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Indriya Vibhanga Sutta

Analysis of the Mental Faculties

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
For free distribution only

"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 Tathágata’s Awakening: 'Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge and 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 and 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 and 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, and 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 and able to call to mind even things that were done and said long ago. He remains focused on the body in and of itself -- ardent, alert, and mindful -- putting aside greed and distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in and of themselves... the mind in and of itself... mental qualities in and of themselves -- ardent, alert, and mindful -- putting aside greed and 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 Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, he enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. With the stilling of directed thought and evaluation, he enters and remains in the second jhana: rapture and pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought and evaluation -- internal assurance. With the fading of rapture he remains in equanimity, mindful and alert, and physically sensitive of pleasure. He enters and remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous and mindful, he has a pleasurable abiding.' With the abandoning of pleasure and pain -- as with the earlier disappearance of elation and distress -- he enters and remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity and 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 and passing away -- noble, penetrating, leading to the right ending of stress. He discerns, as it is actually present: '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."

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