84000 Glossary of Terms

Our trilingual glossary combining entries from all of our publications into one useful resource, giving translations and definitions of thousands of terms, people, places, and texts from the Buddhist canon.

ཉོན་མོངས་པ། | Glossary of Terms

    ཉོན་མོངས་པ།

    nyon mongs pa

    kleśa

  • Term
Publications: 51

The essentially pure nature of mind is obscured and afflicted by various psychological defilements, which destroy the mind’s peace and composure and lead to unwholesome deeds of body, speech, and mind, acting as causes for continued existence in saṃsāra. Included among them are the primary afflictions of desire (rāga), anger (dveṣa), and ignorance (avidyā). It is said that there are eighty-four thousand of these negative mental qualities, for which the eighty-four thousand categories of the Buddha’s teachings serve as the antidote.

Kleśa is also commonly translated as “negative emotions,” “disturbing emotions,” and so on. The Pāli kilesa, Middle Indic kileśa, and Sanskrit kleśa all primarily mean “to soil,” “to stain,” or “to defile.” The translation “affliction” is a secondary development that derives from the more general (non-Buddhist) classical understanding of kliś (“to harm,“ “to afflict”). Both meanings are noted by Buddhist commentators.