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The Five Mental Powers

Beyond all coming and going of phenomena: the ...
 
The mental powers (balāni) are thus called because “they overpower opposing mental states”.Or, as the commentaries explain: they are powerful in the sense of being unshaken (akampanaṭṭhena) by opposition.



The mental powers (balāni) are thus called because “they overpower opposing mental states”. Or, as the commentaries explain: they are powerful in the sense of being unshaken (akampanaṭṭhena) by opposition.

Bhavachakra

Parallel to the five faculties, there are five powers (bala):

1. Saddhā: faith
2. Viriya: energy
3. Sati: mindfulness
4. Samādhi: concentration
5. Paññā: wisdom

They are like five generals or commanders engaged in destroying the hostile kingdom of personality belief.

They are the fivefold strength on which bhikkhus and layfolk can place their reliance. As in the case of the faculties, the power of faith (saddhā-bala) is of two kinds: 1) The power of ordinary faith (pakati-saddhā), and 2) the power of developed faith (bhāvanā-saddhā).

Ordinary faith,” which has no development through specific practice, associates with taṇhā according to circumstances, and can thus produce only the ordinary good actions (pakati-kusala-kamma) of generosity or liberatity, dāna, morality (sīla), etc. The limited measure of strength it possesses, cannot overcome craving.
On the contrary, taṇhā keeps “ordinary faith” under its power.

The Pāli texts mention, with the great clarity, four by “traditional practices of the Noble Ones” (ariya- vaṃsa). They are:

1. Being easily satisfied with food
2. Being easily satisfied with clothing
3. Being easily satisfied with any dwelling place
4. Finding pleasure and enjoyment in the work of bhāvanā (meditation)

They constitute the realm of saddhā. In the present day world, this great kingdom of saddhā lies hidden and submerged. Today, beings take pleasure and enjoyment in material things (paccayāmisa): they take pleasure and enjoyment in worldly rank, dignity, and honour (lokāmisa); they take pleasure and enjoyment in the attainment of the pleasant life, in worldly riches, and in power and dominion (vaṭṭāmisa); and thus is the great kingdom of taṇhā established as clearly as the great ocean round the island. This shows the weakness of ordinary faith (pakati-saddhā) in this world.

Resource: The Requisites of Enlightenment ~ Ledi Sayādaw


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