The function of vijñāna is really best comprehended by understand the complete presentation of skandhas, āyatanas and dhātus. There is no significant different between how these are presented in the Vibhanga, for example, and the Koshabhasyaṃ.Sherab Dorje wrote:That is one view/theory. From my understanding Theravadins put the mind as a sense organ at the same level as the other five, yet a component in the functioning of the "material" sensory process too. So it has two roles: the sensing of mental objects and the sensing of mental objects produced by the other five sense consciousness.Malcolm wrote:Mental objects are one class of objects, material objects are another class of objects. You are conflating the two. A mental object (part of the dharmadhātu) is an object for the mano dhātu. A material object is an object for the other five dhātus, form for eye, etc.
In both systems, manovijn̄ānadhātu arises from the contact of the mano-indriya dhātu and the dharmadhātu.
12 āyatanas, the manoāyatana covers all sense perceptions because the emphasis is different.
In brief, the emphasis of the presentation of 5 skandhas is on the sense organs, the presentation of the 12 āyatanas emphasizes the sense objects, and the presentation of the 18 dhātus emphasizes the sense consciousnesses.