Alaya consciousness - many questions.

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Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby smcj » Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:59 pm

alpha wrote: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 ?

I'm a lightweight compared to some others around here, but I believe it is specific to the individual. It's not like an akashic record.

Is this a problem for a dzogchenpa?

I don't know. Just be aware that in this thread the term is currently being debated in the specific context of how Chandrakirti used it, which is completely different (according to Malcolm) than how it is used in the context of Yogacara philosophy, which is its normal usage. So this thread may not be the best place to try to come to an understanding of it.

Maybe a new thread?
Last edited by smcj on Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:19 pm

alpha wrote: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 ?
As far as I know it is specific to every individual. I have yet to come across the idea of a collective consciousness in Buddhism.
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Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby conebeckham » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:39 pm

As far as my reading and study are concerned, on the relative level it is specific to every individual...but again, it's not truly existent in the first place, but is within the realm of conditioned phenomema. Just as a "specific individual" is. However, the underlying, essential, "pure" element is presented by many as the Tathagatagarbha, or, when fully purified, the Dharmakaya. This is, of course, hotly disputed by those who feel the Tathatgatagarbha doctrine is expedient, even by those who posit a conventional alayavijnana.
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Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:44 pm

conebeckham wrote:As far as my reading and study are concerned, on the relative level it is specific to every individual...but again, it's not truly existent in the first place, but is within the realm of conditioned phenomema. Just as a "specific individual" is. However, the underlying, essential, "pure" element is presented by many as the Tathagatagarbha, or, when fully purified, the Dharmakaya. This is, of course, hotly disputed by those who feel the Tathatgatagarbha doctrine is expedient, even by those who posit a conventional alayavijnana.


Asanga argues somewhere that the bhavanga doctrine in the Nikaya schools and the ālayavijñāna have the same meaning. This makes ālayavijñāna personal.
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Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:29 pm

Malcolm wrote:
conebeckham wrote:As far as my reading and study are concerned, on the relative level it is specific to every individual...but again, it's not truly existent in the first place, but is within the realm of conditioned phenomema. Just as a "specific individual" is. However, the underlying, essential, "pure" element is presented by many as the Tathagatagarbha, or, when fully purified, the Dharmakaya. This is, of course, hotly disputed by those who feel the Tathatgatagarbha doctrine is expedient, even by those who posit a conventional alayavijnana.


Asanga argues somewhere that the bhavanga doctrine in the Nikaya schools and the ālayavijñāna have the same meaning. This makes ālayavijñāna personal.
That's the feeling I got from my study of Abhidha(r/mm)a.
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One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby reddust » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:16 am

Mind and mental events are concepts, mere postulations within the three realms of samsara Longchenpa .... A link to my Garden, Art and Foodie blog Scratch Living
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Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby smcj » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:30 am

reddust wrote:Just do a search on the text I linked to for Bhavanga citta and Alaya vijnana, also do a search on Dharma Wheel

I Googled alaya vijnana and got a hit for a book by Tsongkhapa on the Yogacara system. Who knew? Anyway here's part of the blurb for it. It's called "Ocean of Eloquence".

This is probably the best introduction to the distinctive eight consciousness systems of Yogacara. It also makes understandable the different meanings of the profound alaya-vijnana (the storehouse consciousness, or basis of all) that is the pivotal eighth consciousness in their system.

For those interested in meditation, the author's introduction explains how earlier Tibetan meditation (the method of allowing mind to look into its own pure nature) uses the eight-consciousness system.

The book is remarkable in that it addresses the problem of how a person trapped within the confines of a limited and deluded personality can transcend that state and attain liberation. By his inquiry into the process of transformation, Tsong kha pa makes profound comments which will interest those who ask whether enlightenment is a gradual process or a sudden breakthrough
.(formatting mine)

$53. I'm not doing it. I've got enough Dharma books unread on my shelf.
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Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby reddust » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:48 am

smcj wrote:
The book is remarkable in that it addresses the problem of how a person trapped within the confines of a limited and deluded personality can transcend that state and attain liberation. By his inquiry into the process of transformation, Tsong kha pa makes profound comments which will interest those who ask whether enlightenment is a gradual process or a sudden breakthrough.(formatting mine)

$53. I'm not doing it. I've got enough Dharma books unread on my shelf.


We had huge threads regarding this topic on E-sangha, lots of heated arguments because Theravada and Mahayana were not separated. I loved it!!! I am going through the book I am reading right now "A Study of Svantantrika " looking for references on this topic. I must confess I am still very curious about these mind states because of my meditation experiences with vipassana going down into the what is commonly referred to as the unconscious mind with pin pointed totally focused pure awareness and blowing those latent seeds to smithereens. I could use the pali words in my last sentence but I really suck at it so I am not going to do it :guns:

I need to read the books I have as well :reading:
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Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby smcj » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:54 am

reddust wrote:
smcj wrote:
The book is remarkable in that it addresses the problem of how a person trapped within the confines of a limited and deluded personality can transcend that state and attain liberation. By his inquiry into the process of transformation, Tsong kha pa makes profound comments which will interest those who ask whether enlightenment is a gradual process or a sudden breakthrough.(formatting mine)

$53. I'm not doing it. I've got enough Dharma books unread on my shelf.


We had huge threads regarding this topic on E-sangha, lots of heated arguments because Theravada and Mahayana were not separated. I loved it!!! I am going through the book I am reading right now "A Study of Svantantrika " looking for references on this topic. I must confess I am still very curious about these mind states because of my meditation experiences with vipassana going down into the what is commonly referred to as the unconscious mind with pin pointed totally focused pure awareness and blowing those latent seeds to smithereens. I could use the pali words in my last sentence but I really suck at it so I am not going to do it :guns:

I need to read the books I have as well :reading:

I thought that Tsongkhapa had done nothing but criticize Yogacara. I had no idea he had written anything on it other than critique.
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Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby reddust » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:05 am

smcj wrote:I thought that Tsongkhapa had done nothing but criticize Yogacara. I had no idea he had written anything on it other than critique.


I am a closet Yogacaraian :spy: I bet Tsongkhapa was too. But seriously, I bet a lot of data has been forgotten, lost in translation.... (runs and hides from the Dharma police) hahaha (Edit-I am teasing, seriously, I don't want to go to Dharma school jail)
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Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby LastLegend » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:15 am

reddust wrote:
smcj wrote:I thought that Tsongkhapa had done nothing but criticize Yogacara. I had no idea he had written anything on it other than critique.


I am a closet Yogacaraian :spy: I bet Tsongkhapa was too. But seriously, I bet a lot of data has been forgotten, lost in translation.... (runs and hides from the Dharma police) hahaha (Edit-I am teasing, seriously, I don't want to go to Dharma school jail)

:lol:
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Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby reddust » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:16 am

LastLegend wrote:
reddust wrote:
smcj wrote:I thought that Tsongkhapa had done nothing but criticize Yogacara. I had no idea he had written anything on it other than critique.


I am a closet Yogacaraian :spy: I bet Tsongkhapa was too. But seriously, I bet a lot of data has been forgotten, lost in translation.... (runs and hides from the Dharma police) hahaha (Edit-I am teasing, seriously, I don't want to go to Dharma school jail)

:lol:


Goodnight Brother, it is way past my bedtime. :hug: :hi:
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Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby Punya » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:11 am

conebeckham wrote:As far as my reading and study are concerned, on the relative level it is specific to every individual...but again, it's not truly existent in the first place, but is within the realm of conditioned phenomema. Just as a "specific individual" is.


This is also my understanding but what's the explanation for it being specific to the individual?
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Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:48 pm

smcj wrote:$53. I'm not doing it. I've got enough Dharma books unread on my shelf.


It's actually about 25 bucks.
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Re: Alaya consciousness - many questions.

Postby anjali » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:13 pm

reddust wrote:
smcj wrote:I thought that Tsongkhapa had done nothing but criticize Yogacara. I had no idea he had written anything on it other than critique.


I am a closet Yogacaraian :spy: I bet Tsongkhapa was too. But seriously, I bet a lot of data has been forgotten, lost in translation.... (runs and hides from the Dharma police) hahaha (Edit-I am teasing, seriously, I don't want to go to Dharma school jail)

According to the introduction of Ocean of Eloquence (parts can be read online at books.google.com), Sparham makes the claim that Tsongkapa's views on the alaya-vijnana evolved. I found this excerpt particularly interesting. The Question and Response are from the later Tsongkhapa:
[Question:] Even though a kun gzhi which is svabhava-siddha ('inherently real') is rejected, still one may accept one which, substantially different (Tib. ngo bo tha dad) to the set of six, is the illusion-like sarva-bijaka of all good and bad.

[Response:] Should one accept such a kun gzhi one would have to accept shapes and sounds, etc., which ripening from kun gzhi residual impressions, are mere appearances without objective content (Tib. don med). But in this [definitive] text [on Buddhist truth, i.e., the Guhyasamaja commentary] it says, “One gets the knowable through knowing: without a knowable there is no knowing. So why not assert the nonexistence of understanding and understood?”

Here, then, the ontological status of a knowable and knowing are equated. If one were not to exist the other would not either. This is no different to what we find in the Madhyamakavatara where it says the object-known (Tib, don) and knowing are not to be differentiated when it comes to their ontological status: both are equally ultimately nonexistent and equally conventionally existent. The Acarya does not accept there is a knowledge of something nonexternal. So he does not assert a kun gzhi which is substantially different to the sixth consciousness, mano-vijnana.

In essence, then, Tsong kha pa totally rejects a place for the alaya-vijnana because it gives awareness itself—what Tsong kha pa terms ‘knowing’ (Tib. shes byed)—undue weight relative to ordinary external appearances.
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