On Translating 'Dhatū'
After years (decades!) of saying that 'Dhatu' was our 'Data' and then trying to reconcile this with the usual 'element' and lately experimenting with something like characteristic, or attribute, I have finally seen what was in front of my eyes the whole time. The word means 'data.'
Earth, water, firelight and wind, space and consciousness, figuratively: solidity, liquidity, light and heat, motion, empty space and awareness are really the only things we know. That is the basic information we are given as living beings. This is the data we are given to work with.
We can touch it and it is solid. We can see that it reflects light. It is a conclusion that it is gold or silver.
We can touch it and it is partly solid aparently partly liquid under the surface. It moves around. It is warm. It is a conclusion that it is a living being.
It is important that we reach this level of perception in order to free ourselves from misconception, blindness, ignorance, the influence of education, programming, propaganda, and outright lies.
This is the meaning of the simile of The Crossroads where the four elements meet for a human being. It is at this level that we take off into the illusion of being. This is where 'being' begins, that is, in conceptualization built on this data.
As per usual here no thorough effort is going to be made to change this term throughout the site. I will change it where I come across it. Make note.