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Jun 23rd
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Home Teachings The Five Aggregates The Burden of the Five Aggregates - Craving for Existence

The Burden of the Five Aggregates - Craving for Existence

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Article Index
The Burden of the Five Aggregates
Upadana - Clingings
Carrying the Burden
Who Carries the Burden
Individual and Khanda
Purity of Gifts
Short Summary
Cause of Burden
Craving for Sensual Pleasures
Craving for Existence
Craving for Non-Existence
Throw Down the Burden
All Pages

Craving for Existence

Having dealt with craving for sensual pleasures, I now come to craving for existence. There are two wrong views held by worldlingas about life. One is called eternalistic view of existence, and the other is nihilistic view of existence. Craving for existence arises conjointly with the eternalistic view which assumes that pleasures are indestructible since living substance knows no death continuing through-out eternity. The physical part of the body may become decayed or destroyed, but the spiritual part of it lives as it migrates from one body to the other and gives rise to a new entity. The universe may get destroyed, but the spirit or living substance lives on. It is permanent, and it is eternal.

Outside the teaching of Buddhism this view is the most popular. Those who hold this view presume that when a man dies, he is raised to heaven where he lives eternally, or alternately, he is consigned to hell, also eternally, according to the will of God. Others would like to believe that one's spirit migrates from one body to another and renews itself according to the working of one's kamma.

Another belief is that life is predetermined and fixed, and it goes on eternally according to that predetermination. Briefly stated, a belief in eternity of the substance of life is eternalism. Under such a notion, life is like a bird that hops from tree to tree as the old tree falls into decay. When the physical body dies, the living matter moves unto another new body. Under the influence of craving for sensual pleasures supported by the idea of eternity, an individual is gratified with the thought that self abides by him permanently. He feels that what now exists is himself, confident that what he is now enjoying can also be enjoyed in his future lives. Hence his attachment to all what he sees, hears, tastes, smells, touches and thinks grows stronger throughout existence. He not only delights in sense-objects which he experiences in the present life, but also in those which he hopes to experience hereafter. He wants to enjoy life now and desires to continue enjoying it in his next existence. Having led a happy life as a human being, he goes even further than that, and hopes for happiness as a divinity.

Thus grows the desire. So some would like to be males in all their existences, and others aspire to be females. All such longings are the work of craving for sensual pleasures . Yearning for the sense-objects to which one has become attached means acceptance of the burden of the five aggregates.


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" As long as the evil deed does not bear fruit, the fool thinks it is sweet like honey; but when his evil deed does bear fruit, the fool suffers for it. "

The Dhammapada

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