Joseph Goldstein – Insight Hour – Ep. 76 – Turning the Wheel of the Dharma: The Nature of Craving

nature of craving

In this dharma talk, Joseph reflects on the nature of desire and explores the Buddha’s three domains of craving: sense pleasures, renewed existence, and non-existence.

Listen to previous episode of this series – Turning the Wheel of the Dharma: Understanding Dukkha
The Fever of Unsatisfied Longing

Joseph begins this talk with an examination of the nature of craving, and how it is the primary condition for dukkha, or suffering, to arise. He explores the first of the Buddha’s domains of craving, sense pleasures, and the attachment to the gratification they may bring.

“So it’s this powerful force in the mind, this force of craving, that keeps the whole wheel of Samsara, the whole wheel of conditioned existence, rolling on.” – Joseph Goldstein

The Danger of Sense Pleasures (21:57)

How much energy do we want to invest in this endless pursuit of sense pleasures? Joseph looks at the three dangers of relying on the gratification of sense pleasures: that the world is impermanent, bound up by dukkha, and subject to change.

“We all have had the experience that dharma practice, in so many different ways, opens us to the possibility of a much greater happiness than the happiness of sense pleasures.” – Joseph Goldstein 

The Magic Show of Consciousness (44:51)

Joseph explores the second and third of the Buddha’s domains of craving: the craving for renewed existence, also known as the craving for becoming, and the craving for non-existence, or annihilation. He talks about the great discovery in our practice when we begin to see through the magic show of consciousness. 

“How often in our meditation do we have this sense of just leaning forward into the next moment as if somehow the next step, or the next breath, or the next sensation, or the next thought, will resolve everything. It’s like we don’t quite trust that it’s all here now.” – Joseph Goldstein

nature of craving

This podcast was made possible by our friends at 1440 Multiversity!
As a boy in China, qigong master Robert Peng apprenticed secretly under the legendary Buddhist monk Xiao Yao, who trained him in the martial and healing arts. As part of his training, Robert spent 100 days meditating and fasting in a dark, underground chamber deep in the mountains of the Chinese countryside. Xiao Yao visited him daily and instructed him in advanced practices to accelerate his spiritual development.
Afterward, Robert discovered he had developed extraordinary spiritual powers, including the ability to discharge from his hands energy that felt like a powerful electric current. Now he offers a distillation of this training in the form of Qigong Empowerments. Learn more about this and other 1440 Multiversity retreats at


Images via Seshadri Sreenivasan and Pxhere