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Root

Root condition. Buddhist training is directed towards eliminating the defilements (kilesaa). The foremost defilements are the three unwholesome roots — greed, hate, and delusion. From these spring others: conceit (maana), speculative views (di.t.thi), skeptical doubt (vicikicchaa), mental torpor (thiina), restlessness (uddhacca), shamelessness (ahirika), lack of moral fear or conscience (anottappa). These defilements function at three levels:

Transgression (viitikkama) leading to evil bodily and verbal acts. This is checked by the practice of morality, observing the five precepts.

Obsession (pariyu.t.thaana) when the defilements come to the conscious level and threaten to lead to transgression if not restrained by the practice of mindfulness.

Latency (anusaya) where they remain as tendencies ready to surface through the impact of sensory stimuli. Security from the defilements can be obtained only by destroying the three roots — greed, hate and delusion — at the level of latency. This requires insight-wisdom (vipassanaa-paññaa), the decisive liberating factor in Buddhism.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/mendis/wheel322.html#nibbaana

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