Buddhism and Mahabhuta

In the Pali literature, the mahabhuta (“great elements”) or catudhatu (“four elements”) are earth, water, fire and air. In early Buddhism, the four elements are a basis for understanding suffering and for liberating oneself from suffering. The earliest Buddhist texts explain that the four primary material elements are the sensory qualities solidity, fluidity, temperature, and mobility; their characterization as earth, water, fire, and air, respectively, is declared an abstraction—instead of concentrating on the fact of material existence, one observes how a physical thing is sensed, felt, perceived.[7]
The Buddha’s teaching regarding the four elements is to be understood as the base of all observation of real sensations rather than as a philosophy. The four properties are cohesion (water), solidity or inertia (earth), expansion or vibration (air) and heat or energy content (fire). He promulgated a categorization of mind and matter as composed of eight types of “kalapas” of which the four elements are primary and a secondary group of four are color, smell, taste, and nutriment which are derivative from the four primaries.
The Buddha’s teaching of the four elements does predate Greek teaching of the same four elements. This is possibly explained by the fact that he sent out 60 arahants to the known world to spread his teaching; however it differs in the fact that the Buddha taught that the four elements are false and that form is in fact made up of much smaller particles which are constantly changing.
In the philosophy of the seven chakras there are correspondences to the five elements as shared by both Hinduism and Buddhism as well as two other elements: Sahasrara (Crown): Time/Space
Ajña (Third Eye): Light/Dark
Vishuddhi (Throat): Aether/Life/Lightning/Electricity
Anahata (Heart): Air/Wind
Manipura (Navel): Fire/Heat/Flame
Svadhisthana (Sacral): Water/Ice/Steam/Fog/Mist
Muladhara (Root): Earth

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