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.
source: shambala publications: general
kleśa [kilesa] defilement, impurity or delusion. according to buddhist psychology, mind is fundamentally pure but it is defiled by unwholesome qualities known as defilements that come from without. the defilements stand in the way of spiritual practice and obstruct wisdom. when they are latent and inactive in mind, they are known as residue (anuśaya) [anusaya]; when they become distinct, they are known as paryavasthāna [pariyuṭṭhāna]. according to the abhidhamma the ten defilements are as follows.
hatred (doṣa) [dosa],
false views (kudṛṣṭi) [diṭṭhi],
doubt (vicikitsā) [vicikicchā],
mental torpor (styāna) [thīna],
restlessness (auddhatya) [uddhacca],
shamelessness (to do evil) (āhrīkya) [ahirika],
lack of fear (to do evil) (anotrapya) [anottappa].
source: dlmbs: buddhānusmṛti
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