Five elements: 3 definitions


Five elements means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

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In Hinduism

Yoga (school of philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Five elements in Yoga glossary
Source: ORA: Amanaska (king of all yogas): A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation by Jason Birch

The Five Elements are denoted by the Sanskrit term Pañcabhūta, according to the Amanaska Yoga treatise dealing with meditation, absorption, yogic powers and liberation.—Accordingly, as Īśvara says to Vāmadeva: “[...] [Now], I will teach the practice of that, which produces absorption. [...] Having abandoned the thought that the universe exists of five elements (pañcabhūta); that the body consists of five elements; and that everything consists of the elements, cultivate the thought, ‘[everything consisting of the elements] does not exist’. [...]”.

Yoga book cover
context information

Yoga is originally considered a branch of Hindu philosophy (astika), but both ancient and modern Yoga combine the physical, mental and spiritual. Yoga teaches various physical techniques also known as āsanas (postures), used for various purposes (eg., meditation, contemplation, relaxation).

Discover the meaning of five elements in the context of Yoga from relevant books on Exotic India

In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: Google Books: The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems

The Five Elements (in Indo-Tibetan tradition) are known in Tibetan as 'byung ba lnga.—Accordingly, Sāṃkhyas assert definitively that all objects of knowledge are enumerated into twenty-five: (1) the principal, (2) the great, (3) the I-principle, (4–8) the five sense objects, (9–13) the five elements, (14–24) the eleven sense faculties, and (25) the person, which is self, consciousness, and the knower. Of those, the person is asserted as conscious, while the remaining twenty-four — as aggregate composites — are insentient matter.

The Five Elements are:

  1. earth,
  2. water,
  3. fire,
  4. air, and
  5. space.

The Five Elements (in Chinese tradition) are:

  1. wood,
  2. fire,
  3. earth,
  4. metal, and
  5. water.
Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

Discover the meaning of five elements in the context of Tibetan Buddhism from relevant books on Exotic India

General definition (in Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Five elements in Buddhism glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

Five Elements:—A technical term in Buddhism corresponding to the Sanskrit mahābhūta defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 39):

  1. Earth (pṛthvī),
  2. Water (āpas),
  3. Fire (tejas),
  4. Wind (vāyu),
  5. Space (ākāśa).

The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (e.g., ‘five elements’). The work is attributed to Nagarguna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

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