24. The Chapter about Craving

Manujassa pamattacārino
For a human who lives life heedlessly

taṇhā vaḍḍhati māluvā viya,
craving increases like a clinging creeper,

so palavatī hurāhuraṁ
he rushes from one place to another

phalam-icchaṁ va vanasmi’ vānaro. [334]
like a monkey desiring fruit in the forest.


Yaṁ esā sahatī jammī taṇhā loke visattikā,
That one who is overcome by these low cravings and attachments in the world,

sokā tassa pavaḍḍhanti abhivaṭṭhaṁ va bīraṇaṁ. [335]
for him griefs increase like grass that has had heavy rain.


Yo cetaṁ sahatī jammiṁ taṇhaṁ loke duraccayaṁ,
Whoever overcomes this low craving in the world, which is difficult to get past,

sokā tamhā papatanti udabindu va pokkharā. [336]
griefs fall from him like a drop of water from a lotus.


Taṁ vo vadāmi: “Bhaddaṁ vo yāvantettha samāgatā”,
This I say to you: “Good luck to as many as have assembled here”,

taṇhāya mūlaṁ khaṇatha, usīrattho va bīraṇaṁ,
dig up the root of craving, like one seeking the root The commentary paraphrases with: usīrena atthiko. (digs up) grass,

mā vo naḷaṁ va soto va Māro bhañji punappunaṁ. [337]
do not let Māra push you down again like a stream (pushes down) the reed.


Yathā pi mūle anupaddave daḷhe A locative absolutive construction.
Just as when the root remains firm and untroubled

chinno pi rukkho, punar-eva rūhati,
though the tree was cut down, it grows again,

evam-pi taṇhānusaye anūhate
so when the tendency to craving is not rooted out

nibbattatī dukkham-idaṁ punappunaṁ. [338]
this suffering appears again and again.


Yassa chattiṁsatī sotā manāpassavanā bhusā,
He in whom the thirty-six streams The number is arrived at by multiplying the types of craving (for pleasure, continuity and discontinuity) by the six internal and external sense spheres. flow pleasantly and strong,

vāhā vahanti duddiṭṭhiṁ saṅkappā rāganissitā. [339]
the one with wrong view, is carried away by his passionate intentions.


Savanti sabbadhī sotā, latā ubbhijja tiṭṭhati,
Streams are flowing everywhere, the creepers remain where they grow,

tañ-ca disvā lataṁ jātaṁ mūlaṁ paññāya chindatha. [340]
seeing this, cut the creeper’s root that has arisen with wisdom.


Saritāni sinehitāni ca
* There are flowing streams of affection and

sŏmanassāni bhavanti jantuno,
mental happinesses for a person,

te sātasitā sukhesino,
pleasure-dependent they seek happiness,

te ve jātijarūpagā narā. [341]
those people undergo both birth and old age.


Tasiṇāya purakkhatā pajā
People surrounded by craving

parisappanti saso va bādhito,
crawl round Often translated as runs around, but a hare in a trap isn’t running anywhere. Commentary paraphrases with saṁsappanti. like a hare in a trap,

attached and clinging to fetters

dukkham-upenti punappunaṁ cirāya. [342]
they come back again and again to suffering for a long time.


Tasiṇāya purakkhatā pajā
People surrounded by craving

parisappanti saso va bādhito,
crawl round like a hare in a trap,

tasmā tasiṇaṁ vinodaye –
therefore he should remove craving –

bhikkhu ākaṅkha’ virāgam-attano. [343]
the monk who longs for dispassion for himself.


Yo nibbanatho vanādhimutto,
The one who is free from desires, who is intent on the forest,

vanamutto vanam-eva dhāvati,
(though) free from the forest, runs back to the forest, It is hard to get the meaning across without greatly expanding the translation, the forest is the forest of desires.

taṁ puggalam-etha passatha,
come here and look at that person,

mutto bandhanam-eva dhāvati. [344]
(though) free, he runs back to bondage.


Na taṁ daḷhaṁ bandhanam-āhu dhīrā,
That bondage is not so strong say the wise,

yad-āyasaṁ dārujaṁ pabbajañ-ca,
that is made of iron or wood or reeds,

sārattarattā maṇikuṇḍalesu
* impassioned and excited they seek out

puttesu dāresu ca yā apekhā – [345]
jewels and earrings and children and wives –

etaṁ daḷhaṁ bandhanam-āhu dhīrā,
that bondage is strong say the wise,

ohārinaṁ sithilaṁ, duppamuñcaṁ,
dragging down the lax, hard to get free from,

etam-pi chetvāna paribbajanti
having cut this down they wander about

anapekkhino, kāmasukhaṁ pahāya. [346]
seeking nothing, abandoning the happiness in pleasure.


Ye rāgarattānupatanti sotaṁ
Those who are impassioned by passion follow the stream

sayaṁkataṁ makkaṭako va jālaṁ,
like a spider a web made by itself,

etam-pi chetvāna vajanti dhīrā,
having cut this away the wise proceed,

anapekkhino sabbadukkhaṁ pahāya. [347]
seeking nothing, abandoning all suffering.


Muñca pure, muñca pacchato,
Be free of the past, be free of the future,

majjhe muñca, bhavassa pāragū,
be free of the present, after crossing over (all) existence,

sabbattha vimuttamānaso,
with mind liberated in every way,

na punaṁ jātijaraṁ upehisi. [348]
you will not return to birth and old age.


Vitakkapamathitassa jantuno
For a person crushed by thoughts

tibbarāgassa, subhānupassino,
and pierced by passion, contemplating the attractive,

bhiyyo taṇhā pavaḍḍhati,
craving increases much more,

esa kho daḷhaṁ karoti bandhanaṁ. [349]
this surely makes the bond more firm.


Vitakkupasame ca yo rato
Whoever has delight in the calming of thoughts,

asubhaṁ bhāvayatī sadā sato,
who always mindfully cultivates what is unattractive,

esa kho vyantikāhiti,
will surely abolish this (craving),

esacchecchati Mārabandhanaṁ. [350]
he will cut off the bond of Māra.


Niṭṭhaṁ gato asantāsī, vītataṇho anaṅgaṇo,
Having gone to the end, without trembling, without craving, without impurity,

acchindi bhavasallāni, antimoyaṁ samussayo. [351]
cutting off the darts of existence, this one is his final body.


Vītataṇho anādāno, niruttipadakovido,
Without craving, without attachment, skilled in words and their explanation,

akkharānaṁ sannipātaṁ jaññā pubbaparāni ca,
knowing how syllables are arranged, which come before and which after,

sa ve antimasārīro mahāpañño (mahāpuriso) ti vuccati. [352]
the one in his final body is said to be (a great person), one of great wisdom.


Sabbābhibhū sabbavidūham-asmi,
All-Conquering, All-Wise am I,

sabbesu dhammesu anūpalitto,
undefiled regarding all things,

sabbañjaho taṇhakkhaye vimutto,
having given up everything, liberated through craving’s destruction,

sayaṁ abhiññāya, kam-uddiseyyaṁ. [353]
when having deep knowledge myself, who should I point to (as Teacher)?


Sabbadānaṁ Dhammadānaṁ jināti,
The gift of the Dhamma surpasses all other gifts,

sabbaṁ rasaṁ Dhammaraso jināti,
the taste of the Dhamma surpasses all other tastes,

sabbaṁ ratiṁ Dhammaratiṁ jināti,
the love of the Dhamma surpasses all other loves,

taṇhakkhayo sabbadukkhaṁ jināti. [354]
destruction of craving overcomes all suffering.


Hananti bhogā dummedhaṁ no ve pāragavesino,
Riches destroy the stupid one who does not seek the way beyond,

bhogataṇhāya dummedho hanti aññe va attanaṁ. [355]
through his craving for riches the stupid one destroys others and himself.


Tiṇadosāni khettāni, rāgadosā ayaṁ pajā,
Fields are ruined by grassy weeds, these people are ruined by passion,

tasmā hi vītarāgesu dinnaṁ hoti mahapphalaṁ. [356]
therefore there is great fruit for that given to those without passion.


Tiṇadosāni khettāni, dosadosā ayaṁ pajā,
Fields are ruined by grassy weeds, these people are ruined by hatred,

tasmā hi vītadosesu dinnaṁ hoti mahapphalaṁ. [357]
therefore there is great fruit for that given to those without hatred.


Tiṇadosāni khettāni, mohadosā ayaṁ pajā,
Fields are ruined by grassy weeds, these people are ruined by delusion,

tasmā hi vītamohesu dinnaṁ hoti mahapphalaṁ. [358]
therefore there is great fruit for that given to those without delusion.


Tiṇadosāni khettāni, icchādosā ayaṁ pajā,
Fields are ruined by grassy weeds, these people are ruined by desire,

tasmā hi vigaticchesu dinnaṁ hoti mahapphalaṁ. [359]
therefore there is great fruit for that given to those without desire.

Taṇhāvaggo Catuvīsatimo
The Chapter about Craving, the Twenty-Fourth


Related Verses from the Dhammapada

Anekajātisaṁsāraṁ sandhāvissaṁ anibbisaṁ
Through the round of countless births and deaths I have wandered without finding

gahakārakaṁ gavesanto: dukkhā jāti punappunaṁ. [153]
the housebuilder I was seeking: born and suffering once again.

Gahakāraka diṭṭhosi! Puna gehaṁ na kāhasi:
O housebuilder, now you are seen! You will not build the house again:

sabbā te phāsukā bhaggā, gahakūṭaṁ visaṅkhitaṁ,
all your rafters have been broken, and the ridgepole has been destroyed,

visaṅkhāragataṁ cittaṁ, taṇhānaṁ khayam-ajjhagā. [154]
my mind has reached the unconditioned, and craving’s end has been achieved.


Yassa jālinī visattikā,
* For him there is no desire, attachment,

taṇhā natthi kuhiñci netave,
or craving to lead (him) anywhere,

the Buddha, whose range is endless,

apadaṁ kena padena nessatha? [180]
by what path can you lead the pathless one?


Taṇhāya jāyatī soko, taṇhāya jāyatī bhayaṁ,
From craving there arises grief, from craving there arises fear,

taṇhāya vippamuttassa natthi soko, kuto bhayaṁ? [216]
for one who is free from craving there is no grief, how is there fear?


Natthi rāgasamo aggi, natthi dosasamo gaho,
There is no fire that is like passion, there is nothing that takes a hold like hatred,

natthi mohasamaṁ jālaṁ, natthi taṇhāsamā nadī. [251]
there is no snare like delusion, there is no flood like craving.


Yodha taṇhaṁ pahatvāna, anāgāro paribbaje,
Whoever, giving up craving, would wander homeless here,

taṇhābhavaparikkhīṇaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [416]
destroying craving and existence, that one I say is a brahmin.