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kleśā-varaṇa (T. nyon mongs kyi sgrib pa ཉོན་མོངས་ཀྱིསྒྲིབ་པ་; C. fannao zhang) is translated as "afflictive obscurations," "emotional obscurations," "afflictive obstructions," etc. In the Sanskrit Mahayana tradition, the afflictive obscurations are one of two types of obstructions (āvaraṇa) on the bodhisattva path; the other type is "cognitive obscurations" (jñeyā-varaṇa).

Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions states:

Sentient beings’ minds are obscured by two levels of obscurations, which are gradually eradicated as we progress along the path. Afflictive obscurations mainly hinder the attainment of liberation. They include the afflictions (kleshas), their seeds—potentials producing another moment of the affliction—and polluted karma causing rebirth in saṃsāra. Afflictive obscurations have been eliminated by arhats, by bodhisattvas on the eighth ground and above, and by buddhas.[1]

The root cause of the afflictive obscurations is grasping to the self of person (pudgalātmagraha). The antidote to the afflictive obscurations is the realization of "selflessnesss of the person" (pudgalanairātmya).[2]

The Khenjuk states:

Since clinging to an personal identity (pudgalātmagraha) is the root of all afflictions (kleshas), the insight into selflessness (pudgalanairātmya) therefore eliminates them.[3]


  1. Dalai Lama & Thubten Chodron 2014, s.v. Chapter 10.
  2. Khenjuk notes
  3. Mipham Rinpoche 2002, s.v. Chapter 20, paragraph 7.


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