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Cetanā (Sanskrit, Pali; Tibetan Wylie: sems pa) is a Buddhist term commonly translated as "volition", "intention", "directionality", etc. It can be defined as a mental factor that moves or urges the mind in a particular direction, toward a specific object or goal. Cetanā is identified within the Buddhist teachings as follows:

  • One of the seven universal mental factors in the Theravada Abhidharma.
  • One of the Ten mahā-bhūmika in Sarvastivada Abhidharma.
  • One of the five universal mental factors in the Mahayana Abhidharma
  • The most significant mental factor involved in the creation of karma.