picture of a wallpainting in a laotian temple,...
Wallpainting in a laotian temple, depicting the Bodhisattva Gautama (Buddha-to-be) via Wikipedia

In Hinduism, the Rig Veda depicts kama as lust, or sensual desire and pleasure.

Desire is portrayed as the force that leads the undifferentiated Absolute to begin the process of cosmic creation.

Later in the Arthavaveda, Kama is elevated to a creator god. And in the Brahmanas, he becomes Kama-Devi, a figure not unlike Cupid, the Roman god of love.

Although Buddhism reacts against some of the more ritualistic and caste-based aspects of Hinduism, it essentially agrees that kama is to be avoided. In the Pali Canon story, the Buddha is said to renounce kama (i.e. sensual desire) on his path to enlightenment.


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