amala-vijnana

amala-vijnana

Postby Yogicfire » Mon May 03, 2010 7:56 am

I have been reading about the amala-vijnana (the ninth consciousness). Up until recently, I thought that the mind only school had eight consciousnesses, and that the alaya-vijnana was the base consciousness. However, some of the Far Eastern schools appear to have added a ninth consciousness, amala-vijnana, the pure consciousness.

I would be interested in hearing any thoughts on this doctrinal development, and some explanation on the exact correspondence between the alaya-vijnana and the amala-vijnana. Why was there a need to introduce this extra consciousness? Is this a teaching that is only in the Far Eastern schools, and not in Vajrayana?

Amala-vijnana seems to have been a popular concept in the Hua Yen and T'ient'ai schools.
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Re: amala-vijnana

Postby Huifeng » Thu May 06, 2010 1:35 am

Ask Paramartha / Zhendi. That's where it comes from in China.
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Re: amala-vijnana

Postby Yogicfire » Thu May 06, 2010 9:42 am

Thanks, Huifeng. I will get in touch with them.

One thing that I find a little surprising is the fact that it is a Sanskrit term. If the idea came exclusively from China then wouldn't we be using Chinese terminology?
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Re: amala-vijnana

Postby Anders » Thu May 06, 2010 10:13 am

It was introduced by Paramartha who was an Indian monk in China.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: amala-vijnana

Postby Dexing » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:06 pm

Yogicfire wrote:I have been reading about the amala-vijnana (the ninth consciousness). Up until recently, I thought that the mind only school had eight consciousnesses, and that the alaya-vijnana was the base consciousness. However, some of the Far Eastern schools appear to have added a ninth consciousness, amala-vijnana, the pure consciousness.


As I have seen it is not a "ninth consciousness", as if it is in addition to the common eight.

Rather, it is the term used for the eighth consciousness in the stage of a Tathagata, which corresponds to the Great Mirror Wisdom, which is the result of the transmutation of the alaya-vijnana (per Ven. Xuanzang's Chengweishilun).

I would be interested in hearing any thoughts on this doctrinal development, and some explanation on the exact correspondence between the alaya-vijnana and the amala-vijnana. Why was there a need to introduce this extra consciousness?


If understood in the above sense, it is not actually an extra consciousnes.

The excerpt from Chengweishilun: Chapter 3, Section 20. "Names and Types of Eighth Consciousness";

".... Finally, it is called the 'immaculate consciousness' [amala-vijnana], which is extremely pure, because it is the support for all unsoiled dharmas. This name only applies to consciousness in the stage of a Tathagata, because among bodhisattvas, [saints of] the two vehicles, and ordinary people, consciousness holds seeds and can be perfumed, and these people have not yet acquired an eighth consciousness that is purified, etc.. As a scripture says, 'The immaculate consciousness of a Tathagata is the realm of purity and nondefilement, free of obstacles, and corresponding to perfect mirror knowledge.'"

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Re: amala-vijnana

Postby Huifeng » Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:56 pm

But of course, asking Xuanzang about this is probably not going to be the way to find out how Paramartha used and understood it. After all, this is a major difference between their two systems of Vijnaptimatra.
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Re: amala-vijnana

Postby Dexing » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:26 pm

From what I have seen, Paramartha's teaching on the amala-vijnana — as underlying the alaya-vijnana, and only being realized upon eradication of the eight — is not necessarily a "ninth" pure-consciousness which would be functioning simultaneously with the defiled consciousness, which would then cancel each other. Would that agree with scripture and reason?

If it is only fully functioning upon complete eradication of the eight consciousnesses, then it is not really different from the understanding put forth by Ven. Xuanzang.... as I've come to understand it thus far.

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Re: amala-vijnana

Postby klesha13579 » Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:42 am

I know this is a very old topic, but I just wanted to say something about amala-vijñāna

According to the mind-only school teaching, ālayavijñāna has the two layers The pure layer and the impure layer.

Various lotus Schools (Tien-Tai schools, Nichiren schools, etc) teach that the pure layer is amala-vijñāna. The impure layer is ālaya-vijñāna. Ālaya-vijñāna is the storehouse for karma and the pure layer is supposed to be free from all karma and immaculate, so they have different names. They cannot be really separated from each other, though.

They also teach that ālaya-vijñāna is the realm of Bodhisattva and amala-vijñāna is the realm of Buddha all sentient beings possess.

I believe this idea (about ālaya-vijñāna and amala-vijñāna) was not created by Tien Tai but the original Lotus Sutra in Sanskrit contained the idea.

The entire Dharmic world(in everyday word, universe, though it's not exactly the same) is made of all sentient beings and equals one Bodhisattva and this Bodhisattva contains immaculate Buddha within him. but various karma in ālaya-vijñāna split us from each other.

Vibrations caused by various karma create manas-vijñāna -the seventh consciousness(sub-consciousness) that is the source of individual ego and this manas-vijñāna causes the mano-vijñāna-the six consciousness. And the the mano-vijñāna causes the physical existences.
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