Reducing cravings in increments

“It is fitting for you to be perplexed, Vaccha, it is fitting for you to doubt. Doubt has arisen in you about a perplexing matter.”

Yes, difficult to uproot, but luckily doubt doesn’t need to be uprooted.
The craving in regard to doubt must be abandoned/uprooted.
Doubt must be understood.

If one is unsure whether craving has been uprooted, that is a doubt rooted in ‘the wanting of the pleasure of being sure’.

If the doubt causes you to suffer, worry or sends you on a mission to figure it all out, then there is craving there.
However, if doubt does not induce suffering then there is no craving there.
How does it not induce suffering? When there is doubt, one knows that there is a doubt, arisen on its own, persisting on its own. One does not doubt the doubt, one does not try to get rid of it or indulge it, one does not crave in regard to it" oh may this doubt be gone" etc Knowing the nature of doubt, one is not pressured by it.

More specifically, is there craving in regard to alcohol? Probably not in your case? Will it arise again? How would you know? It might and I think the problem is that if the craving arises again, you doubt whether you will be able to withstand the pressure of that craving.
Maybe I’m wrong?
However if one has abandoned the delight and lust for ‘the wanting of pleasure of senses or the not wanting pain’, then one would not care if ‘the wanting’ arises again in regards to whatever, because it will not induce suffering,it will not induce delight and lust for it, for one has abandoned it, one does not want the wanting. In that sense then, one cannot call it (my)craving anymore, it’s just ’ the wanting belonging to the senses’ i.e the senses want to feed on what is pleasant for them and you don’t want that. ( And so they won’t be getting into trouble anymore)
They can still taste tasty things, but you are no longer concerned about it, you no longer care. Or when there is a social gathering with alcohol around, there might arise the wanting of the pleasure obtained through getting intoxicated, i.e relaxation, laughing, dropping of inhibitions etc, simply because that was a long developed habit, and the body still craves for it, but if the craving for ‘the wants of the body’ is gone, then you will not drink,most likely you wouldn’t even be in that situation.

The habits of drinking alcohol, become like a palm stump or better yet, like a dead tree i.e they have grown to that extent and will not proliferate any further because the nutriment has gone,the nutriment was your delighting and lust in ‘wanting the pleasure obtained through the senses’. So the habit of wanting may still arise to the extent to which it was developed before, but the passion is gone and so no more growth will take place, it’s just a dried up old tree.

A simple question I suppose, is do you care if craving arises for alcohol in the future?
If you care, it’s because you doubt whether you can overpower it.
If you don’t care, its because you know that it’s impossible for you to suffer again in regards to the craving for alcohol, or ‘craving’ in general.

Can you stop searching?
Where is the craving? If you are looking for it,what do you expect to find?
Craving is not in things if it were then we could just throw things away and be free from suffering.

“there are these three cravings. What three? The craving for sensual pleasures, the craving for being, and the craving for non-being”
Do you crave for the pleasure from the senses?
Do you crave for things that give pleasure, to be?
Do you crave for things that give pain, not to be?

Self-deception is a funny thing, ‘you deceive yourself’, but to be able to do this, one must know that you are doing it. It’s a denial of that which one knows and then denies, a refusal to acknowledge that which has already been acknowledged. Bad faith in other terms.

Thinking about this more I find that the root of all kileas is ignorance. If the ignorance is removed and kept at bay, the chances of the problem recurring seems reduced. The Buddha seems to talk about the body in terms of its foul nature. This is as a practice but also as a way an Arahant will see it thereafter. If we see the body as alluring then we are creating a fertile ground to inviting these cravings back.


I stoppped comsuming alcohol mainly because I am a Dhamma teacher.
I stopped smoking 26 years ago seen the health benefits.
I have substituted the craving.
I do no watch tv but watch Dhamma videos.
I do not listen to music but listen SCV😅
I still like my aftershave though. Not certified yet with only the smell of flowers offered to Buddha.
I like tasty food but my weight is under control
Now I enjoy the touch of the breath even though I still like sensual pleasures.
My mind food is Dhamma study instead of politics and gossip.


Although I applaud your direction of wholesomeness, I do have some questions, if you don’t mind, if you do mind, don’t read further :slightly_smiling_face:

If you stopped substituting your unwholesome cravings with ‘wholesome’ cravings, what would happen?

If you stopped watching Dhamma movies, studying Dhamma, doing breath meditation or stopped being a Dhamma teacher, would you revert back to your old ways?

Of course, you need not answer me.

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Good question but hard to answer.
The way I understand if I am a Sotapanna I will not dgenarate again,
I am not sure whether I am a Sotapanna or not.


I remember Ajhan Brahm say that he could just sit and be contented with everything. Has anyone had this feeling immediately after meditation?



One of the most remarkable memories I have is of a Rinzai Zen sesshin in Hawaii led by Tanouye Tenshin Roshi well over thirty years ago. In this sesshin, we started it by drawing a simple shodo line diagonally across a sheet of newspaper. At the end of the session, we again each drew a simple shodo line diagonally across a new sheet of paper.

What we all noticed is that ALL the later lines were straighter, cleaner and truer. And that made us all quite content. After meditation we had all become straighter, cleaner and truer.

I’ve often wondered about the effects of reducing kilesa on handwriting… it would have been unknown during the Buddha’s time.

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But were the they, or were they just better at talking “wise” words to their students? We see time and again scandals involving the cravings (often sexual) of religious teachers coming out years later. Might large waistbands be a sign of something off?

If I could learn the Dhamma from a babbling idiot or a rock, I would do so.
Indeed, I spent twenty years learning the Dhamma from a mountain.
The mountain was much wider than my Roshi.


Your experience with delight:

216From craving springs grief, from craving springs fear. For one who is wholly free from craving there is no grief; whence then fear?

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I think the craving could arise given the right conditions. But more importantly you have the knowledge that it can be overcome. Mindfulness and wisdom will guide you after this.

As for Q2 => Its just an extension of the same craving for alcohol. This too could be done away with proper practice and insight. Just remember how you gave up alcohol. When the craving subsides you can still taste all things without the associated craving. What fall and dies along with this is the seeking behavior. The thought of ice cream will not pop up in your mind.

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Yeah, I also had a hard time explaining this to my family. The best I could do was to say that what I was looking for in art, I found in meditation. :heart: