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The Five Hindrances



In the Nivarana Sutta of the Pali Canon, the Buddha said there are five hindrances to realizing enlightenment. These are (words in parentheses are in Pali):

  1. Sensual desire (kamacchanda)
  2. Ill will (vyapada)
  3. Sloth, torpor, or drowsiness (thina-middha)
  4. Restlessness and worry (uddhacca-kukkucca)
  5. Uncertainty or skepticism (vicikiccha)

The five hindrances can be overcome through mindfulness, and in particular mindfulness of the four frames of reference --

  1. Mindfulness of body (kayasati).
  2. Mindfulness of feelings or sensations (vedanasati).
  3. Mindfulness of mind or mental processes (cittasati).
  4. Mindfulness of mental objects or qualities (dhammasati).

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