good description of 4dht and tied in to 31asb🧟
dhātu: an element; natural condition; a relic; root of a word; humour of the body; faculty of senses. (f.)
Dhātu (f.) [Sk. dhātu to dadhāti, Idg. *dhé, cp. Gr. ti/qhmi, a)na/ -- qhma, Sk. dhāman, dhāṭr (=Lat. conditor); Goth gadēds; Ohg. tāt, tuom (in meaning -- ˚=dhātu, cp. E serf -- dom "condition of . . .") tuon=E. to do; & with k -- suffix Lat. facio, Gr. (;e)/)qhk(a), Sk. dhāka; see also dhamma] element. Closely related to dhamma in meaning B 1b, only implying a closer relation to physical substance. As to its gen. connotation cp. Dhs. trsl. p. 198.
1. a primary element, of which the usual set comprises the four paṭhavī, āpo, tejo, vāyo (earth water, fire, wind), otherwise termed cattāro mahābhūtā(ni): D i.215; ii.294; iii.228; S i.15; ii.169 sq. 224; iv.175, 195; A ii.165; iii.243; Vbh 14, 72; Nett 73. See discussed at Cpd. 254 sq. -- A defn of dhātu is to be found at Vism 485. -- Singly or in other combns paṭhavī˚ S ii.174; tejo˚ S i.144; D iii.227; the four plus ākāsa S iii.227, plus viññāna S ii.248; iii.231; see below 2 b.
2. (a) natural condition, property, disposition; factor, item, principle, form. In this meaning in var. combns & applications, esp. closely related to khandha. Thus mentioned with ;khandha & āyatana; (sensory element & element of sense -- perception) as bodily or physical element, factor (see khandha B 1 d & cp. Nd;2 under dhātu) Th 2, 472. As such (physical substratum) it constitutes one of the lokā or forms of being (khandha˚ dhātu˚ āyatana˚ Nd2 550). Freq also in combn kāma -- dhātu, rūpa˚ arūpa˚ "the elements or properties of k. etc." as preceding & conditioning bhava in the respective category (Nd;2 s. v.). See under d. -- As "set of conditions or state of being ( -- ˚) in the foll.: loka˚; a world, of which 10 are usually mentioned (equalling 10,000: PvA 138) S i.26; v.424 Pv ii.961; Vbh 336; PvA 138; KS ii.101, n. 1; -- nibbāna˚; the state of N. S v.8; A ii.120; iv.202; J i.55 It 38 (dve: see under Nibbāna); Miln 312. Also in the foll. connections: amata˚ It 62; bhū˚ the verbal root bhū DA i.229; ṭhapitāya dhātuyā "while the bodily element, i. e. vitality lasts" Miln 125; vaṇṇa˚ form beauty S i.131; Pv i.31. In these cases it is so far weakened in meaning, that it simply corresponds to E abstr. suffix -- hood or -- ity (cp. ˚hood=origin. "form" see ketu), so perhaps in Nibbāna˚=Nibbāna -- dom. Cp dhātuka. -- (b) elements in sense -- consciousness: referring to the 6 ajjhattikāni & 6 bāhirāni āyatanāni S ;ii.140 sq. Of these sep. sota˚ D i.79; iii.38; Vbh 334 dibbasota˚ S ii.121, 212; v.265, 304; A i.255; iii.17 280; v.199; cakkhu˚ Vbh 71 sq.; mano˚ Vbh 175, 182 301; mano -- viññāṇa˚ Vbh 87, 89, 175, 182 sq. <-> (c) various: aneka˚ A i.22; iii.325; v.33; akusala˚ Vbh 363; avijjā˚ S ii.132; ābhā˚ S ii.150; ārambha˚ S v.66 104 sq.; A i.4; ii.338; ṭhiti˚ S ii.175; iii.231; A iii.338 dhamma˚ S ii.56; nekkhamma˚ S ii.151; A iii.447 nissāraṇiyā dhātuyo (5) D iii.239; A iii.245, 290. See further S i.134, 196; ii.153, 248 (aniccā); iii.231 (nirodha); iv.67; A i.176; ii.164; iv.385; Dhs 58, 67, 121 Nett 57, 64 sq.; ThA 20, 49, 285, -- (d) Different sets and enumerations: as 3 under kāma˚, rūpa˚, arūpa A i.223 iii.447; Ps i.137; Vbh 86, 363, 404 sq.; under rūpa˚ arūpa˚, nirodha˚ It 45. -- as 6 (pathavī etc.+ākāsa & viññāṇa˚): D ;iii.247; A i.175 sq.; M iii.31, 62, 240 Ps i.136; Vbh 82 sq. -- as 7 (ābhā subha etc.): S ii.150 -- 18: Ps i.101, 137; ii.230, Dhs 1333; Vbh 87 sq. 401 sq.; Vism 484 sq.
3. a humour or affection of the body DA i.253 (dhātusamatā).
4. the remains of the body after cremation PvA 76; a relic VvA 165 (sarīra˚, bodily relic); Dāvs v.3 (dasana˚ the toothrelic). -- abl. dhātuso according to one's nature S ii.154 sq. (sattā sattehi saddhiŋ saŋsandanti etc.) It 70 (id.); S iii.65.
-- kathā N. of 3rd book of the Abhidhamma Vism 96 -- kucchi womb Miln 176; -- kusala skilled in the elements M iii.62; ˚kusalatā proficiency in the (18) elements D iii.212; Dhs 1333; -- ghara "house for a relic," a dagoba SnA 194. -- cetiya a shrine over a relic DhA iii.29; -- nānatta diversity of specific experience D iii.289 S ii.143; iv.113 sq., 284; -- vibhāga distribution of relics VvA 297; PvA 212.