Questioning Alayavijnana

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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:05 pm

Yes, but at the same time "The aggregates, the elements and the sense factors of beings..." are the products of karma. Realising ones true nature alows one to see ones karmic seeds since they are the source of the aggregates, the elements and the sense factors of beings and at the same time the aggregates, the elements and the sense factors of beings are part of ones Buddha Nature.

I should dip out of the discussion here since this is the academic discussion sub-forum and I'm not going to be capable of providing references without diving back into my books again.
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"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
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Astus » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:17 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:There are numerous mental phenomena occuring that I am not aware of. Take anger for example. You can be angry and so caught up in the feeling that you not aware of your anger. I can be aware of my capacity for anger yet not be currenlty expressing or feeling anger.


Does one feel angry when one is angry? Of course. Without feeling anger one can't be angry. The feeling itself is the consciousness in this case. What you say by not recognising on another level that one is angry, not identifying in a verbal-conceptual way with the idea of anger, is another thing.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:21 pm

Astus wrote:Does one feel angry when one is angry? Of course. Without feeling anger one can't be angry. The feeling itself is the consciousness in this case. What you say by not recognising on another level that one is angry, not identifying in a verbal-conceptual way with the idea of anger, is another thing.
You keep changing the goal posts. A minute ago you were talking about awareness and now you are talking about feeling. So whht are we talking about? Awareness or feeling?

One can be angry and not be aware that they are angry. It happens all the time.
:namaste:
"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
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Astus » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:37 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Yes, but at the same time "The aggregates, the elements and the sense factors of beings..." are the products of karma. Realising ones true nature alows one to see ones karmic seeds since they are the source of the aggregates, the elements and the sense factors of beings and at the same time the aggregates, the elements and the sense factors of beings are part of ones Buddha Nature.


Anyone who followed the pointing out instructions of Mahamudra has seen the nature of mind. But who has seen thousands of seeds? Also, there is another problem with this. They are called seeds because of their latency.

Vasubandhu writes, "What is consciousness? It is awareness of an object. ... Primarily, thought is the storehouse consciousness, because that is where the seeds of all the formations are collected." (Pancaskandhaprakarana in "The Inner Science of Buddhist Practice", p. 239)

So, even if there is talk about gross and subtle consciousness, all the seeds present in a single moment should be observable.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Astus » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:38 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:You keep changing the goal posts. A minute ago you were talking about awareness and now you are talking about feeling. So whht are we talking about? Awareness or feeling?

One can be angry and not be aware that they are angry. It happens all the time.


Because feeling is a form of awareness I don't see any change of topic here. Seeing something and hearing something both have awareness. If I'm not aware of seeing or hearing something, then I don't see or hear it. Same with feeling.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:16 pm

Astus wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:What you are dealing with here is the problem of avidya. How can anger arise without your being conscious of it? Once it's full blown, you are conscious of it. But it comes on to you unawares. As soon as the circumstances align, it jumps out. This is the meaning of seed. Eye organ contacts object, pleasant or painful, generates eye-consciousness, aroused by memory and then anger can arise. This is the seed. In a sense Alaya-vijnana is memory stored deep in the "unconscious."

So the "seeds" are dependent originations. Buddhas don't see them because of that. So turning your attention to the process, seeing nothing, they disappear, slowly never to reappear. That's how it goes.


You just say that there is alayavijnana, but you don't answer how can there be mental phenomena without being aware of them. It is a problem because if there is no need of consciousness for a mental phenomena, then there are thoughts without being thought, and even a stone could have mental phenomena.


How come emotion can arise even if one doesn't want it to? There is clearly some process going on that one is not aware of and it is happening in your conscious mind. You are ignoring it. What you are ignoring is the alaya-vijnana. This is the meaning of avidya. Once you become aware of the alaya, these habits cannot arise. The 12-fold structure collapses. When you receive the introduction in Dzogchen, for example, if you recognize your natural state, you recognize something that was always there. It is not as if something new emerges. But you were always ignoring this presence. So it is not the case of the stone at all. It is the case of wearing your glasses while looking around the house for your glasses. When you realize they were there all along, you will even remember seeing them on your nose. How is it possible that our minds do this? 12-fold cycle of unconsciousness.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Astus » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:56 pm

deepbluehum wrote:How come emotion can arise even if one doesn't want it to? There is clearly some process going on that one is not aware of and it is happening in your conscious mind. You are ignoring it. What you are ignoring is the alaya-vijnana. This is the meaning of avidya. Once you become aware of the alaya, these habits cannot arise.


How do you define ignorance in this case? Being ignorant of what? The alayavijnana itself? And how do you become aware of it? Or rather the ignorance in this case should be not realising that all is consciousness. But I'd still like to find a reference from actually being aware of seeds in a treatise.

Another problem is that the seeds are meant to be latent, they are defined as such. And when one is enlightened, the seeds are gone.

"The support is then converted. When that support is entirely converted, then the container consciousness with all its seeds is entirely eliminated together with all those seeds." (Asanga: Summary of the Great Vehicle, 1.48)
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Huifeng » Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:20 am

Astus wrote:
Huifeng wrote:In particular, the ramifications and indeed requirements once alaya is established as a vijnana, as opposed to the collection of bijas.


As a background info, I've been reading the Cheng Weishi Lun when these questions came up.

Even if we talk about seeds only, they are mental phenomena, and the questions remain. How can a mental phenomenon exist without the mind being conscious of it?


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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:06 am

Astus wrote:How do you define ignorance in this case? Being ignorant of what? The alayavijnana itself?


Yes.

And how do you become aware of it? Or rather the ignorance in this case should be not realising that all is consciousness. But I'd still like to find a reference from actually being aware of seeds in a treatise.


You become aware of it by practicing the 5 paths. You probably want to see Maitreya's treatises.

Another problem is that the seeds are meant to be latent, they are defined as such. And when one is enlightened, the seeds are gone.

"The support is then converted. When that support is entirely converted, then the container consciousness with all its seeds is entirely eliminated together with all those seeds." (Asanga: Summary of the Great Vehicle, 1.48)


The seeds are threefold: citta, mano and the sense consciousnesses. They can only function so long as the alaya-vijnana has not been perceived. Once it is perceived, they cease to function.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Astus » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:28 am

Huifeng wrote:anusaya


How does that make the issue simpler? Latent defilements or seeds are both supposed to be mental phenomena that we are unaware of, and by definition they are meant to be latent. Which is OK, but then why are they mental? Or should we say that consciousness is not the essence of mind?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Astus » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:37 am

deepbluehum wrote:You become aware of it by practicing the 5 paths. You probably want to see Maitreya's treatises.


Can you give some closer reference, like which treatise, which chapter, where it talks about becoming aware of alayavijnana and the seeds?

deepbluehum wrote:They can only function so long as the alaya-vijnana has not been perceived. Once it is perceived, they cease to function.


In that case, there are no seeds left to become aware of. And this is what I mentioned as the problem, that in the end nobody ever sees any seed.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:50 am

Astus wrote:Anyone who followed the pointing out instructions of Mahamudra has seen the nature of mind. But who has seen thousands of seeds? Also, there is another problem with this. They are called seeds because of their latency.
Catching a glimpse of a painting is not the same as seeing the whole painting in all its detail.
Vasubandhu writes, "What is consciousness? It is awareness of an object. ... Primarily, thought is the storehouse consciousness, because that is where the seeds of all the formations are collected." (Pancaskandhaprakarana in "The Inner Science of Buddhist Practice", p. 239)
It seems to me that Vasubandhu is talking about mano vijnaya (thought) here and not alaya vijnana. But again, even discrimating thought betrays its karmic roots if one knows what they are looking for.

As for the awareness/feeling issue, I have to check with some Abhidha... texts before getting back to you (with some references) on that one.
:namaste:
"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
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby zangskar » Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:03 pm

Astus wrote:Alayavijnana is used to explain how karma is carried on from moment to moment, life to life, and also it is a basis for the continuation of a being. Here are some problems I have:

If alayavijnana is a part/mode of consciousness, why are we not aware of it?
If we can't be aware of it, what makes it part of the consciousness? / If there can be a part of consciousness one is not aware of, what makes it consciousness?
If only buddhas are aware of it, since they have it already purified, even they can't see the defiled seeds, and so it's only an assumption.

Page 73-74 in this book has pretty much the same objections to the concept
(Into the Jaws of Yama, Lord of Death: Buddhism, Bioethics, And Death. By Karma Lekshe Tsomo (Bhikṣuṇī))
In Buddhist systems other than Yogacara, consciousness or awareness always has an object: to be aware is to be conscious of _something_. This view is most explicitly formulated in the Vaibhasika shcool. Each moment of consciousness is said to have its specific object and no moment of consciouss lacks an object. In the yogacara system, however, the alayavijnana (storehouse consciousness) is said to exist inherently even in the absence of an object.
...
Paul J. Griffiths views this theory as a philosophical construct to help reconcile "the experienced facts of the continuity of personal identity, such things as memory, continuity of character traits, the continuing sense that each person thinks of himself as identifiably an individual, identifiably different from other individuals and identifiably the same person as he was in the past," with a metaphysics that denies the existence of enduring individuals and events.
...
Other Buddhist schools reject the alayavijnana and the notion of a consciousness that exists without objects. For them, the mental consciousness (manovijnana) is perfectly capable of continuing after death and there is no need to posit an additional consciousness. The same reasoning that is used to refute the existence of a self-reflective consciousness (svasanivedana, self-knower) is used to refute the idea of alayaijnana. Consciousness is simply conscious; there is no need to posit an additional, self-aware consciousness. ....
...as Griffiths points out, the alayavijnana does not satisfy "standard Buddhist definitions of consciousness as something which cognizes, something which has an intentional object," instead consisting merely of extremely subtle "seeds" of awareness that are destined to "ripen" at some subsequent time, in conjunction with causes and conditions. Neither conscious nor material, the nature and status of the alayavijnana is ambiguous and far too closely approximates a self to be acceptable to the adherents of other Buddhist schools.

I believe the Paul Griffiths text refered to is On Being Mindless, Buddhist meditation and the mind body problem. 1986.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:56 pm

Astus wrote:Can you give some closer reference, like which treatise, which chapter, where it talks about becoming aware of alayavijnana and the seeds?


I'll work on it.

Astus wrote:In that case, there are no seeds left to become aware of. And this is what I mentioned as the problem, that in the end nobody ever sees any seed.


There's no problem. You are toiling with the idea of a dependently originated object. The seed is a contingent remainder of the three prior consciousnesses working together. It can only operate so long as you are caught unawares. As soon as you see this operation, it stops.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Astus » Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:39 pm

deepbluehum wrote:There's no problem. You are toiling with the idea of a dependently originated object. The seed is a contingent remainder of the three prior consciousnesses working together. It can only operate so long as you are caught unawares. As soon as you see this operation, it stops.


And my issue is with the seed as mental phenomenon. Here it makes no difference that it is a contingent remainder or whatever else. The question is regarding it's nature of existence. For instance, you say, "It can only operate so long as you are caught unawares", but how can a consciousness operate without being conscious?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:51 pm

Astus wrote:Because feeling is a form of awareness I don't see any change of topic here. Seeing something and hearing something both have awareness. If I'm not aware of seeing or hearing something, then I don't see or hear it. Same with feeling.
Feeling (vedana) is not a form of awareness, feeling is an ethically variable (annasamanacetasika) universal (sabbacittasadharana) mental factor and attention (manasikara) is another ethically variable universal mental factor. Feeling is an experience "the affective mode in which the object is experienced. Attention turns the mind to the object thus making the object available to the mind (ie awareness has not yet begun). Abhidhammattha Sangaha, 2000, pp78-81. Other cettasika inolved are initial and sustained application (vitakka and vicara) which apply and sustain the mind on the sense object.

During a cognitive process through the mind door "awareness" begins with the Mind door adverting consciousness followed by seven instances of Javana consciousness which then (may or may not) lead to two instances of Registration consciouness. Abhidhammattha Sangaha, 2000, pp165-166 Registration depends on the intensity of the mental object, if the mental object is not intense...

So quite clearly the terms feeling and awareness are NOT interchangable AND a mental object may come into "view" of the mind, yet not be "seen" by the mind.
:namaste:
"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
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Astus » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:15 pm

Greg,

By awareness I did not mean any particular function, but simply consciousness. Or I can also say that except for rupaskandha all the others belong to nama; also, they are within the sixth ayatana, where the dharmas are the objects of manas. And from the Vijnaptimatra view, whatever experience there is, it is a mental phenomenon anyway.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby LastLegend » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:21 pm

Astus wrote:
Another problem is that the seeds are meant to be latent, they are defined as such. And when one is enlightened, the seeds are gone.


Astus wrote:
So, even if there is talk about gross and subtle consciousness, all the seeds present in a single moment should be observable.



Memories for example only come when there is a trigger be an event or a thought.

I don't really see what you are getting at here. I rather you outright state what your beliefs than beating around the bush.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Astus » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:33 pm

LastLegend wrote:Memories for example only come when there is a trigger be an event or a thought.

I don't really see what you are getting at here. I rather you outright state what your beliefs than beating around the bush.


There is no belief in the back. But we can apply the question to memory too. If memories are in the mind, and mind is being conscious, why aren't we conscious of our memories?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby LastLegend » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:35 pm

Well can we be conscious of everything at the same time? The mind can only focus on one object at the time.
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