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Jun 12th
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Home Teachings The Five Aggregates The Burden of the Five Aggregates - Craving for Sensual Pleasures

The Burden of the Five Aggregates - Craving for Sensual Pleasures

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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 Sensual Pleasures

Sensual objects may originate in ourselves or in others. When things of joy and beauty attract us, we must at once recognize that craving for those things has developed in us. Beautiful sense-objects do not merely mean the primary objects of joy and beauty. When we refer to a beautiful girl or a handsome boy, we are not referring only to the girl or the boy who possesses good looks, but also the accessories of beautification such as dress etc. So when we say craving has been developed, we do not mean that it is only for sights and sounds that are enjoyable, but also the accessories that accompany them.

Consider the same manner when we speak of craving for good smell, delicious taste, pleasurable touch and fanciful mental image. When we desire to become human beings, devas, men, women, etc., our desires relate to sensual pleasures that can be expected from sense-objects that appear at the six sense-doors. The development of craving is due to ignorance or delusion, which covers up the true nature of the phenomena and reveals all the opposite of truth, thus contributing to wrong thinking.

As it covers up the truth, deceit comes up in a favourable light. In this way it reveals impermanence as permanence, unsatisfactoriness as satisfactoriness and unsubstantiality as substantiality. Hence non-self, is mistaken as self. In like manner unwholesomeness and ugliness are mistaken for wholesomeness and beauty. When delusion invokes craving, grasping or attachment arises; and because of this attachment we try our very best to fulfil our desires; and as we make great efforts in the fulfillment of our desires, action and volitional activities are brought into play. They create new aggregates. So, after one life we go over to another in a new aggregates, all by dint of craving prompted by delusion. Finally we are left with the burden of the aggregates to carry.

We always want the best, but we rarely get it. An individual longs to become a man or a divinity; but he may, instead of becoming what he wants to become, have to go down to the four netherworlds or to the world of ghosts by force of kamma. Or he may be reborn as an animal; he may become a buffalo, an ox, a chicken, or a worm. Life is like staking in a lottery. Everybody stakes his money in the lottery, and hopes to win the big prize, but only the luckiest gets it. Others have to be content with second or third prize. Most of them go away with the least prizes. The most unfortunate fellow draws only blanks and gets nothing; not everybody gets the first prize. In the same way, not everybody can become a man or a divinity.

Those who possess good kamma may be reborn in those higher planes of existence, but good kamma can be achieved only through the practice of charitableness, morality, and concentration. Those who fail to perform these merits, cannot gain entrance into this human or divine world, and they are likely to be consigned to the nether, animal, or ghostly world. All new aggregates have their genesis in craving, which finds enjoyment in pleasant objects; and it is, therefore, said to be the receiver or acceptor of the burden.

Every time we accept a desirable sense-object, we are accepting the heavy burden of the aggregates. Having accepted it, we have to carry it and serve it for forty, fifty, or a hundred years of our lives amidst untold hardship and misery. Had we realized this before, we would have looked upon attachment to our desired objects with abhorrence. In fact we would be more than horrified had we known beforehand that because of this attachment we would be reborn into the animal world to bear the burden of animal aggregates, or worst still, into the ghostly world to bear the burden of ghost aggregates. The ghosts are those who suffer because of their evil deeds which they commit with the encouragement given by their desires. Had we known beforehand that such desires would ultimately lead us to hell we would be all the more frightened.


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The Dhammapada

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