'space', is, according to Com., of two kinds: 

  1. limited space (paricchinnākāsa or paricchedākāsa), 

  2. endless space (anantākāsa), i.e. cosmic space.

1. Limited space, under the name of ākāsa-dhātu (space element), belongs to derived corporeality (s. khandha, Summary I; Dhs 638) and to a six fold classification of elements (s. dhātu; M.112, M.115, M.140). It is also an object of kasina meditation. It is defined as follows: "The space element has the characteristic of delimiting matter. Its function is to indicate the boundaries of matter. It is manifested as the confines of matter; or its manifestation consists in being untouched (by the 4 great elements), and in holes and apertures. Its proximate cause is the matter delimited. It is on account of the space element that one can say of material things delimited that 'this is above. below, around that' " (Vis.M. XIV.63).

2. Endless space is called in Atthasālini ajatākāsa, 'unentangled', i.e. unobstructed or empty space. It is the object of the first immaterial absorption (s. jhāna), the sphere of boundless space (ākāsānañcāyatana). According to Abhidhamma philosophy, endless space has no objective reality (being purely conceptual), which is indicated by the fact that it is not included in the triad of the wholesome (kusalatika), which comprises the entire reality. Later Buddhist schools have regarded it as one of several unconditioned or uncreated states (asankhata dharma) - a view that is rejected in Kath. (s. Guide. p. 70). Theravāda Buddhism recognizes only Nibbāna as an unconditioned element (asankhata-dhātu: s. Dhs. 1084).

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