Will in Sanskrit

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at EARTHLINK.NET
Fri May 9 07:29:46 UTC 2008

I haven't seen the Bhikkhu Pasadika article, but generally in Buddhist
literature the term would be cetanA, in the sense of volition. "Will" is
used in many different senses in Western contexts: volition, choice,
fortitude, perseverance, etc. In medieval usage Intellect is a faculty of
analytic comprehension; Will the power of choosing between options. One can
find a variety of Sanskrit terms in the various traditions that cover these
senses and more. (adhimokSa, vIrya, etc.)

The idea of "Free Will" however is itself a problematic notion, implying an
autonomous self whose choices will be judged by a Supreme Being, determining
one's ultimate destiny. That is, Free Will only has meaning in a theology of

Will, in the sense of purposeful activity, zeal to accomplish, etc., can be
expressed many ways in Sanskrit.

Dan Lusthaus

----- Original Message ----- 
Am 09.05.2008 um 07:59 schrieb NAYAK Anand:

> What is "will" (as in "will-power" "faculties of intelligence and
> will"...)in Sanskrit? Does the Indian psychology admit such a
> faculty in man?  Can anyone help?

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