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Pliancy or flexibility (Skt. praśrabdhi; Tib. ཤིན་ཏུ་སྦྱང་བ་, Wyl. shin tu sbyang ba or shin sbyang, shin jang) - one of the fifty-one mental states defined in Abhidharma literature. According to the Compendium of Abhidharma, it belongs to the subgroup of the eleven virtuous states. It is also an important characteristic of shamatha meditation, being one of the eight antidotes to the five faults in meditation, specifically the fault of laziness. It is said to be an essential prerequisite for reaching the preparatory stage of the dhyana levels and for the practice of vipashyana.


In the Khenjuk, Mipham Rinpoche says:

  • Tib. ཤིན་ཏུ་སྦྱང་བ་ནི་ལུས་སེམས་དགེ་བ་ལ་བཀོལ་བཏུབ་པའི་ལས་སུ་རུང་བ་སྟེ་གནས་ངན་ལེན་འཇོམས་པའོ།
  • Pliancy is the ability to apply body and mind to virtue. Its function is to overcome negative tendencies. (Rigpa Translations, Erik Pema Kunsang)

Sogyal Rinpoche says:

"The Tibetan word for ‘pliancy’ or ‘flexibility’, shin jang, means that you have some sense of how to ride your own mind. At first, you learn how to tame your mind. Having tamed your mind, you learn how to make friends with it. And having made friends with it, you learn how to make use of it. This is riding your mind. Shin jang is a very important term. It is often referred to as the fruition, or the complete accomplishment of shamatha. At that level you begin to develop what you could call ‘big shin jang’: your mind is soothed, your body is completely relaxed. But here, shin jang as an antidote is what you could call ‘early’ shin jang, not ‘final’ shin jang. Here, you are simply learning to make friends with yourself. You have some sense of relaxation and some sense of trust in yourself. You have become less paranoid about your own mind. You realize that your mind is workable and that there is an end to suffering from your mind, of your mind, with your mind, and by your mind."

Alternative Translations

  • refinement (Gyurme Dorje)
  • pliancy (Tony Duff)
  • suppleness