Craving Versus Grasping

April 27th, 2010

I went to Spirit Rock last night for their Monday Night Dharma Talk. There was a guest speaker named Yvonne Rand. She was a cool cat. She talked a lot about Craving versus Grasping.

I had never thought to make this distinction before, although, as with so many aspects of Buddhism, once I heard it explained a certain way, it seemed like something I have probably known all my life, buried somewhere in one lobe of my brain or the other.

She said that the best way to work with Craving is to pay attention to it and watch it. It’s a curious and transient affliction, Craving.

The worst way to work with Craving is to turn it into Grasping. Then, you give it power and you lose your insight.

Here’s an example:

A few mere moments ago, I suddenly began to die for a cupcake. I don’t know where I got this idea about having a cupcake. I must have read the word “cupcake” somewhere. Anyhoo, within a millimoment of developing this cupcake craving, I was looking at my schedule and trying to figure out how I can swing by the cupcake store (I know of three, offhand) on my way to my appointment with my nutritionist friend Kristin Hoppe tonight.

This is an actual cupcake experience that I once shared with my very good friend Janice.

Ironically, Kristin is working with me on cutting out sugar. But anyway.

I caught myself in the midst of Mad Cupcake Planning Frenzy, and then I stopped. I realized, I don’t actually have to get a cupcake. I probably don’t even want a cupcake. My mind is just trying to manipulate me.

So there, mind. You lose this time. I’m not going down the road of Grasping any more on this one.

As an aside, I was really spiritually crushed out on this 75-year old meditation teacher, until I went home and googled her and found her web site. Turns out, her main spiritual crusade is about being anti-abortion. So, she and I, we’ll never be friends. But I do appreciate what she had to say about Craving versus Grasping.


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