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Desires in disguise (vañchaka dhamma)
February 24th, 2014

illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)

Desires in disguise (vañchaka dhamma)

   This phenomenon by which a person can succumb to lustful thought under the guise of compassion, or where defilements can creep in under cover of wholesome dhammas, is of great significance.

   It has been very clearly described in the Atthasālinī  ("The Expositor", text composed by Buddhaghoṣa, in the Theravāda Abhidhamma tradition), where it is treated with reference to the four sublime states, viz. loving-kindness (mettā),  compassion (karuṇā),  altruistic joy (muditā),  and equanimity (upekkhā).

   Loving-kindness and vengeful conduct cannot co-exist by nature. But where love and its object are, they can be threatened by lust, for —like love— lust is a positive attitude toward an object. Hence, lust is referred to as the "near enemy" of love, since it lurks close to love. But ill-will is considered as a "distant enemy."

   Regarding compassion, it is said that the distant enemy is cruelty, but it has a more insidious near enemy; this near enemy is a kind of self-pity filled with worldly sorrow.

   The near enemy of sympathy is joy regarding worldly and material prosperity.

   Indifference is referred to as the near enemy of equanimity.
— Padmasiri de Silva

#Buddhism   #Dharma  
Reformated and slightly adapted from « Buddhist and Freudian Psychology » by Padmasiri de Silva (
Image: unattributed