Aṅguttara Nikāya

4. Book of the Fours

199. Craving

“Monks, I will teach you craving: the ensnarer that has flowed along, spread out, and caught hold, with which this world is smothered & enveloped like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond transmigration, beyond the planes of deprivation, woe, & bad destinations. Listen well, and I will speak.”

“Yes, lord,” the monks responded.

The Blessed One said: “And which craving is the ensnarer that has flowed along, spread out, and caught hold, with which this world is smothered & enveloped like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond transmigration, beyond the planes of deprivation, woe, & bad destinations? These 18 craving-verbalizations dependent on what is internal and 18 craving-verbalizations dependent on what is external.

“And which are the 18 craving-verbalizations dependent on what is internal? There being ‘I am,’ there comes to be ‘I am here,’ there comes to be ‘I am like this’ … ‘I am otherwise’ … ‘I am bad’ … ‘I am good’ … ‘I might be’ … ‘I might be here’ … ‘I might be like this’ … ‘I might be otherwise’ … ‘May I be’ … ‘May I be here’ … ‘May I be like this’ … ‘May I be otherwise’ … ‘I will be’ … ‘I will be here’ … ‘I will be like this’ … ‘I will be otherwise.’ These are the 18 craving-verbalizations dependent on what is internal.

“And which are the 18 craving-verbalizations dependent on what is external? There being ‘I am because of this (or: by means of this),’ there comes to be ‘I am here because of this,’ there comes to be ‘I am like this because of this’ … ‘I am otherwise because of this’ … ‘I am bad because of this’ … ‘I am good because of this’ … ‘I might be because of this’ … ‘I might be here because of this’ … ‘I might be like this because of this’ … ‘I might be otherwise because of this’ … ‘May I be because of this’ … ‘May I be here because of this’ … ‘May I be like this because of this’ … ‘May I be otherwise because of this’ … ‘I will be because of this’ … ‘I will be here because of this’ … ‘I will be like this because of this’ … ‘I will be otherwise because of this.’ These are the 18 craving-verbalizations dependent on what is external.

“Thus there are 18 craving-verbalizations dependent on what is internal and 18 craving-verbalizations dependent on what is external. These are called the 36 craving-verbalizations. Thus, with 36 craving-verbalizations of this sort in the past, 36 in the future, and 36 in the present, there are 108 craving-verbalizations.

“This, monks is craving the ensnarer that has flowed along, spread out, and caught hold, with which this world is smothered & enveloped like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond transmigration, beyond the planes of deprivation, woe, & bad destinations.”