When considering the 5 hindrances I always come across the tiredness hindrance translated as sloth and torpor. Since it is always (in my experience) translated as two words does the sloth and torpor hindrance embody two related but distinct phenomena? Is sloth somehow different to torpor? Is the original Pali two terms or is it just one concept that is just always translated as the two words - sloth and torpor.

2 Answers 2


In Tibetan tradition torpor (Pali middha) is explained as heavy sleepiness, while sloth (Pali thina) is explained as laziness, lack of motivation.

So in case of sloth, you are not drowsy, just don't feel like striving. While in case of torpor, you kinda want to strive but can't, because your mind is so unwieldy.


They occur together hence why the words "Thina Midda" appear together and translated as Sloth and Torpor.

  • I find you can be lazy without being sleepy, and sleepy without being lazy.
    – Thien
    Aug 28, 2014 at 17:06
  • These are separate things. Lazy in not exerting effort in keeping the right concentration and mindfulness can lead to this. General laziness is not the same, though this also makes you lethargic. Sleepy due to fatigue or because it is night time does not come under this also. Aug 29, 2014 at 4:05

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