element. Closely related to dhamma in meaning B 1b, only implying a closer relation to physical substance. As to its gen. connotation cp. Dhs. trsl. p. 198.

  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): DN.i.215; DN.ii.294; DN.iii.228; SN.i.15; SN.ii.169 sq. SN.ii.224; SN.iv.175, SN.iv.195; AN.ii.165; AN.iii.243; Vb.14, Vb.72; Ne.73. See discussed at Cpd. 254 sq
    ■ A defn of dhātu is to be found at Vism.485
    ■ Singly or in other combinations paṭhavī˚ SN.ii.174; tejo˚ SN.i.144; DN.iii.227; the four plus ākāsa SN.iii.227, plus viññāna SN.ii.248; SN.iii.231; see below 2 b.

    1. natural condition, property, disposition; factor, item, principle, form. In this meaning in var. combinations & applications, esp. closely related to khandha. Thus mentioned with; khandha & āyatana; (sensory element & element of sense-perception) as bodily or physical element, factor (see khandha B 1 d & cp. Cnd under dhātu) Thig.472. As such (physical substratum) it constitutes one of the lokā or forms of being (khandha˚ dhātu˚ āyatana˚ Cnd.550). Freq also in combination kāma-dhātu, rūpa˚ arūpa˚ “the elements or properties of k. etc.” as preceding & conditioning bhava in the respective category (Cnd s. v.). See under d
      ■ As “set of conditions or state of being (-˚) in the foll.: loka˚; a world, of which 10 are usually mentioned (equalling 10,000: Pv-a.138) SN.i.26; SN.v.424; Pv.ii.9#61; Vb.336; Pv-a.138; KS ii.101, n. 1; - nibbāna˚; the state of N. SN.v.8; AN.ii.120; AN.iv.202; Ja.i.55; Iti.38 (dve: see under Nibbāna); Mil.312. Also in the foll. connections: amata˚ Iti.62; bhū˚ the verbal root bhū DN-a.i.229; ṭhapitāya dhātuyā “while the bodily element, i.e. vitality lasts” Mil.125; vaṇṇa˚ form beauty SN.i.131; Pv.i.3#1. 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. Cp dhātuka
    2. elements in sense-consciousness: referring to the 6 ajjhattikāni & 6 bāhirāni āyatanāni SN.ii.140 sq. Of these sep. sota˚ DN.i.79; DN.iii.38; Vb.334 dibbasota˚ SN.ii.121, SN.ii.212; SN.v.265, SN.v.304; AN.i.255; AN.iii.17 AN.iii.280; AN.v.199; cakkhu˚ Vb.71 sq.; mano˚ Vb.175, Vb.182 Vb.301; mano-viññāṇa˚ Vb.87, Vb.89, Vb.175, Vb.182 sq.
    3. various: aneka˚ AN.i.22; AN.iii.325; AN.v.33; akusala˚ Vb.363; avijjā˚ SN.ii.132; ābhā˚ SN.ii.150; ārambha˚ SN.v.66 SN.v.104 sq.; AN.i.4; AN.ii.338; ṭhiti˚ SN.ii.175; SN.iii.231; AN.iii.338 dhamma˚ SN.ii.56; nekkhamma˚ SN.ii.151; AN.iii.447 nissāraṇiyā dhātuyo (5) DN.iii.239; AN.iii.245, AN.iii.290. See further SN.i.134, SN.i.196; SN.ii.153, SN.ii.248 (aniccā); SN.iii.231 (nirodha); SN.iv.67; AN.i.176; AN.ii.164; AN.iv.385; Dhs.58, Dhs.67, Dhs.121 Ne.57, Ne.64 sq.; Thag-a.20, Thag-a.49, Thag-a.285, -
    4. Different sets and enumerations: as 3 under kāma˚, rūpa˚, arūpa AN.i.223 AN.iii.447; Pts.i.137; Vb.86, Vb.363, Vb.404 sq.; under rūpa˚ arūpa˚, nirodha˚ Iti.45
      ■ as 6 (pathavī etc. + ākāsa & viññāṇa˚): DN.iii.247; AN.i.175 sq.; MN.iii.31, MN.iii.62, MN.iii.240; Pts.i.136; Vb.82 sq
      ■ as 7 (ābhā subha etc.): SN.ii.150
      ■ as 18: Pts.i.101, Pts.i.137; Pts.ii.230, Dhs.1333; Vb.87 sq. Vb.401 sq.; Vism.484 sq.
  2. a humour or affection of the body DN-a.i.253 (dhātusamatā).

  3. the remains of the body after cremation Pv-a.76; a relic Vv-a.165 (sarīra˚, bodily relic); Dāvs v.3 (dasana˚ the toothrelic)

■ abl. dhātuso according to one’s nature SN.ii.154 sq. (sattā sattehi saddhiṃ saṃsandanti etc.) Iti.70 (id.); SN.iii.65.

  • -kathā Name of 3rd book of the Abhidhamma Vism.96
  • -kucchi womb Mil.176;
  • -kusala skilled in the elements MN.iii.62; ˚kusalatā proficiency in the (18) elements DN.iii.212; Dhs.1333;
  • -ghara “house for a relic,” a dagoba Snp-a.194.
  • -cetiya a shrine over a relic Dhp-a.iii.29;
  • -nānatta diversity of specific experience DN.iii.289; SN.ii.143; SN.iv.113 sq., SN.iv.284;
  • -vibhāga distribution of relics Vv-a.297; Pv-a.212.

Sk. dhātu to dadhāti, Idg. *dhé, cp. Gr. τίχημι, ἀνά χημα, Sk. dhāman, dhāṭr (= Lat. conditor); Goth gadēds; Ohg. tāt, tuom (in meaning-˚ = dhātu, cp. E serf-dom “condition of…”) tuon = E. to do; & with k-suffix Lat. facio, Gr. (ε ̓́)χηκ(α), Sk. dhāka; see also dhamma