realm; factor/ constituent element/ component of (ordinary) experience [in sense of eighteen Dhatus] (see khams bco brgyad); fundamental nature/ constituent of being (in the sense of buddha nature) (specific) character type/ termperament subtle essence [in Anuyoga/ tsa lung contexts; e.g., khams dkar dmar isc. element [of periodic table]. [RB]
- Sensory Spectra [GD]
General meanings: expanse/ character; east Tibet. domain, territory, land; area, province; realm; constituent element/ component of experience; fundamental constituent of being (in the sense of buddha nature); character type; 1) Skt. dhatu, element, nature, capacity, property, constituent, dngos po'i gnas tshul, ngo bo, rigs, bde bar gshegs pa'i snying po For example the khams of fire is heat. The dbyings of water is wetness. Syn 'byung ba, rang bzhin. 2) potential, seed. Syn rgyu, sa bon. 2) existentiality, [elements of our experiential make-up], character, nature, natural temperament, propensity, disposition, ability. 3) organs of the body, fields of sense, sensory sphere / base. 4) buddha-nature. snying po 5) realm, region, dominion, world, plane, sphere, space, expanse [sm. dbyings 6) physical constitution / condition, health, sate of health. 7) Kham - A province in eastern Tibet. Kham [the general area of east Tibet]. 8) domain, kingdom, empire, world, territory, land. 9) semen, essence. 10) fortification. 11) appetite. 12) types. 13) subtle nature, constituent. 14) the six elements, [earth, air, fire, water, ether, mind]. 15) state of health. 16) psycho-physical base; / Def. by Jamgon Kongtrul the First: dha tu'i sgra las sa bon 'dzin pa'am rang gi mtshan nyid 'dzin pa'i don gyis khams shes bya ba. 17) character, nature, natural temperament, propensity, disposition, ability. [RY]
dhatu, materializing forces, elements, essence, essential nature, individual constitution, constituents, disposition, psychological makeup of individual, atmosphere, interactional fields, sensory fields, world plane, psycho-physical heritage, field, space, world, world sphere, area, realm, tonus, man's nature, existentiality, total make-up, gzugs to reg bya, chos 6, mig to lus, yid shes to yid kyi rnam shes 6 for total of 18, SA yid kyi khams. [JV]
...1) region; 2) realm; 3) element; 4) nature; 5) health, body; 5) cause and seed (6) Kham, E Tibet [Bod yul dbus gtsang khams gsum du zlas dbye byas pa] (7) dhatu [rnam shes kyi khams drug dang, dbangpo'i khams drug yul gyi khams drug (8) 18 [from 18 dhatus] capacity, property, constituent, potential,, existentiality, elements of our experiential make-up, character, nature, natural temperament, propensity, disposition, ability, organs of the body, fields of sense, sensory sphere, sensory base, buddha-nature, snying po, realm, region, dominion, world, plane, sphere, space, expanse (sm dbyings-) physical constitution/ condition, domain, kingdom, empire, world, territory, land, semen, essence, fortification, appetite, types, subtle nature, constituent, the six elements, (earth, air, fire, water, ether, psycho-physical base dngos po'i gnas tshul, ngo bo, rigs, bde bar gshegs pa'i snying po (for example the khams of fire is heat the khams of water is wetness. There are 18 khams, the khams of earth, fire, wind, space, etc sugatagarbha is the greatest khams of all khams whereas the 18 khams are partial; bye brag sm 'byung ba, rang bzhin [IW]
appetite, health, condition, physical constitution of the body, root, essential part, that which constitutes the nature of a thing, 6 elements (sa chu me rlung nam mkha' rnam shes), empire, territory, world, easternmost districts of tibet, semen, essence, proper name of Eastern Tibet, experiential element, sensory spheres, sense bases, sensory bases, acumen, elemental constitution, elemental condition, physical condition [JV]
constituents of experience [JV]
The word khams or dhatu is used in different contexts that must be translated differently in English. The Sanskrit dhatu is derived from a verb meaning to hold. Mikyo Dorje described its etymology as: "Since it grasps the form of the result or holds its characteristics, it is called element." [[khams ni dha tu zhes pa dh'a ra'i sgra las 'bras bu'i gzugs len pa'am rang gi mtshan nyid 'dzin pas khams so//] The word also has a meaning of family or caste, as in the potential. The eye and so forth are presented as elements because they are able to produce future instances of their own same family.
In the presentation of the eighteen elements--the six outer elements of form, etc., the six inner of eye, etc., and the six consciousnesses--they are called elements to emphasize that these are the constituents that produce future consciousnesses. This is in contrast to the twelve sense bases (skye mched), where the same dharmas are referred to in a way that stresses the constituents that support the present consciousness.
In the context of the Desire Realm, Form Realm, and Formless Realm, khams is translated as realm. This is of course idiomatic English, but translators must take care to differentiate this from the six classes of sentient beings that are sometimes called the "six realms."
In the Sanskrit word "dharmadhatu," a synonym for the ultimate truth, the word dhatu contains the meaning of cause, according to Maitreya in Distinguishing the Center and Edges. In this instance it was translated into Tibetan not as khams but as dbyings, or expanse. It seems appropriate to follow the Tibetan translators' example in English and translate that term as "dharma expanse." DKC