Are there any suttas where the Buddha gives advice how to change one's behaviours, like eating addiction, mindless eating, addiction to entertainment, laziness and all that? Basically giving in into worldy pleasures.


3 Answers 3


Although the Noble Eight-fold Path is the all-encompassing way, one often wants specific advice on "defilements". For example, searching SuttaCentral, we have AN6.58 Defilements describing six factors of dealing with defilements.

Mendicants, a mendicant with six factors is worthy of offerings dedicated to the gods, worthy of hospitality, worthy of a teacher’s offering, worthy of veneration with joined palms, and is a supreme field of merit for the world

The question you've asked is actually quite broad. In fact ALL the suttas answer your question. For example, simply consider that identity view is an unwholesome habit. In this case, one would consult MN8 Self-Effacement. As individuals, we each have our own set of unwholesome habits and it would be best to conduct such a search on a Buddhist Sutta site such as SuttaCentral.net according to your own needs.

Inevitably, one realizes that relishing is the root of suffering (MN1). Sometimes that is enough to let go and deal. Sometimes we need other suttas for more leverage.


Dvedhāvitakka Sutta - Two Kinds of Thought


Even something like SN 5.10 might help:

But it’s only suffering that comes to be,
lasts a while, then disappears.
Naught but suffering comes to be,
naught but suffering ceases.

Ask yourself, "Would the cessation of this behaviour be associated with (or give rise to) the cessation of dukkha? Does the existence of this behaviour give rise to dukkha?"

I think that's where it starts, that line of thinking is the essence of what "right view" is.

Then there's SN 56.11 -- for example on page 41 ...

  1. The first noble truth, that is, suffering is to be understood.
  2. The second noble truth, that is, the arising of suffering is to be abandoned.
  3. The third noble truth, that is, the ending of suffering (nirvana) is to be realized.
  4. The fourth noble truth, that is, the way to the ending of suffering is to be cultivated.

... and on page 46:

The first noble truth: suffering (dukkha)
Suffering should be known (pariññeyya)
Suffering has been known (pariññāta)

The second noble truth: craving (taṇhā)
Craving should be abandoned (pahātabba)
Craving has been abandoned (pahīna)

The third noble truth: nirvana (nibbāna)
Nirvana should be realized (sacchikātabba)
Nirvana has been realized (sacchikata)

The fourth noble truth: the path (patipadā)
The path should be cultivated (bhāvetabba)
The path has been cultivated (bhāvita)

Then there's MN 61 ("The Buddha teaches his young son"), which starts with being honest, and then,

Whenever you want to do a bodily action, you should reflect on it: 'This bodily action I want to do — would it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both?

As for techniques to overcome withdrawal (more accurately to enable withdrawal, to enable the cessation of craving and attachment), I think there are many -- I mentioned some in this answer e.g.:

  • Guarding the senses
  • Preventing contact
  • Seclusion or retreat (even temporary)
  • The mental equivalent of aversion therapy and/or dispassion (e.g. seeing "a bag of bones")
  • And if at first you don't succeed then try, try, and ... try something else!

Also maybe replace 'wrong' with 'right' -- e.g. instead of dwelling on dukkha consider freedom from remorse.

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