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The desire or greed that occurs in animals and man, the craving, arises from the astral body, in that it seizes and raises into consciousness that which still unconsciously acts as an instinct in the physical body or lives as a drive in the etheric body. Substantially, the desires originate from the region of burning desire in the astral world.

„Now man also has the sentient body. This is even more inner. It seizes the instinct again, and then not only is an internalisation produced, but instinct and drive are also lifted up into consciousness, and thus desire is produced. You will also find desire in the animal, just as you will find the instinct in the animal, because the animal also has all these three members, the physical body, the etheric body, the sentient body. But when you speak of desire, you will have to allow yourself, quite instinctively, to regard desire as something very internal. With the instinct you speak in such a way that it expresses itself uniformly, I would say, from birth to late age; with desire you speak of something that is enforced by the soul, which is enforced more uniquely. A desire need not be characterological, it need not adhere to the soulish, but it arises and passes away. Thus desire shows itself to be more peculiar to the soul than the mere drive.“ (Lit.:GA 293, p. 67)

According to the Buddhist view, desire (tanha) is the main cause of suffering (dukkha) and the cycle of rebirths (samsara).


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
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Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.