Abhidhamma Study: Eighteen Elements(dhaatu)

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yawares
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Abhidhamma Study: Eighteen Elements(dhaatu)

Postby yawares » Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:17 pm

Dear Members,

:candle: Abhidhamma Study: Eighteen Elements(dhaatu) :candle:
[Presented by Dr.Tep Sastri @ SD/JTN/Mult]


Often I wonder what 'dhaatu' actually means. The English renditions of dhaatu have been :
element, principle, and property. But, the meanings of these three words are very different! Let me show you.

Element:

A fundamental, essential, or irreducible constituent of a composite entity; a member of a set;
an environment naturally suited to or associated with an individual; an environment naturally
suited to or associated with an individual; a distinct group within a larger community.
[Synonyms for element are: component, constituent, factor, ingredient.]


Principle:

A basic generalization that is accepted as true and that can be used as a basis for reasoning
or conduct; a basic truth or law or assumption; a rule or law concerning a natural phenomenon
or the function of a complex system; (law) an explanation of the fundamental reasons
(especially an explanation of the working of some device in terms of laws of nature).


Property:

Something owned; a piece of real estate; something tangible or intangible to which its owner
has legal title; possessions considered as a group; the right of ownership; title; a special capability
or power; a virtue; a construct whereby objects or individuals can be distinguished; any movable
articles or objects used on the set of a play or movie.


So, now you see my point -it is really confusing, isn't it?
.........................

Let's turn to CMA VII, Compendium of Categories, #37: the Eighteen Elements.

"The eighteen elements are : (1) the eye element(cakkhu-dhaatu), (2) the ear element(sota-),
(3) the nose element(ghaana-dhaatu), (4) the tongue element(jivhaa-dhaatu),
(5) the body element(kaaya-dhaatu), (6) the visible form element(ruupa-dhaatu),
(7) the sound element(sadda-dhaatu), (8) the smell element(gandha-dhaatu),
(9) the taste element(rasa-dhaatu, (10) the tangible element(pho.t.thabbba-dhaatu),
(11) the eye-consciousness element(cakkhuvi~n~naa.na-dhaatu), (12) the ear-consciousness element
(sotavi~n~naa.na-dhaatu), (13) the nose-consciousness element(ghaanavi~n~naa.na-dhaatu),
(14) the tongue-consciousness element(jivhaavi~n~naa.na-dhaatu), (15) the body-consciousness element
(kaayavi~n~naa.na-dhaatu), (16) the mind element(mano-dhaatu), (17) the mental-object element
(dhamma-dhaatu), (18) the mind-consciousness element(manovi~n~naa.na-dhaatu).

********************
:heart: Love Buddha's dhamma,
yawares/sirikanya :heart:

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gavesako
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Re: Abhidhamma Study: Eighteen Elements(dhaatu)

Postby gavesako » Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:30 pm

Yes, indeed it is hard to find a good translation for this Pali word "dhatu".

There are many things called "dhatu" in the Pali texts, see:

(THE ELEMENTS)
4. "But, venerable sir, in what way can a monk be called skilled in the elements?"
"There are, Ananda, these eighteen elements: the eye element, the form element, the eye-consciousness element; the ear element, the sound element, the ear-consciousness element; the nose element, the odor element, the nose-consciousness element; the tongue element, the flavor element, the tongue-consciousness element; the body element, the tangible element, the body-consciousness element; the mind element, the mind-object element, the mind-consciousness element. When he knows and sees these eighteen elements, a monk can be called skilled in the elements.
5. "But venerable sir, might there be another way in which a monk can be called skilled in the elements?"
"There might be, Ananda. There are, Ananda, these six elements: the earth element, the water element, the fire element, the air element, the space element, and the consciousness element. When he knows and sees these six elements, a monk can be called skilled in the elements.
6. "But venerable sir, might there be another way in which a monk can be called skilled in the elements?"
"There might be, Ananda. There are, Ananda, these six elements: the pleasure element, the pain element, the joy element, the grief element, the equanimity element, and the ignorance element. When he knows and sees these six elements, a monk can be called skilled in the elements.
7. "But venerable sir, might there be another way in which a monk can be called skilled in the elements?"
"There might be, Ananda. There are, Ananda, these six elements: the sensual desire element, the renunciation element, the ill will element, the non-ill will element, the cruelty element, and the non-cruelty element. When he knows and sees these six elements, a monk can be called skilled in the elements.
8. "But venerable sir, might there be another way in which a monk can be called skilled in the elements?"
"There might be, Ananda. There are, Ananda, these three elements: the sense-sphere element, the fine-material element, and the immaterial element. When he knows and sees these three elements, a monk can be called skilled in the elements.
9. "But venerable sir, might there be another way in which a monk can be called skilled in the elements?"
"There might be, Ananda. There are, Ananda, these two elements: the conditioned element and the unconditioned element. When he knows and sees these two elements, a monk can be called skilled in the elements.

MN 115 - THE MANY KINDS OF ELEMENTS - BAHUDHATUKA SUTTA



Also the "5 khandha" are called the "5 dhatu" in one Sutta, so it can be confusing for those who take these terms to be hard and fast definitions.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
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Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts

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yawares
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Re: Abhidhamma Study: Eighteen Elements(dhaatu)

Postby yawares » Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:39 pm

[quote="gavesako"]Yes, indeed it is hard to find a good translation for this Pali word "dhatu".
Dear Bhikkhu Gavesako,

I copied/posted your 18 elements @ SariputtaDhamma/JTN/Mult...so Tep/members can read.

I have The 5th Elements (DVD)/Thanks/wait for your Tudong story/hope you get my email about the sandals:jumping: ,
yawares
:anjali:

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yawares
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Re: Abhidhamma Study: Eighteen Elements(dhaatu)

Postby yawares » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:07 pm

[quote="gavesako"]Yes, indeed it is hard to find a good translation for this Pali word "dhatu".

There are many things called "dhatu" in the Pali texts, see:

[quote] (THE ELEMENTS)
Dear Bhikkhu Gavesako,

Tep asked me to post this for you:

I wish to thank Bhikkhu Gavesako for his comment on dhatu("elements") with a quote from MN 115 that provides other ways "in which a monk can be called skilled in the elements". The "reduction technique" used by the Buddha, which reduces the number of dhatu from eighteen to six and finally to two, also helps reduce my confusion. I no longer worry about the 18 dhatu because of the Buddha's assurance that knowing and seeing the conditioned and the unconditioned is enough to be skillful in the elements.

Thanks,
Tep


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