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The Spiritual Faculties - Ajahn Nyanadhammo

The Spiritual Faculties - Ajahn Nyanadhammo

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Published by: Dhamma Thought on Aug 13, 2012
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11/14/2012

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T
HE
S
PIRTUAL
F
ACULTIES
Venerable Ajahn Nyanadhammo
 
The Spiritual Faculties 
by Venerable Ajahn Nyanadhammo 
Edited from a Dhamma talk given byAjahn Nyanadhammo atCittaviveka Buddhist Monastery (june 1998)in Sussex, Southern England.
Copyrightc
2003 The Sa˙ngha, Wat Pah Nanachat
For free distribution
“It is the spirit of 
d¯ ana
, freely offered generosity, which has kept the entire Buddhist tradition alivefor more than 2,500 years.”
Sabbad¯ anam dhammad¯ anam j ¯ ın¯ ati 
’The gift of Dhamma excels all gifts’This computer-edition of ’The Spiritual Faculties’ may be freely copied and redistributed electron-ically, provided that the file contents (including this agreement) are not altered in any way and that itis distributed at no cost to the recipient. You may make printed copies of this work for your personaluse; further distribution of printed copies requires permission from the copyright holder, which may beobtained upon notification. Any reproduction (in whole or part, in any form) for sale, profit or materialgain is prohibited.The AbbotWat Pah NanachatBahn Bung WaiAmpher Warin ChamrabUbon Rachathani 34310Thailand
1
 
The Spiritual Faculties
A Dhamma theme which is very close to my heart is the five
indriya
; the Five Spiri-tual Faculties. These Five Spiritual Faculties are the qualities of practice, the qualitiesof mind that one needs to bring to the spiritual path. There’s
saddh¯ a
, which is faith;
viriya
, energy;
sati 
, mindfulness;
sam¯ adhi 
, which is calm concentration; and
paññ¯ a
,wisdom. They become powers of mind through which the mind becomes very dy-namic and can end suffering.
Saddh¯ a
is often translated as faith, confidence or conviction. The Buddha said thatfaith comes from having seen that the human condition is unsatisfactory. It is imper-fect, wrought with dissatisfaction, discontentment, pain, grief, fear and anxiety. Hav-ing seen that, then the mind naturally seeks a path out of that state. It questions themeaning of life and how to find inner happiness.So this faith looks for a path out of suffering. For people who come across theBuddha’s words, to hear that there is a cause for unsatisfactoriness and that there isthe ending of unsatisfactoriness and a path to practice for that release: that brings thisfaith. It’s often because we haven’t understood
dukkha
– or because we think that
dukkha
shouldn’t occur – that we don’t leap forth to find a way out.Recently a lady came to speak with me explaining that a friend of hers had justgiven birth to a child, and the child had died. She was very upset because she wasgoing to be a godmother, and she said, “This shouldn’t happen, this is unfair”. Sothere is the presumption that life should be fair. But with experience, we start to seeand understand that life isn’t always fair. So
dukkha
is the unfairness of existence. Itis not a fair abiding.So, having seen
dukkha
, we seek a way out. In the case of that lady, having ex-perienced suffering, she came to the monastery and decided that she would practiceDhamma and share the merits of her practice with that deceased child. She beganseeking a way of dealing with suffering.When the Buddha described faith he talked about faith in four aspects; faith in theBuddha, the person who has become fully enlightened in this world and teaches thepath out of 
dukkha
, and in the Dhamma, those teachings of the Buddha; and in theSangha, those monks, nuns and lay-people who have realized that truth in their ownlives; and in the training. This last one means having faith that this practice we’redoing will yield results. Faith in the training also intrinsically implies faith in our ownabilities to realize truth: faith that we can do it.The lack of conviction in our own ability to do the practice is a common obsta-cle, so one of the responsibilities of a teacher is to encourage and uplift people. Thiswas one of the things that Ajahn Chah often did. I remember one time having a fewdifficulties and going to him. He was chatting, and he turned to me and said, “TanNyanadhammo, youve got very few defilements.” That was at a time when it seemed2

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