In a previous post, we discussed about the seven emotional factors troubling our minds. Today, we talked about the six cravings and contemplate how the combination of these seven emotions and six cravings “lock” us into the ignorance of “self”
What are the six cravings?
Eyes – Sights: craving for beautiful and fascinating things to see. Like going sightseeing, going to the zoo to look at exotic animals, ogling at the forms of woman or man,etc It differs according to individual preferences or mental habits. Something that is beautiful to a person can be hideous to another.
Ear – Sound: craving for pleasing sounds. Again, there is no standard to what is pleasing. to one.
Nose – smell: Craving for smell that is pleasing to one.
Tongue – taste: Craving for taste that is pleasing to one.
Body – touch: Craving for tactile pleasure that is pleasing to one.
Thoughts – Concept : This is not to be mistaken for mind. It refers to conceptual thoughts that influence our like and dislike. For example, cultural influence. Some tribal culture perceive blackened teeth as beautiful. Kids are taught to perceive blackened teeth as a desirable condition.
From the above, we can understand that likes and dislikes are not universal. Something that is celebrated in one society may be frowned upon in another. The combination of the six cravings and seven emotions, creates mental habits. It creates a basis where we identify with a culture, a gender, a society, a country, a race, a profession, a vocation, a political belief, a religious belief and etc. This generate a false sense of a self.
That reinforce our identity with a state of being. These mundane influences are not universal and sometimes they clashes with others. That generates animosity and hatred, or aversion. The East versus the West. The Vegan versus the non-vegan. The LGBT versus the straights, The Buddhist versus the non- Buddhist.
At the end of the day. Buddhism reminds us that all these factors are interdependent and impermanent.
For example, in ancient Chinese society, girls were subjected to the torturous procedure of feet binding. Whereas in medieval Europe, girls underwent chest binding. All because it was a standard of beauty. Our modern world will not even think about those deformity as beautiful. This demonstrates that man-made concepts are not the ultimate Truths and we shouldn’t be enslaved by all these concepts.
Why is this important? Simply because man-made concepts possess no wisdom and is usually the cause of sufferings. Wars waged in the name of religion or self-proclaimed cultural superiority or political ideals are example of such ignorance.
To be Buddhist, we should try to meditate and contemplate about such matters to increase our wisdom. Once we understand how we become who we believe we are, we also understand the “craziness” surrounding us.
We understand how the conventional Truths, shape our life and influence our mind. We see how our mundane happiness and sadness is being driven by all these man-made ideas. Then we learn to be flexible and adapt. We learn to live effortlessly in a “dream-like” world.
In another word, we do not let the “craziness”of the world affect our mind too much. We learn to chill and be amused by the “craziness” around us. We learn to laugh.
May all be well and happy.