BSC 303 Abhidhamma – NOTE ON AYATANAVIBHANGA
In Abhidhamma Pitaka Āyatana means sense base, sense-source or sense sphere. In Buddhism, there are six internal sense bases (ajjhattikāni āyatanāni; also known as, organs, gates, doors, powers or roots and six external sense bases (bāhirāni āyatanāni or sense objects; also known as vishaya or domains).So there are twelve ayatana in Vibhanga of Abhidhamma pitaka.
Here the twelve ayatanas means the 12 bases or sources from which consciousness and its concomitants arise.The 12 bases are divided equally into two groups:
(a) ajjhattika (internal) and (b) bàhira (external).
a). Ajjhattikayatana (Six internal bases)
1. Cakkhayatana – cakkhu-pasada – eye-base (sensitive part of the eye),
2. Sotayatana – sota-pasada – ear-base (sensitive part of the ear),
3.Ghanayatana – ghana-pasada – nose-base (sensitive part of the nose),
4. Jivhayatana – jivha-pasada – tongue-base (sensitive part of the tongue),
5. Kayayatana – kaya-pasada – body-base (sensitive part of the body),
6. Manayatana – 89 or 121 cittas – mind-base.
b). Bahirayatana (six external bases)
1 Rupayatana – vanna – visible object
2 Saddayatana – sadda – sound
3 Gandhayatana – gandha – odour
4 Rasayatana – rasa – taste
5 Photthabbhayatana – pathavi, tejo, vayo – tangible object
6 Dhammayatana – mind-object consisting of 52 cetasikas,
1 The six internal bases consist of the five physical senseorgans and consciousness. Manayatana is a collective term for consciousness.
2 The six external bases consist of the six sense-objects.Dhammayatana is a little short of dhamma-rammana as it does not contain cittas, pasada-rupas, and concepts. Cittas and pasada-rupas are already described as the six internal bases whereas concepts do not belong to realities, so they are not included in dhammayatana.
3. All cittas, all cetasikas, all rupas and Nibbana are included in the 12 ayatanas.
4.Cognitive processes arise from the contact between internal and external bases. When the visible object strikes the eye-base, cakkhu-dvara vathi arises. When the sound strikes the ear-base, sota-dvara vãthi arises, and so on.
5.Those, which have difficulty to understand the five upadanakkhandhas, may understand the twelve ayatanas and thus see the absence of an ego-entity called ‘atta’ or ‘self’. This understanding may lead to their liberation.
6. One other reason why the ‘ayatanas’ are so-called is that they cause the long cycle of misery.
Buddhism and other Indian epistemologies identify six “senses” as opposed to the Western identification of five. In Buddhism, “mind” denotes an internal sense organ which interacts with sense objects that include sense impressions, feelings, perceptions and volition. Saḷāyatana or ṣaḍāyatana refers to all six sense objects and six sense organs and is generally used in the context of the Twelve Causes (nidāna) of the chain of Dependent Origination.
In the Four Noble Truths, the Buddha identifies that the origin of suffering or dukkha is craving or taṇhā. In the chain of Dependent Origination, the Buddha identifies that craving arises from sensations that result from contact at the six sense bases. Those are:
1. The six internal sense bases are the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body & mind.
2. The six external sense bases are visible forms, sound, odor, flavors, touch & mental objects.
3. Sense-specific consciousness arises dependent on an internal & an external sense base.
4. Contact is the meeting of an internal sense base, external sense base and consciousness.
5. Feeling is dependent on contact.
6. Craving is dependent on feeling.
Therefore, to overcome craving and its resultant suffering, one should develop restraint of and insight into the sense bases.
The Buddha taught that, in order to escape the dangers of the sense bases, one must be able to apprehend the sense bases without defilement. In “Abandoning the Fetters” (SN 35.54), the Buddha states that one abandons the fetters “when one knows and sees … as impermanent or anicca the six sense organs, objects, sense-consciousness, contact and sensations Similarly, in “Uprooting the Fetters” (SN 35.55), the Buddha states that one uproots the fetters “when one knows and sees … as nonself” (anatta) the aforementioned five sextets.
To foster this type of penetrative knowing and seeing and the resultant release from suffering, in the Satipatthana Sutta (MN 10) the Buddha instructs monks to meditate on the sense bases and the dependently arising fetters as follows:
“How, O bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu live contemplating mental object in the mental objects of the six internal and the six external sense-bases?
“Here, O bhikkhus, a bhikkhu understands the eye and material forms and the fetter that arises dependent on both (eye and forms); he understands how the arising of the non-arisen fetter comes to be; he understands how the abandoning of the arisen fetter comes to be; and he understands how the non-arising in the future of the abandoned fetter comes to be. In a similar manner:- He understands the ear and sounds … the organ of smell and odors … the organ of taste and flavors … the organ of touch and tactual objects … the consciousness and mental objects….”Thus he lives contemplating mental object in mental objects … and clings to naught in the world.”
In the fifth-century CE exegetical Visuddhimagga, Buddhaghosa identifies knowing about the sense bases as part of the “soil” of liberating wisdom. Other components of this “soil” include the aggregates, the faculties, the Four Noble Truths and Dependent Origination.
(Lưu ý: Đây là bài note của cô Mitra gửi cho thi học cuối học kỳ 1 năm 2 môn Abhidhamma pitaka).