It has really been a brilliant discussion. I had never before thought of mind as a bundle of mental elements which are nothing but various unique mental phenomena. However, I am wondering, why there are only 52 of them? Why not more? Maybe, we don’t know all of them yet?
Exact number of mental elements does not really matter much. If you look at the phenomena of mind from some other perspective, you may come up with more elements such as sub-elements, super-elements, etc. However, the range or the spectrum of elements will remain the same as we have discussed. It is just like the spectrum of colors which consist of only six basic colors even though there are many types of colors. Whatever names or whatever number is used for the elements, ultimately they are just names given to various unique mental phenomena. The key is to never let go of the thought “phenomenon” while understanding the mind. The key is to never make “something” out of names and numbers. The “name” and the “number” do not have much significance compared to the intrinsic and phenomenal (impersonal) nature of these elements.
From this brief discussion of mental elements, I hope you now understand (at least intellectually) that mind is not a single-fixed-entity or some unified-field or some exotic-energy-field or some unified-super-intelligence, etc, but, simply a bundle of various unique mental phenomena (mental elements) that arise and pass away with consciousness. When such understanding comes through actual meditative experience, mind is not clung-to as my mind. It is simply looked upon as an impersonal and non-material phenomenon.
You are questioning whether we really know all the mental elements that exist out there. My answer is, “if you study, contemplate, meditate, experience, and understand all the elements as I am now going to describe in detail, there will be nothing else remaining to be known about the mind.”
As I describe each mental element in detail, please set aside any suspicion for the time being, please give me the benefit of doubt, and listen carefully with a genuine desire to understand the ultimate building blocks of mind.
Just as material/chemical scientists have discovered a total of 118 elements of matter, spiritual scientists have discovered a total of 52 elements of mind (see list on the right side). These spiritual scientists are the ancient enlightened masters whom I like to call “the perfect scientists.”