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Forces, Faculties, Controlling Powers

Distinguish between the Indriani, and the Balani thus: The indriyāni are the forces in nature of sight, etc.; the balani are the abilities of an individual to use those forces, i.e., powers. See on this SN 5.48.9, where they are described as more or less identical; and SN 5.48.43 which more or less confirms this way of understanding the difference.


[SN 5.48.40]In Order Experienced, Olds, translation.
Book of the Ones, #414
[SN 5.48]
Samyutta Nikaya, V: Mahavagga: Indriyasamyutta
PTS: Kindred Sayings V: The Great Chapter: Kindred Sayings on the Faculties
WP: The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: The Great Book: Connected Discourses on the Faculties
DhammaTalk: The Seven Types of Individuals
SN 3.22.47 for the descent of the Indriyani
SN 5.48.43 which provides a simile by way of which it can be understood that the five forces can be thought of as the same thing as the five powers(balani).
AN 6.50 A paticca-samuppada-like sutta showing how lack of restraint of the sense-forces destroys the possibility of knowing and seeing freedom while restraint of the sense-forces results in knowing and seeing freedom.

Pali MO Hare Horner Punnaji Bodhi Nanamoli Rhys Davids (Mrs)Rhys Davids Thanissaro Walshe Woodward
Indriyāni forces controlling faculties; control of the senses [AN 7.61] faculty faculty faculties, controlling powers faculties [AN.4.163] faculties faculties (for the physical) [AN.4.163] controlling powers [AN.4.151]
Cakkhundriyaṃ eye eye eye eye eye
sotindriyaṃ ear ear ear ear ear
ghānindriyaṃ nose nose nose nose nose
jivahindriyaṃ tongue tongue tongue tongue tongue
kāyindriyaṃ body body body body body
manindriyaṃ mind intellect mind
Sukhindriyaṃ pleasure pleasure pleasant [bodily] feeling
dukkhindriyaṃ pain pain pain
somanassindriyaṃ mental ease joy gladness
demanassindriyaṃ mental pain grief sadness
upekkhindriyaṃ detachment equanimity, poise equanimity introspection equanimity equanimity indifference, equanimity equanimity indifferent feeling, equanimity equanimity
Saddhindriyaṃ faith faith faith faith faith faith conviction faith
viriyindriyaṃ energy energy energy practice energy energy energy energy, effort persistence energy energy
satindriyaṃ memory, recollection, mind mindfulness, conscience mindfulness attentiveness mindfulness mindfulness mindfulness mindfulness mindfulness mindfulness mindfulness
samādhindriyaṃ serenity, getting high concentration concentration Equilibrium, Mental Repose concentration concentration concentration concentration concentration concentration concentration
paññindiyaṃ wisdom insight wisdom understanding, penetrative awareness, the primal knowledge wisdom wisdom insight discernment wisdom
anaññātaṃ-ñassāmītindriyaṃ knowing the unknown coming to know the unknown knowing that one will know the unknown
aññindriyaṃ omnicience knowing highest knowledge
aññātāvindriyaṃ attaining omnicience perfected knowledge the faculties of the one who knows


Pali Text Society
Pali English Dictionary
Edited by T. W. Rhys Davids and William Stede


Indriya: Vedic indriya adj. only in meaning "belonging to Indra"; nt. strength, might, but in specific Pali sense "belonging to the ruler", i.e. governing, ruling, nt. governing, ruling or controlling principle. A. on term: Indriya is one of the most comprehensive and important categories of Buddhist psychological philosophy and ethics, meaning "controlling principle, directive force, elan...(a) with reference to sense-perceptibility "faculty, function", often wrongly interpreted as "organ"; (b) w. ref. to objective aspects of form and matter "kind, characteristic, determinating principle, sign, mark" (cp. woman-hood, hood, kind, form); (c) w.ref. to moods of sensation and (d) to moral powers or motives controlling action, "principle, controlling" force; (e) w. ref. to cognition and insight "category" -gutta: one who restrains and watches his senses.


See: SN.V. Indriyasamyutta PTS: The Method, V.179; WP: The Faculty of Final Knowledge, II.1677; and The Powers of the Aristocrats) Attributes of Indra; Indra-like. Of or flowing from Indra. The usual "faculties," needs "...of Indra" or something that indicates that these are extra-ordinary, or god-like faculties (or, more accurately, faculties seen as godlike or wondrous). Woodward uses "controlling powers, faculties, and controlling faculties." The various Indrianis are all forms of power or attributes that are found under other categories. However when in the Pali they are found under this heading they have a much more magical, super-normal connotation. Since the idea of Indra (a god of War and Wrath, much like, if not the same as Zeus and Jupiter) was largely replaced in the Buddhist culture by the idea of Sakka (a god of good deeds, respect for the elders, and a Streamwinner), I suspect that what we have in these "faculties" is a carry-over of an old set of power categories with the terms being redefined in the Buddhist sense possibly to make the transition more comprehensiable for those of the older beliefs. In the Samyutta version of these three, the heading is ñāya, or "method" or "knack,"


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