Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-x

I acknowledge the assistance and support of many friends and associates in the preparation of this text. Part of the challenge of approaching another religious tradition for analysis and reflection involves meeting with informed and receptive adherents of that tradition. In this regard, I have three individuals to thank for opening up a whole field of scholarly and monastic contacts. These are Dr. Andrew Nanayakkara...

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Foreword

Robert Lawson Slater

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pp. xi-xii

Whatever else may be said of the one world of today, it is a world whose coming and going includes the coming and going of scholars from various countries interested in other ways of faith besides their own. The fact that Bruce Matthews is such a scholar adds to the value and interest of what he has to say on the subject of Buddhist "craving and salvation," as taught by the Buddha and understood by Theravāda Buddhists in South...

Abbreviations

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pp. xiii-xiv

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Introduction

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pp. 1-4

This monograph concerns the function of craving in religious life, an absorbing and important issue that confronted the Buddha, and one to which he responded in a creative, singular way. It is a subject which is not always understood by those interested in Buddhist thought. This is so partly because the role craving has in the Buddhist plan of salvation is easy to oversimplify and misinterpret. Thus, many studies do not appreciate...

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Chapter 1: CRAVING AND PAINFULNESS

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pp. 5-6

The Buddhist plan of salvation gives craving a prominent place in the Four Noble Truths, one of the most precise articulations of the human condition envisioned by any religion. These truths, as set down in the celebrated first sermon of the Buddha (S.5.420), state simply that life is suffering or painfulness (dukkha); that among the several causes (samudaya) of painfulness,...

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1. Dukkha

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pp. 6-10

Because it is the first truth, the assertion that "life is painfulness" has for many Westerners become the hallmark of Buddhism. Indeed, Buddhist teachings invite release from the condition of dukkha, but as one investigates the Buddhist sense of painfulness it should be acknowledged that, by itself, this is an inadequate description of the Buddha's general outlook. His perspective is balanced by his awareness...

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2. Personality and Painfulness

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pp. 10-11

One of the most salient features of Buddhism is that it is built upon a careful analysis of the "person" both in terms of bodily events as well as human conscious and unconscious activity. Painfulness has its obvious origins within this psycho-physical framework. The Buddha teaches that despite the absence of a permanent person there is a conventional self, to be described as a continuity of processes...

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3. The Pañcupādānakkhandhā (The Five Grasping Groups)

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pp. 11-15

In this text painfulness is summed up, linking it with the modalities of the Five Grasping Groups. And further, the activity of the five groups (khandhā) does not take place in a substantive person.9 When the Buddha refers to these groups as grasping in nature, he means to emphasize how easy it is to cling to a false idea of person when in reality a life is but a process of factors constantly undergoing...

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4. The Paṭiccasamuppāda (Series of Dependencies)

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pp. 15-18

At the heart of the Buddhist enlightenment stands the paṭiccasamuppāda (paticca—grounded on, samuppāda—origin, genesis: "arising on the grounds of a preceding cause," Series of Dependencies). It demonstrates that nothing can originate without being dependent upon something else—and this includes painfulness. This is brought out clearly in S.2.3f, the most...

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5. The Significance of the Concept of Consciousness in the Paṭiccasamuppāda

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pp. 18-21

It has already been suggested that the paṭiccasamuppāda or Series of Dependencies is not merely a description of man in a state of painfulness. It also contains within it the answer to the problem of pain. It does this by showing how consciousness directly contributes to states of painfulness. Although the Series of Dependencies like the Five Grasping Groups shows...

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Chapter 2: MIND AND CRAVING

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p. 22

How does craving arise within the mind? What positive or deleterious effects will it have on the individual? To begin, the concept of consciousness in the Series of Dependencies must be considered in greater detail, particularly the term viññāṇa and other factors, including craving, which are closely related to it. Second, what is to be understood by the terms...

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1. Viññāṇa as "Consciousness"

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pp. 22-29

In Buddhism the most common Pāli term for consciousness is viññāṇa. But how is craving related to this factor? The basic problem here is that of interpreting what the Buddhists mean by viññāṇa employed as consciousness, and as the term occurs elsewhere. For, apart from its role in the Series of Dependencies, viññāṇa is also used in two other quite different...

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2. Craving, Consciousness, and Rebirth

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pp. 29-32

The Theravāda Buddhist theory of causality affirms that a process of consciousness contributes to a state of "becoming" in the next life. But this does not mean that a self or soul transmigrates in the form of consciousness, nor that consciousness proceeds from life to life without change of identity (anañña).8 The question now to be asked: if consciousness is not the equivalent...

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3. The Link of Upādāna

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pp. 32-34

Upādāna (grasping, clinging, attachment, from upādiyati—"to take hold of") is traditionally the ninth spoke in the twelve-fold sequence of the Series of Dependencies. From the viewpoint of cause and effect, it follows craving, which, as we have seen, is the last factor of the "consciousness process." Coming as it does just before becoming or production (bhava), grasping is crucial in the process of rebirth. In this capacity...

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4. Consciousness, Craving, and Meditation

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pp. 34-37

The subject of consciousness and meditation will be extensively taken up in chapter three. We need now to prepare for some of those observations so as to obtain a deeper understanding of the consciousness factor. It is now clear that consciousness (viññāṇa) acts as the carrier of those energies which flow over into the new life. The Sutta Pitaka also tells us that if consciousness is calm, if it is...

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5. Mano (Mana)

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pp. 37-41

This psychological term is often used to describe the state of consciousness. Although it is an easier term to grasp than are viññāṇa and citta, it is still open to misunderstanding for two reasons.

First, because the term has a long history in Indian psychology, it is more open to preconceived interpretation. That mano has pre-Buddhist...

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6. Mano and Craving

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pp. 41-43

There is a close relationship between craving and the "four foods." One of those "foods" is manosañcetanā, a compound term best translated as "mental volition," "will," or "purposiveness." The strategic text S.2.98 indicates that mano can be affected by taṇhā, and that the results of this exposure to craving are realized in willing and purposiveness....

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7. Citta

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pp. 44-45

Citta is the most complex psychological term in Buddhism, made more so by the great attention given to it in the Abhidhamma Pitaka.24 Even in the Sutta Piṭaka citta is difficult to grasp, and it is easy to get lost in the tangle of definitions. It is more appropriate to approach it by way of certain questions that arise from an important text. The clearest...

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8. The Untrained Citta and Craving

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pp. 45-47

The untrained citta has many attributes. The texts indicate that, like mano and viññāṇa, citta is not a concrete, physical affair, but is incorporeal (asarīra, Dhm. 37); and, although it is sometimes said to depend on sensory stimulation (phassāyatana - S.4.125), it is even more closely involved with perception (saññā, S.4.293) and feelings (vedanā; i.e., "perception and feeling are...

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9. The Trained Citta

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pp. 48-52

A trained citta is controlled, not one that would "wander formerly as it liked, as it desired, as it pleased" ("acārī cāritam yenicohakaṃ yatthakāmaṃ yathāsukham" Dhra. 326). When free from deleterious desires it is not receptive to emotion. D.2.81 points out that: "Citta, when thoroughly developed through wisdom, is set free from the cankers, that is to...

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10. The Unconscious and Taṇhā

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pp. 52-53

In an article on early Buddhist psychology written in 1924, J. T. Sun observed: "The Buddhist knows that by living a life governed by conscious wisdom and not by unconscious craving there will result a personality but little affected by sorrow."33 Perhaps without full awareness, Sun was the first modern scholar to touch upon an issue of great importance, the matter of the...

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11. Previous Scholarship

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pp. 53-55

The idea of unconscious activity has only recently become a topic of interest to Buddhist students of the Pāli scriptures.34 Apart from J. T. Sun (whose essay provides us only with general observations but no direct textual references), a mere handful of scholars have made serious attempts to investigate the issue as it appears in the Sutta Piṭaka. Of these...

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12. Sankhāra

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pp. 55-58

Although in the present context the intention is to develop the idea of the unconscious in the semantics of the term sankhāra, this will be more meaningful if it is seen in its relation to the larger conative context of sankhāra. The method of this section suggests that it first be demonstrated why sankhāra should be regarded principally as a conative term, and second, that in this capacity one of its unique aspects...

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13. Sankhāra as Volition

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pp. 57-59

Not infrequently sankhāra is used synonymously with other conative Pāli terms. Thus in A.1.32 we read:

Monks, in a man of wrong view (micchādiṭṭhikassa) all deeds of body done according to that view, all deeds of speech...of thought...of volition (cetanā), aspiration (patthanā), mental resolve...

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14. Abhisankhāra and the Case of A.1.111

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pp. 59-61

Like sankharā the structural breakdown of abhisankhāra does little to help delineate the term's meaning. Apart from its usual translations as "karma" or "accumulations," it has been variously rendered as "substratum,"42 "complexes,"43 "planning,"44 and "impulse." 45 Jayatilleke has made a bold interpretation of the term by translating it as "motive force."46 This may...

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15. Sankhāra Understood as Conscious and Unconscious Volition

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pp. 61-65

Sankhāra has an obvious conscious conative dimension. This is seen in its relation to ignorance (avijjā) , traditionally the first link in the Series of Dependencies. In the formula ("unconscious volitions are provoked by ignorance"—"avijjā paccayā sankhārā"), will and subsequent willed actions or deeds (kamma) are shown to be casually linked with one's level of attained truth. Because in...

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16. Factors of the Unconscious: Dormant Tendencies, Dispositional Roots and Cankers

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pp. 65-68

Of the many lists of detrimental psychological features found in the Sutta Piṭaka,51 three in particular are set down so as to suggest an unconscious component. These are the dormant tendencies or anusaya, the detrimental roots or akusala mūlā, and the cankers or asāvā.

We can begin with the dormant tendencies,where a case for unconscious dispositional factors is clearly indicated...

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17. The Unwholesome Roots

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pp. 68-70

Traditionally the three roots (mūlā) of immoral action (unskilled states—a + kusala) are greed (rāga), corruption or hatred (dosa), and delusion (moha), although frequently the term lobha is used synonymously with rāga. It should be pointed out that there are as well three skillful or moral roots to counterbalance these, notably generosity (arāga), love (adosa), and...

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18. The Cankers

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pp. 70-73

The final group of harmful dispositions which underlie consciousness are the cankers (āsavā). This term has little currency in contemporary Buddhism. I found that lay people and even some monks in Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand rarely had an appreciation of its significance in the teachings (dhamma). Nevertheless its importance in the texts is apparent. Coming from the...

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Chapter 3: CRAVING AND EMANCIPATION

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p. 74

In the last chapter an analysis of the infrastructure of craving showed how, to use the graphic imagery of M.I.271, the mind becomes entangled in the "great net of thirst" (mahātaṇhājāla). It demonstrated how craving arises and what effects it has on the individual in saṃsāra. The present task is to investigate the way of release from this net, the way to emancipation....

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1. The Buddhist Concept of Will

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pp. 75-78

In the West, with its traditional psychological categories of cognition, conation, and affection, the will has frequently been pigeon-holed as a problem of conation only. Many theorists1 have argued that this classical structure is artificial, and that in fact cognition (perceiving, judging, reasoning), conation (exertion, struggle, volition), and affection (mood, emotion, temperament), if they exist at all as separate...

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2. The Affirmative Character of Buddhist Conative Psychology

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pp. 78-79

This outlook is firmly expressed in the texts. The whole perspective of the Buddhist path is based to a considerable degree on positive willing. In the Eightfold Path (aṭṭhangiko maggo) the first factor in the so-called meditation or samādhi section12 is right effort (sammāvāyāma) which indicates that the mental energy of proper intention and desire undergird meditation: "And what,...

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3. Changing the Current of Desire: Taṇhā as "Wholesome" (kusala) Craving

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pp. 79-82

Craving (taṇhā) itself is not often used in this kind of positive context, but there are one or two interesting uses of the word which show that it was not always employed to indicate an unwholesome situation. An important example is found in D.3.216 in which the three kinds of craving normally discussed in the Sutta Piṭaka (craving for pleasure, for life, and for death...

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4. The Dynamics of Willing (Chanda)

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pp. 82-85

So far we have reviewed texts which show how craving (taṇhā) or unwholesome thirst can be changed into a thirst to overcome that unwholesomeness. Although this purified kind of craving is not part of the experience of nirvāṇa, the important point at issue is that craving may nonetheless be used affirmatively in the pursuit of salvation. The "current" of craving can be diverted; desire...

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5. Development of the Senses (Indriyāni)

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pp. 85-89

The Sutta Piṭaka urges that, as volition is purged of its moral impurities and redirected to higher purposes, the senses should not be led to atrophy but brought under control and developed. The teaching also urges the cultivation of a new attitude towards the senses, a recognition of how they may contribute to the nature of volitional response. When the operation of the senses...

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6. Craving and Meditation

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pp. 89-92

That Buddhism is a religion securely based on a great tradition of meditation is unquestionable. Within this discipline the heart of the Buddha's saving message is revealed. The significance of meditation as part of the path to salvation in Buddhism cannot be overestimated.

As the complexities of Buddhist meditation are confronted, it must be with...

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7. Techniques of Meditation

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pp. 92-102

Turning to the mechanics of meditation, one finds in both Theravāda tradition and practice an interesting variety of methods. Others have written extensively on this theme, either from a classical point of view28 or from the perspective of contemporary schools of meditation in South and Southeast Asia.29 A few recent studies have attempted to do both with...

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8. Wisdom (Paññā) and Nirvāṇa

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pp. 103-107

It is paññā (wisdom, insight) and not meditation which is the real crisis of religious experience in Buddhism. The central question,however, is the nature of this insight. What final truth or truths does wisdom impart? Paññā as realization or pure thought is an understanding that goes beyond the range of ordinary empirical knowledge (ñāṇa) . One of the limitations...

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Chapter 4: CONCLUSION

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pp. 108-110

This monograph has argued that a study of the concept of craving is crucial to an understanding of Buddhism. A psychological picture has emerged which indicates why and how craving is the central obstacle that prevents the achievement of a state of mental integrity unsoiled by egoistic and grasping aims, and therefore free from pain. In many ways this picture appears to be...

Notes

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pp. 111-132

Index of Technical Terms

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pp. 133-138