Within Buddhism, taṇhā is defined as the craving to hold onto pleasurable experiences, to be separated from painful or unpleasant experiences, and for neutral experiences or feelings not to decline.
The Buddhist tradition identifies taṇhā as a self-centered type of desire that is based in ignorance. This type of desire is contrasted to wholesome types of desire such as the desire to benefit others or to follow the Buddhist path.
In the first teaching of the Buddha on the Four Noble Truths, the Buddha identified taṇhā as a principal cause in the arising of dukkha (suffering, anxiety, dissatisfaction). Taṇhā is also identified as the eighth link in the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination.
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