23 Jan
Posted in: Homework
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THIS Will Make Me Happy

The next link in the chain of Dependent Co-Arising is tanha, usually translated as “craving.” This is the point where “Ah, this is pleasant,” turns into “I want more!” (Or “Yuck, this is unpleasant,” turns into “Get that away from me!” Or “Hmmm, this isn’t pleasant or unpleasant,” turns into “BORING!”)

Christina Feldman says, “It is at the point where craving arises in response to pleasant or unpleasant feeling that our responses become very complex. And it’s also a place where we run into a world of struggle. The important thing to remember is that craving is also a kind of moment-to-moment experience; it arises and it passes.

“Within our condition it becomes the foundation of developing specific attitudes and values…So we say, ‘This has the power to make me happy.’ Or ‘This has the power to make me unhappy. If I get this thing or I get this meal or I get this experience, then I’m going to be happy. If I don’t get it, or if I get something that I don’t want, then of course I’m going to be unhappy.’

“So what happens through craving is that in a way we delegate authority to an object or to an experience or to a person. And of course, in delegating authority or power to that separated entity, something else is happening at the same time, namely that we are depriving ourselves of authority. As a result, our sense of well being, our sense of contentment or freedom comes to be dependent upon what we get or don’t get; or our success in being able to get or to get rid of that element…

“And yet this never ends because the promise is never fulfilled. As you know from your own experience, we get the thing we thought we always needed to make us happy, and then we lose interest in it, or get bored. So in a way there’s a kind of anxiety generated through ignorance and through the sense of separation which can never be satisfied…

“You all know that kind of restlessness of appetite–there’s never enough; just one more thing is needed; one more experience, one more mind state, one more object, one more emotion, and then I’ll be happy….Here we are dealing with a basic, never-ending hunger.”

Tanha is sometimes translated as “emotional urge,” “desire,” or “unquenchable thirst.” I like “unquenchable,” but for the homework assignment, I’m going with simple “craving.”

(image: Housewives Tarot)


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