nyon mongs pa:
Without going into the polemics of understanding and translating kleśa as “defilement” or “affliction” and kliṣta as “defiled” or “afflicted/tormented,” it would be worthwhile to reflect on the etymology of Tibetan nyon mongs pa. What does nyon actually and literally mean? As Vanessa Kubota suggests in a mail, mongs and rmongs may indeed be cognates. In narrative literature, nyon mongs pa seems to be used in the sense of “torment” or “tormented” but in a technical Buddhist sense, nyon mongs pa seems to be meant in the sense of “defiled” or “defilement,” particularly if we consider terms such as kun nas nyon mongs pa and rnam par byang ba, which are often opposed and juxtaposed to each other and clearly meant in the senses of “pollution” and “purification.” I get a feeling that mongs has the connotation or association of “turbidity” or “murkiness.” A mind with nyon mongs pa becomes “murky” or “turbid” and as a result it may also be “tormented.” But what about nyon? I have no clue yet.