Buddhist literature refers to “fetters,” “cankers,” “effluence,” “pollutants,” “taints,” and other yuck that sound like moldy molasses or bug infested sores. It we want to become enlightened or just live more peacefully in the world, we’re supposed to destroy this crud. What are they talking about?
These refer to distortions in thinking and perception caused by past experience or just by having a human body. Some “latent tendencies” are part of the human package. Their effects can be softened until they no longer disrupt us. But the tendency itself cannot be destroyed.
The severity of the language is the unfortunate side effect of translating words from one language and culture to another. Battlefields do not generate clarity. Attacking these tendencies with flamethrowers and hand grenades creates more agitation and less wisdom. The softer approach of the six Rs is much more effective.
The article on "Nuisances" gives a detailed explanation of natural distortions and biases.