SN 48.10:Indriya-vibhanga Sutta—Analysis of the Faculties

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SN 48.10:Indriya-vibhanga Sutta—Analysis of the Faculties

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:36 am

SN 48.10 PTS: S v 197 CDB ii 1671
Indriya-vibhanga Sutta: Analysis of the Mental Faculties
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


A summary of the five mental faculties: conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, and discernment.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html



"Monks, there are these five faculties. Which five? The faculty of conviction, the faculty of persistence, the faculty of mindfulness, the faculty of concentration, the faculty of discernment.

"Now what is the faculty of conviction? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, has conviction, is convinced of the Tathagata's Awakening: 'Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed.' This is called the faculty of conviction.

"And what is the faculty of persistence? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, keeps his persistence aroused for abandoning unskillful mental qualities and taking on skillful mental qualities. He is steadfast, solid in his effort, not shirking his duties with regard to skillful mental qualities. He generates desire, endeavors, arouses persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen... for the sake of the abandoning of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen... for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen... [and] for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen. This is called the faculty of persistence.

"And what is the faculty of mindfulness? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, is mindful, highly meticulous, remembering & able to call to mind even things that were done & said long ago. He remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves... the mind in & of itself... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. This is called the faculty of mindfulness.

"And what is the faculty of concentration? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, making it his object to let go, attains concentration, attains singleness of mind. Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, he enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. With the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This is called the faculty of concentration.

"And what is the faculty of discernment? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, is discerning, endowed with discernment of arising & passing away — noble, penetrating, leading to the right ending of stress. He discerns, as it has come to be: 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.' This is called the faculty of discernment.

"These are the five faculties."


See also:
AN 8.30. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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Re: SN 48.10:Indriya-vibhanga Sutta—Analysis of the Faculties

Postby kirk5a » Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:29 pm

Anyone know the Pali for what is translated there as
making it his object to let go

Bhikkhu Bodhi translates that as
having made release the object

How should we understand this phrase?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: SN 48.10:Indriya-vibhanga Sutta—Analysis of the Faculties

Postby santa100 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:49 pm

From Ven. Bodhi's "The Jhanas and the Lay Disciple According to the Pali Suttas" ( http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha267.htm ):

The Nikāyas themselves nowhere explain exactly what is meant by the concentration gained by "having made release the object" (vossaggārammaṇaṃ karitvā), but they do elsewhere suggest that release (vossagga) is a term for Nibbāna.[14] The Commentary interprets this passage with the aid of the distinction between mundane (lokiya) and supramundane (lokuttara) concentration: the former consists in the form-sphere jhānas (and the access to these jhānas), the latter in the supramundane jhānas concomitant with the supramundane path.[15] On the basis of this distinction, the Commentary explains "the concentration that makes release the object" as the supramundane concentration of the noble path arisen with Nibbāna as object.[16] Thus if we feel obliged to interpret the faculty and power of concentration in the light of the jhāna formula, we might go along with the Commentary in regarding it as the supramundane jhāna pertaining to the supramundane path and fruit.

However, we need not agree with the Commentaries in taking the expression "having made release the object" so literally. We might instead interpret this phrase more loosely as characterizing a concentration aimed at release, that is, directed towards Nibbāna.[17] Then we can understand its referent as the concentration that functions as the basis for insight, both initially in the preparatory phase of practice and later in immediate conjunction with insight. This would allow us to ascribe to the noble disciple a degree of concentration strong enough to qualify as a faculty without compelling us to hold that he must possess jhāna. Perhaps the combined definition of the concentration faculty in SN 48:10 is intended to show that two courses are open to disciples. One is the route emphasizing strong concentration, along which one develops the jhānas as the faculty of concentration; the other is the route emphasizing insight, along which one develops concentration only to the degree needed for insight to arise. This concentration, though falling short of jhāna, could still be described as "concentration that makes release its object

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Re: SN 48.10:Indriya-vibhanga Sutta—Analysis of the Faculties

Postby daverupa » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:22 pm

kirk5a wrote:How should we understand this phrase?


I take it to refer to the fourth tetrad of anapanasati, else the calming/releasing instruction at the fourth place in each of the first three tetrads.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: SN 48.10:Indriya-vibhanga Sutta—Analysis of the Faculties

Postby kirk5a » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:01 am

santa100 wrote:From Ven. Bodhi's "The Jhanas and the Lay Disciple According to the Pali Suttas" ( http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha267.htm ):

Very interesting, thank you.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: SN 48.10:Indriya-vibhanga Sutta—Analysis of the Faculties

Postby Sam Vara » Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:15 pm

I really like basing practice upon the five Indriyas - there is a lot to think about in there. Recently I was explaining to a friend about how I find the Indriyas particularly accessible because they are similar to the Greek conception of virtues. Things to be cultivated and made much of, which will lead to the improvement of our character. He corrected me by saying that these are not about cultivating a particular type of character; rather, they have the ability to disband character here and now.
For example, the Buddha elsewhere says that complete cultivation of the indriyas destroys the taints and realises final knowledge (SN 48:48); as if they could be used as a substitute for the Eightfold Path itself.
Elsewhere, however (SN 48:7) the Buddha treats each of the faculties as he does the phenomenon of Dukkha in more familiar settings. Faith is to be understood, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation. Energy is to be understood...etc.
Bhikkhu Bodhi explains this by saying that the Indriyas can also be seen "not simply as factors conducive to enlightenment, but as members of a broader scheme of phenomenological categories parallel to the aggregates,sense bases, and elements". (Introduction to the Mahavagga, p. 1509.)
As I said, deep stuff.
Also worth noting is the fact that pairing off Faith/Wisdom and Energy/Concentration with Mindfulness left as a balancing factor is commentarial, rather than from the Suttas themselves. The only sutta I can find which speaks of their relationship is 48:50, which gives them as clearly sequential.

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Re: SN 48.10:Indriya-vibhanga Sutta—Analysis of the Faculties

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:19 am

Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of SN 48.1:

“Bhikkhus, there are these five faculties. What five? The faculty of faith, the faculty of energy, the faculty of mindfulness, the faculty of concentration, the faculty of wisdom. These are the five faculties.”

    As I point out in the Introduction to Part V (pp. 1508-9), while the other saṃyuttas of this Vagga each deal with a single closed group made up of a fixed number of items, the Indriyasaṃyutta deals with a variety of sets collected under the general rubric of indriya. The most important is the group called the five spiritual faculties, which probably formed the original core of the saṃyutta. With the expanding interest in classification, the compilers of the canon probably felt obliged to include in this saṃyutta the other sets of faculties, thus imparting to it a heterogeneous character. The complete list of twenty-two faculties is at Vibh 122, commented on at Vibh-a 125-28; see too Vism 491-93 (Ppn 16:1-12). Interestingly, this list belongs to the Abhidhamma analysis; the Indriya-vibhaṅga does not include a Suttanta analysis, which suggests that the idea of indriya as a general category belongs to the Abhidhamma proper rather than to the suttas.

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Re: SN 48.10:Indriya-vibhanga Sutta—Analysis of the Faculties

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:26 am

See also the discussion of the five faculties and the seven factors of awakening here:
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=14239#p209667

Also the discussion of the faculties by Thanissaro Bhikkhu in Wings to Awakening
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#part2-e

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: SN 48.10:Indriya-vibhanga Sutta—Analysis of the Faculties

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:13 am

mikenz66 wrote:See also the discussion of the five faculties and the seven factors of awakening here:
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=14239#p209667

Also the discussion of the faculties by Thanissaro Bhikkhu in Wings to Awakening
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#part2-e

:anjali:
Mike


Many thanks. I really like Ajahn Thanissaro's account of the Panc'Indriya. He presents them as sequential (Faith first, which leads to Persistence/Energy, etc.) and deals with the issue of balance between the faculties by saying that it is the extra quality of heedfulness which is required to monitor them, rather than mindfulness. This, presumably, is that he spends time in the Wings to Awakening and elsewhere establishing Sati as the ability to focus on the four foundations, rather than something like a less specific awareness of the present moment. He also tackles the issue of the allure and the escape from the Faculties. I like the way that he says that they are skillful qualities precisely because one can go beyond them, and one can drop them when needed. There is something extremely profound that is hinted at here, which is hard to put into words. Typical of Thanissaro, in my experience...

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Re: SN 48.10:Indriya-vibhanga Sutta—Analysis of the Faculties

Postby Nyorai » Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:41 am

kirk5a wrote:Anyone know the Pali for what is translated there as
making it his object to let go

Bhikkhu Bodhi translates that as
having made release the object

How should we understand this phrase?

Likely is along the process of meditation, pleasing state may appear that ought to let go and not be overwhelm. It should work along conviction. Conviction or faith is essential for subsquent four faculties to get it in tune. Conversely, and most often than not, these four facultiess are also worked at to develop this conviction. Conviction should not be attached to a particular monk or teacher, if that teacher departed by entering nirvana, this conviction from a sudden lost of great teacher become feeble. Well! teacher or monk is essential as they are more professional due to immersion into buddha dhamma. Unlike laybuddhist, the immersion may not be as that pure due to daily chores. :namaste:
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Re: SN 48.10:Indriya-vibhanga Sutta—Analysis of the Faculties

Postby kizma » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:35 am

kirk5a wrote:Anyone know the Pali for what is translated there as
making it his object to let go

Bhikkhu Bodhi translates that as
having made release the object

How should we understand this phrase?


Intending to relax.


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