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Saŋyutta Nikaya
Nidāna Vagga
14. [3.] Dhātu-Saŋyuttaɱ
I. Nānattavaggo Pathamo
i. Ajjhatta-pañcakaɱ

Chapter XIV
Kindred Sayings on Element
1 (a). Five (Discourses on) Internal Element

Sutta 1

Dhātu Sutta


Translated by Mrs. Rhys Davids
Assisted by F. L. Woodward

Originally Published by
The Pali Text Society
Public Domain



[1][wp][bd] THUS have I heard. On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying near Sāvatthi at the Jeta's Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

'I will teach you, brethren, the divesity in elements[1]. Do ye listen; give your minds thoroughly; I will speak.'

'Even so, lord,' responded the brethren.

The Exalted One said this: —

'What, brethren, is the diversity in elements?'

The elements of eye,
of visible object,
of eye-awareness;[2]

the elements of ear,
of sound,
of ear-awareness;

the elements of nose,
of odour,
of nose-awareness;

the elements of tongue,
of taste,
of tongue-awareness;

the elements of body,
of tangibles,
of body-awareness;

the elements of mind,
of ideas,
of mind-awareness:

this, brethren, is called the diversity in elements.'


[1] 'Element' is by no means a good fit for dhātu, but it is difficult to find any better single word. In itself it may mean what the commentators say it does (cf. S.Z. Aung's note, Compendium, p. 254 f.), 'that which bears its own intrinsic nature' — an ultimate — or 'its own characteristic mark'; something not reducible to simpler terms. But in relation to life and conduct — and Buddhist interest in it was limited to that — it seems to mean the wherewithal, the datum, the sine qua non, given which some given experience can be had; any 'set of conditions.' In this section we are concerned with those 'conditions' without which we can have no sense-, or mundane experience.

[2] Or consciousness (viññāṇa).

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