(lit.) drought, thirst; (fig.) craving, hunger for, excitement the fever of unsatisfied longing (c. loc.: kabaḷinkāre āhāre “thirst” for solid food SN.ii.101 sq.; cīvare piṇḍapāte taṇhā = greed for Snp.339). Oppd to peace of mind (upekhā, santi)
- Literal meaning: khudāya taṇhāya ca khajjamānā tormented by hunger & thirst Pv.ii.1#5 (= pipāsāya Pv-a.69)
In its secondary meaning: taṇhā is a state of mind that leads to rebirth. Plato puts a similar idea into the mouth of Socrates (Phaedo 458, 9). Neither the Greek nor the Indian thinker has thought it necessary to explain how this effect is produced. In the Chain of Causation (DN.ii.34) we are told how Taṇhā arises-when the sense organs come into contact with the outside world there follow sensation and feeling, & these (if, as elsewhere stated, there is no mastery over them) result in Taṇhā In the First Proclamation (SN.v.420 ff.; Vin.i.10) it is said that Taṇhā, the source of sorrow, must be rooted out by the way there laid down, that is by the Aryan Path. Only then can the ideal life be lived. Just as physical thirst arises of itself, and must be assuaged got rid of, or the body dies; so the mental “thirst, arising from without, becomes a craving that must be rooted out, quite got rid of, or there can be no Nibbāna The figure is a strong one, and the word Taṇhā is found mainly in poetry, or in prose passages charged with religious emotion. It is rarely used in the philosophy or the psychology. Thus in the long Enumeration of Qualities (Dhs), Taṇhā occurs in one only out of the 1,366 sections (Dhs.1059), & then only as one of many subordinate phases of lobha. Taṇhā binds a man to the chain of Saṃsāra, of being reborn & dying again again (2b) until Arahantship or Nibbāna is attained taṇhā destroyed, & the cause alike of sorrow and of future births removed (2c). In this sense Nibbāna is identical with “sabbupadhi-paṭinissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho” (see Nibbāna).
Systematizations: The 3 aims of t. kāma˚, bhava˚, vibhava˚, that is craving for sensuous pleasure, for rebirth (anywhere but especially in heaven), or for no rebirth; cp. Vibhava These three aims are mentioned already in the First Proclamation (SN.v.420; Vin.i.10) and often afterwards DN.ii.61, DN.ii.308; DN.iii.216, DN.iii.275; SN.iii.26, SN.iii.158; Iti.50; Pts.i.26 Pts.i.39; Pts.ii.147; Vb.101, Vb.365; Ne.160. Another group of 3 aims of taṇhā is given as kāma˚, rūpa˚ & arūpa at DN.iii.216; Vb.395; & yet another as rūpa˚, arūpa & nirodha˚ at DN.iii.216
■ The source of t. is said to be sixfold as founded on & relating to the 6 bāhirāni āyatanāni (see rūpa), objects of sense or sensations viz. sights, sounds, smells, etc.: DN.ii.58; Pts.i.6 sq. Cnd.271#i; in threefold aspects (as kāma-taṇhā, bhava & vibhava˚) with relation to the 6 senses discussed at Vism.567 sq.; also under the term cha-taṇha-kāyā (sixfold group, see compounds) MN.i.51; MN.iii.280; Pts.i.26 elsewhere called chadvārika-taṇhā “arising through the 6 doors” Dhp-a.iii.286.
■ 18 varieties of t. (comprising worldly objects of enjoyment, ease, comfort & well-living are enumerated at Cnd.271#iii (under taṇhā-lepa), 36 kinds: 18 referring to sensations (illusions) of subjective origin (ajjhattikassa upādāya), & 18 to sensations affecting the individual in objective quality (bāhirassa upādāya) at AN.ii.212; Ne.37; & Ne.108 varieties or specifications of t. are given at Cnd.271ii (under Jappā) = Dhs.1059 = Vb.361
■ Taṇhā as “kusalā pi akusalā pi” (good & bad) occurs at Ne.87 cp. Tālapuṭa’s good t. Thag.1091 f.
Import of the term:
- various characterizations of t.: mahā˚ Snp.114 kāma˚ SN.i.131; gedha˚ SN.i.15; bhava˚ DN.iii.274 (+ avijjā) grouped with diṭṭhi (wrong views) Cnd.271#iii, Cnd.271#vi. T fetters the world & causes misery: “yāya ayaṃ loko uddhasto pariyonaddho tantākulajāto” AN.ii.211 sq. taṇhāya jāyatī soko taṇhāya jāyatī bhayaṃ taṇhāya vippamuttassa natthi soko kuto bhayaṃ Dhp.216 taṇhāya uḍḍito loko SN.i.40; yaṃ loke piyarūpaṃ sātarūpaṃ etth’ esā taṇhā… Vb.103; it is the 4th constituent of Māra’s army (M-senā) Snp.436; M’s daughter SN.i.134. In comparisons: t. + jālinī visattikā SN.i.107 = bharâdānaṃ (t. ponobbhavikā nandirāga-sahagatā SN.iii.26; SN.v.402: gaṇḍa = kāya, gaṇḍamūlan ti taṇhāy etaṃ adhivacanaṃ SN.iv.83; = sota SN.iv.292 (and a khīṇāsavo = chinnasoto); manujassa pamatta-cārino t vaḍḍhati māluvā viya Dhp.334
- taṇhā as the inciting factor of rebirth & incidental cause of saṃsāra kammaṃ khettaṃ viññāṇaṃ bījaṃ; taṇhā sineho… evaṃ āyatiṃ punabbhavâbhinibbatti hoti AN.i.223; t ca avasesā ca kilesā: ayaṃ vuccati dukkha-samudayo Vb.107, similarly Ne.23 sq.; as ponobbhavikā (causing rebirth) SN.iii.26; Pts.ii.147, etc.; as a link in the chain of interdependent causation (see paṭiccasamuppāda): vedanā-paccayā taṇhā, taṇhā-paccayā upādānaṃ Vin.i.1, Vin.i.5; DN.ii.31, DN.ii.33, DN.ii.56, etc.; t. & upadhi; taṇhāya sati upadhi hoti t. asati up. na hoti SN.ii.108 ye taṇhaṃ vaḍḍhenti te upadhiṃ vaḍḍhenti, etc. SN.ii.109 taṇhāya nīyati loko taṇhāya parikissati SN.i.39; taṇhā saṃyojanena saṃyuttā sattā dīgharattaṃ sandhāvanti saṃsaranti Iti.8. See also t
- To have got rid of t. is Arahantship: vigata- taṇha vigata-pipāsa vigata-pariḷāha DN.iii.238; SN.iii.8, SN.iii.107 sq., SN.iii.190 samūlaṃ taṇhaṃ abbuyha SN.i.16 = SN.i.63, SN.i.121 (godhiko parinibbuto); SN.iii.26 (nicchāto parinibbuto); vīta Snp.83, Snp.849, Snp.1041 (+ nibbuta); taṇhāya vippahānena SN.i.39 (“Nibbānan” iti vuccati), SN.i.40 (sabbaṃ chindati bandhanaṃ); taṇhaṃ mā kāsi mā lokaṃ punar āgami Snp.339; taṇhaṃ pariññāya… te narā oghatiṇṇā ti Snp.1082; ucchinna -bhava-taṇhā Snp.746; taṇhāya vūpasama SN.iii.231; t
■ nirodha SN.iv.390
■ See also MN.i.51; Dhp.154; Iti.9 (vita˚ + anādāna), Iti.50 (˚ṃ pahantvāna); Snp.495, Snp.496, Snp.916; & cp. ˚khaya.
Kindred terms which in Commentaries are explained by one of the taṇhā-formulae (cp. Cnd.271#v & Cnd.271#vii):
- t. in groups of 5: α with kilesa saṃyoga vipāka duccarita β diṭṭhi kilesa duccarita avijjā; γ diṭṭhi kil˚ kamma duccarita
- quasi-synonyms: ādāna, ejā, gedha jappā, nandī, nivesana, pariḷāha, pipāsā, lepa, loluppa vāna, visattikā, sibbanī
■ In compounds the form taṇhā is represented by taṇha before double consonants, as taṇhakkhaya, etc.
- -ādhipateyya mastery over t. SN.iii.103;
- -ādhipanna seized by t. SN.i.29; Snp.1123;
- -ādāsa the mirror of t AN.ii.54; ābhinivesa full of t. Pv-a.267;
- -āluka greedy Ja.ii.78;
- -uppādā (pl.) (four) grounds of the rise of craving (viz. cīvara, piṇḍapāta, senâsana, itibhavâbhava) AN.ii.10 = Iti.109; DN.iii.228; Vb.375;
- -kāyā (pl.) (six) groups of t. (see above B i) SN.ii.3; DN.iii.244 DN.iii.280; Pts.i.26; Vb.380;
- -kkhaya the destruction of the excitement of cravings, almost synonymous with Nibbāna (see above B2c): ˚rata Dhp.187 (explained at Dhp-a.iii.241: arahatte c’ eva nibbāne ca abhirato hoti); Vv.73#5 (explained by Nibbāna Vv-a.296); therefore in the expositionary formula of Nibbāna as equivalent with N. Vin.i.5; SN.iii.133; Iti.88, etc. (see N.). In the same sense: sabbañjaho taṇhakkhaye vimutto Vin.i.8; MN.i.171 = Dhp.353; taṇhākkhaya virāga nirodha nibbāna AN.ii.34, explained at Vism.293; bhikkhu arahaṃ cha ṭhānāni adhimutto hoti: nekkhammâdhimutto, paviveka˚ avyāpajjha˚, upādānakkhaya˚, taṇhakkhaya˚ asammoha˚ Vin.i.183; cp. also Snp.70, Snp.211, Snp.1070, Snp.1137
- -gata obsessed with excitement, i.e. a victim of t Snp.776;
- -gaddula the leash of t. Cnd.271#ii≈;
- -ādhipateyya mastery over t. SN.iii.103;
- -jāla the snare of t. MN.i.271; Thag.306; Cnd.271#ii;
- -dutiya who has the fever or excitement of t. as his companion AN.ii.10; Iti.9 = Iti.109 = Snp.740, Snp.741 = Cnd.305; cp. Dhs. trsl. p 278;
- -nadī the river of t. Cnd.271#ii; cp. nadiyā soto ti taṇhāy’ etaṃ adhivacanaṃ Iti.114;
- -nighātana the destruction of t. Snp.1085;
- -pakkha the party of t., all that belongs to t. Ne.53, Ne.69, Ne.88, Ne.160;
- -paccaya caused by t. Snp.p.144; Vism.568;
- -mūlaka rooted in t. (dhammā: 9 items) Pts.i.26, Pts.i.130; Vb.390;
- -lepa cleaving to t. Cnd.271#iii; (+ diṭṭhi-lepa);
- -vasika being in the power of t. Ja.iv.3;
- -vicarita a thought of t AN.ii.212;
- -saṅkhaya (complete) destruction of t. ˚sutta MN.i.251 (cūḷa˚), MN.i.256 (mahā˚): ˚vimutti salvation through cessation of t. MN.i.256, MN.i.270, & ˚vimutta (adj. SN.iv.391;
- -samudda the ocean of t. Nd.271ii;
- -sambhūta produced by t. (t. ayaṃ kāyo) AN.ii.145 (cp. Snp.p.144 yaṃ kiñci dukkhaṃ sambhoti sabbaṃ taṇhāpaccayā)
- -saṃyojana the fetter of t. (adj.) fettered, bound by t. in phrase t- saṃyojanena saṃyuttā sattā dīgharattaṃ sandhāvanti saṃsaranti Iti.8, & t- saṃyojanānaṃ sattānaṃ sandhāvataṃ saṃsarataṃ SN.ii.178 = SN.iii.149; Pv-a.166; AN.i.223;
- -salla the sting or poisoned arrow of t. SN.i.192 (˚assa hantāraṃ vande ādiccabandhunaṃ), the extirpation of which is one of the 12 achievements of a mahesi Cnd.503 (˚assa abbuḷhana; cp. above).
Sk. tṛṣṇā, besides tarśa (m.) & ṭṛṣ (f.) = Av. tarśna thirst, Gr.; ταρσία dryness, Goth. paúrsus, Ohg durst, E. drought & thirst; to *ters to be, or to make dry in Gr. τέρσομαι, Lat. torreo to roast, Goth. gapaírsan Ohg. derren
■ Another form of t. is tasiṇā