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Translations of
English anger,
Pali dosa
Sanskrit dvesha, dveṣa
Chinese 瞋(T) / 瞋(S)
(RR: jin)
Tibetan ཞེ་སྡང
(Wylie: zhe sdang;
THL: shyédang

Dvesha (Sanskrit, also dveṣa; Pali: dosa; Tibetan: zhe sdang) - is translated as "aversion", "aggression", "anger", etc. It can be defined as a fear of getting what we don't want, or not getting what we do want.[1] Dvesha (dosa) is identified in the following contexts within the Buddhist teachings:



Bhikkhu Bodhi states:

Dosa, the second unwholesome root, comprises all kinds and degrees of aversion, ill will, anger, irritation, annoyance, and animosity. Its characteristic is ferocity. Its function is to spread, or to burn up its own support, i.e., the mind and body in which it arises. It is manifested as persecuting, and its proximate cause is a ground for annoyance.[2]

In the Visuddhimagga (II, Book I, Part IX, Chapter III, 257) defines dosa as follows:

...It has flying into anger or churlishness as characteristic, like a smitten snake; spreading of itself or writhing as when poison takes effect, as function; or, burning that on which it depends as function, like jungle-fire; offending or injuring as manifestation, like a foe who has got his chance; having the grounds of vexation as proximate cause, like urine mixed with poison.[3]

Nina van Gorkom explains:

There always seem to be numerous causes for dosa and they invariably seem to be outside ourselves: other people's actions or unhappy events which occur. However, the real cause is within ourselves. Dosa has been accumulated and it can always find an object. We are attached to pleasant objects and when we do not experience pleasant objects there is bound to be dosa. When dosa arises it shows that the attachment which conditions it must be very strong.[3]


Within the Mahayana tradition, dvesha is the wish to avoid something, to separate from it, to reject it.[4] The source of both raga (attachment) and dvesha (aversion) is avidya (ignorance).[5]

Mingyur Rinpoche explains:

Every strong attachment generates an equally powerful fear that we’ll either fail to get what we want or lose whatever we’ve already gained. This fear, in the language of Buddhism, is known as aversion: a resistance to the inevitable changes that occur as a consequence of the impermanent nature of relative reality.
The notion of a lasting, independently existing self urges us to expend enormous effort in resisting the inevitability of change, making sure that this “self” remains safe and secure. When we’ve achieved some condition that makes us feel whole and complete, we want everything to stay exactly as it is. The deeper our attachment to whatever provides us with this sense of completeness, the greater our fear of losing it, and the more brutal our pain if we do lose it.[1]

Geshe Tashi Tsering states:

Aversion [dvesha] refers to pushing away things that harm our sense of permanence... [It is] an exaggeration of an object that arises from the fundamental ignorance of the way self and things exist. ...because the object harms the self’s notion of permanence, the mind exaggerates its negative qualities. ...this mind of aversion can range from very gross to very subtle...[6]

Alexandar Berzin states:

[Dvesha is] a subcategory of anger (pratigha): anger directed primarily, although not exclusively, at limited beings. One of the three poisonous emotions and attitudes (three poisons).[7]

Alternate translations

  • Aggression
  • Anger
  • Aversion (Ringu Tulku, Nina van Gorkom, Geshe Tashi Tsering)
  • Hatred (Bhikkhu Bodhi)
  • Hostility (Alexander Berzin)

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Mingyur Rinpoche (2007). p. 121.
  2. Bhikkhu Bodhi (2003), p. 84
  3. 3.0 3.1 van Gorkom 1999, Cetasikas, Aversion (dosa)
  4. Leifer (1997) p. 96
  5. See Three poisons
  6. Geshe Tashi Tsering (2006), Kindle Locations 849-850 and 905-907
  7. StudyBuddhism icon 35px.png "hostility", StudyBuddhism


  • StudyBuddhism icon 35px.png Primary Minds and the 51 Mental Factors, StudyBuddhism
  • StudyBuddhism icon 35px.png "hostility", StudyBuddhism
  • Bhikkhu Bodhi (2003), A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, Pariyatti Publishing
  • Goleman, Daniel (2008). Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama. Bantam. Kindle Edition.
  • Geshe Tashi Tsering (2006). Buddhist Psychology: The Foundation of Buddhist Thought. Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.
  • Leifer, Ron (1997). The Happiness Project. Snow Lion.
  • Mingyur Rinpoche (2007). The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness. Harmony. Kindle Edition.
  • Abhidhamma Vipassana icon.png Cetasikas by Nina van Gorkom

External links

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