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Elements - Dhamma Wheel

Elements

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Reductor
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Elements

Postby Reductor » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:07 am

Pardon, I'm not sure where this inquire is best placed.

Earth, wind, fire, water! What the heck are these terms referring too? I would be especially interested their historical indian context, esp in relation to the old style 'physics' of way back then. Of course I would welcome any information you might have, but the historical might be the most illuminating.

:thanks:

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Kim OHara
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Re: Elements

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:30 am

Those four elements pop up all over the place in older systems of philosophy and science, sometimes accompanied by a fifth. Wikipedia's page is pretty basic but does at least give you most of them in one place. Start here:
... and don't believe everything you read. :tongue:
:namaste:
Kim

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cooran
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Re: Elements

Postby cooran » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:36 am

Hello Elements,

This might be of assistance:

Dhātu: 'elements', are the ultimate constituents of a whole.

The 4 physical elements dhātu or mahā-bhūta popularly called earth, water, fire and wind, are to be understood as the primary qualities of matter.
They are named in Pāli: pathavī-dhātu, āpo-dhātu, tejo-dhātu, and vāyo-dhātu In Vis.M XI, 2 the four elements are defined thus:,

Whatever is characterized by hardness thaddha-lakkkhana is the earth or solid-element;
by cohesion ābandhana or fluidity, the water-element;
by heating paripācana the fire or heat-element;
by strengthening or supporting vitthambhana the wind or motion-element.

All four are present in every material object, though in varying degrees of strength.
If, for instance, the earth element predominates, the material object is called 'solid', etc. - For the analysis of the 4 elements, see: dhātu-vavatthāna
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... 3_d.htm#dhātu

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

rowyourboat
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Re: Elements

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:18 am

If we stick solely to the suttas they seem to refer to different states that matter can exist- solid, liquid, air and plasma. This idea of hardness, cohesion etc seems to be a later development.

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With Metta

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& Upekkha

Individual
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Re: Elements

Postby Individual » Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:05 pm

Last edited by Individual on Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
The best things in life aren't things.


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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: Elements

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:06 pm

Last edited by Spiny O'Norman on Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: Elements

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:08 pm


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Stiphan
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Re: Elements

Postby Stiphan » Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:10 pm

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"And what is the earth property? The earth property can be either internal or external. What is the internal earth property? Anything internal, within oneself, that's hard, solid, & sustained [by craving]: head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, membranes, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, contents of the stomach, feces, or anything else internal, within oneself, that's hard, solid, and sustained: This is called the internal earth property. Now both the internal earth property & the external earth property are simply earth property. And that should be seen as it actually is present with right discernment: 'This is not mine, this is not me, this is not my self.' When one sees it thus as it actually is present with right discernment, one becomes disenchanted with the earth property and makes the earth property fade from the mind.

"And what is the liquid property? The liquid property may be either internal or external. What is the internal liquid property? Anything internal, belonging to oneself, that's liquid, watery, & sustained: bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, oil, saliva, mucus, oil-of-the-joints, urine, or anything else internal, within oneself, that's liquid, watery, & sustained: This is called the internal liquid property. Now both the internal liquid property & the external liquid property are simply liquid property. And that should be seen as it actually is present with right discernment: 'This is not mine, this is not me, this is not my self.' When one sees it thus as it actually is present with right discernment, one becomes disenchanted with the liquid property and makes the liquid property fade from the mind.

"And what is the fire property? The fire property may be either internal or external. What is the internal fire property? Anything internal, belonging to oneself, that's fire, fiery, & sustained: that by which [the body] is warmed, aged, & consumed with fever; and that by which what is eaten, drunk, consumed & tasted gets properly digested; or anything else internal, within oneself, that's fire, fiery, & sustained: This is called the internal fire property. Now both the internal fire property & the external fire property are simply fire property. And that should be seen as it actually is present with right discernment: 'This is not mine, this is not me, this is not my self.' When one sees it thus as it actually is present with right discernment, one becomes disenchanted with the fire property and makes the fire property fade from the mind.

"And what is the wind property? The wind property may be either internal or external. What is the internal wind property? Anything internal, belonging to oneself, that's wind, windy, & sustained: up-going winds, down-going winds, winds in the stomach, winds in the intestines, winds that course through the body, in-and-out breathing, or anything else internal, within oneself, that's wind, windy, & sustained: This is called the internal wind property. Now both the internal wind property & the external wind property are simply wind property. And that should be seen as it actually is present with right discernment: 'This is not mine, this is not me, this is not my self.' When one sees it thus as it actually is present with right discernment, one becomes disenchanted with the wind property and makes the wind property fade from the mind.

Individual
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Re: Elements

Postby Individual » Sat Oct 02, 2010 3:43 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


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Sobeh
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Re: Elements

Postby Sobeh » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:19 pm

The mistake is trying to get the dhatus to explain ontological reality; they don't. They simply explain the experiential reality humans share whereby all experiences of the external sense bases can be classed as one or another of the dhatus: earth, water, fire, air. It's similar to the five aggregates of form, feeling, perception, sankhara, vinnana - it isn't that we need to find out which of those five categories includes neurotransmitters, it's that any human experience will involve those five. So, too, any human experience of the external sense bases involves one or more of the dhatus.

As to the objective world that exists without human beings, the Dhamma has nothing to say. It isn't ontology, it's epistemology. Being clear on this point clarifies questions such as this.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Elements

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:24 pm


rowyourboat
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Re: Elements

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:10 pm

It is an experiential classification - something which far more powerful in personal transformation (if used in the right way) than a scientific explanation ever could do.

Also the 4 elements describe matter. The other two are space and consciousness. It does not contradict.

With metta

RYB
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Re: Elements

Postby Individual » Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:31 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


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tiltbillings
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Re: Elements

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:49 pm


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Sobeh
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Re: Elements

Postby Sobeh » Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:51 pm


Individual
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Re: Elements

Postby Individual » Sun Oct 03, 2010 5:16 am

The best things in life aren't things.


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tiltbillings
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Re: Elements

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Oct 03, 2010 5:29 am


Shonin
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Re: Elements

Postby Shonin » Sun Oct 03, 2010 5:53 am


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tiltbillings
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Re: Elements

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Oct 03, 2010 6:37 am


Shonin
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Re: Elements

Postby Shonin » Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:36 am

Oh yes, this is familiar, thank you.

A non-Mahayanist


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