I see the topic's been split, with this thread being removed from Academic Discussion.....I suppose it was inevitable.
Looks like this thread is, in fact, about what later Tibetan masters have said regarding the true meaning of Asanga/Maitreya, and the Yogacara, texts in general---as Shentong and so-called Great Madhyamika are Tibetan terms.
My personal understanding, at this point, subject to change, is that:
1. Yogacara texts do, in fact, assert an "existent."
2. The nature of that "existent" is the Perfect Nature.
3. The existent which is of the perfect nature is the substrate of all consciousnesses, including the ālayavijñāna, as well as all the other consciousnesses.
4. The ālayavijñāna is not the ultimate existent, as it is said to "cease." In the same way, all the other consciousness cease, so none of them can be said to be ultimate, though they are "of" the ultimate, in a sense.
5.That Ultimate is nonconceptual wisdom, the perfection of wisdom, and when stained is called the Tataghatha Heart, the Basic Element, and many other things. When free of stains, it is called the Dharmakaya, Buddhahood.
This Ultimate is beyond conceptual understanding, and therefore cannot be said to be "existent" in an ultimate sense, but it is referred to as empty, luminous, and unimpeded. In other words, Dharmakaya is empty. Yet it is not a mere "absence" in the way Madhyamika reaches the nonentity of self and phenomena, as it can be said to be "luminous." There are various interpretations of so-called Shentong. I suppose my understanding to be one of them--if one defines anyone who posits that a Perfect Wisdom "exists" and is seperate from phenomena which arise in it's substrate, but which are not exactly the same as it's substrate, in any sense at all as a Shentongpa. Karmapa Rangjung Dorje's position is the one I am still working to understand, but it seems very developed, and, more importantly, it seems to relate to experience and realization, rather than as a conceptual or intellectual framework. But that's just me..... One of the things that interested me, from that perspective, was Namdrol's feeling that early Indian Yogacara must be interpreted as positing the "reality" of the other-dependent. But I think we've lost that issue, so I'm bowing out of this one, and the academic discussion original, for now. Thanks, Namdrol, though, for taking the time to answer my questions. I continue to learn.
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.