Abhidhamma View : The Faculties
[Presented by Dr.Tep Sastri @ sariputtadhamma/JTN/Triplegem]
Vism. p. 503- 505 :
1. The "faculties" listed next to the elements (XIV.32) are the twenty-two faculties, namely, eye faculty, ear faculty, nose faculty, tongue faculty, body faculty, mind faculty, femininity faculty, masculinity faculty, life faculty, [bodily] pleasure faculty, [bodily] pain faculty, [mental] joy faculty, [mental] grief faculty, equanimity faculty, faith faculty, energy faculty, mindfulness faculty, concentration faculty, understanding faculty, "I-shall-come-to-know-the-unknown" faculty, final know-ledge faculty, final-knower faculty.
(1) As to meaning, (2) character and so on, (3) Order, (4) divided and undivided, (5) Likewise function, and (6) also plane. --The exposition should be known.
3. Herein, firstly, the meaning of eye, etc., is explained in the way beginning:
"It relishes (cakkhati), thus it is an eye (cakkhu)" (XV.3). But as regards the last three, the first is called the "I-shall-come-to-know-the-unknown" faculty because it arises in the initial stage [of the stream-entry path moment] in one who has entered on the way thus "I shall come to know the deathless state, or the Dhamma of the Four (Noble) Truths, not known," and because it carries the meaning of
faculty (rulership). The second of them is called the final-knowledge faculty because of knowing finally, and because it carries the meaning of faculty. The third is called the final-knower faculty because it arises in one who has destroyed cankers, who possesses final knowledge, and whose task of getting to know the four truths is finished, and because it carries the meaning of faculty.
4. But what is this meaning of faculty (rulership -indriyattha) that they have?
(a) The meaning of being the mark of a ruler (inda) is the meaning of faculty (rulership). (b) The meaning of being taught by a ruler is the meaning of faculty, (c) The meaning of being seen by a ruler is the meaning of faculty, (d) The meaning of having been prepared by a ruler is the meaning of faculty, (e) The meaning of having been fostered by a ruler is the meaning of faculty. And all that applies here in one instance or another.
5. The Blessed One, Fully Enlightened, is a ruler (inda) because of supreme lordship. And so is kamma, profitable and unprofitable; for no one has lordship over the kinds of kamma. So here, the faculties (indriya), which are created by kamma, are the mark of profitable and unprofitable kamma. And since they are prepared by it, they are faculties in the sense of (a) being the mark of a ruler and (d) in the sense of having been prepared by a ruler. But since they have also been correctly made evident and disclosed by the Blessed One, they are all faculties (b) in the sense of being taught by a ruler and (c) in the sense of being seen by a ruler. And since some of them were cultivated by the Blessed One, Ruler of Sages, in his cultivation of domain and some in his cultivation of development, they are faculties (e) in the sense of being fostered by a ruler.
6. Furthermore, they are faculties (rulership) in the sense of lordship called predominance. For predominance of the eye, etc., is implied in the occurrence of eye-consciousness, etc., because of the (consciousness) keenness when that [faculty] is keen and slowness when it is slow.
This, firstly, is the exposition as to meaning.
7. 2. As to character and so on: the meaning is that the exposition of the eye and so on should be known according to characteristic, function, manifestation, proximate cause, and so on. But these characteristics, etc., of theirs are given above in the Description of the Aggregates (XIV.37ff.). For the four beginning with the understanding faculty are simply non-delusion as to meaning. The rest are each given there as such.
8. 3. As to order: this too is only order of teaching (see XIV.211). Herein, the noble plane [which is the stage of stream-entry, etc.] is attained through the fullunderstanding of internal states, and so the eye faculty and the rest included in the selfhood are taught first. Then the femininity faculty and masculinity faculty, to show on what account that selfhood is called "woman" or "man." Next, the life faculty, to make it known that although that selfhood is twofold, still its existence is bound up with the life faculty. Next the [bodily-] pleasure faculty, etc., to make it known that there is no remission of these feelings as long as that [selfhood] continues, and that all feeling is [ultimately] suffering. Next, the faith faculty, etc., to show the way, since these things are to be developed in order to make that [suffering] cease. Next, the "I-shall-come-to-know-the-unknown" faculty to show that the way is not sterile, since it is through this way that this state is first manifested in oneself. Next, the final-knowledge faculty, because it is the fruit of the last-mentioned faculty and so must be developed after it. Next, the final-knower faculty, the supreme reward, is taught last to make it known that it is attained by development, and that when it is attained there is nothing more to be done. This is the order here.
9. 4. As to divided and undivided: here there is only division of the life faculty; for that is twofold as the material-life faculty and the immaterial-life faculty. There is no division of the others.
This is how the exposition should be known here as to divided and undivided.
10. 5. As to function: what is the faculties' function? Firstly, because of the words "The eye base is a condition, as faculty condition, for the eye-consciousness element and for the states associated therewith" (Pa.t.th 1.5) the eye faculty's function is to cause by its own keenness, slowness, etc., the occurrence of eyeconsciousness and associated states, etc., in a mode parallel to its own,3 which is
called their keenness, slowness, etc., this function being accomplishable through the state of faculty condition. So too in the case of the ear, nose, tongue, and body.
But the function of the mind faculty is to make conascent states subject to its own mastery. That of the life faculty is to maintain conascent states. That of the femininity faculty and the masculinity faculty is to allot the modes of the mark, sign, work and ways of women and men. That of the faculties of pleasure, pain, joy, and grief is to govern conascent states and impart their own particular mode of grossness to those states. That of the equanimity faculty is to impart to them the mode of quiet, superiority and neutrality. That of the faculties of faith, etc., is to overcome opposition and to impart to associated states the mode of confidence and so on. That of the "I-shall-come-to-know-the-unknown" faculty is both to abandon three fetters and to confront associated states with the abandonment of them. That of the final-knowledge faculty is both to attenuate and abandon respectively lust, ill will, etc., and to subject conascent states to its own mastery.
That of the final-knower faculty is both to abandon endeavour in all functions and to condition associated states by confronting them with the Deathless.
This is how the exposition should be known here as to function.
11. 6. As to plane: the faculties of eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, femininity, masculinity, pleasure, pain, and grief are of the sense sphere only. The mind faculty, life faculty, and equanimity faculty, and the faculties of faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, and understanding are included in the four planes.
The joy faculty is included in three planes, namely, sense sphere, fine-material sphere, and supramundane. The last three are supramundane only. This is how the exposition should be known here as to plane.
The monk who knows the urgent need
To keep the faculties restrained
By fully understanding them
Will make an end of suffering.
12. This is the section of the detailed explanation dealing with the faculties.
Love Buddha's dhamma,