Did Buddha mean the term "being or existence" as used in everyday life or different from those such as co-arising with contact and feeling and attachment ? In case Buddha meant the latter I believe the meaning of "being or existence" is quite different from the ordinary meaning. "Being or existence" is not something staying for 30 or 80 years but reborn every moment you become craved on sensual phenomenon.

2 Answers 2


From the explanations I've seen/heard in Mahayana context, and also etymologically, the word "bhava" means "a state of (personal) existence", "being something or someone", "being in a certain configuration or position", "having a specific form/manner of existence" - something like this. The connotation is not just "being", it is a particular manner or configuration of being, and thinking that that configuration is you.

Of course, this can happen both on a long-term, as well as on the moment-by-moment scale. Being someone is the mind of grasping onto a particular idea of self, identifying with a particular form - which can be something large-scale, like thinking one is a Buddhist - or something small-scale like getting frustrated when you unexpectedly slip going down a stair. One common theme is getting used to a particular way things are, expecting that they will go according to plan, and holding on to that idea even as things go in a different direction. These are the symptoms of bhava - "being something", "identifying with something".

My teacher always said (paraphrasing): you must stop being someone, get rid of all these ideas that you are this or that. You must have no idea who the hell you are. Once you have no such idea, you are free, because there is no you. That is cessation of bhava.


According to Buddhist teaching "being" means the attachment, aversion, and ignorance. There is a Sutta to support this but I can't locate it right now.

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