Eighty-two dharmas of the Theravada

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The Theravada tradition identifies eighty-two dharmas (elements) in traditional Abhidharma texts.[1]

These are organized into a fourfold categorization:[2][3]

  • consciousness (citta) that encompasses a single dhamma type and of which the essential characteristic is the cognizing of an object;
  • fifty-two mental factors;
  • materiality or physical phenomena (rūpa) that include twenty-eight dhammas that make up all physical occurrences.
    All the eighty-one dhamma types in these three broad categories (above) are conditioned (saṅkhata). "Conditioned dhammas arise and cease subject to numerous causes and conditions and constitute sentient experience in all realms of the round of rebirth (saṃsāra)."[3]
  • nibbana - this dhamma is unconditioned (asaṅkhata); it neither arises nor ceases through causal interaction.[3]


  1. Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. asaṃskṛta.
  2. Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. List of lists.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Ronkin (2022)