Kāma

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kāma (T. 'dod pa འདོད་པ་; C. yu 欲) is translated as "sensuality." It refers to sensuality or sensual pleasures.[1]

This term is often combined with other terms in compounded form. For example:

  • kāmacchanda (sensory desire) is one of the five hindrances
  • kāmarāga (attachment to sensuality) is one of the ten fetters
  • kāma-tanha (sense-craving) is one of three aspects of tanha
  • kāmasankappa - refers to intention governed by desire; here desire can be interpreted as self-seeking desire in all its forms (Bikkhu Bodhi, The Noble Eightfold Path (Access to Insight: 1999) p. 26)

Renuncation (nekkhamma) refers to being free from sensory desire.

Pali tradition

The Buddhist Dictionary states:

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 kāmacchanda, ‘sensuous desire’, one of the five hindrances (nīvaraṇa, q.v.); kāma-rāga, sensuous lust’, one of the ten fetters (saṃyojana, q.v.); kāma-taṇhā, ‘sensuous craving’, one of the three cravings (taṇhā, q.v.); kāmavitakka, ‘sensuous thought’, one of the three wrong thoughts (micchā-saṅkappa; see vitakka). Sense-desire is also one of the cankers (āsava, q.v.) and clingings (upādāna, q.v.).
(2) Objective sensuality is, in the canonical texts, mostly called kāma-guṇa, ‘cords (or strands) of sensuality’.
There are five cords of sensuality: the visible objects, cognisable by eye-consciousness, that are desirable, cherished, pleasant, lovely, sensuous and alluring; the sounds… smells… tastes… bodily impressions cognisable by body-consciousness, that are desirable…” (DN 33; MN 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 M.Nid. I, p. 1, and frequently in the commentaries.
Sense-desire is finally eliminated at the stage of the non-returner (anāgāmī; see ariya-puggala, saṃyojana).
The peril and misery of sense-desire is often described in the texts, e.g. in stirring similes at MN 22, 54, and in the ‘gradual instruction’ (ānupubbī-kathā, q.v.). See further MN 13, 45, 75; Sn v. 766ff.; Dhp 186, 215.
The texts often stress the fact that what binds man to the world of the senses are not the sense organs nor the sense-objects but lustful desire (chandarāga). On this see AN 6:63; SN 35:122, 191.[2]

See also

Notes


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