2

I understand craving involves a strong preoccupation component. I noticed that somehow, when I either use a dating site or anything similar, I often check whether I received a message or if anything happened. However, I noticed even when I'm not checking the site, there seems to be less virtuous activity, almost as if the preoccupation was unconscious.

Can this be explained by the nature of craving? Does craving tend to occupy space in the mind, even if not consciously aware?

I'm also wondering whether, if craving takes up mental space, it is because the mind takes time to create a craving and because the conscious element is just the surface.

Thank you

2

Can this be explained by the nature of craving? Does craving tend to occupy space in the mind, even if not consciously aware?

From AN6.63 we understand that:

Greedy intention is a person’s sensual pleasure.

If one goes to dating sites looking to acquire, one is practicing greed as "I want this person. I don't want that person." We treat people as things to shop for. We acquire and discard. We become acquired and discarded. We treat each other like plastic bottles of water. Drink and discard.

If one goes to dating sites looking to find good spiritual companions who are generous, kind and ethical, then one may find more friends and perhaps some additional closeness may develop.

Search for good spiritual companions. Dating apps might or might not be the best way to do that. Good spiritual companions often are found doing things that help others. Find a way to help others and you will find good spiritual companions.

The Noble Eight-Fold path starts with Right View. Think about your view as you use that dating app. Is it right?

The world’s pretty things aren’t sensual pleasures. Greedy intention is a person’s sensual pleasure. The world’s pretty things stay just as they are, but a wise one removes desire for them. ...

The practice that leads to the cessation of suffering is simply this noble eightfold path, that is: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right immersion.

2

OP: ... Can this be explained by the nature of craving?

Craving is the reactive response of the mind to sensations. When one feels one craves:

with feeling as condition, there is craving;

(Paṭicca,samuppada) Vibhanga Sutta

OP: Does craving tend to occupy space in the mind, even if not consciously aware?

For an untrained person, craving is the reflexive response. It does not physically otherwise occupy any space.

When one is aware one can:

  • note the sensation experienced
  • know that it is implements in and detached manner

Doing so one does not generate craving.

2

Does craving tend to occupy space in the mind, even if not consciously aware?

That seems plausible.

I heard that people have done "functional MRI" imaging of the brain during focused activity, and found that when you're successfully concentrating on a task then fewer areas of the brain are active -- i.e. only the areas associated with the task -- I suppose that having other areas active too would only be distracting.

In the case you mentioned, perhaps it could be explained as the difference between seeking (or expecting) something satisfactory (or rewarding) from the outside (i.e. from checking a website) -- contrasted with the reward of virtuous activity.

There's a lot of (non-Buddhist) literature about how social media is addictive -- e.g. because it delivers small doses of satisfaction (e.g. people "liking" what you post, etc.).

2

If you're checking for messages often on a dating site, that's not just craving (tanha). That's clinging (upadana).

From the question "What is the difference between Tanha and Upadana?", I quote this answer:

What is the difference between Tanha and Upadana?

To use a traditional example. Say you met a very nice person. Let's say that person had a beautiful smile and sweet soft voice. Next day, you suddenly get a flash of that person's smile in your mind, and you "hear" the sound of voice playing in your head, all this accompanied with a desire to see that person again. That's tanha. You also feel a somewhat painful sensation in your chest because you're missing that person. That's dukkha.

Then, on the basis of that flash, you start obsessively thinking about the smile, the voice, the hair, the body, the manner of walking - you begin inwardly attending to as many features of the person as you can remember. You also start thinking about the place you met the person yesterday, hoping that if you go there again, there is a chance you will see him or her again. That's upadana.

1

When you give attention to a theme frequently it becomes an inclination due to that frequent pondering.

What one sees that one thinks about and that theme is explored as basis for happiness, equanimity or distress.

Forms can be based on the eye or they can be a memory or imaginary.

Having direct one's attention to an object one explores it and associated themes according to one's best knowledge of good and bad (discernment faculty).

This is where one needs to pay a lot of attention and not be careless in giving attention, as to condition the mind properly.

What one sees, that one thinks about. What one thinks about that one objectifies. What one objectifies one evaluates. Having directed one's thought and made an evaluation one breaks out into speech; therefore thoughts & evaluation are verbalized.

These six are classes of craving: craving for forms, craving for sounds, craving for smells, craving for tastes, craving for tactile sensations, craving for ideas. This is called craving.

"And which are the 18 craving-verbalizations dependent on what is internal? There being 'I am,' there comes to be 'I am here,' there comes to be 'I am like this' ... 'I am otherwise' ... 'I am bad' ... 'I am good' ... 'I might be' ... 'I might be here' ... 'I might be like this' ... 'I might be otherwise' ... 'May I be' ... 'May I be here' ... 'May I be like this' ... 'May I be otherwise' ... 'I will be' ... 'I will be here' ... 'I will be like this' ... 'I will be otherwise.' These are the 18 craving-verbalizations dependent on what is internal. "And which are the 18 craving-verbalizations dependent on what is external? There being 'I am because of this (or: by means of this),' there comes to be 'I am here because of this,' there comes to be 'I am like this because of this' ... 'I am otherwise because of this' ... 'I am bad because of this' ... 'I am good because of this' ... 'I might be because of this' ... 'I might be here because of this' ... 'I might be like this because of this' ... 'I might be otherwise because of this' ... 'May I be because of this' ... 'May I be here because of this' ... 'May I be like this because of this' ... 'May I be otherwise because of this' ... 'I will be because of this' ... 'I will be here because of this' ... 'I will be like this because of this' ... 'I will be otherwise because of this.' These are the 18 craving-verbalizations dependent on what is external.

"Thus there are 18 craving-verbalizations dependent on what is internal and 18 craving-verbalizations dependent on what is external. These are called the 36 craving-verbalizations. Thus, with 36 craving-verbalizations of this sort in the past, 36 in the future, and 36 in the present, there are 108 craving-verbalizations.

As long as discernment remains undeveloped there will be ignorance on to that extent and on account of that ignorance what one sees and thinks about will be explored as basis for happiness on account of wrong views, and on account of these wrong views there will come into being wrong thoughts and resolves.

Therefore as you can see the discernment is to be developed and it leads to development of the path as it is a condition for right thought and resolves.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.