Pali term: bala (power/strength)

Note: the original context may be more user friendly

bala:

power, strength.

The word is used in a wide variety of meanings. In the general sense, it means physical strength, healthiness, power or authority (AN 3.70), sometimes intellectual authority (e.g. a powerful argument, MN 11), moral strength, or determination (as in the compound bala·vīriya).

♦ The most frequent list of balas is as follows:

1. saddhā
2. vīriya
3. sati
4. samādhi
5. paññā

Each item is defined in the Vitthata Sutta:

AN 5.14

Pañc·imāni, bhikkhave, balāni. Katamāni pañca? Saddhā-balaṃ, vīriya-balaṃ, sati-balaṃ, samādhi-balaṃ, paññā-balaṃ. There are, bhikkhus, these five powers. Which five? The power of conviction, the power of persistence, the power of mindfulness, the power of concentration, the power of discernment.
Katama·ñca, bhikkhave, saddhā-balaṃ? Idha, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako saddho hoti, saddahati Tathāgatassa bodhiṃ: ‘itipi so Bhagavā arahaṃ sammā-Sambuddho vijjā-caraṇa-sampanno sugato lokavidū anuttaro purisa-damma-sārathi satthā deva-manussānaṃ Buddho Bhagavā’ ti. Idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, saddhā-balaṃ. Now what is the power 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 power of conviction.
Katama·ñca, bhikkhave, vīriya-balaṃ? Idha, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako āraddha-vīriyo viharati akusalānaṃ dhammānaṃ pahānāya, kusalānaṃ dhammānaṃ upasampadāya thāmavā daḷhaparakkamo anikkhittadhuro kusalesu dhammesu. Idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, vīriya-balaṃ. And what is the power of persistence? There is the case where 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. This is called the power of persistence.
Katama·ñca, bhikkhave, sati-balaṃ? Idha, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako satimā hoti paramena sati-nepakkena samannāgato, cira-katam-pi cira-bhāsitam-pi saritā anussaritā. Idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, sati-balaṃ. And what is the power 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. This is called the power of mindfulness.
Katama·ñca, bhikkhave, samādhi-balaṃ? Idha, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako… paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ… dutiyaṃ jhānaṃ… tatiyaṃ jhānaṃ… catutthaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati. Idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, samādhi-balaṃ. And what is the power of concentration? There is the case where a monk… enters & remains in the first jhana… the second jhan… the third jhana… the fourth jhana… This is called the power of concentration.
Katama·ñca, bhikkhave, paññā-balaṃ? Idha, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako paññavā hoti uday-attha-gāminiyā paññāya samannāgato ariyāya nibbedhikāya sammā dukkha’k’khaya-gāminiyā. Idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, paññā-balaṃ. And what is the power of discernment? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones is discerning, endowed with discernment of arising & passing away — noble, penetrating, leading to the right ending of stress. This is called the power of discernment.

Alternative definitions of the power of energy and the power of wisdom as found at AN 9.5 will be provided below.

This group of five balas is part of a set of 37 dhammas which are sometimes listed together (e.g. at AN 10.90, SN 22.81). They are sometimes called the bodhipakkhiyā dhammā, although this expression doesn’t have a strict definition in the suttas and is loosely used to describe other sets.

In the Daṭṭhabba Sutta, it is said that these balas are ‘to be seen’ (daṭṭhabba) each in its domain of mastery:

AN 5.15

“pañcimāni, bhikkhave, balāni. katamāni pañca? saddhābalaṃ, vīriyabalaṃ, satibalaṃ, samādhibalaṃ, paññābalaṃ. Bhikkhus, there are these five powers. What five? The power of faith, the power of energy, the power of mindfulness, the power of concentration, and the power of wisdom.
kattha ca, bhikkhave, saddhābalaṃ daṭṭhabbaṃ? catūsu sotāpattiyaṅgesu… And where, bhikkhus, is the power of faith to be seen? The power of faith is to be seen in the four factors of stream-entry…
kattha ca, bhikkhave, vīriyabalaṃ daṭṭhabbaṃ? catūsu sammappadhānesu… And where is the power of energy to be seen? The power of energy is to be seen in the four right strivings…
kattha ca, bhikkhave, satibalaṃ daṭṭhabbaṃ? catūsu satipaṭṭhānesu… And where is the power of mindfulness to be seen? The power of mindfulness is to be seen in the four establishments of mindfulness…
kattha ca, bhikkhave, samādhibalaṃ daṭṭhabbaṃ? catūsu jhānesu… And where is the power of concentration to be seen? The power of concentration is to be seen in the four jhānas…
kattha ca, bhikkhave, paññābalaṃ daṭṭhabbaṃ? catūsu ariyasaccesu… And where is the power of wisdom to be seen? The power of wisdom is to be seen in the four noble truths…

This set of five balas has its own entire saṃyutta (SN 50), which consists essentially in repetition series. At SN 50.1, these five balas lead towards nibbāna just as the river Ganges slants, slopes, and inclines towards the east (seyyathāpi gaṅgā nadī pācīna·ninnā pācīna·poṇā pācīna·pabbhārā).

The enumeration of each of these balas is sometimes punctuated by four different formulas. The first one is found for example at SN 50.1 and is in fact mainly used with the bojjhaṅgas, and occasionally with (spiritual) indriyas: ‘based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release’ (viveka·nissita virāga·nissita nirodha·nissita vossagga·pariṇāmi).

The second formula can be found at SN 50.13 and says: ‘which has the removal of avidity as its final goal, the removal of hatred as its final goal, the removal of delusion as its final goal’ (rāga·vinaya·pariyosāna dosa·vinaya·pariyosāna moha·vinaya·pariyosāna).

The third one is also found for example at 50.13, and it says: ‘which has the Deathless as its ground, the Deathless as its destination, the Deathless as its final goal’ (amat·ogadha amata·parāyana amata·pariyosāna).

The fourth is also found at 50.13, and it says: ‘which slants towards Nibbāna, slopes towards Nibbāna, inclines towards Nibbāna‘ (nibbāna·ninna nibbāna·poṇa nibbāna·pabbhāra).

These five balas are said to be produced on the basis of other phenomena, among which sīla:

SN 50.23

seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, ye keci balakaraṇīyā kammantā karīyanti, sabbe te pathaviṃ nissāya pathaviyaṃ patiṭṭhāya evamete balakaraṇīyā kammantā karīyanti; evameva kho, bhikkhave, bhikkhu sīlaṃ nissāya sīle patiṭṭhāya pañcāni balāni bhāveti pañcāni balāni bahulīkaroti. Just as, bhikkhus, whatever actions are to be performed with strength are all performed on dependence on the earth, supported by the earth; in the same way, bhikkhus, it is on dependence on virtue, supported by virtue, that a bhikkhu develops the five powers, that he cultivates the five powers.

SN 50.24

seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, ye kecime bījagāmabhūtagāmā vuḍḍhiṃ virūḷhiṃ vepullaṃ āpajjanti, sabbe te pathaviṃ nissāya pathaviyaṃ patiṭṭhāya evamete bījagāmabhūtagāmā vuḍḍhiṃ virūḷhiṃ vepullaṃ āpajjanti; evameva kho, bhikkhave, bhikkhu sīlaṃ nissāya sīle patiṭṭhāya pañcāni balāni bhāvento pañcāni balāni bahulīkaronto vuḍḍhiṃ virūḷhiṃ vepullaṃ pāpuṇāti dhammesu. Just as, bhikkhus, whatever kinds of seed and plant life come to development, growth, and plenitude, all come to development, growth, and plenitude on dependence on the earth, supported by the earth; in the same way, bhikkhus, on dependence on virtue, supported by virtue, a bhikkhu developing the five powers, cultivating the five powers, comes to development, growth, and plenitude in [wholesome] mental states.

Appamāda is also said to be a basis for the development of these balas:

SN 50.13

“yāvatā, bhikkhave, sattā apadā vā dvipadā vā catuppadā vā bahuppadā vā rūpino vā arūpino vā saññino vā asaññino vā nevasaññīnāsaññino vā, tathāgato tesaṃ aggamakkhāyati arahaṃ sammāsambuddho; evameva kho, bhikkhave, ye keci kusalā dhammā, sabbe te appamādamūlakā appamādasamosaraṇā; appamādo tesaṃ dhammānaṃ aggamakkhāyati. appamattassetaṃ, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno pāṭikaṅkhaṃ pañcāni balāni bhāvessati pañcāni balāni bahulīkarissati. To the extent that there are animals: footless, two-footed, four-footed, many footed; with form or formless; percipient, non-percipient, or neither percipient nor non-percipient, the Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, is reckoned the foremost among them. In the same way, all skillful qualities are rooted in heedfulness, converge in heedfulness, and heedfulness is reckoned the foremost among them. When a bhikkhu is heedful, it can be expected that he will develop the five powers, that he will cultivate the five powers.

Between SN 50.35 and SN 50.54, these five balas are said to lead to the direct knowledge (abhiññā), full understanding (pariññā), complete destruction (parikkhaya), and abandoning (pahāna) of various phenomena: the three discriminations (vidhā), i.e. ‘I am superior’ (‘seyyo·ham·asmī’ti), ‘I am equal’ (‘sadiso·ham·asmī’ti), ‘I am inferior’ (hīno·ham·asmī’ti); the three searches (esanā), i.e. the search for sensuality (kām·esanā), the search for [a good] existence (bhav·esanā), the search for the brahmic life (brahmacariy·esanā); the three āsavā; the three bhavā; the three sufferings (dukkhatā), i.e. the suffering from pain (dukkha·dukkhatā), the suffering from Constructions (saṅkhāra·dukkhatā), the suffering from change (vipariṇāma·dukkhatā); the three akusalamulā; the three types of vedanākāmadiṭṭhi and avijjā; the four upādānāabhijjhābyāpādasīla·bbata parāmāsa and adherence to [the view] ‘This [alone] is the truth’ (idaṃ·sacc·ābhinivesa); the seven anusayā; the five kāma·guṇā; the five nīvaraṇā; the five upādāna·kkhandhas; the ten saṃyojanā.

These five balas represent a tool to remove akusalā dhammā. A number of similes illustrating this point are given in the Magga Saṃyutta: at SN 50.27, akusalā dhammā are given up by the mind like a pot turned upside down ‘gives up’ its water; at SN 50.30, they are disintegrated like a cloud providing rain disintegrates a dust storm; at SN 50.31, they are dispersed like a strong wind disperses a great cloud giving rain; at SN 50.32, they are like the ropes on a ship that rot under inclement weather. At SN 50.34, people, powerful or not, wishing to convince a bhikkhu cultivating these five balas to abandon monkhood by offering him wealth will be no more successful than people wishing to change the direction of the Ganges, because his mind is inclined to seclusion.

SN 50.33

“seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, āgantukāgāraṃ. tattha puratthimāyapi disāya āgantvā vāsaṃ kappenti, pacchimāyapi disāya āgantvā vāsaṃ kappenti, uttarāyapi disāya āgantvā vāsaṃ kappenti, dakkhiṇāyapi disāya āgantvā vāsaṃ kappenti, khattiyāpi āgantvā vāsaṃ kappenti, brāhmaṇāpi āgantvā vāsaṃ kappenti, vessāpi āgantvā vāsaṃ kappenti, suddāpi āgantvā vāsaṃ kappenti; evameva kho, bhikkhave, bhikkhu pañcāni balāni bhāvento pañcāni balāni bahulīkaronto ye dhammā abhiññā pariññeyyā, te dhamme abhiññā parijānāti, ye dhammā abhiññā pahātabbā, te dhamme abhiññā pajahati, ye dhammā abhiññā sacchikātabbā, te dhamme abhiññā sacchikaroti, ye dhammā abhiññā bhāvetabbā, te dhamme abhiññā bhāveti. Suppose, monks, there is a guest-house. Travelers come from the east, the west, the north, the south to lodge here: nobles and Brahmans, merchants and serfs. In the same way, monks, a monk who cultivates the five powers, who assiduously practices the five powers, comprehends with higher knowledge those states that are to be so comprehended, abandons with higher knowledge those states that are to be so abandoned, comes to experience with higher knowledge those states that are to be so experienced, and cultivates with higher knowledge those states that are to be so cultivated.
“katame ca, bhikkhave, dhammā abhiññā pariññeyyā? pañcupādānakkhandhātissa vacanīyaṃ… What, monks, are the states to be comprehended with higher knowledge? They are the five groups of clinging…
katame ca, bhikkhave, dhammā abhiññā pahātabbā? avijjā ca bhavataṇhā ca… What, monks, are the states to be abandoned with higher knowledge? They are ignorance and the desire for [further] becoming…
katame ca, bhikkhave, dhammā abhiññā sacchikātabbā? vijjā ca vimutti ca… And what, monks, are the states to be experienced with higher knowledge? They are knowledge and liberation…
katame ca, bhikkhave, dhammā abhiññā bhāvetabbā? samatho ca vipassanā ca. And what, monk, are the states to be cultivated with higher knowledge? They are calm and insight.

These five balas seem to be identical with the five spiritual indriyas, being just a different way to explain the same thing, as is explained in the Sāketa Sutta:

SN 48.43

Yaṃ, bhikkhave, saddhindriyaṃ taṃ saddhābalaṃ, yaṃ saddhābalaṃ taṃ saddhindriyaṃ; yaṃ vīriyindriyaṃ taṃ vīriyabalaṃ, yaṃ vīriyabalaṃ taṃ vīriyindriyaṃ; yaṃ satindriyaṃ taṃ satibalaṃ, yaṃ satibalaṃ taṃ satindriyaṃ; yaṃ samādhindriyaṃ taṃ samādhibalaṃ, yaṃ samādhibalaṃ taṃ samādhindriyaṃ; yaṃ paññindriyaṃ taṃ paññābalaṃ, yaṃ paññābalaṃ taṃ paññindriyaṃ. That, bhikkhus, which is the faculty of conviction is the power of conviction, and that which is the power of conviction is the faculty of conviction. That which is the faculty of energy is the power of energy, and that which is the power of energy is the faculty of energy. That which is the faculty of mindfulness is the power of mindfulness, and that which is the power of mindfulness is the faculty of mindfulness. That which is the faculty of samādhi is the power of samādhi, and that which is the power of samādhi is the faculty of samādhi. That which is the faculty of discernment is the power of discernment, and that which is the power of discernment is the faculty of discernment.
Seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, nadī pācīnaninnā pācīnapoṇā pācīnapabbhārā, tassa majjhe dīpo. Atthi, bhikkhave, pariyāyo yaṃ pariyāyaṃ āgamma tassā nadiyā eko soto tveva saṅkhyaṃ gacchati. Atthi pana, bhikkhave, pariyāyo yaṃ pariyāyaṃ āgamma tassā nadiyā dve sotāni tveva saṅkhyaṃ gacchanti. Just as, bhikkhus, if there was a river flowing, going, leading towards the east, with an island in the middle. There is an analysis according to which the river has only one stream. There is also, bhikkhus, an analysis according to which the river has two streams.

In this set of five balaspaññā is declared at AN 5.16 to be the ‘foremost’ (aggaṃ), the ‘one that maintains all in place’ (saṅgāhikaṃ), the ‘one that unifies them’ (saṅghātaniyaṃ).

Sometimes, as is the case at AN 4.152, this set of five is presented as a set of four, not including paññā. At AN 4.261, it is instead saddhā that is left out.

♦ There is another set of five balas: the trainee powers (sekha·bala), which are described and defined in the Vitthata Sutta:

1. saddhā
2. hirī
3. ottappa
4. vīriya
5. paññā

Each item is defined in the Vitthata Sutta (they are identical with those given at AN 5.14 as quoted above, except for the following):

AN 5.2

pañcimāni, bhikkhave, sekhabalāni. katamāni pañca? saddhābalaṃ, hirībalaṃ, ottappabalaṃ, vīriyabalaṃ, paññābalaṃ… Bhikkhus, there are these five trainee’s powers. What five? The power of faith, the power of moral shame, the power of moral dread, the power of energy, and the power of wisdom…
“katamañca, bhikkhave, hirībalaṃ? idha, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako hirimā hoti, hirīyati kāyaduccaritena vacīduccaritena manoduccaritena, hirīyati pāpakānaṃ akusalānaṃ dhammānaṃ samāpattiyā. idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, hirībalaṃ. And what is the power of moral shame? Here, a noble disciple has a sense of moral shame; he is ashamed of bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct; he is ashamed of acquiring evil, unwholesome qualities. This is called the power of moral shame.
“katamañca, bhikkhave, ottappabalaṃ? idha, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako ottappī hoti, ottappati kāyaduccaritena vacīduccaritena manoduccaritena, ottappati pāpakānaṃ akusalānaṃ dhammānaṃ samāpattiyā. idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, ottappabalaṃ. And what is the power of moral dread? Here, a noble disciple dreads wrongdoing; he dreads bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct; he dreads acquiring evil, unwholesome qualities. This is called the power of moral dread.

These same five balas are also said to be the Tathagata’s powers (tathāgata·bala) in the Ananussuta Sutta:

AN 5.11

pañcimāni, bhikkhave, tathāgatassa tathāgatabalāni, yehi balehi samannāgato tathāgato āsabhaṃ ṭhānaṃ paṭijānāti, parisāsu sīhanādaṃ nadati, brahmacakkaṃ pavatteti. katamāni pañca? saddhābalaṃ, hirībalaṃ, ottappabalaṃ, vīriyabalaṃ, paññābalaṃ. There are these five Tathāgata’s powers that the Tathāgata has, possessing which he claims the place of the chief bull, roars his lion’s roar in the assemblies, and sets in motion the brahma wheel. What five? The power of faith, the power of moral shame, the power of moral dread, the power of energy, and the power of wisdom.

As was the case with the other set of five balaspaññā is declared at AN 5.12 to be the ‘foremost’ (aggaṃ), the ‘one that maintains all in place’ (saṅgāhikaṃ), the ‘one that unifies them’ (saṅghātaniyaṃ).

♦ We find sometimes these two sets of five balas mashed up in one set of seven, which is described for example in the Vitthata Sutta:

AN 7.4

“sattimāni, bhikkhave, balāni. katamāni satta? saddhābala, vīriyabalaṃ, hirībalaṃ, ottappabalaṃ, satibalaṃ, samādhibalaṃ, paññābalaṃ. There are, bhikkhus, these seven powers. Which seven? The power of conviction, the power of energy, the power of conscientiousness, the power of scruple, the power of mindfulness, the power of concentration, and the power of discernment.

The definitions that follow are identical to those we have seen above in the two sets of five.

♦ Several variant sets of four balas are given in the Book of Fours of the Aṅguttara Nikāya:

AN 4.154 lists satisamādhianavajja and congeniality (saṅgaha).

AN 4.155 lists reflection (paṭisaṅkhāna)bhāvanāanavajja and congeniality (saṅgaha).

The Bala Sutta defines another set of four balas:

AN 9.5

“cattārimāni, bhikkhave, balāni. katamāni cattāri? paññābalaṃ, vīriyabalaṃ, anavajjabalaṃ, saṅgāhabalaṃ. There are, bhikkhus, these four powers. Which four? The power of discernment, the power of energy, the power of faultlessness, and the power of congeniality.
katamañca, bhikkhave, paññābalaṃ? ye dhammā kusalā kusalasaṅkhātā ye dhammā akusalā akusalasaṅkhātā ye dhammā sāvajjā sāvajjasaṅkhātā ye dhammā anavajjā anavajjasaṅkhātā ye dhammā kaṇhā kaṇhasaṅkhātā ye dhammā sukkā sukkasaṅkhātā ye dhammā sevitabbā sevitabbasaṅkhātā ye dhammā asevitabbā asevitabbasaṅkhātā ye dhammā nālamariyā nālamariyasaṅkhātā ye dhammā alamariyā alamariyasaṅkhātā, tyāssa dhammā paññāya vodiṭṭhā honti vocaritā. idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, paññābalaṃ. And what, bhikkhus, is the power of discernment? The mental states that are unskillful and considered as unskillful, the mental states that are skillful and considered as skillful, the mental states that are faulty and considered as faulty, the mental states that are faultless and considered as faultless, the mental states that are evil and considered as evil, the mental states that are pure and considered as pure, the mental states that are to be made use of and considered as to be made use of, the mental states that are not to be made use of and considered as not to be made use of, the mental states that are unsuitable for the noble and considered as unsuitable for the noble, and the mental states that are suitable for the noble and considered as suitable for the noble, have been fully seen with discernment and investigated. This, bhikkhus, is called the power of discernment.
“katamañca, bhikkhave, vīriyabalaṃ? ye dhammā akusalā akusalasaṅkhātā ye dhammā sāvajjā sāvajjasaṅkhātā ye dhammā kaṇhā kaṇhasaṅkhātā ye dhammā asevitabbā asevitabbasaṅkhātā ye dhammā nālamariyā nālamariyasaṅkhātā, tesaṃ dhammānaṃ pahānāya chandaṃ janeti vāyamati vīriyaṃ ārabhati cittaṃ paggaṇhāti padahati. ye dhammā kusalā kusalasaṅkhātā ye dhammā anavajjā anavajjasaṅkhātā ye dhammā sukkā sukkasaṅkhātā ye dhammā sevitabbā sevitabbasaṅkhātā ye dhammā alamariyā alamariyasaṅkhātā, tesaṃ dhammānaṃ paṭilābhāya chandaṃ janeti vāyamati vīriyaṃ ārabhati cittaṃ paggaṇhāti padahati. idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, vīriyabalaṃ. And what, bhikkhus, is the power of energy? One generates desire, exerts himself, arouses energy, exerts his mind and strives to abandon the mental states that are unskillful and considered as unskillful, the mental states that are faulty and considered as faulty, the mental states that are evil and considered as evil, the mental states that are not to be made use of and considered as not to be made use of, and the mental states that are unsuitable for the noble and considered as unsuitable for the noble. One generates desire, exerts himself, arouses energy, exerts his mind and strives to obtain the mental states that are skillful and considered as skillful, the mental states that are faultless and considered as faultless, the mental states that are pure and considered as pure, the mental states that are to be made use of and considered as to be made use of, and the mental states that are suitable for the noble and considered as suitable for the noble. This, bhikkhus, is called the power of energy.
“katamañca, bhikkhave, anavajjabalaṃ? idha, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako anavajjena kāyakammena samannāgato hoti, anavajjena vacīkammena samannāgato hoti, anavajjena manokammena samannāgato hoti. idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, anavajjabalaṃ. And what, bhikkhus, is the power of faultlessness? Here, a noble disciple is possessed of faultless bodily action, is possessed of faultless verbal action, and is possessed of faultless mental action. This, bhikkhus, is called the power of faultlessness.
“katamañca, bhikkhave, saṅgāhabalaṃ? cattārimāni, bhikkhave, saṅgahavatthūni: dānaṃ, peyyavajjaṃ, atthacariyā, samānattatā. etadaggaṃ, bhikkhave, dānānaṃ yadidaṃ dhammadānaṃ. etadaggaṃ, bhikkhave, peyyavajjānaṃ yadidaṃ atthikassa ohitasotassa punappunaṃ dhammaṃ deseti. etadaggaṃ, bhikkhave, atthacariyānaṃ yadidaṃ assaddhaṃ saddhāsampadāya samādapeti niveseti patiṭṭhāpeti, dussīlaṃ sīlasampadāya samādapeti niveseti patiṭṭhāpeti, macchariṃ cāgasampadāya samādapeti niveseti patiṭṭhāpeti, duppaññaṃ paññāsampadāya samādapeti niveseti patiṭṭhāpeti. etadaggaṃ, bhikkhave, samānattatānaṃ yadidaṃ sotāpanno sotāpannassa samānatto, sakadāgāmī sakadāgāmissa samānatto, anāgāmī anāgāmissa samānatto, arahā arahato samānatto. idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, saṅgāhabalaṃ. And what, bhikkhus, is the power of congeniality? There, are, bhikkhus, these four grounds for congeniality: gift, kind speech, helpful conduct and equality. This, bhikkhus, is the highest of gifts: the gift of the Dhamma. This, bhikkhus, is the highest of kind speeches: teaching the Dhamma again and again to one who is desirous of it and listens attentively. This, bhikkhus, is the highest of helpful conducts: inciting, exhorting and establishing one without conviction in the accomplishment of conviction, inciting, exhorting and establishing an unvirtuous one in the accomplishment of virtue, inciting, exhorting and establishing a stingy one in the accomplishment of generosity, inciting, exhorting and establishing one lacking discernment in the accomplishment of discernment. This, bhikkhus, is the highest of equalities: a stream-enterer is equal to a stream-enterer, a once- returner is equal to a once-returner, a non-returner is equal to a non-returner, and an arahant is equal to an arahant. This, bhikkhus, is called the power of congeniality.
imāni kho, bhikkhave, cattāri balāni. These, bhikkhus, are the four powers.
“imehi kho, bhikkhave, catūhi balehi samannāgato ariyasāvako pañca bhayāni samatikkanto hoti. katamāni pañca? ājīvikabhayaṃ, asilokabhayaṃ, parisasārajjabhayaṃ, maraṇabhayaṃ, duggatibhayaṃ. A noble disciple who is possessed of these four powers has transcended five fears. Which five? The fear about his livelihood, the fear of bad reputation, the fear of timidity in assemblies, the fear of death, and the fear of a bad destination.

♦ There are also sets of two balas. The most prominent is that of reflection (paṭisaṅkhāna) and bhāvanā:

AN 2.12

“dvemāni, bhikkhave, balāni. katamāni dve? paṭisaṅkhānabalañca bhāvanābalañca. There are, bhikkhus, these two powers. Which two? The power of reflection and the power of development.
katamañca, bhikkhave, paṭisaṅkhānabalaṃ? idha, bhikkhave, ekacco iti paṭisañcikkhati: ‘kāyaduccaritassa kho pāpako vipāko diṭṭhe ceva dhamme abhisamparāyañca, vacīduccaritassa pāpako vipāko diṭṭhe ceva dhamme abhisamparāyañca, manoduccaritassa pāpako vipāko diṭṭhe ceva dhamme abhisamparāyañcā’ti. so iti paṭisaṅkhāya kāyaduccaritaṃ pahāya kāyasucaritaṃ bhāveti, vacīduccaritaṃ pahāya vacīsucaritaṃ bhāveti, manoduccaritaṃ pahāya manosucaritaṃ bhāveti, suddhaṃ attānaṃ pariharati. idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, paṭisaṅkhānabalaṃ. And what, bhikkhus, is the power of reflection? Here, bhikkhus, a certain individual reflects thus: ‘Misconduct in body brings bad result in this visible world as well as in existence to come. Misconduct in speech brings bad result in this visible world as well as in existence to come. Misconduct in mind brings bad result in this visible world as well as in existence to come.’ Having reflected thus, he abandons misconduct in body and cultivates good conduct in body, he abandons misconduct in speech and cultivates good conduct in speech, he abandons misconduct in mind and cultivates good conduct in mind, and he maintains himself pure. This, bhikkhus, is called the power of reflection.

The bhāvanā·bala is then defined as the seven bojjhaṅgas, each punctuated with the formula: viveka·nissitaṃ virāga·nissitaṃ nirodhanissitaṃ vossagga·pariṇāmiṃ (based on detachment/ seclusion, based on desirelessness, based on cessation, resulting in release).

At AN 2.13, the bhāvanā·bala is defined as the four jhānas.

AN 2.52 mentions the power of persuasion (saññatti·bala) and the power of favorable disposition (nijjhatti·bala), in the context of an assembly of monks discussing a disciplinary issue (adhikaraṇa). AN 2.171 mentions sati·bala and samādhi·bala.

♦ Two suttas mention the powers of an arahant. The most complete, AN 10.90, mentions:

– Having seen all saṅkhāras as they actually are with proper discernment as impermanent (aniccato sabbe saṅkhārā yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya sudiṭṭhā honti).

– Having seen kāma as they actually are with proper discernment as smilar to a pit of glowing embers (aṅgārakāsūpamā kāmā yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya sudiṭṭhā honti).

– Being naturally inclined to seclusion, delighting in renunciation, and being completely finished with all states that are a basis for mental impurities (vivekaninnaṃ cittaṃ hoti … vivekaṭṭhaṃ nekkhammābhirataṃ byantībhūtaṃ sabbaso āsavaṭṭhāniyehi dhammehi).

– The remaining seven items cover the 37 bodhi·pakkhiya·dhammās.

♦ The powers of the Tathāgata are sometimes enumerated as six, but in their fullest exposition, there are ten of them:

AN 10.21

“dasayimāni, bhikkhave, tathāgatassa tathāgatabalāni… katamāni dasa? Bhikkhus, there are these ten Tathāgata’s powers… What ten?
idha, bhikkhave, tathāgato ṭhānañca ṭhānato aṭṭhānañca aṭṭhānato yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti… Here, the Tathāgata understands as it really is the possible as possible and the impossible as impossible…
“puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, tathāgato atītānāgatapaccuppannānaṃ kammasamādānānaṃ ṭhānaso hetuso vipākaṃ yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti… Again, the Tathāgata understands as it really is the result of the undertaking of kamma past, future, and present in terms of possibilities and causes…
“puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, tathāgato sabbatthagāminiṃ paṭipadaṃ yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti… Again, the Tathāgata understands as it really is the ways leading everywhere…
“puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, tathāgato anekadhātuṃ nānādhātuṃ lokaṃ yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti… Again, the Tathāgata understands as it really is the world with its numerous and diverse elements…
“puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, tathāgato sattānaṃ nānādhimuttikataṃ yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti… Again, the Tathāgata understands as it really is the diversity in the dispositions of beings…
“puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, tathāgato parasattānaṃ parapuggalānaṃ indriyaparopariyattaṃ yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti… Again, the Tathāgata understands as it really is the superior or inferior condition of the faculties of other beings and persons…
“puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, tathāgato jhānavimokkhasamādhisamāpattīnaṃ saṃkilesaṃ vodānaṃ vuṭṭhānaṃ yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti… Again, the Tathāgata understands as it really is the defilement, the cleansing, and the emergence in regard to the jhānas, emancipations, concentrations, and meditative attainments…
“puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, tathāgato anekavihitaṃ pubbenivāsaṃ anussarati… Again, the Tathāgata recollects his manifold past abodes…
“puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, tathāgato dibbena cakkhunā visuddhena atikkantamānusakena satte passati cavamāne upapajjamāne hīne paṇīte suvaṇṇe dubbaṇṇe, sugate duggate yathākammūpage satte pajānāti… Again, with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, the Tathāgata sees beings passing away and being reborn, inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and he understands how beings fare in accordance with their kamma…
“puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, tathāgato āsavānaṃ khayā anāsavaṃ cetovimuttiṃ paññāvimuttiṃ diṭṭheva dhamme sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja viharati. Again, with the destruction of the taints, the Tathāgata has realized for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life, the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, and having entered upon it, he dwells in it.

♦ Several discourses, list five powers of a woman (mātugāmassa bala):

SN 37.25

“pañcimāni, bhikkhave, mātugāmassa balāni. katamāni pañca? rūpabalaṃ, bhogabalaṃ, ñātibalaṃ, puttabalaṃ, sīlabalaṃ. There are, bhikkhus, these five powers of a woman. Which five? The power of attractiveness, the power of wealth, the power of relatives, the power of children, and the power of virtue.

♦ The Bala Sutta proposes a list of eight miscellaneous powers:

AN 8.27

“aṭṭhimāni, bhikkhave, balāni. katamāni aṭṭha? ruṇṇabalā, bhikkhave, dārakā, kodhabalā mātugāmā, āvudhabalā corā, issariyabalā rājāno, ujjhattibalā bālā, nijjhattibalā paṇḍitā, paṭisaṅkhānabalā bahussutā, khantibalā samaṇabrāhmaṇā. imāni kho, bhikkhave, aṭṭha balānī”ti. Bhikkhus, there are these eight powers. What eight? The power of children is weeping; the power of women is anger; the power of thieves is a weapon; the power of kings is sovereignty; the power of fools is to complain; the power of the wise is to deliberate; the power of the learned is reflection; the power of ascetics and brahmins is patience. These are the eight powers.

These powers all have in common that they allow one who possesses them to solve their most recurrent problems, but their nature vary widely, from annoyance to threat, to inner good qualities.

Ce contenu a été publié dans Non classé. Vous pouvez le mettre en favoris avec ce permalien.

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse de messagerie ne sera pas publiée.