The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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bala: Literally means power. Refers to the five powers (panchabalani), which are developed by strengthening the five roots or controlling faculties (indriya): faith or devotion (shraddha) which overcomes doubt and false beliefs; exertion or perseverance (virya) which overcomes laziness; perfect mindfulness (smriti) which overcomes forgetfulness; perfect concentration (samadhi) which overcomes distractedness; and wisdom (prajña) which overcomes ignorance.
See; the “thirty-seven limbs of enlightenment (bodhipakshika-dharma).”
Among various groups of powers the following five are most frequently met with in the texts:
(1) faith (saddhā),
(2) energy (viriya),
(3) mindfulness (sati),
(4) concentration (samādhi),
(5) wisdom (paññā).
Their particular aspect, distinguishing them from the corresponding 5 spiritual faculties (indriya), is that they are unshakable by their opposites:
(1) the power of faith is unshakable by faithlessness (unbelief);
(2) energy, by laziness;
(3) mindfulness, by forgetfulness;
(4) concentration, by distractedness;
(5) wisdom, by ignorance (see Pts.M., Ñāna Kathā).
They represent, therefore, the aspect of firmness in the spiritual faculties.
According to A.V.15,
(1) the power becomes manifest in the 4 qualities of the Stream-winner (sotāpannassa angāni),
(2) in the 4 right efforts (s. padhāna),
(3) in the 4 foundations of mindfulness (satipatthāna),
(4) in the 4 absorptions (jhāna),
(5) in the (full comprehension of the) 4 Noble Truths (sacca).
Cf. S.XLVIII.43; S.L. (Bala Samyutta).
In A.VII.3, the powers of moral shame (hiri) and moral dread (ottappa) are added to the aforementioned five Several other groups of 2 (s. patisankhāna-bala), 4, 5 and more powers are mentioned in the texts. -