Thirty-Six Streams

The following selection on desire is taken from the sayings of Gautama Buddha known as The Dhammapada:

If you sleep
Desire grows in you
Like a vine in the forest.

Like a monkey in the forest
You jump from tree to tree,
Never finding the fruit—
From life to life,
Never finding peace.

If you are filled with desire
Your sorrows swell
Like the grass after the rain.

But if you subdue desire
Your sorrows fall from you
Like drops of water from a lotus flower.

This is good counsel
And it is for everyone:
As the grass is cleared for the fresh root,
Cut down desire
Lest death after death crush you
As a river crushes the helpless reeds.

For if the roots hold firm,
A felled tree grows up again.
If desires are not uprooted,
Sorrows grow again in you.

Thirty-six streams are rushing toward you!
Desire and pleasure and lust ...
Play in your imagination with them
And they will sweep you away.
Powerful streams!
They flow everywhere.