What is your lifeless mind object

     Visuddhi Magga XV

XV. The basics and elements

1. The 12 basics (āyatana)


There are twelve basics:


Organ of vision (cakkhu)Visual object (rūpa)
Hearing organ (sota)Hearing object (sadda)
Olfactory organ (Ghana)Olfactory object (gandha)
Organ of taste (jivhā)Taste object (rasa)
body (kāya)Body impression (photthabba)
ghost (manāyatana)Spirit object (dhamma)


With regard to this it says:

    One should know the explanation
    According to meaning, characteristics and scope,
    One after the other, briefly and in detail,
    According to the correct way of looking at it.

"According to sense": - With regard to the individual differences, the following applies:


The 'organ of vision' (cakkhu) is what sees (cakkhati), i.e. that which delights in the visual object and makes it clear. The 'visual object' (rūpa) is what is clearly shown (rūpayati), i.e. that which, by accepting the different colors, shows that it has entered the consciousness (heart).


The 'hearing organ' (sota) is what hears, the 'hearing object' (sadda, skr. sabda) that which is approaching (sappati = crawl, creep along), i.e. that which is brought up (udāharīyati, also 'uttered').


The 'olfactory organ' (Ghana) is what smells, the 'smell object' (gandha) that which smells, i.e. that which indicates its own basis.


The 'organ of taste' (jivhā = Tongue, organ of taste) is what life is (jīvita) calling (avhayati), the 'taste object' (rasa) what the beings taste, i.e. enjoy.


The body' (kāya) is reprehensible for the instinctual (kucchita) Things the source (āya), i.e. the place of origin. The 'body impression' (photthabba, literally the touchable) is what is touched.


The ghost' (mano) is what thinks (munāti), the 'mind object' (dhamma, literal carrier) that which has its own characteristic in itself.


With regard to the general declaration, the following applies: - As āyatana One has to understand what is active, what the 'penetrating things' (āya) 'stretches' (tan), or what the 'spread out' (āyata) 'directs' (nayati), Namely, it is said that the mind and spiritual things, conditioned by this or that of the sensory ports and objects such as the eye and the visual object, etc., all 'push forward' each time into their own function of feeling, etc. (āyatanti), rise, exert and toil. And it is said that the basics (organ of vision, etc.) those 'penetrated' (āya-) 'Stretch' things (tan) and spread out. And furthermore it is said that as long as this widely 'spreading' (āyata) Samsara suffering does not come to an end, carry it on (nayanti) and get underway. Thus, all of these things will, if you make an effort (āyatana), the things that have entered (āya) stretch (tan) and the spread (āyata) to steer (nayana), as āyatanas designated. (Above explanations of 'sadda, jivhā, kāya, āyatana', are nothing more than mere etymological play on words).


Furthermore, one likes āyatana also understand in the sense of residence, or in the sense of treasure trove, place of assembly, place of birth or condition. As a 'dwelling place' (nivāsa) namely applies āyatana in such phrases as 'the king's territory', 'the territory of Vāsudeva'. As a 'treasure trove' (ākara) applies āyatana in the words 'gold mine' or 'silver mine' etc. As 'meeting place' (samosarana-tthāna) applies āyatana in the teaching text (A. III. 38): "And in the lovely area (āyatana) the birds join him. "As a 'place of birth' (sañjāti-desa) applies āyatana in such sayings as: "The Dechan is the area (āyatana) the cattle. "As a 'condition' (kārana) applies āyatana in such sayings as (A. III. 99): "It is precisely in this that he achieves the ability to realize as soon as the 'basis' is there."


All those things like consciousness and mental factors have their seat in the sense organs and objects; because they therefore exist in dependence on it, the sense organs and objects form their 'dwelling place'. But insofar as those things are accumulated in the sense organs and objects; depend on it and have their objects in it, that is why the sense organs and objects form their 'treasure trove'. The sense organs and objects, however, are their 'meeting place' insofar as they meet there every time due to the physical foundations, gates and objects. The sense organs and objects also form their 'place of birth' because, taking them as a support and as an object, they themselves come into being there. The sense organs and objects are considered to be the condition of consciousness and spiritual things, because those things cannot arise without the sense organs and objects. The sense organs and objects are therefore referred to for these reasons as 'āyatanas'be it in terms of residence, treasure trove, meeting place, place of birth or condition. Accordingly, according to the explanation given, the organ of vision is the 'āyatana' 'organ of vision'. . . the mind object as that 'āyatana' 'Spirit object '.


In this way one has here to understand the explanation with regard to the meaning.


"According to characteristic": - One should also know the explanation here with regard to the characteristics of the sense organs and objects. These characteristics, however, must be understood in the manner indicated in the description of the groups.

"By scope": - With regard to the scope, it is said that the organ of vision and all other things are 'mind objects' (dhamma) be. But why does one speak of the 12 fundamentals in such a case? (āyatana) and not just from the 'mind object' basis (dhammâyatana)?


These things are classified and referred to as the 12 foundations in order to be able to determine the sensory ports and objects that form the basis for the emergence of the six groups of consciousness. For the consciousness group included in the process of visual consciousness, the basis 'organ of vision' is considered to be the gate of origin, and the basis of 'object of vision' is considered to be the object. The same applies to the rest (i.e. hearing consciousness, etc.). For the sixth consciousness group (spirit consciousness), however, only the one as 'subconscious' forms (bhavanga-mano) designated part of the spirit foundation (manâyatana = Total consciousness) the gate of origin, and only the spirit object basis, which has nothing in common with the five senses consciousness, counts as an object. Thus, in order to determine the portals and objects of origin in the six groups of consciousness (sight, hearing, smell, taste, body and mind), 12 fundamentals are taught.


This is how the explanation is to be understood in terms of scope.


"In order": - Here, too, exactly as with the order mentioned earlier, the order of presentation is again in place. Because the basis 'organ of vision', in that it possesses a visible sensitive object, stands out from the personal basis, that is why it is mentioned first. This is followed by the other basics such as the hearing organ etc. with their invisible sensitive objects. Or, of the personal foundations, the organs of vision and hearing are mentioned first because they are of great use, insofar as they form the basis for incomparable seeing and hearing (see A.VI.30). This is followed by the other three bases such as the olfactory organ etc. Finally, the base 'spirit' (the base 'spirit', manāyatana, is a collective name for all types of consciousness, is therefore not identical with the spirit element, mano-dhātu) called because it has all 5 sensory areas as objects. Since, among the external foundations, the visual object forms the area for the visual organ and the other objects for the other organs, these objects are always named immediately after the sense organs. In order to determine the reason for the emergence of consciousness, one has to understand this as their sequence. For it was said (M. 38): "Due to the eye and the visual object, the visual consciousness arises... The spiritual consciousness arises due to the spirit and the spiritual object (mano-viññāna). "In this way one has to understand the explanation here with regard to the order.


"Briefly and in detail": - In summary, all 12 fundamentals are considered to be 'spiritual and physical' (nāma-rūpa), to that extent namely the mind(mano)-Base and part of the mind object(dhamma)-Based in the spiritual(nāma) Included are the other fundamentals (the physical sense organs, their objects and some of the spirit objects) but in the physical (rūpa).


As far as the detailed explanation is concerned, however, the physical basis is initially the organ of sight (cakkhāyatana) according to its quality merely eye sensitivity; It is of various kinds with regard to the conditions of dependency, existence paths, groups of beings and persons. The same applies to the four other foundations such as the hearing organ etc. The basis 'spirit' (mano) is according to its division into karmic-wholesome, unwholesome, karma-worked and functional consciousness of 89 or 121 types.


With regard to its division according to the physical bases, the path, etc., however, the spirit base is infinitely multifarious. The basics of objects of sight, hearing, smell and taste are extremely varied in terms of their diversity, their conditions of dependence, etc. The body impression (photthabba) is threefold as earth, fire and wind element, but manifold with regard to its conditions of dependency etc. The spirit object (dhamma) is, due to the diversity of its nature as a group of feelings, perceptions or minds, as subtle corporeality (from the corporeal things come as objects of the mind, dhammâ-yatana, only considering the 18 'subtle' physical things) or as nirvana, of various kinds. In this way one has to understand the explanation in a short and detailed way.


"According to the correct way of looking at things": - One should understand from all these created foundations that there is no coming and going with them; for these do not come from anywhere before they arise, nor do they go anywhere after they have disappeared. Rather, without having a nature of their own before they arise and deprived of their own nature after their disappearance, they merely function between past and future life, being powerless due to the dependence on conditions. Hence one should know of them that there is neither coming nor going with them. Likewise, one has to understand them as inactive and without striving, because the eye or the visual object does not think: 'Oh, that on the basis of our consent the consciousness would like to rise!' Nor do they work towards it and strive to raise consciousness by means of their quality as sensory gateways, physical foundations or objects. But it is a law that when the organ of vision, the visual object, etc., work together, the visual consciousness, etc., arises. Thus, the basics are to be understood as inactive and without striving. Furthermore, the personal foundations (organs of the senses) are to be compared with an empty village, since they lack stability, beauty, joy and essentiality, while one has to compare the external foundations (objects) with the robbers attacking the village, since they are the personal foundations (Sense organs) arise. It says (p.35.197): "The eye, you monks, is attacked by pleasant and unpleasant visual objects." Furthermore, one should compare the personal bases (sense organs) with six animals (namely with snakes, crocodiles, birds, dogs, jackals and monkeys; ib. 206), but the external bases (objects) with their prey.


In this way one has to understand the explanation in terms of the correct point of view.


The detailed discussion of the basics ends here for the time being.



Vis. VX. 2. The 18 elements (dhātu)


Now we come to the elements. They are 18 in number, namely:


Organ of visionVisual objectVisual awareness
Hearing organHearing objectAuditory awareness
Olfactory organOlfactory objectOlfactory awareness
Organ of tasteTaste objectTaste awareness
Body organBody impressionBody awareness
Mind elementSpirit objectMind consciousness element


The following applies: -

One should know the explanation:


    According to meaning - characteristics, etc. -
    In order - by extent - counting -
    And also according to the conditions.
    According to the correct way of looking at it.


"According to sense": - Here the organ of vision is that which sees, the object of vision that is clearly visible, the consciousness of vision is the consciousness of the organ of vision; the same applies to the other elements. In this way one has to understand the explanation regarding the details of the organ of sight and the other elements.


As for the general explanation, the element applies (dhātu) than that which produces something (distributes; vidahati < dhā) or what is recorded (dhiyate), or the creation (vidhāna), or that by means of which something is produced 'vidhiyate'), or that in which something is consolidated. That is to say, the worldly elements, which are clearly delimited with regard to their quality as conditions, produce the manifold sufferings of the round of existence, just as gold ore, silver ore, etc., provide gold and silver. Furthermore, just as a load is picked up and carried by the load-bearers, so the elements are picked up and carried by the beings. But since these elements have no will of their own, they consist in the mere creation of suffering. And by means of these elements appearing as conditions, the beings produce the suffering of the round of existence. But brought about in this way, that suffering is consolidated in those very elements, and connects with it. Because every time one of the things like the organ of sight etc., as soon as it arises, produces something (vida-hati) and solidifies (dhiyate), for this reason it becomes in the sense of an element (dhātu) designated. Incidentally, it is not the same with the elements as it is with the 'I' (the 'personality') of those of different faiths (titthiya), that doesn't really exist; but these things have their own nature within them (dhārenti), and that is why they are considered elements.


Just as people call such brightly colored rock types as intoxicating yellow, red arsenic, etc., as elements, so too those things, just like these, count as elements, for they form the manifold components of what is known and knowable. Or, just as the element is also a name for body fluids, blood and other components that have dissimilar characteristics as the body (kāya, proper accumulation) valid accumulation, so too one has to understand 'element' as a designation for the components of the personality valid as the 5 groups; namely, these things like the eye, etc., are characterized by mutually dissimilar features. Furthermore, element is also a designation for something lifeless (soulless). In order to eradicate the belief in a living being, the Blessed One rejected the doctrine of the elements in such words as (M. 140): "From six elements (earth, water, heat, wind, space, consciousness: pathāvī-dhātu, āpo, tejo, vāyo, ākāsa, viññāna), O monk, there is man. "Thus, in the aforementioned sense, the organ of vision is valid as the element, and between the organ of vision element ... the mind-consciousness as the element, and between the mind-consciousness element.


This is how the explanation is to be understood here with regard to the meaning.


"According to characteristics, etc.": - One should also know the explanation with regard to the characteristics, etc., of the organ of vision and the other elements. Their characteristics, etc., are, however, to be understood exactly as in the manner given in the description of the groups.


"In order": - Here, too, of the order discussed earlier, only the order of presentation comes into consideration. This, however, is determined on the basis of the successive event and result.The two elements of the organ of vision and the object of vision form the occasion, but the element of visual consciousness the result. And accordingly it is everywhere.


"According to extent": - It is said that in these and those suttas (see M. 115) and Abhidhamma passages further elements are mentioned, such as the light element and the element of beauty; furthermore the elements: space infinity area, consciousness infinity area, nothingness area, neither-perception-nor-non-perception area (see X), extinction of perception and feeling; the elements: renunciation, benevolence and peacefulness; the elements: sensuality, ill will and cruelty; the elements: pain, well-being, happiness, misery, indifference and ignorance; the elements: elation, urge to will and persistence of will; the common, mediocre, and sublime element; the elements: earth, water, heat, wind, space and consciousness; the created and uncreated element; the world of manifold, diverse elements, etc.


But if that is the case, why have the elements only been limited to 18 and not all included! -Because all really existing things are included in it.


The light element, for example, is just the visual object element, and the beauty element is linked to the visual object. And why? Because beauty is a characteristic of the visual object. The attribute 'beauty' is the element of beauty, and this has no existence regardless of the visual object, etc. Or, the objects wrought by healing karma, such as the visual object, etc., are considered to be an element of beauty, and this is thus a mere visual object, etc.


In the elements of 'space infinity region' etc., consciousness is considered the spirit-consciousness element (manoviññāna-dhātu); and the remaining (related) things (like feeling, perception, etc.) are considered the mind-object element (dhamma-dhātu). The element 'suspension of perception and feeling' (state of extinction: XXIII), however, has no reality in itself, but is merely the suspension of the two elements (spirit-consciousness element and spirit-object element).


Or the element of 'sensuality' (kāma-dhātu, here sensual desire), counts merely as a mind-object element. As it is said (Vibh. III): "What is the element 'sensuality' here? It is the thinking, conception, contemplation connected with sensuality (sensual desire)." Or also, all 18 elements are considered sensuality (world of five senses, kāma-loka). As it says (ib.): "From below, from the Avici hell, up to those who dispose of the products of others (paranimmita-vasavatti) Heavenly beings: what has its area in this space and is included in it in terms of groups, elements, foundations, physical things, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness, that is called the 'sensual element' (five senses world). The element of renunciation (nekkhamma-dhātu) is only valid as a spirit object element. And after the words (ib.): "Also all karmically wholesome things (consciousness, etc.) are elements of renunciation", the spirit-consciousness element is also valid as such a spirit object. Also the elements ill-will and cruelty, benevolence and peacefulness, as well as the elements well-being (sukha), Woe (dukkha), Happiness (somanassa), Tribulation (domanassa) and indifference (upekkhā), Delusion, gathering up (ārambha-dhātu), Urge to will (nikkama) and perseverance of will (parakkama): these things, too, are only considered to be spirit-object elements.


'Common, mediocre and sublime element' are just the 18 elements, for the organ of vision and the other elements, if they are common, form the common element, if mediocre or sublime, the mediocre or sublime element. In the absolute sense, however, the karmic 'unwholesome' mind-object element applies (dhamma-dhātu) and mind consciousness element (manoviññāna-dhātu) as a common element, the worldly 'wholesome' and 'neutral' elements such as the organ of vision etc. but as a mediocre element, while the 'transcendent' spirit object element (Nirwahn) and the transcendent spirit consciousness elements (paths and path results) are regarded as sublime elements .


Earth, heat and wind elements are considered to be the element of body impression (photthabba-dhātu). Water and space elements are considered spirit object elements. The element of consciousness is a summary of the seven elements of consciousness, such as visual consciousness etc. (hearing, smell, taste, body consciousness, spirit element, spirit consciousness element).


As a 'created' element (sankhata-dhātu) 17 elements apply and in some cases also the spirit object element. The 'uncreated' element (asankhata-dhātu = Nirwahn) forms part of the spirit object element.


But the 'world of manifold and diverse elements' is merely the sum of the 18 elements.


Thus only 18 elements are taught, since all of the things that are really encountered are included in it.


These 18 elements were also taught in order to expel this view from those who suspect a soul being in their consciousness, which is essentially in the form of cognition. For there are beings who suspect a soul being in the consciousness which by its nature exists in cognition. For this the sublime has demonstrated the diversity of consciousness by breaking it down into elements of sight, hearing, smell, taste, body-consciousness, spirit-element and spirit-consciousness-element. On the basis of the activity of the consciousness, which is dependent on the organ of vision, the object of vision, and other conditions, however, it has shown its impermanence. And with the intention of driving out the belief in the soul that has long resided in those beings, he has shown the 18 elements. Furthermore, he has done this by adapting to the direction of the mind of those who can be taught in this way; and to those beings who are neither too brief nor too detailed exposition of the instruction accessible through such, he has expounded these 18 elements according to their spiritual direction.

    That is why he has shown briefly and in detail
    The truth so that, when the truth struck light,
    The darkness in the hearts of all who can be taught
    Disintegrates and dissolves in an instant.
    This is how the explanation is to be understood in terms of scope.

"By counting": - The 'visual organ element' initially counts in terms of quality as a single phenomenon, namely as eye sensitivity (cakkhu-pasāda). This is exactly how the elements of hearing, smelling, taste and body organs, visual, hearing, smelling and tasting objects count as auditory sensitivity, etc. The element 'body impression' counts as 3 things: earth, heat and wind element. The 'visual awareness element' counts as two things: as an effect (vipāka) wholesome (34) or unwholesome karmas (50). It is exactly the same with the elements of hearing, smell, taste and body consciousness (35 to 38; 51 to 54). The 'mind element' (mano-dhātu) but counts as 3 things: as' paying attention to the five senses gate (pañcadvārâvajjana; 70), and that in effect (vipāka) receptive consciousness existing in wholesome and unwholesome karma (sampaticchana; 39 and 55). The mind object element counts as 20 things: the 3 incorporeal groups (feeling, perception, mental formations), the 15 subtle body phenomena (sukhuma-rūpa) and the uncreated element (asankhata = Nirwahn); but as a spirit-consciousness element 76 things count, i. see the remaining wholesome, unwholesome and neutral states of consciousness.


This is how the explanation regarding counting is to be understood.


"The conditions (paccaya) according to ": - As far as these are concerned, the visual organ element forms a six-fold condition for the visual consciousness element, namely in the sense of disconnectedness (vippa-yutta), Pre-emergence (pure-jāta), presence (atthi), Non-disappearance (avigata), basis (nissaya) and ability (indriya), while the visual object element forms a 4-fold condition for this, namely in the sense of pre-emergence (pure-jāta), presence (atthi), Non-disappearance (avigata) and object (ārammana). This is exactly how the elements of hearing organ and hearing object, etc., relate to the element of hearing consciousness, etc.


For these 5 elements of consciousness (visual consciousness, etc.), however, the attentive element is the spirit (āvajjana-mano-dhātu) a condition in five ways, namely: in the sense of adjoining (anantara), immediacy (samanantara), absence (natthi), Disappearance (vigata) and related occasion (anantarûpanissaya). And these 5 consciousnesses are also a condition for the receiving spirit element in the same way (sampaticchana-manodhātu; see above), as well as the receiving spirit element for the testing spirit-consciousness element (santīrana-manoviññāna-dhātu), and this for the ascertaining spirit-consciousness element (votthapana-manoviññāna-dhātu), and this for the impulsive mind-consciousness element (javana-manoviññāna-dhātu). The impulsive spirit-consciousness element, however, forms a condition for the impulsive spirit-consciousness element adjoining it in the above fivefold way, and also in the sense of repetition (āsevana) (For the various stages in the process of an individual consciousness process, see consciousness functions, Tab. I). For the time being, this is the explanation regarding the five-sensory gate (pañca-dvāra).


Regarding the spirit gate (mano-dvāra) but forms the subconscious mind-consciousness element (bhavanga-mano-viññāna-dhātu) for the attentive mind-consciousness element (āvajjana-manoviññā-dhātu), and this for the impulsive element of mind-consciousness (javana-manoviññāna-dhātu) a condition in the above five-fold manner.


The mind object element (dhamma-dhātu) but forms a condition for all seven elements of consciousness in many ways, as in the sense of co-arising (saha-jāta), reciprocity (aññamañña), Connectedness (sampayutta), presence (atthi), Non-disappearance (avigata) etc.


The elements of the organ of vision etc., however, as well as to some extent the spirit object, form the condition for many a 'spirit-consciousness element' in the sense of an object, etc.


For the elements of visual consciousness, etc., not only the visual organ and visual object, etc., form a condition, but also the brightness, etc. Therefore, the old masters said: "Visual consciousness arises through the eye, visual object, light and spiritual attention. Through ear, hearing object, Ear hollowing and mental attentiveness arise due to the hearing consciousness. Nose, fragrance, air and mental attentiveness arises the olfactory consciousness conditionally. Tongue, taste object, moisture and mental attentiveness arises the taste consciousness. Body, body impression, earth element and mental attentiveness arise body consciousness Through the subconscious (bhavanga-mano), Spirit object (dhamma) and mentally attentive, spiritual consciousness arises (mano-viññāna)."This is the brief explanation of this.


The detailed meaning of the conditions, however, is shown in the description of the 'dependent origin' (paticca-samuppāda) get clear.


This is how the explanation is to be understood here with regard to the dependency conditions.


"According to the correct way of looking at things": - This means that one should also know the explanation here with regard to the correct way of looking at things. All created elements have to be viewed as separate from past and future, as devoid of (without) permanence, beauty, happiness and self-being, and as dependent on conditions.


As far as the details are concerned, the element of the organ of vision can be compared with a drum skin, the element of sight with the drumstick and the element of visual awareness with the sound of the drum. Likewise, one can compare the organ of vision with a mirror, the object of vision with the face, and visual consciousness with the mirror image of the face. Or one might compare the organ of vision with sugar cane or grains of oil, the visual object with the mill and the visual consciousness with the (squeezed out) sugar juice or oil. Likewise, one might compare the organ of vision with the lower rubbing stick of a fire whisk, the visual object with the upper rubbing stick, and visual consciousness with fire. The corresponding declaration also applies to the hearing organ and the other elements.


The mind element (mano-dhātu) is to be regarded as a guide and companion of the visual consciousness and the other sense consciousnesses.


As for the mind-object element, however, the feeling group is to be seen as a thorn and a thorn. The perception and spirit formation group, however, is regarded as sickly, since the thorn and thorn of feeling cling to them. Or, compare the perception of the worldlings with an empty hand, since it creates the suffering of (unsatisfied) desire, or with the savage (who sees a scarecrow), since it grasps the image incorrectly; the mental formations with people who throw others into a pit full of glowing coals, insofar as the mental formations drive them into a new birth; or with the robbers pursued by royal guards, as they are being persecuted by the sufferings of childbirth; or with the seeds of poisonous trees, since they are the cause of the continuity of the groups that lead to all misery; or with a knife-lined wheel, as they are a sign of many dangers.


The uncreated element (asankhata-dhātu = Nirvana; included in the spirit objects) but is to be regarded as the deathless, as peace and security. And why? Because it is the opposite of all ominous things.


The mind consciousness element (mano-viññāna-dhātu) one might compare with a wild monkey because it does not stop at the objects; with a wild horse because it is difficult to curb; with a stick thrown in the air, because it pounces on something at will; with an actor, because it appears in the disguise of various passions such as greed, hatred, etc.


This is where the "Path to Purity", written for the happiness of good people, ends, part 15: the presentation of the fundamentals and elements relating to the development of knowledge.