Lobha, Tanha, Upadana, the same or different? And Byapada, Patigha and Dosa?

Good day! New user here. Happy to have the privilege of being with you here in this platform and gain some wisdom from you.

These are three words that come in Suttas and it seems they share similar meaning. Some translator translated them as:

Lobha: Greed,Desire , attachment
Tanha: Craving, Desire, attachment
Upadana: Grasping, Clinging, Craving

Lobha is mentioned in 3poisons or 3 defilements(kilesas) as in the category:Greed,hatred, delusion.

While Tanha is mentioned in Four Noble truths as the cause of dukha.

Upadana is in Upādānakkhandhā as Five aggregates of clinging.

It seems to me upadana is more inline with very strong desire as “clinging or grasping”.

Then Tanha and Lobha seem to be the exact same thing. A lighter version of upadana. They refer to a slight desire or preference for something that arises in an instance like a short thought but does not necessarily last long(not turning into upadana) . Am I right?

Then we also have these three words: Byapada,Patigha,Dosa

“byapada” is mentioned in Five Hindrances, and then Patigha mentioned in 10Fetters, and “dosa” mentioned in Three poisons(kilesas)

Both byapada and patigha are translated as “ill will” by some translators, while dosa is translated as “hatred”,”aversion” or “anger”.

Are all of these three words referring to the same thing(aversion,anger,hatred) ? and in the same degree?

Thank you in advance.


My reply is very beginner level, not an expert as in I didn’t do the work of searching for the terms and comparison etc.

According to abhidhamma analysis, greed, hatred both covers all the range. from the slightest annoyance to the furious hatred, from the smallest attachment to formless realms to the biggest lust.

So I wouldn’t make too much of a concern about the different words for anger/aversion/hate. Maybe there could be some very subtle differences, but all the same, the non-returner would already eradicated them all.

For the non-returner, greed for sensual existence is eradicated, but not attachment to form and formless realms. So interesting that my memory wise it’s those English words.

Searching for the pāli, I get: rūparāgo, arūparāgo

Well yet another word for the greed side. Rāga from digital pali dictionary:
masc. (+loc) desire (for); passion (for); infatuation (with); lust (for); lit. attachment [√raj + *a]

And the greed for sensuality which is one of the 5 lower fetters: kāmacchando

another 2 more words. kāma can mean : masc. (+loc) sense desire (of); sensual pleasure (of) [√kam + *a]

chanda: masc. (+loc) interest (in); desire (for); wish (for); intention (to); impulse (for) [√chand + a]

Interesting that chanda is usually contrasted with taṇhā. As arahants can have chanda, wish, but not taṇhā, craving.

Anyway, as it can be seen, lots of pāḷi and English words with various overlapping usage. It does take some work to see exactly how they are used consistently in the suttas if they are used consistently at all.

Below are my free thoughts, not based on sutta research.

Craving for non-becoming could be involving aversion for becoming. Eg. suicidal person who doesn’t believe in rebirth is aversed to living their currently miserable life.

So taṇhā maybe more than just on the greed side. Same thing for upādāna. Could be clinging to hate, clinging to the view that to scold/beat is to show love, thus engaging in behavior on the hate side. Clinging to grief after the death of a loved one as a form of identity and wrong expectation that the more it hurts, the more it shows how much the dead was loved (but it just shows attachment). Grief producing unpleasant feelings is a form of aversion.

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Welcome to this forum.

I’m not fully sure about lobha, but I will say that since taṇha and upādāna become split in dependent origination and in practice, my interpretation of that is that taṇha is like an initial passion, thirst, and craving, while upādāna is attachment and holding on. In that way, taṇha wouldn’t be attachment.

In lobhasutta, completely giving up lobha means anāgāmi, which would imply lobha is kāma taṇha (excluding bhava taṇha and vibhava taṇha), so greed is close but limiting, but that doesn’t mean it will mean exactly that everywhere else.

I think that sometimes these terms are referring to the same specific mental formations that we can find familiar, and that’s what the point of using these terms is. The term attachment is useless unless you have the awareness to know what I’m really referring to when I say that, and even then, it has many meanings. So we can’t always equate words to philosophical categorizations, especially in some verses where it might even treat each of those as the same. So you will just have to fall back on contextual guesswork, letting language run its course through you, which isn’t really an answer but not every question needs to be answered (now).

For the record there are even more terms that are similar to desire like abhijjhā and icchā.

You can also look at