Three poisons

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The Three poisons or in Sanskrit either triviṣa or triklesha, in Tibetan dug gsum, is an expression from Buddhism and Tibetan medicine that refers to the most common emotional - mental afflictions that beings experience.

They are featured in the center of the archetypal Tibetan Buddhist tangkha painting called the Wheel of Life and there are represented as a pig, snake and bird representing ignorance, anger and desire.

The trivisha or triklesha are variously explained as:

  1. Greed - desire - lust - attachment. Related to wind element, as in "winds of desire"
  2. Anger - hate - related to fire element
  3. Ignorance or stupidity - related to earth element

Alternate translation

  • 'destructive emotions'