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Adhiṭṭhāna (Pali; from adhi meaning "higher" or "best" plus sthā meaning "standing") has been translated as "decision," "resolution," "self-determination," "will" and "resolute determination." In the late canonical literature of TheravadaBuddhism, adhiṭṭhāna is one of the ten "perfections" (dasa pāramiyo), exemplified by the bodhisatta's resolve to become fully awakened.
Pali Canon texts
While adhiṭṭhāna appears sporadically in the early Pali Canon, various late-canonical and post-canonical accounts of the Buddha's past lives clearly contextualize adhiṭṭhāna within the Theravadin tenfold perfections.
In the late-canonical Cariyapitaka, there is one account explicitly exemplifying adhiṭṭhāna, that of "Temiya the Wise" (Cp III.6, Temiya paṇḍita cariyaṃ). In this account, at an early age Temiya, sole heir to a throne, recalls a past life in purgatory (niraya) and thus asks for release (kadāhaṃ imaṃ muñcissaṃ). In response, a compassionate devatā advises Temiya to act unintelligent and foolish and to allow himself to be an object of people's scorn. Understanding the devatā's virtuous intent, Temiya agrees to this and acts as if mute, deaf and crippled. Seeing these behaviors but finding no physiological basis for them, priests, generals and countrymen decry Temiya as "inauspicious" and plan to have Temiya cast out. When Temiya is sixteen years old, he is ceremonially anointed and then buried in a pit. The account concludes:
... I did not break that resolute determination which was for the sake of Awakening itself. Mother and father were not disagreeable to me and nor was self disagreeable to me. Omniscience [sabbaññuta] was dear to me, therefore I resolutely determined on that itself. Resolutely determining on those factors I lived for sixteen years. There was no one equal to me in resolute determination — this was my perfection of Resolute Determination.
↑Rhys Davids & Stede (1921-25), p. 28, entry for "Adhiṭṭhāna" (retrieved 2007-06-28). As further noted in Rhys Davids & Stede, in the Pali Canon, adhiṭṭhāna can at times be wrongly motivated, connoting "obstinancy," as indicated by the Pali phrase adhiṭṭhāna-abhinivesa-anusayā, "obstinacy, prejudice and bias" (p. 44, definition for anusaya).