Quotes on Desire as the Root of Suffering

Quotes on Desire as the Root of Suffering

Last Updated on July 2, 2024 by The Unbounded Thinker

The idea that desire is the root of suffering is widely accepted among Buddhists. It stems from Buddha’s idea that extinguishing desire is one of the most reliable ways of ending suffering. Although some Buddhist scholars disagree with this idea by claiming that it is impossible to extinguish desire because it is a natural force, many spiritual teachers have agreed that desire is the source of suffering.

I compiled the quotes of the spiritual teachers who agree that desire is the root of all suffering for those who want to understand how desire causes suffering.  

  • “By desire is the world bound. By the removal of desire, it is freed. Desire is what one must forsake to cut off all bondage.” – Buddha
  • “Desire drags a person around. Desire is hard to discard in the world. By desire many beings are bound like birds caught in a snare.” – Buddha
  • “Dispel sensual desires, O brahmin; without having abandoned sensual desires, a sage does not reach unity.” – Buddha
  • “Desire is the root of suffering.” – Buddha
  • “All misery comes from unsatisfied desire.”- Swami Vivekananda
  • “The human mind is like that monkey incessantly active by its own nature; then it becomes drunk with the wine of desire, thus increasing its turbulence. After desire takes possession, comes the sting of the scorpion of jealousy at the success of others, and last of all, the demon of pride enters the mind, making it think itself of all importance. How hard to control such a mind?” – Swami Vivekananda
  • “Desire makes slaves of us, it is an insatiable tyrant and gives its victims no rest.”- Swami Vivekananda
  • “There is no limit to man’s desires, he goes on desiring and when he comes to a point where desire cannot be fulfilled, the result is pain.”- Swami Vivekananda
  • “Desire is infinite. Its fulfilment is very limited. There is no end to our desires; but when we go to fulfill them, the difficulty comes.” – Swami Vivekananda
  • “Desire, want, is the father of all misery. Desires are bound by the laws of success and failure. Desires must bring misery.”- Swami Vivekananda
  • “Desires wither the heart.” – Lao-Tzu
  • “When there is no desire, all things are at peace.”- Lao-Tzu
  • “If you close your mind in judgments and traffic with desires, your heart will be troubled.” – Lao-Tzu
  • “Every desire is a bondage.” – Osho
  • “Desire means that right now you are not okay, you are not at ease.” – Osho
  • “Desire means you are not in the present moment, and all that there is the present moment.” – Osho
  • “The desire is the disturbance in you, just like ripples in a lake.” – Osho
  • “Desire is not the source of all misery; unfulfilled desire is the source of all misery.” –  Sadhguru
  • “If you bring awareness to your desiring process, it is a wonderful instrument. But if it finds unconscious expression, then it makes you run like a madman.” – Sadhguru
  • “Desire is an unending thing. If you fulfill one, the next one will be ready. It keeps you on all the time.” – Sadhguru
  • “Obviously some desires will be unfulfilled and those unfulfilled desires cause much misery to you.” – Sadhguru
  • “For desire, suspend it completely for now. Because if you desire something outside your control, you are bound to be disappointed; and even things we do control, which under other circumstances would be deserving of our desire, are not yet within our power to attain. Restrict yourself to choice and refusal; and exercise them carefully, within discipline and detachment.” – Epictetus
  • “Many people cannot find inner peace because they have too many desires.” – Unbounded Wisdom

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