Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:48 pm

dude wrote:If there are not nine consciousnesses, what is there?


The so called ninth consciousness, amalavijñāna, is rather late innovation that never gained currency in India, thought it had some popularity in Chinese Buddhism.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
User avatar
Malcolm
 
Posts: 12144
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby TrimePema » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:55 pm

i think it's safe to say that, no matter what view of consciousness you agree with, ultimately, none of the consciousnesses exist by their own independent nature.
TrimePema
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:16 am

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby conebeckham » Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:32 am

Malcolm wrote:
conebeckham wrote: In effect, the karmic "seeds" which are said to "reside" in the Alayavijnana, are NOT the Alayavijnana itself.....


In reality, there are two Yogacara interpretations it seems.

One: ālayavijñāna is a consciousness which retains seeds. This is the later interpretation.

Two: ālayavijñāna and the seeds are coterminous: exhausting the latter eliminates the former. This seems to be the position of Asanga in Mahāyāna Samgraha.

The Nyingma approach to this is that there really are not nine consciousness at all. Consciousness derives its name based on its function in a given operation.


Okay. My understanding is somewhat like the earlier position, Asanga's position...when the "seeds" are exhausted, the Alayavijnana ceases to be....and if I recall correctly, the Dharmakaya is "result" though that implies a "cause and effect" relation which may not be truly appropriate. So perhaps it's appropriate to say the Alayavijnana is neither separate from, nor entirely defined by, the Karmic seeds.
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2719
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby smcj » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:04 am

TrimePema wrote:i think it's safe to say that, no matter what view of consciousness you agree with, ultimately, none of the consciousnesses exist by their own independent nature.

Unless you subscribe to one of the "empty-of-other" schools.

But the more important point is that all forms of Mahayana claim to be able to sit in uncontrived emptiness. Everything else is just different ways to talk about it. And since practitioners from all types of different philosophical schools have gained realization, to me it seems secondary how you choose to articulate what generally is agreed upon to be ineffable anyway.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, "The practice's the thing."
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
smcj
 
Posts: 2079
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby anjali » Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:57 am

conebeckham wrote:So perhaps it's appropriate to say the Alayavijnana is neither separate from, nor entirely defined by, the Karmic seeds.

That's my take on it. At the eighth level, consciousness (vijnana) and habit energies (karmic bijas) are not the same, nor are they different.

I've read that the function of the alaya-consciousness is one of projection (fabrication)--bringing forth appearances (apprehended objects and apprehending subject). The apprehending subject and the apprehended objects are just two aspects of a single appearance that haven't been dualistically "solidified" yet (the function of the seventh consciousness).

The eighth consciousness is just the ignorant outward-looking consciousness encountering it's own energy patterns, with no sense of self and other.
  • The object of the game is to go on playing it. --John Von Neumann
  • All activities are like the games children play. If started, they can never be finished. They are only completed once you let them be, like castles made of sand. --Khenpo Nyoshul Rinpoche
anjali
 
Posts: 353
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:33 pm

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby dude » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:14 am

where do you get this stuff?
dude
 
Posts: 555
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:38 am

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby smcj » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:22 am

dude wrote:where do you get this stuff?

Who are you talking to?
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
smcj
 
Posts: 2079
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby conebeckham » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:23 am

anjali wrote:
conebeckham wrote:So perhaps it's appropriate to say the Alayavijnana is neither separate from, nor entirely defined by, the Karmic seeds.

That's my take on it. At the eighth level, consciousness (vijnana) and habit energies (karmic bijas) are not the same, nor are they different.

I've read that the function of the alaya-consciousness is one of projection (fabrication)--bringing forth appearances (apprehended objects and apprehending subject). The apprehending subject and the apprehended objects are just two aspects of a single appearance that haven't been dualistically "solidified" yet (the function of the seventh consciousness).

The eighth consciousness is just the ignorant outward-looking consciousness encountering it's own energy patterns, with no sense of self and other.


I'm in agreement...this makes sense to me. (Believe it or not!) :smile:
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2719
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:53 am

anjali wrote:
conebeckham wrote:So perhaps it's appropriate to say the Alayavijnana is neither separate from, nor entirely defined by, the Karmic seeds.

That's my take on it. At the eighth level, consciousness (vijnana) and habit energies (karmic bijas) are not the same, nor are they different.

I've read that the function of the alaya-consciousness is one of projection (fabrication)--bringing forth appearances (apprehended objects and apprehending subject). The apprehending subject and the apprehended objects are just two aspects of a single appearance that haven't been dualistically "solidified" yet (the function of the seventh consciousness).

The eighth consciousness is just the ignorant outward-looking consciousness encountering it's own energy patterns, with no sense of self and other.


Read Mahayanasamgraha by Asanga.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
User avatar
Malcolm
 
Posts: 12144
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby Will » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:13 am

Malcolm wrote:
anjali wrote:
conebeckham wrote:So perhaps it's appropriate to say the Alayavijnana is neither separate from, nor entirely defined by, the Karmic seeds.

That's my take on it. At the eighth level, consciousness (vijnana) and habit energies (karmic bijas) are not the same, nor are they different.

I've read that the function of the alaya-consciousness is one of projection (fabrication)--bringing forth appearances (apprehended objects and apprehending subject). The apprehending subject and the apprehended objects are just two aspects of a single appearance that haven't been dualistically "solidified" yet (the function of the seventh consciousness).

The eighth consciousness is just the ignorant outward-looking consciousness encountering it's own energy patterns, with no sense of self and other.


Read Mahayanasamgraha by Asanga.


Here is a way to get Lamotte's version translated by Gelongma Migme Chödrön: http://www.gampoabbey.org/translation-committee.php
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
User avatar
Will
 
Posts: 1922
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby anjali » Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:46 am

Malcolm wrote:Read Mahayanasamgraha by Asanga.

Can you recommend an English online or printed version? I couldn't find anything through google search or at amazon (other than a chapter three translation at amazon).

I tend to get most of my explanations of theory from practice texts and rarely refer to original sources. In this case, what I expressed was my spin on Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche's commentary on Pointing out the Dharmakaya, pages 127-128. From what I can tell, it's a fairly standard presentation. Here is the relevant except.

The eighth consciousness, the alaya, is called that because it is itself the ground of consciousness. It is that mere cognitive lucidity which is the fundamental level of consciousness.
...
The alaya consciousness retains the particular habits that are implanted through one’s actions and habituation throughout time, as well as the beginningless habit of ignorance. All of these habits that are stored in the alaya consciousness re-emerge from it in the form of various appearances. That is how the eighth consciousness functions, how it projects appearances.

...The seventh consciousness is that faculty which fixates on the cognitive aspect of the alaya consciousness and mistakes it to be “I,” or a self. On the basis of mistakenly fixating upon that awareness aspect of the alaya consciousness as a “self.” it designates “others” as well. ...

The alaya consciousness arises as apprehended objects and an apprehending subject. The seventh consciousness fixates on the appearance of the apprehending subject as a self and, then, on the appearances of apprehended objects as other. In that way, through the action of these consciousnesses, the appearances of body and mind arise as distinct from one another, in the sense that the body appears as an apprehended object, while the mind appears as an apprehending subject. They’re distinct in appearing that way, but they’re not, in fact, different from one another, since they are merely two aspects of a single appearance that arises through the projection of the alaya consciousness. In that sense, as well, they are beyond being the same or different.


The context of Rinpoche's comments was about looking at the body and mind as same or different. If it can be shown, in the sense just discussed, that body and mind are not the same or different, then one could logically further infer that, at the eighth level, consciousness (aware aspect) and habit patterns (i.e. tendencies/latencies/mental imprints/habit energies/etc) are also not the same or different. In a sense, they are the basis for projection of the single appearance with two aspects. Perhaps one could say they (ground vijnana + bijas) are two aspects of a single basis--not the same, yet not different either. Anyway, that is where I was coming from.
Last edited by anjali on Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • The object of the game is to go on playing it. --John Von Neumann
  • All activities are like the games children play. If started, they can never be finished. They are only completed once you let them be, like castles made of sand. --Khenpo Nyoshul Rinpoche
anjali
 
Posts: 353
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:33 pm

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby Will » Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:54 am

Summary of the Great Vehicle was done by Numata/BDK a few years ago, also the Lamotte version I mentioned in the last post.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
User avatar
Will
 
Posts: 1922
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby dude » Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:56 am

smcj wrote:
dude wrote:where do you get this stuff?

Who are you talking to?


I'm seeing a lot of things that have nothing to do with any sutras I ever heard of.
And a lot of it sounds like sheer speculation.
dude
 
Posts: 555
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:38 am

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby anjali » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:35 am

anjali wrote:... Anyway, that is where I was coming from.


I know it's bad form to comment on one's own posts, but I did want to make one additional comment. As far as I can tell, the seventh conscious is about fixation on appearances, while the eighth consciousness about the projection of appearances. The only reason I care about any of this stuff is for purposes of practice: to gain experiential insight into how projection of appearances works. Just yesterday I read this quote by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, If you recognize its source while the expression unfolds, you reach the essence.
  • The object of the game is to go on playing it. --John Von Neumann
  • All activities are like the games children play. If started, they can never be finished. They are only completed once you let them be, like castles made of sand. --Khenpo Nyoshul Rinpoche
anjali
 
Posts: 353
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:33 pm

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby smcj » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:32 pm

dude wrote:
smcj wrote:
dude wrote:where do you get this stuff?

Who are you talking to?


I'm seeing a lot of things that have nothing to do with any sutras I ever heard of.
And a lot of it sounds like sheer speculation.

The Yogacara, or "Mind Only" school, basically comes from Asanga and Vasabhandu. They are effectively the counterparts of Nagarjuna for their line of thought. Commentaries on their work elaborated a lot of what we are talking about.

I like a little booklet that was written from the contemporary Karma Kagyu perspective, "Progressive Meditation on the Meditation on Emptiness" It quickly goes through the Shravaka, Yogacara, Svantrika, Prasangika, and Shentong approaches. Plus it mentions the major authors and texts for each system if you want to explore it more deeply. It's a quick survey and overview of the topic of emptiness, a nice little resource.

But that doesn't mean I can follow everything here.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
smcj
 
Posts: 2079
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:02 pm

smcj wrote:I like a little booklet that was written from the contemporary Karma Kagyu perspective, "Progressive Meditation on the Meditation on Emptiness" It quickly goes through the Shravaka, Yogacara, Svantrika, Prasangika, and Shentong approaches. Plus it mentions the major authors and texts for each system if you want to explore it more deeply. It's a quick survey and overview of the topic of emptiness, a nice little resource.

But that doesn't mean I can follow everything here.
I would love to see that booklet.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 9784
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby Will » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:05 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
smcj wrote:I like a little booklet that was written from the contemporary Karma Kagyu perspective, "Progressive Meditation on the Meditation on Emptiness" It quickly goes through the Shravaka, Yogacara, Svantrika, Prasangika, and Shentong approaches. Plus it mentions the major authors and texts for each system if you want to explore it more deeply. It's a quick survey and overview of the topic of emptiness, a nice little resource.

But that doesn't mean I can follow everything here.
I would love to see that booklet.


Maybe this is the one? http://www.wearesentience.com/uploads/7 ... tiness.pdf
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
User avatar
Will
 
Posts: 1922
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby smcj » Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:33 pm

Maybe this is the one? http://www.wearesentience.com/uploads/7 ... tiness.pdf

Yep, that's it. I can't believe what is available for free on the internet.

Sherab Dorje wrote:I would love to see that booklet.

Well, there you go!

He does make a distinction between the terms Cittamtra and Yogacara, which are usually synonymous. That is his own idiosyncrasy. And he ignores the Gelug version of Prasangika in favor of the classical Chandrakirti version. But other than that it I see no bias in it.

Have fun!
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
smcj
 
Posts: 2079
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby alpha » Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:19 pm

Malcolm wrote:
smcj wrote:Well, thanks for the link anyway. It's over my head. I'm out of my league. :techproblem: It happens.

Thankfully I do not believe that my progress on the spiritual path is contingent on understanding this stuff. :meditate:


Fundamentally speaking, the way Jayananda is understanding Chandrakirti is that the ālayavijñāna is the the consciousness that apprehends emptiness.


This alayavijnana is a concept which i still struggle with.
Is this a general basis where the traces are stored or is it individual , specific to every individual ?

Is this a problem for a dzogchenpa?Since CNNr never talks about this thing my understanding is that there is never a danger that one would have a problem with say resting in alaya?If this would be a problem he would also make a point and warn us every time he gives instructions.
AOM
alpha
 
Posts: 577
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:05 pm
Location: kent

Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby cloudburst » Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:33 pm

Malcolm wrote:He rejected the yogacara interpretation, he did not however reject how it discussed in the Lanka, in fact he cites the Lanka in support of his interpretation...but didn't we alreafy have this discussion?



We did. If one were to read it, one would discern why I found you statement "Candrakirti accepts the ālayavijñāna. Tsongkhapa did not" to be unhelpful, as the alayavijnana rejected by Je Tsongkhapa, a eighth consciousness that is perfumed by karmic traces and functioning as a storehouse, is also rejected by Chandrakirti.

You contended that Jayananda also believed that alayavijnana could be used to refer to the mind that realizes emptiness, which I find interesting and relatively uncontroversial as well as not making a difference to the real issue for most people, which seems to be "is there an alayavijnana consciousness, an eighth concsiousness."

Chandrkiriti rejected this unequivocally.
User avatar
cloudburst
 
Posts: 184
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:49 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Exploring Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: markatex and 12 guests

>