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Buddhism has no concept of evil as a cosmic force or objective reality. The nearest it comes to this is the mythological figure of Māra, the Buddhist ‘devil’. However, it has much to say about evil in the sense of human suffering (duḥkha), and these teachings are set out in the First Noble Truth (see Four Noble Truths). Buddhism recognized that human experience inevitably contains much that is painful, such as sickness and death, and that human beings are exposed to many natural evils such as floods, fires, earthquakes, and the like. Alongside these there is also the category of moral evil, which is analysed into various vices known as defilements (kleśa). The most fundamental of these are the three roots of evil (akuśala-mūla), namely greed (rāga), hatred (dveṣa), and delusion (moha). The so-called ‘problem of evil’ which afflicts theistic religions is not so acute in Buddhism since many (but not all) of life's misfortunes can be explained by the doctrine of karma.

A Dictionary of Buddhism, Oxford University Press, 2003, 2004 (which is available in electronic version from answer.com)

evil : (m.) anattha, adhamma. (f.) vipatti. (nt.) vyasana; pāpa.

A.P. Buddhadatta Mahathera, Concise Pali-English and English-Pali Dictionary [available as digital version from Metta Net, Sri Lanka]


[translation-eng] {Hopkins} bad; sin; evil; crime

Jeffrey Hopkins' Tibetan-Sanskrit-English Dictionary

nyes pa

[translation-san] {LCh,L,MV,MSA} doṣa

[translation-san] {MSA} duṣṭa

[translation-san] {MSA} duṣṭatā

[translation-san] {MSA} pradoṣa

[translation-san] {C} kalaṅka

[translation-san] {MSA} aparādha

[translation-eng] {Hopkins} fault; fallacy; evil; crime; bad; sin; deficiency; problematic; humor

[translation-eng] {C} blemish

Jeffrey Hopkins' Tibetan-Sanskrit-English Dictionary

sdig pa

[translation-san] {LCh,C,MSA} pāpa

[translation-san] {MSA,MV} pāpaka

[translation-san] {C} agha

[translation-eng] {Hopkins} sin; moral wrong-doing; scorpion

[translation-eng] {C} evil; misfortune

Jeffrey Hopkins' Tibetan-Sanskrit-English Dictionary

gnod pa

[translation-san] {N} upakāra

[translation-san] {N} bādhana

[translation-san] {C} vyāpada

[translation-san] {MSA,N} upaghāta

[translation-san] {MSA} upatāpin

[translation-san] {MSA} upa √hṛ (or apa √kṛ?)

[translation-san] {MSA} vighāta

[translation-san] {MSA} vyasana

[translation-san] {MSA} saṃbādha

[translation-san] {C,MSA} apakāra

[translation-san] {C,MSA} upadrava

[translation-san] {C} upakrama

[translation-san] {C} anartha

[translation-san] {C} anupakāra

[translation-san] {C} vyābādha

[translation-san] {C} ghāta

[translation-san] bādhā

[translation-eng] {Hopkins} verb: to harm; injure noun: harm; injury; damage; vessel; molestation

[translation-eng] {C} feel ill-will; exert withdrawal; removal; doing harm; distress; trouble; attack; non-meaning; harmful; misfortune; evil; non benefit; disturbing the peace of; is sacked; sacking; {GD:779} refuting

[comments] Comment: I use this translation-equivalent because, although by extension the term means ""refute"" or ""contradict,"" I often find Sanskrit and Tibetan philosophical terminology to be far richer in its literal meaning than in its rerendering into what some English-speaking scholars have identified as its philosophical meaning. Much of the psychological punch (pun intended) is lost in such translations.

Jeffrey Hopkins' Tibetan-Sanskrit-English Dictionary
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