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Dhātu, Mahā Dhātu

Cattāro Mahā Bhūtāni The Four/Six Great Elements


Satipatthana Sutta: The Four Great Elements
[DN 33]pp288
PTS, T.W and C.A.F. Rhys Davids, trans., Dialogs of the Buddha III #33 pp 228. 4:16; 6:16
WP, Walshe, trans, The Long Discourses of the Buddha, #33, pp491
BD: DN #33: The Compilation: 4.16; 6:16
[MN 28]
ATI: Middle Length Sayings, #28: The Simile of the Elephant's Footprint (Greater)
BD: Making an Earth Kasina
SN 2.14 Samyutta Nikaya, Nidana Vagga, Dhatu Samyutta Index page.



Pali MO Hare Horner Punnaji Bodhi Rhys Davids (Mrs)Rhys Davids Thanissaro Walshe Woodward
Dhātu Data, sense data, information element element element properties
paṭhavī earth extension Solidity earth extended, earthy extended, earthy earth earth-element (or extension) earth
Apō water liquid Fluidity water cohesive, watery cohesive, watery water water-element (or cohension) water
tejo fire heat Heat fire hot, fiery, heat hot, fiery fire fire-element (or temperature) heat
vāyo wind motion Motion air mobile, aerial, air mobile, aerial wind air-element (or motion) air
ākāsā space space ether Space space space space space space space
viññāṇa consciousness consciousness consciousness Cognition consciousness consciousness, thought consciousness consciousness consciousness-element consciousness



Pali Text Society
Pali English Dictionary
Edited by T. W. Rhys Davids and William Stede

Dhātu: (f.) [Sk. dhātu to dadhāti, Idg. *dhe, cp. Gr. τίθημι, ἁνά-θημα Sk. dhāman, dhāṭr (=Lat. conditor); Goth. gadeds; Ohg. tāt, tuom (in meaning *-=dhātu, cp. E. serf-dom "condition of . . .") tuon=E. to do; and with k-suffix Lat. facio, Gr. (ἕ)θηκ(α), Sk. dhāka; see also dhamma] element. Closely related to dhamma in meaning B 1b, only implying a closer relation to physical substance. ...- 1. a primary element, of which the usual set comprises the four paṭhavī, āpo, tejo, vāyo (earth, water, fire, wind), otherwise termed cattāro mahābhūtā(ni): D I.215; II.294; III.228; S I.15; II.169 sq., 224; IV.175, 195; A II.165; III.243;...- Singly or in other combns paṭhavī- S II.174; tejo- S I.144; D III.227; the four plus ākāsa S III.227, plus viññāna S II.248;...- 2. (a) natural condition, property, disposition; factor, item, principle, form. In this meaning in var. combns and applications, esp. closely related to khandha. Thus mentioned with khandha and āyatana (sensory element and element of sense-perception) as bodily or physical element, factor...Freq. also in combn kāma-dhātu, rūpa- arūpa- "the elements or properties of k. etc." as preceding and conditioning bhava in the respective category...nibbāna- the state of N. S V.8; A II.120; IV.202; J I.55;...vaṇṇa- form, beauty S I.131;...In these cases it is so far weakened in meaning, that it simply corresponds to E. abstr. suffix -hood or -ity (cp. -hood=origin. "form": see ketu), so perhaps in Nibbāna- =Nibbāna-dom....- (b) elements in sense-consciousness: referring to the 6 ajjhattikāni and 6 bāhirāni āyatanāni S II.140 sq. Of these sep. sota- D I.79; III.38;... dibbasota- S II.121, 212; V.265, 304; A I.255; III.17, 280; V.199; cakkhu- ...; mano-...; mano-viññāṇa- ...(c) various: aneka- A I.22; III.325; V.33; akusala-...; avijjā- S II.132; ābhā- S II.150; ārambha- S V.66, 104 sq.; A I.4; II.338; ṭhiti- S II.175; III.231; A III.338; dhamma- S II.56; nekkhamma- S II.151; A III.447; nissāraṇiyā dhātuyo (5) D III.239; A III.245, 290. See further S I.134, 196; II.153, 248 (aniccā); III.231 (nirodha); IV.67; A I.176; II.164; IV.385;...- (d) Different sets and enumerations: as 3 under kāma-, rūpa-, arūpa A I.223; III.447;...; under rūpa-, arūpa-, nirodha- ...- as 6 (pathavī etc.+ākāsa- and viññāṇa-): D III.247; A I.175 sq.; M III.31, 62, 240;...- as 7 (ābhā subha etc.): S II.150. - 18:...- 3. a humour or affection of the body...- 4. the remains of the body after cremation...a relic...- abl. dhātuso according to one's nature S II.154...S III.65.


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