What forces interact upon each other for a person to walk? Is it just the interplay of the senses and conditioning or is there free will/free action at play where you are actually the one choosing to walk?

  • This is where many need a bit of Abhidhamma. Actually, learning basics of Abhidhamma is needed, I think.
    – Blake
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 18:22

2 Answers 2


A physical way to (try to) escape suffering, good householder. Yet much faster as any vehicle, thats why the Buddha and his disciples chose this way for it. One all free will is obtained, it's furthermore best and most harmless way to share ones merits and give others possibilities to make merits till they possible one day will follow, walking from the houselife into the homeless and barefoot state. Giving freedom of fear and acting harmless for ones way out, is total free will, yet most wouldn't be willing, holding on.

Same for sitting, standing lying. Watch carefull what makes one(s') move. Kāyagatāsati.

It hardly works if making use of others effort, strength, but increases debt or uses old merits off.

Metta, right view, is the reason why one turns to walk, and the outwardly factor, aside of proper attention by listening, is association with wise. Otherwise it's just poorness that drives one to go on by feet.


According to Abhdidhama, there is a mental-factor (cetasika) called Intention (Cetana) but it is not free. It depends on conditions. Nevertheless it is an Intention.

The intention (cetana) to walk is arisen due to many conditions. (You can see it in the 24 causes in Patthana)

With the intention, and as a result of it, a physical force/push (Vayo dhatu) is arisen. This is called Cittaja-kiriya-vayo-dhatu according to the Abhidhamma.

Then this force (vayo dhatu) become a support (cause) to the physical body to move.

Vayo dhatu is defined as "The cause of movement (desantara-patubhuta-hetu)", which is Push/Pressure/Force.

A lesson series on such topics can be found at:

Fundamentals of Theravada Doctrine (International Institute of Theravada)

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