Three poisons

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The three poisons are represented in the center of the wheel of life as a pig, a bird, and a snake.
The three poisons are represented in the center of the wheel of life as a pig, a bird, and a snake.

The three poisons (Sanskrit: triviṣa; Tibetan: dug gsum) or the three unwholesome roots (Sanskrit: akuśala-mūla; Pāli: akusala-mūla), in Buddhism, refer to the three root kleshas of Moha (delusion, confusion), Raga (greed, sensual attachment), and Dvesha (aversion, ill will).[1][2] These three poisons are considered to be three afflictions or character flaws innate in a being, the root of Taṇhā (craving), and thus in part the cause of Dukkha (suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness) and rebirths.[1][3]

The three poisons are symbolically drawn at the center of Buddhist Bhavachakra artwork, with cock, snake and pig, representing greed, ill will and delusion respectively.[4]

Brief description[edit]

In the Buddhist teachings, the three poisons (of ignorance, attachment, and aversion) are the primary causes that keep sentient beings trapped in samsara. These three poisons are said to be the root of all of the other kleshas.[5][6]

The three poisons are represented in the hub of the wheel of life as a pig, a bird, and a snake (representing ignorance, attachment, and aversion, respectively).[4] As shown in the wheel of life (Sanskrit: bhavacakra), the three poisons lead to the creation of karma, which leads to rebirth in the six realms of samsara.[1][7][8]

Opposite wholesome qualities[edit]

The three wholesome mental factors that are identified as the opposites of the three poisons are:[9][10]

Buddhist path considers these essential for liberation.[9]

Sanskrit/Pali/Tibetan terms and translations[edit]

The three kleshas of ignorance, attachment and aversion are referred to as the three poisons (Skt. triviṣa; Tibetan: dug gsum) in the Mahayana tradition and as the three unwholesome roots (Pāli, akusala-mūla; Skt. akuśala-mūla ) in the Therevada tradition.

The Sanskrit, Pali, and Tibetan terms for each of the three poisons are as follows:

Poison Sanskrit[11][12] Pali Tibetan[11][13] Alternate English translations[11] Skt./Pali/Tib. Synonym[14]
Delusion moha moha gti mug confusion, ignorance avidyā (Skt.); avijjā (Pāli); ma rigpa (Tib.)
Attachment rāga lobha 'dod chags desire, sensuality, greed n/a
Aversion dveṣa dosa zhe sdang hatred n/a

In the Mahayana tradition moha is identified as a subcategory of avidya. Whereas avidya is defined as a fundamental ignorance, moha is defined as delusion, confusion and incorrect beliefs. In the Theravada tradition, moha and avidya are equivalent terms, but they are used in different contexts; moha is used when referring to mental factors, and avidya is used when referring to the twelve links.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Robert E. Buswell Jr.; Donald S. Lopez Jr. (2013). The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton University Press. pp. 546, 59, 68. ISBN 978-1-4008-4805-8. 
  2. ^ Damien Keown (2004). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Oxford University Press. pp. 8, 47, 89, 106, 143. ISBN 978-0-19-157917-2. 
  3. ^ David Webster (2005). The Philosophy of Desire in the Buddhist Pali Canon. Routledge. pp. 100–105, 177, 236. ISBN 978-0-415-34652-8. 
  4. ^ a b David Loy (2003). The Great Awakening: A Buddhist Social Theory. Simon and Schuster. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-86171-366-0. 
  5. ^ Daniel Goleman (2003), pages 106, 111
  6. ^ Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen (2010), p. 451.
  7. ^ David Webster (2005). The Philosophy of Desire in the Buddhist Pali Canon. Routledge. pp. 100–105, 177, 236. ISBN 978-0-415-34652-8. 
  8. ^ Dalai Lama (1992), p. 4, 42
  9. ^ a b Gethin 1998, p. 81.
  10. ^ Steven M. Emmanuel (2015). A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 435–436. ISBN 978-1-119-14466-3. 
  11. ^ a b c Padmakara (1998), p. 336, 414. (from the glossary)
  12. ^ Damien Keown. "akuśala-mūla." A Dictionary of Buddhism. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. (May 29, 2011). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O108-akualamla.html
  13. ^ Ranjung Yeshe Wiki - Dharma Dictionary. http://rywiki.tsadra.org/index.php/dug_gsum
  14. ^ Damien Keown. "moha." A Dictionary of Buddhism. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. (May 30, 2011). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O108-moha.html

Sources[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]