Pali text, illustration and English translation of Dhammapada verse 216:
taṇhāya jāyatī soko taṇhāya jāyatī bhayaṃ |
taṇhāya vippamuttassa natthi soko kuto bhayaṃ || 216 ||
216. Out of craving grief is born, out of craving fear, one fully freed of craving has no grief—how fear?
The Story of a Brāhmin
While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this verse with reference to a Brāhmin who was a farmer.
The story goes that this Brāhmin, who held false views, went one day to the bank of the river to clear his field. The Buddha, seeing that he was ripe for conversion, went to him. The Brāhmin, although he saw the Buddha, paid him no mark of respect but remained silent. The Buddha was the first to speak and said, “Brāhmin, what are you doing?” “Clearing my field, Venerable.” The Buddha said no more and went on his way. On the following day, the Brāhmin went to plough his field. The Buddha went to him and asked, “Brāhmin, what are you doing?” “Plowing my field, Venerable.” The Buddha, hearing his reply, went on his way. On several days in succession the Buddha went to the Brāhmin and asked the same question. Receiving the answers, “Venerable, I am planting my field, I am weeding my field, I am guarding my field,” the Buddha went on his way. One day the Brāhmin said to the Buddha, “Venerable, you have been coming here ever since I cleared my field. If my crop turns out well, I will divide it with you. I will not myself eat without giving to you. Henceforth you shall be my partner.”
As time went on, his crop flourished. One day, he said to himself, “My crop has flourished; tomorrow I will set the reapers to work.” So he made ready for the reaping. But a severe rainstorm raged that night and swept away his crops; the field looked as if it had been cut clean. The Buddha, however, knew from the very first that his crop would not flourish. Early in the morning when the Brāhmin saw that the field had been swept clean, he thought with deep grief, “The monk Gotama has visited this field from the day when I first cleared it, and I have said to him, ‘If this crop of mine turns out well, I will divide it with you. I will not myself eat without giving to you. Henceforth you shall be my partner.’ But the desire of my heart has not been fulfilled.” And so he refused to eat and went to bed. Now the Buddha stopped at the door of his house. When the Brāhmin heard that the Buddha had arrived, he said, “Bring my partner in and give him a seat here.” His servants did so. When the Buddha had taken his seat, he asked, “What is the matter, Brāhmin?” “Venerable, you have visited me from the day when I first cleared my field, and I have said to you, ‘If my crop turns out well, I will divide it with you.’ But the desire of my heart has not been fulfilled. Therefore, sorrow has come upon me, and my food no longer agrees with me.” Then the Buddha said to him, “But, Brāhmin, do you know what causes this sorrow that has come upon you?” “No, Venerable, that I do not know. But you know.” The Buddha replied, “Yes, Brāhmin. Whether sorrow or fear arises, it arises solely from desire.”
Explanatory Translation (Verse 216)
taṇhāya soko jāyatī, taṇhāya bhayaṃ jāyatī
taṇhāya vippamuttassa soko natthi bhayaṃ kuto
taṇhāya: because of desire; soko: sorrow; jāyatī: is born; taṇhāya: because of desire; bhayaṃ [bhaya]: fear; jāyatī: arises; taṇhāya vippamuttassa: to one free of desire; soko natthi: there is no sorrow; bhayaṃ [bhaya]: fear; kuto: how can there be?
From craving arises sorrow. From craving fear arises. To one free of craving there is no sorrow. For such a person how can there be fear?
Commentary and exegetical material (Verse 216)
taṇhā: thirst; craving. Craving is the chief root of suffering, and of the ever continuing cycle of rebirths. “What, O monk, is the origin of suffering? It is that craving which gives rise to fresh rebirth and, bound up with pleasure and lust, here and there, finds ever fresh delight. It is the sensual craving (kāma-taṇhā), the craving for existence (bhava-taṇhā), the craving for non-existence (vibhava-taṇhā). Taṇhā is the eighth link in the formula of the dependent origination (paticca-samuppāda).
Corresponding to the six sense-objects, there are six kinds of craving: craving for visible objects, for sounds, odours, tastes, bodily impressions, mental impressions (rūpa-taṇhā, sadda, gandha, rasa, phottabba, dhamma). Corresponding to the three-fold existence, there are three kinds: craving for sensual existence (kāma-taṇhā), for fine-material existence (rūpa), for immaterial existence (arūpa).
There are eighteen thought-channels of craving (taṇhā-vicarita) induced internally, and eighteen induced externally; and as occurring in past, present and future, they total one hundred and eight. According to the dependent origination, craving is conditioned by feeling. Of craving for existence (bhava-taṇhā), it is said: “No first beginning of the craving for existence can be perceived, O’ monks, before which it was not and after which it came to be. But it can be perceived that craving for existence has its specific condition. I say, O’ monks, that also craving for existence has its condition that feeds it (sāhāram) and is not without it. And what is it? Ignorance, one has to reply.” Craving for existence and ignorance are called the outstanding causes that lead to happy and unhappy destinies (courses of existence).