Tag: tanha

The cause of suffering is tanha


In the first installment of this series I talked about the 1st Nobel Truth “Life is dukkha” or translated into English as life is suffering. The 2nd Nobel Truth is that the cause of suffering is tanha. Tanha can be loosely translated as desire, but more specifically it is not all desires. For instance it is perfectly good and right to desire peace, enlightenment, compassion, and the feeling of being grateful. Instead the desire that I am referring to could best be categorized as a search for self fulfillment in the forms of ego, acquiring more things, ¬†and feeling superior to everyone else. Anything that the mind uses to cause a separateness from the rest of humanity, often at the expense of others. So it is this selfish desire to separate ourselves from the rest of humanity that causes suffering. Some everyday examples might include:

  • A desire for more material things, a bigger house, a more expensive car, and any other material thing you can think of that you think will satisfy your desire.
  • The constant desire for more wealth focused on a selfish need to help fuel your desire for more material things.
  • The desire to be better than everyone else, or to think you are superior to your fellow man or women.
  • The desire to critique everything and everyone. To find fault in the character and achievements of others.
  • The desire to use your position in life as some form of power to control others.

These are just a few examples of the unhealthy desires we pursue that are no more than selfish cravings as they are focused on satisfying no one but ourselves.

In my next installment will we will look at the 3rd Nobel Truth, which begins to shed some insight into the cure.

Much of what I have written about comes from the principles outlined in the book “Buddhism a Concise Introduction”, which can be purchased at Amazon for a modest price.