Seven Factors of Enlightenment
- Mindfulness (sati) i.e. to remember the Dhamma.
- Investigation (Dhamma vicaya) of the Dhamma.
- Energy (viriya)
- Relaxation or tranquility (Passaddhi) of both body and mind
- Concentration (Samādhi) a calm, one-pointed state of concentration of mind
- Equanimity (Upekkha), to be able to face life in all its vicissitudes with calm of mind and tranquility, without disturbance, with dispassion and detachment.
In the Sutta Pitaka's Samyutta Nikaya, the bojjhangas refer to wholesome, mundane factors leading to Enlightenment. In the Abhidhamma and Pali commentaries, the bojjhangas tend to refer to supramundane factors concurrent with Enlightenment.
- Bhikkhu: "Venerable sir, it is said, 'factors of Enlightenment, factors of Enlightenment.' In what sense are they called factors of Enlightenment?"
- Buddha: "They lead to Enlightenment, Bhikkhu, therefore they are called factors of Enlightenment...."
During meditation, one may contemplate the seven Factors of Enlightenment as well as on their antithesis, the Five Hindrances (sensual pleasure, ill-will, sloth-torpor, restlessness-worry, doubt). In addition, one Samyutta Nikaya Sutta identifies developing each of the enlightenment factors accompanied by each of the four brahma viharas (loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, equanimity).
In the Samyutta Nikaya's "Fire Discourse," The Buddha identifies that Mindfulness is "always useful" (sabbatthika); while, when one's mind is sluggish, one should develop the enlightenment factors of investigation, energy and joy; and, when one's mind is excited, one should develop the enlightenment factors of tranquility, concentration and equanimity.
Again according to the Samyutta Nikaya, once when The Buddha was gravely ill he asked Venerable Mahacunda to recite the seven Factors of Enlightenment to him. In such a way The Buddha was cured of his illness.
- "Strong Mindfulness ... is needed in all instances...."
- "When his mind is slack with over-laxness of energy, etc., then ... he should develop those [three enlightenment factors) beginning with investigation-of-states..." (i.e., Dhamma vicaya, Viriya, piti).
- "When his mind is agitated through over-energeticness, etc., then ... he should develop those [three enlightenment factors) beginning with tranquility..." (i.e., Passaddhi, Samadhi, Upekkha).
|Balancing Enlightenment factors & hindrances|
the balancing factor
In Meditation everyone most likely experiences two of the five hindrances (Pāli: pañca nīvaraṇāni). They are sloth and torpor (Pāli: Thīna-middha), which is half-hearted action with little or no collectedness and restlessness and worry (Uddhacca-Kukkucca), which is the inability to calm the mind.
As indicated above, in the "Fire Discourse" (SN 46.53), it is recommended that joy or rapture, investigation, and energy are to be developed when experiencing sloth and torpor. Relaxation, concentration, and equanimity are to be developed when experiencing restlessness or worry. Mindfulness should be constantly present to remain aware of physical change as well as mental change in either skillful or unskillful direction.