Five spiritual faculties

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Template:Thirty-seven factors The five spiritual faculties (Pali: Template:IAST) are one of the seven sets of the thirty-seven factors of enlightenment.

Sanskrit tradition

In the Sanskrit tradition, the five spiritual faculties are:

  • The faculty of saddha (faith) (Skt. śraddhendriyam; Tib. དད་པའི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. dad pa’i dbang po)
  • The faculty of viriya (diligence) (Skt. vīryendriyam; Tib. བརྩོན་འགྲུས་ཀྱི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. brtson ‘grus kyi dbang po)
  • The faculty of sati (mindfulness) (Skt. smṛtīndriyam, Tib. དྲན་པའི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. dran pa’i dbang po)
  • The faculty of samādhi (concentration) (Skt. samādhīndriyam; Tib. ཏིང་ངེ་འཛིན་གྱི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. ting nge ‘dzin gyi dbang po)
  • The faculty of prajna (wisdom) (Skt. prajñendriyam; Tib. ཤེས་རབ་ཀྱི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. shes rab kyi dbang po)

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This set of five faculties is one of the seven sets of the thirty-seven factors of enlightenment.

Pali tradition

In the Pali tradition, the five faculties (Pali: Template:IAST) are identified as:[1]

  • Faith (P. saddhindriyaṃ) is faith in the Buddha's awakening.[2]
  • Energy (P. viriyindriyaṃ) refers to exertion towards the four efforts.
  • Mindfulness (P. satindriyaṃ) refers to focusing on the four satipatthana.
  • Concentration (P. samādhindriyaṃ) refers to achieving the four jhanas.
  • Wisdom (P. paññindriyaṃ) refers to discerning the Four Noble Truths.[3]

In SN 48.51, the Buddha declares that, of these five faculties, wisdom is the "chief" (agga).[4]

Relation to the five powers

In the Sāketa Sutta, the Buddha declares that the five spiritual faculties are the five powers and vice-versa. He uses the metaphor of a stream passing by a mid-stream island; the island creates two streams, but the streams can also be seen as one and the same.[5] The Pali commentaries remark that these five qualities are "faculties" when used to control their spheres of influence, and are "powers" when unshakeable by opposing forces.[6]

The five spiritual faculties are ‘controlling' faculties because they control or master their opposites:

  1. Faith (saddha) - controls doubt
  2. Energy/Effort/Persistence (viriya) – controls laziness
  3. Mindfulness (sati); - controls heedlessness
  4. Concentration (samādhi) - controls distraction
  5. Wisdom/Discernment (pañña, prajña) – controls ignorance

Alternate translations

  • The five faculties (Dharmachakra)


  1. Bodhi, Manual of Abhidharma
  2. Alternatively, SN 48.8 and AN V.15 identify "faith" as referring to the four-fold faith of the stream-enterer which Conze (1993), n. 28, and Nyanaponika & Bodhi (1999), p. 297, n. 9, identify as faith in the Triple Gem and "perfect morality."
  3. Bodhi (2000), pp. 1671-73; and, Thanissaro (1997a).
  4. Bodhi (2000), p. 1695.
  5. Bodhi (2000), pp. 1688-89.
  6. Bodhi (2000), p. 1511.


External links

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