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Afflictions - Destructive Emotions - kleśa - nyönmong - nyon mongs - 煩惱 - fánnǎo

The centre of the Wheel of Life.

In this image: ignorance is represented by a pig; attachment/desire is represented by an Indian bird known for its attachment to its mate; aversion/anger is represented by a snake, since it is quick to strike.

**Destructive emotions** (Skt. //kleśa//; Tib. //nyönmong//; Wyl. //nyon mongs//) — the negative, destructive emotions which are the cause of suffering.


 * The three main destructive emotions (or [[three|poisons]]) are [[ignorance]], [[desire|attachment]] and [[anger|aversion]].
 * When classified as five, [[pride]] and [[jealousy]] are added (the [[five|poisons]]). Pride is a combination of ignorance and attachment, and jealousy is a combination of attachment and aggression.
The Abhidharma further categorizes all destructive emotions into:
 * [[Six|root disturbing emotions]] and
 * [[Twenty|subsidiary disturbing emotions]]

Causes of Destructive Emotions

In the Abhidharma it says there are **three main causes of negative emotions**:

 - Not having abandoned the latent tendencies or predispositions (//nyon mongs pa’i bag la nyal ma spang//)
 - Coming into contact with a provocative object (//nyon mongs skye ba’i yul nye bar gnas pa//)
 - Incorrect thinking or an unhelpful attitude (//tshul bzhin ma yin pa’i yid la byed pa//)

Working with the Emotions

Holiness the Dalai Lama has said that there are **three reasons for believing that the destructive emotions can be eliminated from our minds**:

 - All the destructive emotions and mental states are essentially distorted, whereas the [[antidotes]], such as love, compassion and insight, are undistorted and based on how things really are.
 - The antidotes have the quality of being strengthened through training and practice.
 - The essential nature of the mind is pure and undefiled by the destructive emotions.

Tulku Rinpoche says:

“**Ignorance** is the most fundamental of the kleshas, but also the most difficult to work with, so we need to begin with our attachment and aversion.
Traditionally the teachings begin with **attachment**, but I think it is easiest to begin with **anger** or aversion. Attachment is so strong in us we are not really ready to work on it. Of course, if we can deal with attachment then aversion is taken care of automatically, whereas dealing with aversion will not necessarily rid us of attachment. But most people are not prepared to work on their attachment straight away, although they can quite easily see how anger and aversion are destructive and unpleasant.
In a sutra it says this very clearly. It says that of the three poisons, ignorance is the most basic and pervasive. It is like the **earth**. If we can rid ourselves of this, we will rid ourselves of all the negative emotions, but this is difficult precisely because it is so deep and fundamental.
Yet ignorance does not cause us acute pain or present immediate difficulties, nor will it throw us into the hells. So we can deal with it more slowly.
Then attachment, it says, is like **water**: it is very pervasive. It causes us pain and suffering and it is not easy to get rid of. Attachment is not all bad—it has both a negative and positive side, e.g. compassion and love, or the resolution to become enlightened. We can be a little patient with this too. Water takes a long time to dry up.
Aversion is compared to **fire**. It has almost no positive side. Wishing harm for others will always bring us suffering for others and for ourselves too. Aversion then is where we must begin. It has the quality of a flame: it bursts up very quickly and can burn away everything, but when the fuel is no longer there it will go down again just as quickly.”

Alternative Translations

 * Negative emotions
 * Disturbing emotions
 * (Mental) Afflictions (B. Alan Wallace)
 * Defiled emotions
 * Afflictive emotions
 * Kleshas
 * Dissonant emotions (Gyurme Dorje and [[Thupten|Jinpa]])
 * Dissonant mental states (Gyurme Dorje and Graham Coleman)
 * Passions (Sangye Khandro following Dungse [[Thinley|Norbu]])


//mi dge ba'i las bskul bas rang rgyud rab tu ma zhi bar byed pa'i sems byung//
“mental events that incite one to unvirtuous actions and cause one’s being to be very unpeaceful” quoted in //Creation and Completion//, p. 102 n. 8

From the //Great Dictionary//:
//lus sems gdung ba'i dka' las sam ngal dub dang, mi dge ba'i las bskul bas rang rgyud rab tu ma zhi bar byed pa'i sems byung,//
“a mental state that afflicts the body and mind with difficulty and fatigue and makes one’s being extremely ill at ease by inciting one to unwholesome actions.”


Some translators prefer not to translate //nyon mongs// as emotion, because, as they point out, we would not immediately think of delusion and doubt, for example, as being ‘emotions’.

Further Reading

 * Daniel Goleman, //Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama//, Bantam, 2003


Key Buddhist Terms

Destructive Emotions

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煩惱 - kleśa - nyönmong - nyon mongs - 煩惱 - fánnǎo

Pronunciations of 煩惱 - fánnǎo - kleśa - afflictions

[py] fánnǎo

[wg] fan-nao

[hg] 번뇌

[mc] beonnoe

[mr] pŏnnoe

[kk] ボンノウ

[hb] bonnō

[qn] phiền não

Basic Meaning of 煩惱 - fánnǎo - kleśa - afflictions
Senses of 煩惱 - fánnǎo - kleśa - afflictions

Affective disorders, defilement(s); mental disturbances; emotional negativity (Skt. kleśa (; saṃkleśa (; Tib. nyon mongs pa, kun nas nyon mongs pa, Pāli kilesa). Also commonly rendered as 惑 ('b60d1')); transliterated as 吉隷捨 ('b5409-96b7-6368')). Evil afflictions, carnal desire. All of the thoughts, words, actions and emotions which arise and cease based on nescience and desire which keep human beings trapped in the cycle of birth and death, and which result in suffering. Therefore, Buddhism teaches methods for attaining nirvāṇa/enlightenment as a means of eliminating the afflictions. Their quality, as described in the Yogâcāra system, is either unwholesome 不善 ('b4e0d-5584')), or obstructive without a determinable moral fruition 有覆無記 ('b6709-8986-7121-8a18')).

Depending upon their specific function in a given situation, the Chinese term 煩惱 ('b7169-60f1')) has a wide range of synonyms, including: propensities 隨眠 ('b96a8-7720')) (anuśaya), mental disturbances 惑 ('b60d1')) (cognitive distortions), pollution 染 ('b67d3')), bindings 結 ('b7d50')), bindings and instigations 結使 ('b7d50-4f7f')), fetters 縛 ('b7e1b')), snares 纏 ('b7e8f')), yokes 軛 ('b8edb')), raging currents 暴流 ('b66b4-6d41')), obscuration 蓋 ('b84cb')), knots 繫 ('b7e6b')), predilections 使 ('b4f7f')), filth 垢 ('b57a2')), stumps 株杌 ('b682a-674c')), burning pain 燒害 ('b71d2-5bb3')), darts/arrows 箭 ('b7bad')), thicket 稠林 ('b7a20-6797')) (a metaphor for the great number and density of the afflictions), fatigue 塵勞 ('b5875-52de')), objective filth 塵垢 ('b5875-57a2')), adventitious taint 客塵 ('b5ba2-5875')), roots of strife 諍根 ( Also, afflictions are termed in their substance as defilements proper 正使 ('b6b63-4f7f')), and when the substance of the afflictions have been extinguished, the remaining habitual tendencies are called 'karmic impressions' 習氣 ('b7fd2-6c23')). According to the Abhidharmakośa-bhāṣya 倶舍論 ('b5036-820d-8ad6')) all afflictions are produced based on the three factors of (1) causal power 因力 (previously functioning afflictions) ('b56e0-529b')), (2) environmental power 境界力 (the appearance of objects according to desire) ('b5883-754c-529b')) and (3) power of application 加行力 ('b52a0-884c-529b'))(incorrect mental orientation toward objects). According to the Prakaraṇa-abhidharma-āvatāra 入阿毘達磨論 ('b5165-963f-6bd8-9054-78e8-8ad6')) on the other hand, afflictions can be produced based on environmental power alone.

Both Sarvâstivāda and Yogâcāra schematize the afflictions into the two main categories of primary (fundamental) 根本煩惱 ('b6839-672c-7169-60f1')) and secondary (or derivative) 枝末煩惱 ('b679d-672b-7169-60f1')) (枝末惑 ('b679d-672b-60d1')), 隨煩惱 ('b96a8-7169-60f1'))). The fundamental afflictions are the basic substance 體 ('b9ad4')), and are usually expressed in Chinese with such terms as 本惑 ('b672c-60d1')), 根本惑 ('b6839-672c-60d1')), or simply 煩惱 ('b7169-60f1')), but in Sarvâstivāda are also called 隨眠 ('b96a8-7720')) (underlying, latent tendencies). In Sautrāntika 經部 ('b7d93-90e8')) however the term 隨眠 ('b96a8-7720')) is used to refer to the seed aspect 種子 ('b7a2e-5b50')) of the afflictions, positing at the same time the distinction of afflictions in their manifest activity 現行 ('b73fe-884c')), also called 纏 ('b7e8f')) ('actively binding'); this usage of terminology was adopted by Yogâcāra.

The fundamental afflictions include the six of craving 貪 ('b8caa')), ill-will 瞋 ('b778b')), delusion 癡 ('b7661')) (or nescience 無明 ('b7121-660e'))), pride 慢 ('b6162')), doubt 疑 ('b7591')) and [mistaken] views 見 ('b898b')) (having the connotation of wrong views 邪見 ('b90aa-898b')), 惡見 ('b60e1-898b'))), and so these are listed as the six afflictions 六煩惱 ('b516d-7169-60f1')) (or 六隨眠 ('b516d-96a8-7720'))). [Mistaken] views are distinguished into the five kinds of view 五見 ('b4e94-898b')) of identification 有身見 ('b6709-8eab-898b')), attachment to extremes 邊執見 ('b908a-57f7-898b')), non-Buddhist religious views 邪見 ('b90aa-898b')), view of attachment to views 見取見 ('b898b-53d6-898b')), and incorrect attachment to precepts 戒禁取見 ('b6212-7981-53d6-898b')). When these are added together with the other five afflictions of desire and so forth, they are termed the 'ten afflictions' 十煩惱 ('b5341-7169-60f1')) (or 十隨眠 ('b5341-96a8-7720')), 十使 ('b5341-4f7f'))). Among these, the first five (desire, etc.) do not have the basic character to seek and imagine, so their function is relatively slow and dull, and they are termed the 'five dull facilitators' 五鈍使 ('b4e94-920d-4f7f')) (or 五惑 ('b4e94-60d1'))). The five views, on the other hand, have the character of imagination and seeking, and so their function is relatively fast and sharp, thus the label 'five sharp facilitators.'

Additionally, the category of craving 貪 ('b8caa')) from among the basic six propensities can be distinguished into the category of the craving of the desired realm 欲界 ('b6b32-754c')), and another kind of craving that subsumes the two upper realms of form 色界 ('b8272-754c')) and formlessness 無色界 ('b7121-8272-754c')). Thus the appellations of desire-craving 欲貪 ('b6b32-8caa')) and form-craving 有貪 ('b6709-8caa')). With these two added to the initial set, they are called the seven propensities 七隨眠 ('b4e03-96a8-7720')) (七使 ('b4e03-4f7f'))), or, when added to the ten propensities as three separate types (欲貪 ('b6b32-8caa')), 色貪 ('b8272-8caa')), 無色貪 ('b7121-8272-8caa'))) they are called the twelve propensities 十二隨眠 ( (or 十二使).

In Yogâcāra, among the ten basic afflictions, there are four that are directly derived from the view of self, and thus always arise together with the seventh consciousness 第七識 ('b7b2c-4e03-8b58')).

These are:

(1) self-delusion 我癡 ('b6211-7661')) (nescience of the principle of no-self, which leads to the next affliction — self-view). This is synonymous with the terms 愚癡 ('b611a-7661')) and 無明 ('b7121-660e')).

(2) Self-view 我見 ('b6211-898b')) (or attachment to self 我執 ('b6211-57f7'))). The mistaken view of assuming and attaching to an unchanging, continuous self; also expressed with slightly different connotations as 有身見 ('b6709-8eab-898b')) (view of identify).

(3) The conceit 'I am' 我慢 ('b6211-6162')) — the fundamental sense of pride that accompanies the mistaken perception of self and serves as the basis for the seven kinds of pride 七慢 ('b4e03-6162')).

(4) Attachment of self 我愛 ('b6211-611b')) (also expressed as 我貪 ('b6211-8caa')), 貪愛 ('b8caa-611b')), and 貪着 ('b8caa-7740'))) — the addiction to things that are pleasing to oneself.

These are called the four afflictions 四煩惱 ('b56db-7169-60f1')) (or four fundamental afflictions 四根本煩惱 (, four mental disturbances 四惑 ('b56db-60d1'))).

Also, since the three most fundamental afflictions of craving 貪 ('b8caa')), ill-will 瞋 ('b778b')), and delusion 癡 ('b7661')) are seen to be the source of all derivative afflictions, they are named with such terms as the three unwholesome roots 三不善根 ('b4e09-4e0d-5584-6839')), three poisons 三毒 ('b4e09-6bd2')), three stains 三垢 ('b4e09-57a2')), three fetters 三縛 ('b4e09-7e1b')), etc. The secondary, or derivative afflictions 枝末煩惱 ('b679d-672b-7169-60f1')) arise as variants, or as combinations of the fundamental afflictions, and are referred to by various terms such as 隨惑 ('b96a8-60d1')), 枝末惑 ('b679d-672b-60d1')), and 隨煩惱 ('b96a8-7169-60f1')).

[cmuller; source(s): YBh-Ind, JEBD, Yokoi] (Skt. kliṣṭa, aṅgaṇa, ādhi, āśaya, āśrava, utkileśa, upakileśa, upakleśa, upadhi, kileśa, kilbiṣa, kleśa-kośa, kleśa-doṣa, kleśa-bandhana, kleśôpakleśa, tapasrāga, reṇu-kleśa, vikṣrpa, vyasana, saṃyojana, saṃkileśa, sāṃkileśika)

Reference of 煩惱 - fánnǎo - kleśa - afflictions

Ahn, Sung-Doo. Die Lehre von den Kleśas in der Yogâcārabhūmi. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2003.

[cmuller; source(s): Hirakawa]

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Search SAT for 煩惱 - fánnǎo - kleśa - afflictions
Dictionary References of 煩惱 - fánnǎo - kleśa - afflictions

Bukkyō jiten (Ui) 993

Bulgyo sajeon 216a

Zengaku daijiten (Komazawa U.) 1167a

Iwanami bukkyō jiten 752

A Glossary of Zen Terms (Inagaki) 18, 146

Japanese-English Buddhist Dictionary (Daitō shuppansha) 20a/21

Japanese-English Zen Buddhist Dictionary (Yokoi) 31

Bukkyōgo daijiten (Nakamura) 1273c Fo Guang Dictionary 5515

Ding Fubao Buddhist Chinese-Sanskrit Dictionary (Hirakawa) 0794

Bukkyō daijiten (Mochizuki) (v.1-6)4703a,1397c, (v.9-10)1008b,480a,552c,1092b

Bukkyō daijiten (Oda) 221-1-5*1638-1*1721-2-10

Sanskrit-Tibetan Index for the Yogâcārabhūmi-śāstra (Yokoyama and Hirosawa)

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The rights to textual segments (nodes) of the DDB are owned by the author indicated in the brackets next to each segment. For rights regarding the compilation as a whole, please contact Charles Muller. Please do not reproduce without permission. And please do not copy into Wikipedia without proper citation!

Entry created: 1993-09-01 Updated: 2010-06-07

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klesha.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/26 18:12 (external edit)