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According to the Abhidharma teachings, all physical and mental faculties (Skt. indriya; Tib. དབང་པོ་, wangpo, Wyl. dbang po) are encompassed by a list of twenty-two faculties.[1]

1-6) The six sense faculties

These six control the apprehending of their individual objects. They are:

  • Visual faculty (Skt. cakṣurindriya; Tib. མིག་གི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. mig gi dbang po)
  • Auditory faculty (Skt. śrotrendriya; Tib. རྣ་བའི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. rna ba’i dbang po)
  • Olfactory faculty (Skt. ghrāṇendriya; Tib. སྣའི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. sna’i dbang po)
  • Gustatory faculty (Skt. jihvendriya; Tib. ལྕེའི་དབང་པོ་ , Wyl. lce’i dbang po)
  • Tactile faculty (Skt. kāyendriya; Tib. ལུས་ཀྱི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. lus kyi dbang po)
  • Mental faculty (Skt. manendriya; Tib. ཡིད་ཀྱི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. yid kyi dbang po)

7) Life faculty

The life faculty (Skt. jīvitendriya) controls the remaining in a similar class of sentient beings.

8-9) The male and female faculties


  • male sexual faculty (Skt. puruṣendriya) and
  • female sexual faculty (Skt. strīndriya)

form the respective physical supports for being male or female, are the basis for sexual pleasure, and control the unbroken continuity of births from a womb.

10-14) The five faculties of sensations

The five faculties of sensations control the experiences of the fully ripened results of karma. They are:

  • The faculty of pleasure (Skt. sukhendriyam; Tib. བདེ་བའི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. bde ba’i dbang po)
  • The faculty of suffering (Skt. duḥkhendriyam; Tib. སྡུག་བསྔལ་གྱི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. sdug bsngal gyi dbang po)
  • The faculty of mental ease (Skt. saumanasyendriyam; Tib. ཡིད་བདེ་བའི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. yid bde ba’i dbang po)
  • The faculty of mental discomfort (Skt. daurmanasyendriyam; Tib. ཡིད་མི་བདེ་བའི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. yid mi bde ba’i dbang po)
  • The faculty of indifference or neutrality (Skt. upekṣendriyam; Tib. བཏང་སྙོམས་ཀྱི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. btang snyoms kyi dbang po).

15-19) The five faculties that control mundane virtues

These faculties control the mundane virtues or the purity of detachment. They are:

  • The faculty of faith (Skt. śraddhendriyam; Tib. དད་པའི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. dad pa’i dbang po)
  • The faculty of diligence (Skt. vīryendriyam; Tib. བརྩོན་འགྲུས་ཀྱི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. brtson ‘grus kyi dbang po)
  • The faculty of mindfulness (Skt. smṛtīndriyam, Tib. དྲན་པའི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. dran pa’i dbang po)
  • The faculty of concentration (Skt. samādhīndriyam; Tib. ཏིང་ངེ་འཛིན་གྱི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. ting nge ‘dzin gyi dbang po)
  • The faculty of wisdom (Skt. prajñendriyam; Tib. ཤེས་རབ་ཀྱི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. shes rab kyi dbang po)

20-22) The three pure faculties that control supramundane virtues

The three pure faculties that control supramundane virtues of noble beings are:

  • the faculty of 'making all understood' (Skt. anājñātamājñāsyāmīndriya; Tib. ཀུན་ཤེས་པར་བྱེད་པའི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. kun shes par byed pa’i dbang po)
  • the faculty of 'understanding all' (Skt. ajñendriya; Tib. ཀུན་ཤེས་པའི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. kun shes pa’i dbang po)
  • the faculty of 'having understood all' (Skt. ajñātāvindriya; Tib. ཀུན་ཤེས་པ་དང་ལྡན་པའི་དབང་པོ་, Wyl. kun shes pa dang ldan pa’i dbang po)

These three are correlated to nine of the previous faculties (faith, diligence, mindfulness, concentration, wisdom, pleasure, suffering, mental ease and mental discomfort), of respectively, someone on the paths of seeing, meditation, and no-more-learning.

Because of this, faculties are therefore called 'controlling' faculties.


  1. List based on Mipham Rinpoche’s Khenjuk, Gateway to Knowledge, vol. I (Hong Kong: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1984 & 1997), page 67 & Philippe Cornu's article facultés, in Dictionnaire encyclopédique du bouddhisme, nouvelle édition augmentée (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2006), page 218.

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