WARREN: BUDDHISM IN TRANSLATIONS
§ 33. Desire
Translated from the Visuddhi-Magga (chap. xvii.)
In the proposition, On sensation depends desire,
Desire for forms and all the rest
Make up a list of six desires;
And each of these is then perceived
To triply manifest itself.
For the Vibhanga shows that in this proposition there are six desires, named desire for forms, desire for sounds, . . . odors, . . . tastes, . . . things tangible, . . . ideas, according to the designation of the object; just as a son is named the treasurer's son, the Brahman's son, according to the designation of his father. But it is then perceived that each of these is triple according to the way it manifests itself, namely, whether as desire for sensual pleasure, as desire for permanent existence, or as desire for transitory existence.
When desire for forms manifests itself in a sensual relish for some form-object that may be within the field of vision, it is then called desire for sensual pleasure.
When it is coupled with a heretical belief in the persistence of existences, and considers that its object is stable and persistent, it is then called desire for permanent existence. For passion when coupled with a heretical belief in the persistence of existences is called desire for permanent existence.
But when this desire for forms is coupled with a heretical belief in the annihilation of existences, and considers that its object will be annihilated and perish, it is then called desire for transitory existence. For passion when coupled with a heretical belief in the annihilation of existences is called desire for transitory existence. Similarly in regard to sounds and the rest. This makes eighteen desires.
Eighteen desires for subjective forms etc., together with eighteen for those existing outside, make thirty-six desires; and thirty-six in the past, thirty-six in the future, and thirty-six in the present make one hundred and eight desires. And these can be reduced again to six, according to their objects, forms etc., or to three only, desire for sensual pleasure etc.
Now just as we honour a nurse because of our love and devotion to our children, so living beings, on account of their love and devotion to the sensations excited by forms and the other objects of sense, give high honour to painters, musicians, perfumers, cooks, weavers, elixir-prescribing physicians, and other like persons who furnish us with objects of sense. Therefore all these desires are included in the proposition, "On sensation depends desire."
But inasmuch as here is meant
Sensation that hath happy fruit,
And that is one, it thus gives rise
By one dependence to desire.
By one. It is its dependence by the proximate dependence alone.
And moreover, inasmuch as
Th' unhappy happy seek to be,
The happy seek still greater joy,
And since indifference is bliss,
And happiness is likewise called,
Therefore these three sensations form
Dependence threefold for desire.
Now as The Sage hath said, "Upon
Sensation doth depend desire,"
And since desire can ne'er exist
And baleful karma not produce,
Therefore no lodgment can it find
In mind of any Brahman wise.
This is the full discussion of the proposition, "On sensation depends desire."