Raga (Buddhism)

Raga (Sanskrit, also rāga; Pali rāga; Tibetan: 'dod chags) is a Buddhist concept of character affliction or poison referring to any form of "greed, sensuality, lust, desire" or "attachment to a sensory object".[1][2][3] Raga is represented in the Buddhist artwork (bhāvacakra) as the bird or rooster. Raga (lobha) is identified in the following contexts within the Buddhist teachings:[4]

Rāga literally means "color or hue" in Sanskrit, but appears in Buddhist texts as a form of blemish, personal impurity or fundamental character affliction.[5][6] As a philosophical concept, the term refers to "greed, sensuality, desire" or "attachment to a sensory object".[1] It includes any form of desire including sexual desire and sensual passion, as well as attachments to, excitement over and pleasure derived from objects of the senses.[5] Some scholars render it as "craving".[7]

Raga is one of three poisons and afflictions, also called the "threefold fires" in Buddhist Pali canon,[8] that prevents a being from reaching nirvana.[9][10] To extinguish all "Raga" (greed, lust, desire, attachment) is one of the requirements of nirvana (liberation) in Buddhism.[8]

Raga is said to arise from the identification of the self as being separate from everything else.[11] This mis-perception or misunderstanding is referred to as avidya (ignorance).