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The Five Spiritual Faculties and Its Potential In Education

Spiritual progress are dependent of the emergence of Five Spiritual Faculties — faith, vigor, mindfulness, concentration and wisdom. The conduct of the sentient being is governed by his sense-based instincts and impulses.

As we progress in our spiritual practice, new spiritual forces gradually take over. In the end the five cardinal virtues dominate and shape everything we do, feel and think. These virtues are called, in Sanskrit and Pali, indriya, variously translated by faculties, controlling faculties, or spiritual faculties. The same five virtues are called powers (bala) if emphasis is on the fact that they are "unshakable by their opposites."

Control (indriya) as a spiritual faculty prevents the Five Evils from dominating the mind. Mindful practice such as the meditation of samatha, which calms the mind so that it carefully observes both the mind and the Five Consciousnesses in the meditation of vipasyana.

Thus self-control arises, not because of the calm mind, but because when the mind becomes calm, the Five Spiritual Faculties arise.

Despite meditation's use in cognitive behavior therapy, those faculties still arise within the secular setting and in the absence of Buddhist mindful practice. Without the use of Buddhist training, these faculties — without spiritual guidance mdash; are wasted. Thus, cognitive behavior therapy becomes a replacement for biomedical control through medication.

If the Western public education system allowed for meditation and Buddhist spiritual guidance, then it is possible for the student to excel under the current curricula. As a result of such spiritual training, not only would a child be ready for post-secondary education, s/he would be ready for the world.

There would be less behavior problems in children and consequently improvement in their ability to learn.


"The Way of Wisdom: The Five Spiritual Faculties", by Edward Conze. Access to Insight, 5 June 2010, .

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