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  • kĀma

may denote:

1. subjective sensuality, 'sense-desire';
2. objective sensuality, the five sense-objects.

1. Subjective sensuality, or sense-desire, is directed to all five sense-objects, and is synonymous with

  • kĀma-cchanda, 'sensuous desire', one of the 5 hindrances (nīvarana);
  • kāma-rāga, sensuous lust', one of the ten fetters (samyojana);
  • kāma-tanhā, 'sensuous craving', one of the 3 cravings (tanhā);
  • kāma-vitakka, 'sensuous thought', one of the 3 wrong thoughts (micchā-sankappa; s. vitakka).
  • Sense-desire is also one of the fermentations (Āsava) and clinging (upādāna).

2. Objective sensuality is, in the canonical texts, mostly called kāma-guna, 'cords (or strands) of sensuality'.

"There are 5 cords of sensuality: the visible objects, cognizable by eye-consciousness, that are desirable, cherished, pleasant, lovely, sensuous and alluring; the sounds ... smells ... tastes ... bodily contacts cognizable by body-consciousness, that are desirable .... " (D.33; M.13, 26, 59, 66).

These two kinds of kāma are called

1. kilesa-kāma, i.e. kāma as a mental defilement,
2. vatthu-kāma, i.e. kāma as the object-base of sensuality; first in MNid.. I, p. 1, and frequently in the commentaries.

Sense-desire is finally eliminated at the stage of the Non-Returner (Anāgāmi; s. ariya-puggala, samyojana).

The peril and misery of sense-desire is often described in the texts, e.g. in stirring similes at M. 22, 54, and in the 'gradual instruction' (s. Ānupubbī-kathā). See further M.13, M.45, M.75; Sn.v.766ff.; Dhp.186, 215.

The texts often stress the fact that what fetters man to the world of the senses are not the sense-organs nor the sense-objects but lustful desire (chandarāga). On this see A.VI.63; S.XXXV.122, 191. - (App.).


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