Mystic Lotus

Pañca Indriyāni

Five Faculties

Pañca Indriyāni

Five Faculties

In the Pali tradition, the five faculties (Pali: pañca indriyāni) are identified as:

  1. Saddhindriyaṃ
    Faith is faith in the Buddha's awakening.

  2. Viriyindriyaṃ
    Energy refers to exertion towards the four efforts.

  3. Satindriyaṃ
    Mindfulness refers to focusing on the four satipatthana.

  4. Samādhindriyaṃ
    Concentration (refers to achieving the four jhanas.)

  5. Paññindriyaṃ
    Wisdom refers to discerning the Four Noble Truths.

The Buddha declares that, of these five faculties, wisdom is the "chief" (agga) SN 48:51.

In the Sāketa Sutta SN 48:43, 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. 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.

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

  1. Saddha
    Faith - controls doubt

  2. Viriya
    Energy / Effort / Persistence – controls laziness

  3. Sati
    Mindfulness - controls heedlessness

  4. Samādhi
    Concentration - controls distraction

  5. Pañña / Prajña
    Wisdom / Discernment – controls ignorance

Chapter:Different Types of Consciousness Mental States Miscellaneous Section Analysis of Thought-Processes Process Freed Section Analysis of Matter Abhidhamma Categories The Compendium Of Relations Mental Culture