(lit. 'thirst'): 'craving', is the chief root of
suffering, and of the ever-continuing cycle of rebirths. "What, o monks, is
the origin of suffering? It is that craving which gives rise to ever-fresh
rebirth and, bound up with pleasure and lust, now here, now there, finds ever
fresh delight. It is the
sensual craving (kāma-tanhā),
the craving for
the craving for non-existence (vibhava-tanhā)''
T. is the 8th link in the formula of the dependent
origination (paticcasamuppāda). Cf.
Corresponding to the 6 sense-objects, there are 6 kinds of
craving craving for visible objects, for sounds, odours, tastes, bodily
contacts, mental contacts (rūpa-, sadda-, gandha-, rasa-, photthabba-,
dhamma-tanhā). (M.9; D.15)
Corresponding to the 3-fold existence, there are 3 kinds:
craving for sensual existence (kāma-tanhā), for fine-material existence
(rūpa-tanhā), for immaterial existence (arūpa-tanhā). (D.33)
There are 18 'thought-channels of craving' (tanhā-vicarita)
induced internally, and 18 induced externally; and as occurring in past, present
and future, they total 108; see A. IV, 199; Vibh., Ch. 17 (Khuddakavatthu-Vibhanga).
According to the dependent origination, craving is
conditioned by feeling; on this see D. 22 (section on the 2nd Truth).
Of craving for existence (bhava-tanhā ) it is said
(A.X.62): "No first beginning of the craving for existence can be
perceived, o monks, before which it was not and after which it came to be. But
it can he perceived that craving for existence has its specific condition. I
say, o monks, that also craving for existence has its condition that feeds it (sāharam)
and is not without it. And what is it? 'Ignorance', one has to reply." -
Craving for existence and ignorance are called "the outstanding causes that
lead to happy and unhappy destinies (courses of existence)" (s. Vis.M. XVII,
The most frequent synonyms of tanhā are
rāga and lobha (s.