The 4 elements are:

pruṭhavī-dhātu - solidity or attraction. This holds something together. You feel this as tightness, pressure in the body.

āpa-dhātu - liquidity or relative motion.

teja-dhātu - heat or energy. Body temperature, vibrations in the body you feel in meditation. Difference of temperature in and out meditation.

vāyu-dhātu - expansion or repulsive forces. You feel this as pulsation or expansion and contraction in the body or flow of respiration, rumbling gasses in the belly and passing of wind.

So can we expand our knowledge about "Four great elements" in Buddhism using the knowledge that we have already understood by other means?

2 Answers 2


Modern Understating

There are infinite number of Buddhas in the past (though only few are recorded), and they preached the same Dhamma. With respect to Science this is always in constant evolution in terms of the understanding and body of knowledge. Though Science generally may not refute Buddhism drawing parallels may not be useful.

Understanding the 4 Elements

Understanding of the 4 elements should be at the experiential level or at the level that is felt. Conceptual understanding falls into the sphere of Perception, through this is also essential, but as stepping stone to the next item which is putting into practice with a view to experience it for one self.

  • You are correct. This is an explanation of 4 elements using Quantum physics only. Thank you for the answer : )
    – Theravada
    Nov 9, 2015 at 20:39


As we all are aware Lord Buddha used a certain method when teaching Dhamma to the common man,and that was breaking things down in a way that particular person will understand.

So the teachings were very dynamic bit stayed true to the core.Lord Buddha used this style of teaching because people had different levels of intelligence and potential when it comes to understanding complex teachings.

When Lord Buddha found people with very low intelligence much simpler methods were used to teach dhamma.But with people who had great potential much complex teachings were used according to their character and potential.

This is an effort to deliver more in depth understanding to our audience with far more sophisticated understanding about the world compared to the innocent people in Lord Buddha's time....

I would also like to add that these are results of years of experiments by many groups and a commonly shared perspective among huge groups who try to draw better understanding of complex teachings of Buddhism through science.

But none of below statements include any conclusions from Suttas,Teachings from monks or any other source.These are purely facts based on scientific experiments and logical reasoning.

Any comments are welcome as this is truly a new chapter of our understanding, And i advice readers to use their reasoning to conclude their own views of this.....

The shocker....

As we all know Lord Buddha's ingredients of everything is quite different from what we learn in science.Science talk about how chemical elements make everything and Lord Buddha talk about four elements creating everything.This is quite puzzling.

So i did my research on this topic to find why this difference exist.And i was quite interested to know about the paradox that these "Four elements" make.

I mean, i am solid,i have fluidity in me,i have air in me and i have emptiness in me. But this is what my body has,as i have learned it is made of cells and if i devide cells i end up with chemical elements that make my body.

So my intention was to learn why lord Buddha said that everything including my body is made of "Four great elements".

And i found some amazing proof to back up Buddhism in a totally different field. In Quantum physics

I recommend watching these two videos for better and easier understanding.(Each video is 10 minutes so you will have to spend 20 minutes.I guarantee you it is worth it and you will have never before understanding about everything.)

Where Science and Buddhism Meet - part 1 (video)

Where Science and Buddhism Meet - part 2 (video)

Turns out reality is not truly what it feels like.As too quantum physics there is no such thing called a solid object,But there is the "State of solidness"

Let me explain....

Sometime before science thought everything is real but one day everything changed by a single experiment giving birth to a new kind of Physics! It was called the Double Slit Experiment.

Double Slit Experiment Double-slit experiment - Wikipedia

What science found was that reality does not actually exist but it comes to existence only when we observe it.

Experiment suggests that reality doesn't exist until it is observed

Reality doesn't exist until we measure it

So as to Quantum physics reality is not just an illusion of mind it is also acting in a way that is impossible to measure.As it turns out when we are not observing reality is acting in its own way but when we try to measure it or observe it reality start to function the way we know it. (read the links above for better understanding [Reality doesn't exist until we measure it])

As Quantum physics has discovered not only reality is only the way we observe it,reality is also a deeper illusion.For example when you touch something (Sparsha- as mentioned in Buddhism) what happens is two field repelling each other like two magnets would and your mind (Kaaya vinyana) picking it up as a touch. In fact as to Quantum physics no one has ever really touched anything,even the chair you are sitting on is not touching you you are actually hovering above it in a atomic level.(watch the videos above to learn better)

So the dark horse of science "Quantum physics" has finally proved Lord Buddha's sayings

  • There is only Emptiness
  • There is no soul or a person
  • Everything is made of "Four Great Elements"

I request you all to take your time and read this answer fully with all the links given,and i guarantee you when you stand up from that chair after reading this you will be a different man forever.

May triple gems bless you all!

Namo Buddhaya!

  • 2
    This over emphasizes Emptiness which does not sound right through some Theravade teachers also do it. Nov 9, 2015 at 2:32
  • 2
    I mean about the Videos Nov 9, 2015 at 3:04
  • The videos describe emptiness in this way, Matter only exist in the form you know only when observed or measured.Any time else everything in the cosmos including your self is a one set of energy @SumindaSirinathSalpitikorala
    – Theravada
    Nov 9, 2015 at 20:42

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