From HinduismPedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Kausīdya (P. kusīta; T. le lo; C. jietai; J. kedai) is translated as "spiritual sloth", "indolence", "laziness", etc. It is defined as clinging to unwholesome activities such as lying down and stretching out, and to procrastinate, and not being enthusiastic about or engaging in virtuous activity.[1][2] Kausīdya is identified in the following contexts:

Kausīdya is similar to the Pali term thina, that is identified as one of the fourteen unwholesome mental factors within the Theravada Abhidharma teachings


The Khenjuk states:

Laziness (kausidya) is to cling to unwholesome activities such as lying down, resting, or stretching out, and to procrastinate, without taking delight in and engaging in what is virtuous. It is the opponent of diligence (vīrya).[2]

The Abhidharma-samuccaya states:

What is laziness (kausidya)? It is an unwilling mind, associated with bewilderment-erring, relying on the pleasures of drowsiness, lying down and not getting up. Its function is to obstruct and hinder one in applying himself to positive things.[1]

B. Alan Wallace explains that kausidya (lelo in Tibetan) refers to a very specific type of laziness, that is concerned only with virtuous activity. Wallace explains:

[...] lelo in Tibetan, is often translated as ‘laziness,’ but it is much more specific. If a person is working sixteen hours a day, hellbent on earning a whole lot of money with absolutely no concern for virtue, from a Buddhist perspective you could say that person is subject to lelo. A workaholic is clearly not lazy, but such a person is seen as lelo in the sense of being completely lethargic and slothful with regard to the cultivation of virtue and purification of the mind. Our translation of this term is ‘spiritual sloth,’ which we have taken from the Christian tradition, where it is very comparable to the Buddhist notion.Template:Sfn

Three types

The Sanskrit tradition identifies three types of kausīdya: not wanting to do anything; discouragement; and busyness.[3]

kausīdya of not wanting to do anything

Tenzin Palmo states:

First there is the kind of laziness we all know: we don’t want to do anything, and we’d rather stay in bed half an hour later than get up and meditate.[3]
kausīdya of discouragement (or feeling ourselves unworthy)

Tenzin Palmo states:

Second, there is the laziness of feeling ourselves unworthy, the laziness of thinking, “I can’t do this. Other people can meditate, other people can be mindful, other people can be kind and generous in difficult situations, but I can’t, because I’m too stupid.” Or, alternatively, “I’m always an angry person;” “I’ve never been able to do anything in my life;” “I’ve always failed, and I’m bound to fail.” This is laziness.[3]
kausīdya of being busy with worldly things.

Tenzin Palmo states:

The third kind of laziness is being busy with worldly things. We can always fill up the vacuum of our time by keeping ever so busy. Being occupied may even make us feel virtuous. But usually it’s just a way of escape. When I came out of the cave, some people said, “Don’t you think that solitude was an escape?” And I said, “An escape from what?” There I was—no radio, no newspapers, no one to talk to. Where was I going to escape to? When things came up, I couldn’t even telephone a friend. I was face-to-face with who I was and with who I was not. There was no escape... This is the point—we fill our lives with activities. Many of them are really very good activities but if we are not careful, they can just be an escape. I'm not saying that you shouldn't do good and necessary things, but there has to be breathing in as well as breathing out.[3]


According to Buswell, the antidote to kausīdya is virya (diligence).[4]

In the scheme of five faults and eight antidotes in the Madhyānta-vibhāga, four antidotes are identified:

  • Faith (śraddhā)
  • Intention (chanda)
  • Effort (S. vyayama; T. rtsol-ba) - an engaged mind that moves toward the act of meditation
  • Suppleness (praśrabdhi) - means that one's mind is ready at any moment to meditate

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Guenther (1975), Kindle Locations 967-968.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kunsang (2004), p. 25.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Three Kinds of Laziness, by Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Tricycle
  4. Template:Buswell inline full


External links

Template:WP content

Page is sourced from

www.encyclopediaofbuddhism.org Kausīdya