1. 'spheres', is a name for the four immaterial
absorptions; s. jhāna (5-8).
2. The 12 'bases' or 'sources' on which
depend the mental processes, consist of five physical sense-organs and
consciousness, being the six personal (ajjhattika) bases; and the six
objects, the so-called external (bāhira) bases - namely:
- eye, or visual organ visible object
- ear, or auditory organ sound, or audible object
- nose, or olfactory organ odour, or olfactive object
- tongue, or gustatory organ taste, or gustative object
- body, or tactile organ body-contact, or tactile object
- mind-base, or consciousness mind-object (manāyatana) (dhammāyatana)
"By the visual organ (cakkhāyatana) is meant the
sensitive part of the eye (cakkhu-pasāda) built up of the four elements
... responding to sense-stimuli" (sa-ppatigha).... (Vibh. II). Similar is
the explanation of the four remaining physical sense-organs.
Mind-base (manāyatana) is a collective term for all
consciousness whatever, and should therefore not be confounded with the
mind-element (mano-dhātu; s. dhātu II, 16), which latter performs
only the functions of adverting (āvajjana) to the sense-object, and of
receiving (sampaticchana) the sense-object. On the functions of the mind,
The visible object (rūpāyatana) is described in Vibh.
II as "that phenomenon which is built up of the four physical elements and
appears as color, etc." What is' seen by-visual perception, i.e. by
eye-consciousness (cakkhu-viññāna) are colors and differences of light,
but not three dimensional bodily things.
'Mind-object-base' (dhammāyatana) is identical with
'mind-object-element' (dhamma-dhātu; s. dhātu II) and
dhammārammana (s. Ārammana). It may be physical or mental, past,
present or future, real or imaginary.
The 5 physical sense-organs are also called abilities (indriya), and of these abilities it is said in M. 43: "Each of the five abilities
owns a different sphere, and none of them partakes of the sphere of another one;
... they have mind as their support... are conditioned by vitality, ... but
vitality again is conditioned by heat, heat again by vitality, just as the light
and flame of a burning lamp are mutually conditioned."
The 12 bases are fully discussed in Vis.M. XV. In Yam III (s
Guide, p 98f) the 12 terms are subjected to a logical investigation The six
personal bases form the 5th link of dependent origination (paticca-samuppāda