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Lust is an emotion or feeling of intense desire in the body. The lust can take any form such as the lust for sex, lust for expensive objects (extravagance) or the lust for power. It can take such mundane forms as the lust for food as distinct from the need for food. Lust is a psychological force producing intense wanting for an object, or circumstance fulfilling the emotion.
Religions, especially Christianity, separate the definition of passion and lust by further categorizing lust as an inappropriate desire or a desire that is inappropriately strong, therefore being morally wrong, while passion for proper purposes is maintained as something God-given and moral.
Lust holds a critical position in the philosophical underpinnings of Buddhist reality. It is named in the second of the Four Noble Truths, which are that
Lust is the clinging to, attachment to, identification with, and passionate desire for certain things in existence, all of which relate to the form, sensation, perception, mentality, and consciousness that certain combinations of these things engender within us. Lust is thus the ultimate cause of general imperfection and the most immediate root cause of a certain suffering.
The passionate desire for either non-existence or for freedom from lust is a common misunderstanding. For example, the headlong pursuit of lust (or other "deadly sin") in order to fulfill a desire for death is followed by a reincarnation accompanied by a self-fulfilling karma, resulting in an endless wheel of life, until the right way to live, the right worldview, is somehow discovered and practiced. Beholding an endless knot puts one, symbolically, in the position of the one with the right worldview, representing that person who attains freedom from lust.
In existence are four kinds of things that engender the clinging: rituals, worldviews, pleasures, and the self. The way to eliminate lust is to learn of its unintended effects and to pursue righteousness as concerns a worldview, intention, speech, behavior, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration, in the place where lust formerly sat.
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