Dhamma theory

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The Dhamma theory is an Abhidammic innovation[1] It gives an overview of all the bare phenomena which form this world.[2]

Early version

The early Buddhist scriptures give various lists of the constituents of the person:[1]

  1. Nāma and rūpa, "name" and "form," or the mental and material elements;
  2. The five skandhas (aggregates): rupa (material elements), vedana (cognition), sañña (perception), sankhara ("mental formations," impulses), vijnana (consciousness);
  3. Six dhatus (elements): pathavi (earth), apo (water), tejo (temperature), vayo (air), akasa (space), vijnana (consciousness);
  4. Twelve Sense BasesTwelve ayatanas, means for the arising of sense-perception and the corresponding mental cognition: the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind; and the related external objects: form, sound, smell, taste, touch, and mental objects;
  5. Eighteen dhatus (elements); the twelve ayatanas, supplemented with the six kinds of consciousness which arise when perception takes place: the visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile, and mental consciousnesses.

See also


  1. ^ a b Karunadasa 1996, p. Ch.I.
  2. ^ Karunadasa 1996, p. Introduction.


  • Karunadasa, Y. (1996), The Dhamma Theory. Philosophical Cornerstone of the Abhidhamma, Buddhist Publication Society 
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