HeartDhamma

SN II 14.11 Seven Elements

Sattadhātu Sutta

 

Staying at Sāvatthi.

 

“Monks, there are these seven elements.”

 

What seven?

 

(1) The Light element,[1]

(2) The Beautiful element,[2]

(3) The plane of Endless Spaciousness element,

(4) The plane of Endless Consciousness element,

(5) The plane of Bare Awareness element,

(6) The plane between awareness and its end element,

(7) The Release from Experiential Awareness element. [3]

 

These are the seven elements.”

 

This being said, a certain monk asked:

 

“Bhante,

how can each of these elements can be discerned?”[4]

 

 

Monks,

 

(1) The Light element

                  is discerned because of

                              the Darkness [5] element. [6]

 

(2) The Beautiful element

                  can be discerned because of

                              the disagreeable element.

 

(3) The plane of Endless Spaciousness element

                  can be discerned because of

                              the materiality element. [7]

 

(4) The plane of Endless Consciousness element

                  can be discerned because of

                              the plane of Endless Spaciousness element.

 

(5) The plane of Bare Awareness element

                  can be discerned because of

                              the plane of Endless Consciousness element.

 

(6) The plane between awareness and its release element

                  can be discerned because of

                              the plane of Bare Awareness element.

 

(7) The Release from Experiential Awareness

                  can be discerned because of

                              complete mental release. [8]

 

 

[The Monk]

“Bhante,

how can each of these elements be experienced?”

 

[The Buddha]

“Monks, as for

 

(1) The Light element,

(2) The Beautiful element,

(3) The plane of endless spaciousness element,

(4) The plane of endless consciousness element,

(5) And The plane of bare awareness element;

 

These elements are experienced

via perceptive awareness. [9]

 

As for

 

(6) The plane between awareness and its end element;

This element can be attained

by the experience of traces [10] of mental activity.[11]

 

(7) The complete release from experiential awareness;

This element can be attained

by experiencing complete mental release.[12]

 

 

 

[1] Ābhādhātu. Or Clarity.

[2] Subhadhātu. State equivalent to the 3rd and 4th jhāna. The pleasant abiding of the Ariyas, the awakened people where the bliss of steady awareness prevails over scattered mental grossness.

[3] Ābhādhātu, Subhadhātu, Ākāsānañcāyatana-dhātu, Viññāṇañcāyatana-dhātu, Ākiñcaññāyatana-dhātu,  Nevasaññā-nāsaññāyatana-dhātu, Saññāvedayitanirodha-dhātu

[4] imā nu kho, bhante, dhātuyo kiṃ paṭicca paññāyantī”ti?

[5] Light here is meant more as ‘clarity’, like ‘mental clarity. A mind that sees. Darkness here is probably meant as ‘mental darkness’ ie. Ignorance. Not seeing, not discerning between wholesome states and unwholesome states. ‘Darkness’ is what blinds the mind: the hindrances of the mind.

[6] “Yāyaṃ ābhādhātu—ayaṃ dhātu andhakāraṃ paṭicca paññāyati.

[7] Rūpadhātu. Physicality.

[8] Nirodha: Cessation.

[9] imā dhātuyo saññāsamāpatti pattabbā.

[10] Avasesa1 [Sk. avaśeṣa, fr. ava + śiṣ, cp. avasissati] remainder, remaining part; only in cpds. an° (adj.) without any remainder, i. e. fully, completely

[11] ayaṃ dhātu saṅkhārāvasesasamāpatti pattabbā”ti.

[12] ayaṃ dhātu nirodhasamāpatti pattabbā”ti.

This is a gift of Dhamma

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