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Five powers

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Thirty-seven factors of enlightenment
Sets of factors
1-4: Four foundations of mindfulness
5-8: Four right exertions
9-12: Four bases of miraculous power
13-17: Five spiritual faculties
18-22: Five powers
23-29: Seven aspects of enlightenment
29-35: Eightfold path
Related topics

The five powers (Sanskrit, Pali: pañca bala), or five strengths are:

  • Saddha-bala: power of faith
  • Viriya-bala: power of energy
  • Sati-bala: power of mindfulness
  • Samadhi-bala: power of concentration
  • Prajna-bala: power of wisdom

These powers are one of the seven sets of the thirty-seven factors of enlightenment. They are parallel facets of the five spiritual faculties.


Pañca (Sanskrit, Pali) means "five."[1] Bala (Sanskrit, Pali) means "power," "strength," "force."[2]

Relations between the powers

Faith and Wisdom balance each other, as do Energy and Concentration.

Relation to the five faculties

In SN 48.43, the Buddha declares that the five spiritual faculties are the five powers and vice-versa. He uses the metaphor of a stream passing by a mid-stream island; the island creates two streams, but the streams can also be seen as one and the same.[3] The Pali commentaries remark that these five qualities are "faculties" when used to control their spheres of influence, and are "powers" when unshakeable by opposing forces.[4]


  1. See Rhys Davids & Stede (1921-25), p. 387, entry for "Pañca," retrieved 2008-03-11 from "U. of Chicago" at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.2:1:971.pali; and, Monier-Williams (1964), e.g., p. 579, entry "Pañcaka," retrieved 2008-03-11 from "U. of Cologne" at http://www.sanskrit-lexicon.uni-koeln.de/scans/MWScan/MWScanpdf/mw0578-paJcAGguri.pdf.
  2. See Rhys Davids & Stede (1921-25), p. 482, entry for "Bala," retrieved 2008-03-11 from "U. of Chicago" at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.2:1:3245.pali; and, Monier-Williams (1964), p. 722, entry "Bala," retrieved 2008-03-11 from "U. of Cologne" at http://www.sanskrit-lexicon.uni-koeln.de/cgi-bin/serveimg.pl?file=/scans/MWScan/MWScanjpg/mw0722-barAsI.jpg.
  3. Bodhi (2000), pp. 1688-89.
  4. Bodhi (2000), p. 1511.


External links

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