The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Jīvitindriya (Sanskrit and Pali) is a Buddhist term translated as "life faculty" or "vitality". Jīvitindriya is identified as one of the seven universal mental factors within the Theravada abhidharma teachings. In this context, jīvitindriya is defined as a mental factor that sustains the life of the citta (mind) and other mental factors it accompanies. The characteristic of jīvitindriya is said to be “ceaseless watching”.
Within the Mahayana Buddhist teachings, there are a variety of definitions for jīvitindriya. The Dharmaskandhapadashastra (an early Abhidharma work of the Savastivadin school) defines jīvitindriya as: a faculty that persists, continues, maintains, animates, and operates what we called sentient beings.