A. On term

Indriya is one of the most comprehensive & important categories of Buddhist psychological philosophy & ethics meaning “controlling principle, directive force, élan, δύναμις” in the foll. applications:

  1. with reference to sense-perceptibility “faculty, function”, often wrongly interpreted as “organ”.
  2. w. ref. to objective aspects of form and matter “kind, characteristic, determinating principle, sign mark” (cp. woman-hood, hood = Goth. haidus “kind form”).
  3. w. ref. to moods of sensation and
  4. to moral powers or motives controlling action, “principle, controlling” force.
  5. w. ref. to cognition & insight “category”. Definitions of indriya among others at Dhs-a.119; cp Expositor 157; Dhs trsl. lvii; Cpd. 228, 229.

B. Classifications and groups of indriyāni.

An exhaustive list comprises the indriyāni enumerated under A a-e, thus establishing a canonical scheme of 22 Controlling Powers (bāvīsati indriyāni), running thus at Vb.122 sq. (see trsl. at Cpd. 175, 176); and discussed in detail at Vism.491 sq

  1. sensorial

    1. cakkh-undriya (“the eye which is a power”, Cpd. 228) the eye or (personal potentiality of vision,
    2. sot-indriya the ear or hearing,
    3. ghān˚; nose or smell,
    4. jivh˚; tongue or taste,
    5. kāy˚; body-sensibility,
    6. man˚; mind.
  2. material

    1. itth˚; female sex or femininity,
    2. puris˚; male sex or masculinity
    3. jīvit˚; life or vitality.
  3. sensational

    1. sukh˚ pleasure,
    2. dukkh˚; pain,
    3. somanasa˚; joy,
    4. domanass˚; grief,
    5. upekh˚; hedonic indifference
  4. moral

    1. saddh˚; faith,
    2. viriy˚; energy,
    3. sat˚ mindfulness,
    4. samādh˚; concentration,
    5. paññ˚ reason.
  5. cognitional

    1. anaññāta-ñassāmīt˚; the thought “I shall come to know the unknown”,
    2. aññ˚ (= aññā) gnosis,
    3. aññātā-v˚; one who knows

■ Jīvitindriya (no. 9) is in some redactions placed before itth (no. 7), e.g. at Pts.i.7, Pts.i.137

■ From this list are detached several groups, mentioned frequently and in various connections no. 6 manas (mano, man-indriya) wavering in its function, being either included under a or (more frequently) omitted, so that the first set a is marked off as pañc’ indriyāni, the 6th being silently included (see below). This uncertainty regarding manas deserves to be noted. The foll. groups may be mentioned here viz 19 (nos. 1–⁠19) at Pts.i.137; Pts.i.10 (pañca rūpīni; pañca arūpīni) at Ne.69; three groups of five (nos 1, 5, 10, 14, 15, 19) at DN.iii.239, cp. DN.iii.278; four (group d without paññā, i.e. nos. 15, 18) at AN.ii.141; three (saddh˚, samādh˚, paññ˚, i.e. nos. 15, 18, 19) at AN.i.118 sq. Under aṭṭhavidhaṃ indriya-rūpaṃ (Cpd. 159) or rūpaṃ as indriyaṃ “form which is faculty” Dhs.661 (cp trsl. p. 204) are understood the 5 sensitives (nos. 1, 5) the 2 six-states (nos. 7, 8) and the vital force (no. 9) i.e. groups a & b of enumn.; discussed & defined in detail at Dhs.709, Dhs.717, Dhs.971, Dhs.973
■ It is often to be guessed from the context only, which of the sets of 5 indriyāni (usually either group a or d) is meant. These detached groups are classed as below under C. f
Note. This system of 22 indriyāni reflects a revised & more elaborate form of the 25 (or 23) categories of the Sānkhya philosophy, with its 10 elements, 10 indri, īni & the isolated position of manas.

C. Material in detail

(grouped according to A a-e)

  1. sensorial: (mentioned or referred to as set of 5 viz B. nos. 1–5): MN.i.295: SN.iii.46 (pañcannaṃ ˚ānaṃ avak kanti), SN.iii.225; SN.iv.168; AN.ii.151 (as set of 6, viz. B. nos 1–6): MN.i.9; SN.iv.176; SN.v.74, SN.v.205, SN.v.230; AN.i.113; AN.ii.16 AN.ii.39, AN.ii.152; AN.iii.99, AN.iii.163, AN.iii.387 sq.; AN.v.348. Specially referring to restraint & control of the senses in foll. phrases: in driyāni saṃvutāni SN.ii.231, SN.ii.271; SN.iv.112; pañcasu ˚esu saṃvuto Snp.340 (= lakkhaṇato pana chaṭṭhaṃ pi vuttaṃ yeva hoti, i.e. the 6th as manas included, Snp-a.343) ˚esu susaṃvuta Thig.196 (= mana-chaṭṭhesu i˚ suṭṭhu saṃvutā Thag-a.168) indriyesu guttadvāra & guttadvāratā DN.iii.107; SN.ii.218; SN.iv.103, SN.iv.112, SN.iv.175; AN.i.25, AN.i.94, AN.i.113 AN.ii.39; AN.iii.70, AN.iii.138, AN.iii.173, AN.iii.199, AN.iii.449 sq.; AN.iv.25, AN.iv.166; AN.v.134; Iti.23, Iti.24; Mnd.14; Vb.248, Vb.360; DN-a.i.182 (= manachaṭṭesu indriyesu pihita-dvāro hoti), i. vippasannāni SN.ii.275; SN.iii.2, SN.iii.235; SN.iv.294; SN.v.301; AN.i.181; AN.iii.380. ˚ānaṃ samatā (variant reading samatha) AN.iii.375 sq. (see also f. below ˚āni bhāvitāni Snp.516 (= cakkh’ ādīni cha i. Snp-a.426) Cnd.475 B8
    ■ Various: SN.i.26 (rakkhati), SN.i.48 (˚ûpasame rato); SN.iv.40, SN.iv.140 (˚sampanna); SN.v.216, SN.v.217 sq. (independent in function, mano as referee); Ps. i.190 (man˚); Vb.13 (rūpa), Vb.341 (mud˚ & tikkh˚), Vb.384 (ahīn˚)
  2. physical: (above B 7–9) all three: SN.v.204; Vism.447; itthi˚ & purisa˚ AN.iv.57; Vb.122, Vb.415 sq.; puris˚ AN.iii.404; jīvit Vb.123, Vb.137; Vism.230 (˚upaccheda = maraṇa). See also under itthi, jīvita & purisa
  3. sensational (above B 10–14): SN.v.207 sq. (see Cpd. 111 & cp. p. 15), 211 sq.; Vb.15, Vb.71; Ne.88
  4. moral (above B 15–19): SN.iii.96, SN.iii.153; SN.iv.36, SN.iv.365 sq.; SN.v.193 sq., SN.v.202, SN.v.219 (corresponding to pañcabalāni), SN.v.220 sq. (and amata), SN.v.223 sq. (their culture brings assurance of no rebirth), SN.v.227 sq (paññā the chief one), SN.v.235, SN.v.237 (sevenfold fruit of), AN.iv.125 sq., AN.iv.203, AN.iv.225; AN.v.56, AN.v.175; Pts.ii.49, Pts.ii.51 sq., Pts.ii.86 Mnd.14; Cnd.628 (sat˚ + satibala); Kv.589; Vb.341 Ne.15, Ne.28, Ne.47, Ne.54. Often in standard combn. with satipaṭṭhāna sammappadhāna. iddhipāda, indriya, bala, bojjhanga magga (see Mnd s.v. p. 263) DN.ii.120; Vin.iii.93, Pts.ii.166 & passim. As set of 4 indriyāni (nos. 16; 19) at Ne.83
  5. cognitional (above B 20–22) DN.iii.219 = SN.v.204 (as peculiar to Arahantship); Iti.53; Pts.i.115; Pts.ii.30
  6. collectively, either two or more of groups a-e, also var. peculiar uses: personal; esp physical faculties. SN.i.61 (pākat˚), SN.i.204 (id.); SN.iii.207 (ākāsaṃ ˚āni sankamanti); SN.iv.294 (vipari-bhinnāni); AN.iii.441 (˚ānaṃ avekallatā). magic power AN.iv.264 sq. (okkhipati ˚āni). indriyānaṃ paripāko (moral or physical) over-ripeness of faculties SN.ii.2, SN.ii.42; AN.v.203; Cnd.252 (in def. of jarā); Vb.137. moral forces Vin.i.183 (˚ānaṃ samatā + viriyānaṃ s. as sign of arahant); Vin.ii.240 (pañc˚). principle of life ekindriyaṃ jīvaṃ Vin.iii.156; Mil.259. heart or seat of feeling in phrase ˚āni paricāreti to satisfy one’s heart Pv-a.16, Pv-a.58, Pv-a.77. obligation, duty, vow in phrase ˚āni bhinditvā breaking one’s vow Ja.ii.274; Ja.iv.190.

D. Unclassified material

DN.i.77 (ahīn˚); DN.iii.239 (domanass˚ & somanass˚;) MN.i.437 (vemattatā), MN.i.453 (id.); MN.ii.11, MN.ii.106; MN.iii.296; SN.iii.225; SN.v.209 (dukkh˚, domanass˚) AN.i.39, AN.i.42 sq., AN.i.297; AN.ii.38 (sant˚), AN.ii.149 sq.; AN.iii.277, AN.iii.282; Pts.i.16, Pts.i.21, Pts.i.88, Pts.i.180; Pts.ii.1 sq, Pts.ii.13, Pts.ii.84, Pts.ii.119, Pts.ii.132, Pts.ii.143 Pts.ii.145, Pts.ii.110, Pts.ii.223; Mnd.45 (˚dhīra), Mnd.171 (˚kusala), Mnd.341 (pucchā); Dhs.58, Dhs.121, Dhs.528, Dhs.556 (dukkh˚), Dhs.560, Dhs.644 Dhs.736 Ne.18 (sotāpannassa), Ne.28 (˚vavaṭṭhāna), Ne.162 (lok’uttara) Vism.350 (˚vekallatā); Sdhp.280, Sdhp.342, Sdhp.364, Sdhp.371, Sdhp.449, Sdhp.473.

E. As adj

(-˚) having one’s senses, mind or heart as such & such SN.i.138 (tikkh˚ & mud˚); SN.iii.93 (pākat˚), SN.v.269 (id.); AN.i.70 (id) & passim (id.); AN.i.70 (saṃvut˚ AN.i.266 (id.), AN.i.236 (gutt˚); AN.ii.6 (samāhit˚); Snp.214 (susamāhit˚ his senses well-composed); Pv-a.70 (pīṇit˚ joyful or gladdened of heart).

F. Some compounds

  • -gutta one who restrains & watches his senses SN.i.154; Dhp.375.
  • -gutti keeping watch over the senses, self-restraint Dhp-a.iv.111. a paropariya, b paropariyatta & c paropariyatti (˚ñāṇa) (knowledge of what goes on in the senses and intentions of others a Ja.i.78; b AN.v.34, AN.v.38; b Pts.i.121 sq., Pts.i.133 sq.; Pts.ii.158, Pts.ii.175 b Vb.340, Vb.342; c SN.v.205; c Ne.101. See remark under paropariya.
  • -bhāvanā cultivation of the (five, see above Cd) moral qualities Vin.i.294 (+ balabhāvanā) MN.iii.298.
  • -saṃvara restraint or subjugation of the senses DN.ii.281; MN.i.269, MN.i.346; SN.i.54; AN.iii.360; AN.iv.99; AN.v.113 sq., AN.v.136, AN.v.206; Mnd.483; Ne.27, Ne.121 sq; Vism.20 sq.

Vedic indriya adj. only in meaning “belonging to Indra”; nt. strength, might (cp. inda), but in specific pāli sense “belonging to the ruler”, i.e. governing, ruling nt. governing, ruling or controlling principle