Aug 27, 2020
Martin Goodson

Unpacking Desire

A talk about desire and what the Buddha means in the Second Noble Truth.

What is wrong with desire anyway? Why did the Buddha link it to suffering? This talk investigates what the Buddha was talking about when he refers to it in the Four Noble Truths.

1909 painting The Worship of Mammon, the New Testament representation and personification of material greed, by Evelyn De Morgan



If I didn’t obey my hunger I would starve. Animals obey their instincts in order to survive. Why did the Buddha link desire to unhappiness and dissatisfaction?

This, O Monks, is the Truth of the Arising of Suffering. It is this thirst or craving (tṛṣṇā) which gives rise to rebirth.which is bound up with passionate delight and which seeks fresh pleasure now here and now there in the form of thirst for sensual pleasure, thirst for existence, and thirst for non-existence. (First Sermon of Buddha)

In this talk the term 'tṛṣṇā" is investigated and we see how the compulsive nature of blind thirst narrows our perspective and outlook on life and can trap us into harmful ways of thinking and being.

How is 'desire' different from the aspiration for Nirvana or Buddha-hood? Why do the Zen masters say that desire-based intention 'misses the target'?

These questions are covered in this talk

Unpacking desire


The virtue of generosity, charity or giving. Your donations are welcomed.

Learn more