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.