Craving for extermination

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Craving for extermination

Postby nowheat » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:35 pm

What does "craving for extermination" mean as in this phrase from Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of the first sermon (SN 56.11 PTS 421):

Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving which leads to renewed existence... that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, craving for extermination.


I am understanding "craving for existence" to mean "for being" as in "for continuation of the self" but then its opposite, extermination, would not make sense.

Thanks in advance and :namaste:
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Re: Craving for extermination

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:40 pm

I quoted one of the commentaries on a similar passage here:
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=5851&view=unread#p92186
Spk: Seeking delight here and there: having the habit of seeking delight in the place of rebirth or among the various objects such as forms. Lust of the five cords of sensual pleasure is craving for sensual pleasures. Lust for form-sphere or formless-sphere conciousness, attachment to jhana, and lust accompanied by the eternalist view: this is called craving for existence. Lust accompanied by the annihilationsist view is craving from extermination.

Not sure if that helps, but it's a start...

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Re: Craving for extermination

Postby nowheat » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:50 pm

Thanks Mike. I was suspecting that might be it but am still not sure.

Any other theories/understandings still welcomed.

And as an aside, I wonder *why* one would actually lust for the annihilationist's view. I know many atheists who hold the view that we have no essence or soul to be reborn, but I don't know any of them who, if you proved that "you get another chance after this one" would say, DAMN! I wanted to be GONE. Only people disenchanted with life do that (and they can just kill themselves now). Maybe we're not really talking about craving for extermination but simply clinging to that view?

:namaste:
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Re: Craving for extermination

Postby Will » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:52 pm

nowheat wrote:What does "craving for extermination" mean as in this phrase from Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of the first sermon (SN 56.11 PTS 421):

Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving which leads to renewed existence... that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, craving for extermination.


I am understanding "craving for existence" to mean "for being" as in "for continuation of the self" but then its opposite, extermination, would not make sense.

Thanks in advance and :namaste:


Self destructive tendencies are rampant nowadays & surely existed in Buddha's day too; suicide, addictions of various kinds etc. It sounds odd, but there has always been a small but persistent group of folks who cannot face life and use suicidal behaviors to "exterminate" their self.
This noble eightfold path is the ancient path traveled by all the Buddhas of eons past. Nagara Sutta
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Re: Craving for extermination

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:30 pm

As Will says, there are extreme self-destructive tendencies. But even when one doesn't go to such extremes as suicide it's not uncommon to wish for the destruction of the "current self", going out for a drink to "forget about my problems for now", and so on...

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Re: Craving for extermination

Postby Dan74 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:44 pm

_/|\_
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Re: Craving for extermination

Postby Will » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:11 pm

Dan74 wrote:perhaps this is relevant?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_drive


Yes indeed, thanks Dan. My poor education never heard of the Death Drive, but Freud was on to something. But rather than the Death Drive being aimed at restoring some inorganic pre-human state, I will guess (an uneducated guess at that) that its function is to forstall or end the attraction toward bodhi or realizing our true spiritual potential. An inner Devadatta we all have tries to "exterminate" spiritual growth.
This noble eightfold path is the ancient path traveled by all the Buddhas of eons past. Nagara Sutta
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