1. stretch, extent, reach, compass, region; sphere, locus, place, spot; position, occasion (corresponding to Bdhgh’s definition at DN-a.i.124 as “samosaraṇa”) DN.iii.241, DN.iii.279 (vimutti˚); SN.ii.41, SN.ii.269; SN.iv.217 SN.v.119 sq., SN.v.318. sq.; AN.iii.141 (ariya˚); AN.v.61 (abhibh˚ q.v.) Snp.406 (rajass˚ “haunt of passion” = rāgādi-rajassa uppatti-deso Snp-a.381); Ja.i.80 (raj˚). Freq. in phrase araññ˚; a lonely spot, a spot in the forest Ja.i.173; Vv-a.301; Pv-a.42, Pv-a.54.
  2. exertion, doing, working, practice, performance (comprising Bdhgh’s definition at DN-a.i.124 as paññatti), usually -˚, viz. kamm˚; Mnd.505; Vb.324 Vb.353; kasiṇ˚; AN.v.46 sq., AN.v.60; Pts.i.28; titth˚; AN.i.173 AN.i.175; Vb.145, Vb.367; sipp˚; (art, craft) DN.i.51; Cnd.505 Vb.324, Vb.353; cp. an˚; non-exertion, indolence, sluggishness Ja.v.121.
  3. sphere of perception or sense in general, object of thought, sense-organ & object; relation order
    Cpd. p. 183 says rightly: “āyatana cannot be rendered by a single English word to cover both sense-organs (the mind being regarded as 6th sense) and sense objects”
    ■ These āyatanāni (relations, functions reciprocalities) are thus divided into two groups, inner (ajjhattikāni) and outer (bāhirāni), and comprise the foll.:
    1. ajjhatt˚: 1. cakkhu eye, 2. sota ear, 3. ghāna nose, 4. jivhā tongue, 5. kāya body, 6. mano mind
    2. bāh˚: 1. rūpa visible object, 2. sadda sound, 3 gandha odour, 4. rasa taste, 5. phoṭṭhabba tangible object, 6. dhamma cognizable object
      ■ For details as regards connotation & application see Dhs trsl. introduction li sq. Cpd. 90 n. 2; 254 sq
      ■ Approximately covering this meaning (3) is Bdhgh’s definition of āyatana at DN-a.i.124 as sañjāti and as kāraṇa (origin & cause i.e. mutually occasioning & conditioning relations or adaptations). See also Cnd under rūpa for further classifications.
      ■ For the above mentioned 12 āyatanāni see the foll. passages: DN.ii.302 sq.; DN.iii.102, DN.iii.243; AN.iii.400 AN.v.52; Snp.373 (cp. Snp-a.366); Pts.i.7, Pts.i.22, Pts.i.101, Pts.i.137; Pts.ii.181, Pts.ii.225, Pts.ii.230; Dhs.1335; Vb.401 sq.; Ne.57, Ne.82 Vism.481; Thag-a.49, Thag-a.285.
      ■ Of these 6 are mentioned at SN.i.113, SN.ii.3; SN.iv.100, SN.iv.174 sq.; Iti.114; Vb.135 sq., Vb.294 Ne.13, Ne.28, Ne.30; Vism.565 sq. Other sets of 10 at Ne.69; of 4 at DN.ii.112, DN.ii.156; of 2 at DN.ii.69
      ■ Here also belongs ākās’ ānañc’ āyatana, ākiñcaññ˚ etc. (see under ākāsa etc. and s. v.), e.g. at DN.i.34 sq., DN.i.183; AN.iv.451 sq.; Vb.172, Vb.189, Vb.262 sq.; Vism.324 sq
      ■ Unclassified passages: MN.i.61; MN.ii.233; MN.iii.32, MN.iii.216, MN.iii.273; SN.i.196; SN.ii.6 SN.ii.8, SN.ii.24, SN.ii.72 sq.; SN.iii.228; SN.iv.98; SN.v.426; AN.i.113, AN.i.163, AN.i.225 AN.iii.17, AN.iii.27, AN.iii.82, AN.iii.426; AN.iv.146, AN.iv.426; AN.v.30, AN.v.321, AN.v.351, AN.v.359 Mnd.109, Mnd.133, Mnd.171, Mnd.340; Ja.i.381 (paripuṇṇa˚); Vb.412 sq. (id.).
  • -uppāda birth of the āyatanas (see above 3) Vin.i.185
  • -kusala skilled in the ā. MN.iii.63.
  • -kusalatā skill in the spheres (of sense) DN.iii.212; Dhs.1335.
  • -ṭṭha founded in the sense-organs Pts.i.132; Pts.ii.121.

Sk. āyatana, not found in the Vedas; but freq. in BSk. From ā + yam, cp. āyata. The pl. is āyatanā at SN.iv.70
■ For full definition of term as seen by the Pāli Commentators see Bdhgh’s expln at DN-a.i.124, DN-a.i.125, with which cp. the popular etym. at Kp-a.82 “āyassa vā tananato āyatassa vā saṃsāradukkhassa nayanato āyatanāni” and at Vism.527 “āye tanoti āyatañ ca nayatī ti ā.”