Other senses besides the 6 senses

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Other senses besides the 6 senses

Postby Jechbi » Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:11 am

A question regarding the twelve ayatanas: I get that there are the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind; as well as their corresponding objects of visible form, sound, smell, taste, touch and mental objects. But what about senses that don't clearly fall into any of these categories, such as equilibrioception?

The sense of equilibrioception seems to depend largely on the ear, but I don't think it could be regarded as a sound object. But it also seems to depend on sight and brain functioning, but it doesn't seem to be clearly a visible ayatana or a purely mental object, either.

And how about the radar perception of a being such as a bat? These animals appear to create an entire visual-like impression based on interpretation of touch objects and sound. Or bees, which seem to communicate with pheromones (people perceive pheromones too), but it hardly seems like a purely smell object. In these cases, the distinction between "touch" and "sound" and "visible form" seems to become blurred.

And I can imagine the possibility of a being who has sense perceptions with which human beings are not familiar. I'm wondering, would all such senses be understood as having their base solely in the 12 ayatanas? And if that is so, could there be more to the ayatanas than what we, in our human form, are able to perceive and understand?
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Re: Other senses besides the 6 senses

Postby Individual » Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:50 pm

Jechbi wrote:A question regarding the twelve ayatanas: I get that there are the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind; as well as their corresponding objects of visible form, sound, smell, taste, touch and mental objects. But what about senses that don't clearly fall into any of these categories, such as equilibrioception?

The sense of equilibrioception seems to depend largely on the ear, but I don't think it could be regarded as a sound object. But it also seems to depend on sight and brain functioning, but it doesn't seem to be clearly a visible ayatana or a purely mental object, either.

And how about the radar perception of a being such as a bat? These animals appear to create an entire visual-like impression based on interpretation of touch objects and sound. Or bees, which seem to communicate with pheromones (people perceive pheromones too), but it hardly seems like a purely smell object. In these cases, the distinction between "touch" and "sound" and "visible form" seems to become blurred.

And I can imagine the possibility of a being who has sense perceptions with which human beings are not familiar. I'm wondering, would all such senses be understood as having their base solely in the 12 ayatanas? And if that is so, could there be more to the ayatanas than what we, in our human form, are able to perceive and understand?

Yes, I'd have to agree that the six senses system is very basic and could be refined. Describing sensation based on the types of nerves involved is clearer, better system of classification than a basic "common sense" classification, which ambiguously lumps a bunch of unrelated sensations under "body-faculty", or doesn't really have a place for things like echolocation. Also, I don't even think Abhidhamma included things like the different types of perception -- of infrared light (viewing heat), ultraviolet, etc..

Also, although bats have echolocation, to a limited degree human beings have this same sense as well, especially men. When you hear a noise, you don't simply have a sense of volume, but also a limited sense of interpreting the acoustics. For an extreme example of this (aside from the stereotype of the blind monk who can do kung fu), see this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jqwdLPAocY

Now, is echolocation "hearing" or is it "seeing"? Because you're using your ears to figure out the location, size, and shape of objects, based on interpreting acoustics.
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Re: Other senses besides the 6 senses

Postby Jechbi » Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:39 am

That kid is amazing.
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Re: Other senses besides the 6 senses

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:45 am

I think many things are included under 'mind'
verbalization, visualization, computation, memory, recognition- so many very different things. I think balance comes under this as well, it clearly doesnt fall under the others
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Re: Other senses besides the 6 senses

Postby Jechbi » Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:40 pm

rowyourboat wrote:I think many things are included under 'mind'
verbalization, visualization, computation, memory, recognition- so many very different things. I think balance comes under this as well, it clearly doesnt fall under the others

But the perception of balance can clearly be tied to an organ in the ear. So why wouldn't it be part of the ear sense base? Since there is a physical organ involved in the perception of balance, why does balance fall under mind?

Also, I can't find a reference to the physical sense of balance being categorized with the mind-related ayatana. Could you point me in the right direction?

:thanks:
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Re: Other senses besides the 6 senses

Postby karuna_murti » Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:25 pm

Long time ago scientist have stopped dividing senses into five senses. Temperature, direction, balance, and so on.
People even making gadget to "enhance" that extra senses. For example a belt that vibrate according to a goal that has been set. Just like a compass. But that thing is awkward, buzzing sound coming from your crotch.

I can see why senses only divide into five + mind. If one meditate and noting hot, cold, soft touch, sharp touch, pain, I can imagine it only makes mind wandering.
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Re: Other senses besides the 6 senses

Postby Jechbi » Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:40 am

I'm guessing that the answers are going to turn out to be:
Jechbi wrote:.. would all such senses be understood as having their base solely in the 12 ayatanas?
Yes.
Jechbi wrote:And if that is so, could there be more to the ayatanas than what we, in our human form, are able to perceive and understand?
Yes.

Even though the sense of balance is tied to an organ in the ear, I'm guessing it's a body-related ayatana.

This article, "AYATANAS, SENSORS AND SENSING," is interesting (will open .pdf file).
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Re: Other senses besides the 6 senses

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Jul 03, 2009 2:50 pm

the 'sense' of balance is a sense- not a sound
so even though it might be physcially located in the ear, that has nothing to do with experiential buddhism (in which the experience of something takes precedence over everything else)

how does one decide if something is mind or matter- nama or rupa?
if something is made up of the 4 elements (fire, wind, earth, water) then it is physical
clearly the sense of balance is a mental component
it would come under mano (mind) ayatana
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Re: Other senses besides the 6 senses

Postby Jechbi » Sat Jul 04, 2009 6:05 am

Hi Row,
rowyourboat wrote:the 'sense' of balance is a sense- not a sound
so even though it might be physcially located in the ear, that has nothing to do with experiential buddhism (in which the experience of something takes precedence over everything else)
You could say the same of the 'sense' of hearing. The 'sense' of hearing is a sense, not a sound. So even though it might be physically located in the ear, that has nothing to do with experiential Buddhism etc.? Not sure where that gets us exactly. Seems to be skirting the issue, which is that one experiences balance through a physical sense organ, just as one experiences sound through a physical sense organ. Or maybe you're saying the ayatana descriptions bear no meaningful relationship to the actual sense organs of the human body?

rowyourboat wrote:how does one decide if something is mind or matter- nama or rupa?
if something is made up of the 4 elements (fire, wind, earth, water) then it is physical
clearly the sense of balance is a mental component
The same could be said of the 'sense' of hearing, or the 'sense' of sight.
rowyourboat wrote:it would come under mano (mind) ayatana
Wouldn't that mean that there are only mind-related ayatanas then? Because none of the 'senses' are physical in the framework as you've laid it out.

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Re: Other senses besides the 6 senses

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:59 am

this is not making us any wiser and probably give rise to some defilements down the line- including attachment to 'my' view! So peace :namaste:
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