Kilesa, Kilesha: 7 definitions


Kilesa means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms

Defilement - lobha (passion), dosa (aversion), and moha (delusion) in their various forms, which include such things as greed, malevolence, anger, rancor, hypocrisy, arrogance, envy, miserliness, dishonesty, boastfulness, obstinacy, violence, pride, conceit, intoxication, and complacency.

Source: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

M (dirt, defilement). Mental impurity. Poverty of spirit. Mental pollution, troubles. There are ten kilesas:

  1. False views (sakayaditthi)
  2. Doubt (vicikiccha)
  3. Belief in the effectiveness of rituals
  4. Sensuous pleasure (raga)
  5. Aversion (dosa)
  6. Passion towards rupa jhanas (pertaining to the sphere of forms)
  7. Passion towards arupa jhanas (pertaining to the formless sphere)
  8. Self pride (mana)
  9. restlessness and worries (uddhacca)
  10. Ignorance (avijja)


context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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General definition (in Buddhism)

Source: Shambala Publications: General

The word defilement is a common translation of the Pali word kilesa, which more literally translated means “torment of the mind.” We know directly from our own experience that when certain states arise strongly within us, they have a tormenting quality—states like anger, fear, guilt, and greed. When they knock at the door and we invite them in, we lose touch with the fundamentally pure nature of our mind, and then we suffer.

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

kilesa : (m.) passion; lust; depravity; impurity.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

Kilesa, (and klesa) (from kilissati) 1. stain, soil, impurity, fig. affliction; in a moral sense, depravity, lust. Its occurrence in the Piṭakas is rare; in later works, very frequent, where it is approx. tantamount to our terms lower, or unregenerate nature, sinful desires, vices, passions.

1. Kilesa as obstacle (see °āvaraṇa, °-sampayutta, °-vippayutta, °pahāna) Ps. I, 33; Sdhp. 455; bhikkhu bhinnakileso “one whose passions are broken up” Vbh. 246, PvA. 51; upasanta kileso “one whose passions are calmed” PvA. 230; no ce pi jātu puriso kilese vāto yathā abbhaghanaṃ vihāne Sn. 348; pariyodapeyya attānaṃ cittaklesehi paṇḍito S. V, 24=A. V, 232, 253=Dh. 88. 2. Occurs in such combinations as kilesā ca khandhā ca abhisaṅkhārā ca Nd2 487; kilesa+khandha: Ps. I, 69‹-› 72; II, 36, 140; cp. Vbh. 44, 68; kilesa+saṃsāra PvA. 7; kammaṃ kilesā hetu saṃsārassa Nett 113, cp. 191. ‹-› 3. kilesa also occurs in a series explanatory of taṇhā, in the stereotype combination of t. , diṭṭhi, kilesa “clinging to existence, false ideas and lust” (see Nd2 s. v. taṇhā v.).—4. In the same function it stands with rāga, viz. rāga dosa moha kilesa, i.e. sensuality, bewilderment and lust (see Nd2 s. v. rāga II.), cp. Dhs. 982, 1006. ‹-› The grouping as dasa kilesa-vatthūni is: lobha dosa moha māna diṭṭhi vicikicchā thīnaṃ uddhaccaṃ ahirikaṃ anottappaṃ Dhs. 1548=Vbh. 341; Vism. 683; mentioned at Ps. I, 130.—These with the exception of the last two, are also grouped as aṭṭha k°-vatthūni at Vbh. 385. -As three kilesas (past, present and future) at Ps. II, 217.—5. The giving up of kilesa is one of the four essentials of perfection: the recognition of evil, the removal of its source (which is kilesa), the meditation on the Path, and the realization of the extinction of evil (see Nd2 s. v. dukkha II.). Kilesa in this connection interchanges with samudaya, as denoting the origin of evil; cp. samudayo kilesā Nett 191.

Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Sanskrit dictionary

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Kileśa (किलेश).—see kleśa.

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Prakrit-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary

1) Kilesa (किलेस) in the Prakrit language is related to the Sanskrit word: Kliś.

2) Kilesa (किलेस) also relates to the Sanskrit word: Kleśa.

context information

Prakrit is an ancient language closely associated with both Pali and Sanskrit. Jain literature is often composed in this language or sub-dialects, such as the Agamas and their commentaries which are written in Ardhamagadhi and Maharashtri Prakrit. The earliest extant texts can be dated to as early as the 4th century BCE although core portions might be older.

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