verse 335: How Craving increases

Whomsoever in this world
this wretched clinging craving routs
for such a one do sorrows grow
as grass well-soaked with rain.

Explanation: If someone is overcome by craving which is low and poisonous, that person's sorrows grow as profusely as birana grass exposed to rain.

Verse 336: Escaping Craving

But whoever in the world
routs wretched craving hard to quell,
from such a one do sorrows fall
like water drops from lotus leaf.

Explanation: Craving is a lowly urge. It is difficult to escape craving. But in this world, if one conquers craving, sorrow slides off like water from a lotus leaf.

Verse 337: Uprooting Craving

Prosperity to you, I say,
to all assembled here!
When needing grass’s fragrant root
so craving extirpate.
Don’t let Mara break you again
and again as a torrent a reed!

Explanation: Those assembled here, may you all be well. This is advice for well being. A person who is keen to get sweet-smelling usira roots must first dig up birana grass roots. In the same way, dig up the roots of craving. If that is done, Mara (death personified) will not torture you over and over like a torrent snapping a reed.

Verse 338: Craving uneradicated brings repeated suffering

As tree though felled shoots up again
if its roots are safe and firm
so this dukkha grows again
so long as latent craving’s unremoved.

Explanation: Even when a tree has been cut down, it will grow again if its roots are left intact. Just so, when traces of craving remain, suffering arises again and again.

Verse 339: Caught in the currents of Craving

For whom the six and thirty streams
forceful flow and sweet seem,
floods of thought that spring from lust
sweep the holder of such wrong views away.

Explanation: If in a person the 36 streams flow strongly towards pleasurable thoughts, that person of depraved views will be carried away on those currents of craving.

Verse 340: The Creeper of Craving

Everywhere these streams are swirling,
up-bursting creepers rooted firm.
Seeing the craving-creeper there,
with wisdom cut it from the root!

Explanation: The streams of craving flow towards objects in all directions. As a result, new creepers spring up and flourish everywhere. The wise, when they see craving spreading in this way, cut its root with wisdom.

Verse 341: Bliss does not come through Craving

To beings there are pleasures streaming
sticky with desire,
steeped in comfort, happiness-seeking,
such ones come to birth and decay.

Explanation: Craving arises in people when attention to pleasurable objects flows outwards. These streams flow towards pleasure with the idea of sensual satisfaction. People who are bent on pleasure experience repeated cycles of birth and decay.

Verse 342: The bonds that entrap humans

Who follow craving are assailed;
they tremble as the hare ensnared
held fast by fetter and bonds
so long they come to dukkha again.

Explanation: Surrounded by craving the masses tremble like rabbits caught in traps. Caught by ten fetters and seven bonds, beings suffer again and again for a long period of time.

Verse 343: Nirvana by shunning Craving

Who follow craving are assailed;
they tremble as the hare ensnared,
so let a recluse craving quell
whose aim is passionlessness.

Explanation: Surrounded by craving, the masses tremble like rabbits caught in traps. Therefore, someone desiring to gain detachment -- nirvana -- should shun craving. More>>