Ten powers of a buddha
Ten powers of a buddha are powers that are unique to the buddhas that identified in both Pali and Sanskrit sources, where they are described as "powers of knowing" (jñāna-bala). They are also called ten powers or ten strengths.
The ten powers are:
- (1) knowing what is possible and what is impossible (sthānāsthāna-jñānabala, gnas dang gnas ma yin pa mkhyen pa);
- (2) knowing the ripening of karma (karmavipākajñānabala, las kyi rnam smin mkhyen pa);
- (3) knowing the various inclinations (nānādhimuktijñānabala, mos pa sna tshogs mkhyen pa);
- (4) knowing the various elements (nānādhātujñānabala, khams sna tshogs mkhyen pa);
- (5) knowing the supreme and lesser faculties (indriyaparāparajñānabala, dbang po mchog dang mchog ma yin pa mkhyen pa);
- (6) knowing the paths that lead to all destinations (sarvatragāminīpratipajjñānabala, thams cad du ’gro ba’i lam mkhyen pa);
- (7) knowing the concentrations, liberations, absorptions, equilibriums, afflictions, purifications, and abidings (dhyānavimokṣasamādhisamāpattisaṃkleśavyavadānavyutthānajñānabala, bsam gtan dang rnam thar dang ting ’dzin dang snyoms ’jug dang kun nas nyon mongs pa dang rnam par byang ba dang ldan ba thams cad mkhyen pa);
- (8) knowing the recollection of past existences (pūrvanivāsānusmṛtijñānabala, sngon gyi gnas rjes su dran pa mkhyen pa);
- (9) knowing death and rebirth (cyutyupapattijñānabala, ’chi ’pho ba dang skye ba mkhyen pa); and
- (10) knowing the exhaustion of the defilements (āsravakṣayajñānabala, zag pa zad pa mkhyen pa).
The list if found in numerous sources. For example, the list is found in the Mahāvyutpatti (119–129).
For a list of canonical references to the ten powers, see Lamotte 2001, pp. 1234–35. As Lamotte points out, there are numerous minor variations in the order of these ten powers in the various canonical sources. For a detailed presentation of each of the ten powers, see Lamotte, pp. 1235–79.
- Ten powers (glossary)
- The Precious Discourse on the Blessed One’s Extensive Wisdom That Leads to Infinite Certainty, "Introduction"
- Ten strengths
- Robert E. Buswell Jr., Donald S. Lopez Jr., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Princeton: 2014), s.v. bala
- Lamotte, Étienne. The Treatise on the Great Virtue of Wisdom of Nāgārjuna (Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra), Vol. III. Translated from the French (Le Traité de la grande Vertu de Sagesse de Nāgārjuna (Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra)) by Gelongma Karma Migme Chodron (unpublished manuscript, 2001). https://www.wisdomlib.org/buddhism/book/the-treatise-on-the-great-virtue-of-wisdom-volume-iii/d/doc82365.html.