earthly desires ［煩悩］ ( klesha; Pali kilesa; bonnō): Also, illusions, defilements, impurities, earthly passions, or simply desires. A generic term for all the workings of life that cause one psychological and physical suffering and impede the quest for enlightenment, including desires and illusions in the general sense. Earthly desires are also referred to as fetters or bonds ( samyojana or bandhana), because they bind people to the realm of delusion and suffering. Buddhism regards them as the fundamental cause for affliction and suffering, and presents various analyses and perspectives on them. The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom by Nāgārjuna says that the three poisons of greed, anger, and foolishness are the most fundamental earthly desires and give rise to all others. The Treatise on the Establishment of the Consciousness-Only Doctrine compiled by Dharmapāla (530–561) divides earthly desires into two types, fundamental and derivative.
The ten fundamental earthly desires consist of the five delusive inclinations of greed, anger, foolishness, arrogance, and doubt, and the five false views. Moreover, there are twenty derivative earthly desires that arise from and accompany these fundamental ones. For example, irritability, the tendency to bear grudges, and the desire to inflict harm derive from anger. T’ien-t’ai (538–597) classified earthly desires and set forth the three categories of illusion: (1) illusions of thought and desire, (2) illusions innumerable as particles of dust and sand, and (3) illusions about the true nature of existence. See also five delusive inclinations; five false views; three categories of illusion.