लोभ, lobha

Lobha means greed, avarice, impatience, a passionate desire for sensory objects. It belongs to the category of worldly suffering of adhyatmika.

In Sanskrit, the root लुभ्, lubh has several meanings:

  • to be confused or disturbed;
  • to disorient, to drive one mad;
  • to force desire, awaken lust, to seduce, to crave, to be interested in.

The nature of lobha is inexhaustible desire. No matter how much one tries to satisfy lobha's desires, it will always look for something new. A person cannot feel truly happy without eliminating lobha.

Lobha can be a temptation, the state of someone who wants to do or get something, even though he knows that it may be wrong or harmful. Lobha almost always generates attachment and clinging to sensory objects. Ordinary people cannot renounce the world and their worldly possessions (including people around them). Therefore, life after life they are caught by old age, sickness and death. Lobha, ditthi (wrong view) and mana (conceit) are responsible for prolonging the cycle of birth (samsara).

In Buddhism, lobha refers to the concept of affliction "raga" (rāga, from Sanskrit "colour", "colouring", "attraction"). It is one of the three poisons, also referred to as the 'triple fire,' which prevents a being from attaining liberation. Extinguishing all "ragas" (greed, lust, desire, attachment) is one of the conditions for attaining nirvana.

The Jainist text "Trishashtishalaka Purusha Charitra" attributes lobha to one of the four passions (kaṣāya) of living beings ("Dharmanatha Charitra", ch. 4.5). Dharmanath says in his sermon:

"[...] The passions of beings are of four kinds: anger (krodha), conceit (mana), deceit (maya) and greed (lobha); [...] Lobha is the akara (a-kāra – "a", first letter) of all faults, the rakshas, devouring virtues, the bulb of the vine of disasters, injurious to all things. A man without money wants a hundred; he who has a hundred wants a thousand; the possessor of a thousand wants a hundred thousand; the possessor of a hundred thousand wants ten million; the possessor of ten million wants to be king; the king wants to be Chakravartin (perfect ruler); Chakravartin wants to be a god; and the god wants to be Indra. Even when the rank of Indra is attained, because the desire is not restrained, the lobha, small in the beginning, grows like grass. [...]".

The opposite state to lobha is alobha: non-attachment to sensory objects and lack of avarice, greed.