21. The Cultivation of Buddhist Virtues Perfection with Five Mental Faculties

The Cultivation
of Buddhist Virtues Perfection
with Five Mental Faculties (Indriya)

Pittaya Wong +
27 October 2017

In pursuit of the ten Buddhist virtues perfection which comprises of (1) generosity (2) moral discipline (3) renunciation (4) wisdom (5) perseverance (6) patience (7) truthfulness (8) resolution (9) loving kindness and (10) equanimity, one relies on ‘the five mental faculties’ which means the mental capability as the basis for mental cultivation.  The five mental faculties are (i) faith (ii) perseverance (iii) mindfulness (iv) mental concentration and (v) wisdom.  An individual may have all of the five mental faculties for the pursuit of the ten Buddhist virtues perfection whereas any of the five mental faculties is dominant or leading.  The leading mental faculty can be (1) wisdom, in case of the wisdom-oriented one (2) faith, in case of the faith-oriented one and (3) perseverance, in case of the perseverance-oriented one while mindfulness and mental concentration are available in all of the three types.

The Wisdom-Oriented One relies on wisdom which is knowledge and understanding to dominantly cultivate the 10 Buddhist virtues perfection.  Thus, the cultivation is fulfilled in a timely manner whereas wisdom, as the dominant mental faculty, empowers the wise cultivation for the sake of Buddhahood.  One can achieve enlightenment with a shorter period of cultivation whereas the Buddha who attains Buddhahood as the wisdom oriented one can have the comparable scope of insight power when comparing to other common Buddha(s).

The Faith-Oriented One relies much more on belief and confidence upon the Buddhahood in cultivation of the 10 Buddhist virtues perfection dominated and empowered by strong faith.  Hence, the 10 Buddhist virtues perfection can be achieved and fulfilled within the moderate period of time.  However, one can attain Buddhahood and enlightenment with the similar scope of insight power like other common Buddha(s).

The Perseverance-Oriented One relies on endurance to cultivate the 10 Buddhist virtue perfections whilst one’s mind is empowered by strong perseverance in order to attain Buddhahood.  Therefore, one takes longer time to achieve enlightenment and becomes a Buddha who has the equal scope of insight power when comparing to other common Buddha(s).

To explain in a supernormal way, with the goal of enlightenment, individuals have the opportunity to comparably cultivate ‘Dhamma’ or virtues within the ranges of time period but the difference is ‘Dhatu’ (Punja Dhatu) or merit energy which is accumulated more or less.

For the Buddha-to-be individuals who wish to pursue perfections and become the last who pass away to the Nirvana, most of them are the Buddhist monks in Mahayana and Vajrayana Tradition.  We may address them in the supernormal ways as ‘the Persevering Wisdom-Oriented One’ or ‘the Persevering Faith-Oriented One.’  They are the Buddha-to-be individuals who cultivate Buddhist virtues perfection dominated by different mental faculties with longer or unlimited period of time until reaching accomplishment.

The pursuit of Buddhist virtues perfection is normally accounted with the period of time (aeon or sub-aeon); it is not accounted with the unit of merit energy volume or quantity.  To clarify this, we can use the analogy of 3 loafs of bread with the same recipe being baked in an oven (small, medium, and big).  The small one is well cooked with shorter period of time whilst the medium one requires a little longer time, and the big one takes the longest period of time.  When the three loafs of bread are cooked, their taste is the same, but the difference is their volumes.  The bigger ones have more volume for consumption when comparing to the smaller ones.  To explain this analogy, as different individuals cultivate Buddhist virtues perfection with different dominated mental faculties until completion which is Buddhahood enlightenment, the enlightened Buddha(s) have the same scope of insight capability but different quantitative and qualitative attributes as well as competency in leading fellow humans and celestial beings to attain the Nirvana.

Lastly, we can explain that the 10 Buddhist virtues perfection and merit energy require the mental faculties (wisdom, faith, and perseverance) for cultivation.  It takes shorter or longer period of time to cultivate both ‘Dhamma’ or quality of virtues and ‘Dhatu’ or volume of merit (Punja).  Both of them must be mutually developed until they lead to ‘enlightenment’ (path and fruition of the Nirvana) per one’s wish whether one has aimed to be simply an enlightened Buddhist disciple or a common saint, specialized enlightened Buddhist disciple, the left-sided or right-sided senior disciple, a Silent-Buddha, a common Buddha, or even an Imperial Buddha.