Will is the first foundation of spiritual power and even the foundation for the other foundations. Developing Right Will involves developing the right intention for why spiritual power is being developed. If there are selfish reasons for the aspiration for developing spiritual power, then it will not be a solid basis. Only a purified aspiration to become enlightened for the benefit of all beings will be the foundation.
Mahāvagga / Iddhipādasamyutta
Samyutta Nikāya / Pali Canon
( ‘Connected Discourses’, page 1729, Bikkhu Bodhi )
If one gains concentration, gains one pointedness of mind based on will (chanda / kattukamyatāchanda), this is called concentration due to will. One generates the will for nonarising and abandoning of unarisen evil unwholesome states; one makes an effort, arouses energy, applies the mind and strives. One generates will for the arising and maintenance of un-arisen wholesome states, for their non-decay, increase, expansion, and fulfillment by development; one makes the effort, arouses energy, applies the mind and strives. These are called volitional formations (sankhara) of striving. This this will and this concentration due to desire and these volitional formations of striving: this is called the basis for spiritual power that possesses concentration due to will and volitional formations of striving.
• Suffering / Loss as fuel for awakening.
Ajahn Sucitto states:
Sometimes taṇhā is translated as “desire,” but that gives rise to some crucial misinterpretations with reference to the way of Liberation. As we shall see, some form of desire is essential in order to aspire to, and persist in, cultivating the path out of dukkha. Desire as an eagerness to offer, to commit, to apply oneself to meditation, is called chanda. It’s a psychological “yes,” a choice, not a pathology. In fact, you could summarize Dhamma training as the transformation of taṇhā into chanda. It’s a process whereby we guide volition, grab and hold on to the steering wheel, and travel with clarity toward our deeper well-being. So we’re not trying to get rid of desire (which would take another kind of desire, wouldn’t it). Instead, we are trying to transmute it, take it out of the shadow of gratification and need, and use its aspiration and vigor to bring us into light and clarity.
- aspiration (Jeffery Hopkins)
- desire to act (Bhikkhu Bodhi)
- desire as an eagerness to commit (Ajahn Sucitto)
- intention (Erik Pema Kunsang, Alexander Berzin)
- interest (Herbert Guenther)
- zeal (Nina van Gorkom)