I got off on a tangent today thinking about the word "longing". Sometimes I read romance novels to relax, but of course the story lines are replete with every form of craving and longing that one could conceive of. For whatever reason, today's reading got me thinking about the etymology of the word "longing". I wondered how the word came to mean craving in the English language.
Unfortunately, I didn't get very far in my quest, because Google delivered me a number of related searches to my "what is the etymology of 'longing'" question. One of these was "longing meaning in Hindi". It intrigued me that enough people had asked this question in the past that it became a generated response. In my day-off Memorial Day frame of mind though, that question didn't stick and I replaced it with "longing meaning in Pali". That brought me to "Tanha" (thirst, craving, desire).
Wikipedia told me that the word appeared in the Four Noble Truths where it was credited with being the root of all dukkha (suffering). So of course I set out to cross check that.
- Buddhism-guide.com added that it encompasses both wanting as a desire and not wanting as a desire.
- Wisdomlib.org was quite extensive and included a discussion of three types of Tanha: craving for sensory pleasures, craving for existence and craving for non-existence
- Buddhanet.net expanded the relationship between the craving that can give way to the craving to not that comes with disillusionment.
- Londonbuddhistvihara.org put Tanha in the context of a complete summary of the Four Noble Truths.
So, it appears that Wikipedia had it right this time and I added a new word to my Buddhist vocabulary. Not bad for a lazy vacation day.