Questioning Alayavijnana

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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:19 pm

Astus wrote:Let's say that the alayavijnana is simply a theoretical supposition, a convenient explanation about how memory, mind and karma works. The seeds are simply our unquestioned views we follow all the time. Once seen through, it's all gone. Unfortunately, this makes the whole argument for alayavijnana quite weak.


No. It's a modality, a mode of explanation of a mental process. I don't think it was ever meant to be some substantial thing. It's like if you are going to diagram a wave of water. You can use circular patterns or triangular patterns. These shapes do not really exist in the wave. It is only a method to map the process. That's why different parts of the maps can be viewed and explained in different ways.

Another example is how Freud and Jung described the Unconscious differently. Modes of explanation only get closer to the truth, but never really reach it. The Pali texts would still result in Arhatship even though they make no use of Alayavijnana. I tend to think the proliferation of terms up to Dzogchen is Hegelian dialectic by various individuals. In a real sense, none of it is correct words of Buddha. But if it helps a little bit in understanding the path, it's okay. If not, you can always use the methods without having to map your situation without occurring any problems. Any clarity about the path a good practitioner gets are valid in a sense, as Malcolm and Jnana have shown.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:29 pm

Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote: Dzogchen is the 8th.


So you have just reduced Dzogchen to the level of mind.


I get what you are saying. One should speak the language of the country you enter otherwise no one can understand one another. The changes in terminology are organic. This is also true.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:59 pm

Mind alone is the seed of everything. It manifests samsara as well as nirvana. It grants all desired results. I bow down to the mind, which is like a wish fulfiling gem.
Saraha in Mahamudra - The Ocean of True Meaning by Karmapa Wangchung Dorje.
"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 Jnana » Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:10 pm

deepbluehum wrote:Actually what I've presented came from a Kagyu transmission. I didn't make it up, I just wrote it down. After I took a closer look at it, I was amazed. It does resolve conflicts in these formulations.

Generally, it's useful to differentiate between the ālaya and the ālayavijñāna. For example, Karmapa's autocommentary on the Zabmo Nangdon:

    To express the impure [aspect of mind as such] as "mind" refers to what is taught as the "ālaya-consciousness."... As for what is called "ālaya," if the term "consciousness" is not [explicitly] stated, it is suitable [in certain contexts] to express suchness as "ālaya" too.

And Kongtrul's commentary on Karmapa's Namshe Yeshe Gepa:

    It is appropriate to refer to the pure aspect of the ālaya, as it was explained, through the conventional term "cause for purified [phenomena]." But it is not appropriate to explain that the ālaya-consciousness is the cause of the buddha wisdom of nirvāṇa. The Tantra of Complete Nonabiding declares:

      Though the ālaya is the ground of all,
      It is not the ground for purified [phenomena].

    However, there are numerous ways to explain this.

This accords with what you said in this post:

deepbluehum wrote:Alaya-vijnana=afflicted/obscured; Alaya=not
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:27 pm

Jnana wrote:Generally, it's useful to differentiate between the ālaya and the ālayavijñāna. For example, Karmapa's autocommentary on the Zabmo Nangdon:

    To express the impure [aspect of mind as such] as "mind" refers to what is taught as the "ālaya-consciousness."... As for what is called "ālaya," if the term "consciousness" is not [explicitly] stated, it is suitable [in certain contexts] to express suchness as "ālaya" too.


How is it useful?

And Kongtrul's commentary on Karmapa's Namshe Yeshe Gepa:

    It is appropriate to refer to the pure aspect of the ālaya, as it was explained, through the conventional term "cause for purified [phenomena]." But it is not appropriate to explain that the ālaya-consciousness is the cause of the buddha wisdom of nirvāṇa. The Tantra of Complete Nonabiding declares:

      Though the ālaya is the ground of all,
      It is not the ground for purified [phenomena].

    However, there are numerous ways to explain this.


I don't even know what this means to be honest. It is a string of nonsequiturs. Your quotation of the material appears to be reliance on authority to establish an argument, which is a common fallacy. I see this a lot in shastras and in these sorts of shastra-like tantras. This kind of fallacious reasoning, to my mind, has fully poisoned Buddhism. It doesn't appear to me that Buddhists are very good a logic, which for them is a game of shells or fiat, but I would welcome further clarity on this if I'm seeing this askew.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:29 pm

Another can't tell you
your innermost nature;

apart from the gurus teaching
it's never seen.

In it,
not a single flaw exists:

It's purified,
right and wrong both consumed.
Saraha in Tantric Treasures: Three Collections of Mystical Verse from Buddhist India Trans. Roger R. Jackson
"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."
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Jnana » Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:04 pm

deepbluehum wrote:How is it useful?

To differentiate between wisdom and ignorance -- knowing and not knowing.

deepbluehum wrote:I don't even know what this means to be honest.

All that we have to work with on this level of dialogue is mere designation (prajñaptimātra). Just because you don't know what it means doesn't entail that it's meaningless.

deepbluehum wrote:It is a string of nonsequiturs.

The only non-starters that I've seen lately are your repeated attempts to claim that you're smarter and more realized than learned Buddhist teachers.

deepbluehum wrote:Your quotation of the material appears to be reliance on authority to establish an argument, which is a common fallacy. I see this a lot in shastras and in these sorts of shastra-like tantras. This kind of fallacious reasoning, to my mind, has fully poisoned Buddhism. It doesn't appear to me that Buddhists are very good a logic, which for them is a game of shells or fiat, but I would welcome further clarity on this if I'm seeing this askew.

It's only a problem if one party doesn't accept the authority cited. In inter-Buddhist dialogue where you have already acknowledged receiving Kagyu teachings, it's quite appropriate for someone to quote Karmapa Rangjung Dorje to further the discussion.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:40 pm

Jnana wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:How is it useful?

To differentiate between wisdom and ignorance -- knowing and not knowing.


No. It only differentiates definitions. It states premises, and they should follow basic logical norms.

Jnana wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:All that we have to work with on this level of dialogue is mere designation (prajñaptimātra). Just because you don't know what it means doesn't entail that it's meaningless.


You have yet to elucidate something. I am open to you. I'm not really attached to my position here. It's what I've come up with so far. I'm ready to drop it if there's a good reason to.

Jnana wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:It is a string of nonsequiturs.

The only non-starters that I've seen lately are your repeated attempts to claim that you're smarter and more realized than learned Buddhist teachers.


I didn't make it up. It came from a learned Buddhist teacher. Now you are engaging in ad hominem, another fallacy. You can do better.

Jnana wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:Your quotation of the material appears to be reliance on authority to establish an argument, which is a common fallacy. I see this a lot in shastras and in these sorts of shastra-like tantras. This kind of fallacious reasoning, to my mind, has fully poisoned Buddhism. It doesn't appear to me that Buddhists are very good a logic, which for them is a game of shells or fiat, but I would welcome further clarity on this if I'm seeing this askew.

It's only a problem if one party doesn't accept the authority cited. In inter-Buddhist dialogue where you have already acknowledged receiving Kagyu teachings, it's quite appropriate for someone to quote Karmapa Rangjung Dorje to further the discussion.


Perhaps not all Kagyu schools accept Karmapa's reasoning. Then what? We would both have to accept the Karmapa is infallible, and then even if the reasoning doesn't follow basic logic, we would accept it anyway because of his "omniscience." This is textbook fallacy of appeal to higher authority, except in this case we would both subscribe to the fallacy. It doesn't fix the reasoning.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:51 pm

BTW, a very learned Buddhist teacher with whom all are familiar told me to scrutinize the teachings. I try my best to do that. It can only help.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Jnana » Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:36 pm

deepbluehum wrote:It states premises, and they should follow basic logical norms.

It's quite simple really: In the context of the Kagyu teachings under discussion ālaya ≠ ālayavijñāna. And in the Indian Yogācāra tradition the revolved basis (āśrayaparivṛtti) ≠ ālayavijñāna. The ālayavijñāna is the root of all defilements, and the ālayavijñāna is eliminated through the revolution of the basis.

deepbluehum wrote:BTW, a very learned Buddhist teacher with whom all are familiar told me to scrutinize the teachings. I try my best to do that. It can only help.

I'd suggest to you that raising absurd qualms and objections probably isn't all that helpful.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:05 pm

Jnana wrote:It's quite simple really: In the context of the Kagyu teachings under discussion ālaya ≠ ālayavijñāna. And in the Indian Yogācāra tradition the revolved basis (āśrayaparivṛtti) ≠ ālayavijñāna. The ālayavijñāna is the root of all defilements, and the ālayavijñāna is eliminated through the revolution of the basis.


Okay. I get that you are telling us what the standard school dogma is. The OP was scrutinizing just these ideas. I was adding to that. The OP's mode of discussion was to try and see if the terms and associated systems withstand analysis. He is not asking what the standard ideas are. He appears to know those enough to comment.

deepbluehum wrote:I'd suggest to you that raising absurd qualms and objections probably isn't all that helpful.


You mentioned that just because I don't understand something does not make it meaningless. This advice applies here to you. The terms you quoted above do not show that the terms withstand analysis. I hope I don't have to give you a lesson on why that is. It should be obvious for someone with a college degree. But just in case, I will give you a hint. You have introduced premises, nothing more. We have not analyzed if these premises are feasible or necessary. I would suggest to you that if you were to look more closely at my posts in this thread, they show that the alternative valid formulation would suggest that none of these formulations are essential. Because if a premise is essential, there is only one way to form it logically, like pi. If there are multiple ways to formulate something, like 3-1-1=1 or 2-1=1, that fluidity would tend to show a more organic system that can be updated for greater efficiency and usefulness. Then, simply relying on past formulations would not be desirable.

Let's take the example of alayavijnana is ignorance, and when that ignorance is purified, it is the alaya/nirvana. There is a distinct logical problem in this premise, and that is ignorance is not a substance or a medium. It is an absence. Thus if the alayavijnana is just ignorance, there's no alayavijnana. This is also how I understand the OP's objections to Yogacara. But if you take the alayavijnana to be emptiness, and ignorance is the concurrent commission of 7 and down, then one can of course be ignorant of 8. Once that ignorance is gone, and knowledge of it arises, there it is in it's own pure form.

I would assert that these logical problems only arise because the ancient logicians treated processes as things. Where there was dynamism and verbing, their use of language solidified the processes into nouns. A pragmatic problem is thereby transformed into a metaphysical problem. And as we all know, metaphysics has been downgraded by advances in philosophy. If we take a pragmatic approach to these issues, it opens up this field to our modern world, of course, at the risk of contradicted past masters who might still be worshipped.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Jnana » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:57 pm

deepbluehum wrote:Let's take the example of alayavijnana is ignorance, and when that ignorance is purified, it is the alaya/nirvana. There is a distinct logical problem in this premise, and that is ignorance is not a substance or a medium. It is an absence. Thus if the alayavijnana is just ignorance, there's no alayavijnana.

The Yogācāra model represents more dynamic complexity than your reduction allows. The ālayavijñāna and other seven vijñānas represent a complex of cognitions, volitions, and afflicted emotions, etc. That is, a model of the experiential processes of a mental continuum that isn't completely liberated. One of the main motivations for the Yogācāra thinkers was to try to account for both bondage and liberation. Of course, criticism of this project isn't something new in the history of Buddhism, and the soteriological value of the project is questionable. This is probably one of the reasons why the Yogācāra wasn't able to maintain a dominant position in China or Tibet. Basically, there were other commentarial and practice traditions which were less cumbersome and easier to understand and put into use.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:09 pm

deepbluehum wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote: Dzogchen is the 8th.


So you have just reduced Dzogchen to the level of mind.


Not really. 8th is emptiness, etc.



All consciousnesses are empty.
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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:11 pm

deepbluehum wrote:But if you take the alayavijnana to be emptiness...


But it isn't, except in Candrakirti's scheme of things.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Jnana » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:13 pm

deepbluehum wrote:Making the cognitive obscuration a function of the 7th, and the afflictive a part of the 6th, basically frees the 8th to be nirvana.

BTW, why do you want to redefine the ālayavijñāna to be equivalent to nirvāṇa? What do you hope for this hermeneutic maneuver to solve or reconcile?
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:11 pm

Malcolm wrote:So you have just reduced Dzogchen to the level of mind.
deepbluehum wrote:Not really. 8th is emptiness, etc.
All consciousnesses are empty.
So then why balk at the idea that Dzogchen is at the level of mind? Unless, of course, you are saying that Dzogchen is not related to emptiness? ie it is self defining.
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One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:13 am

Jnana wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:Making the cognitive obscuration a function of the 7th, and the afflictive a part of the 6th, basically frees the 8th to be nirvana.

BTW, why do you want to redefine the ālayavijñāna to be equivalent to nirvāṇa? What do you hope for this hermeneutic maneuver to solve or reconcile?


The discrepancies between Mahayana, Vajrayana, Mahamudra and Dzogchen. Mahayana you have Yogacara and 8 consciousness. Vajrayana goes along with that somewhat but Kagyu Mahamudra makes this distinction with Alaya as pure. Then, Dzogchen says Alaya is ignorance and posits the Gzhi. This wouldn't be a problem if it was understood these are all different levels of realization. But most masters will say the realization of Mahamudra and Dzogchen are equivalent. I would point out that what these masters assert may be at odds with scripture. If the master is understood to be enlightened, then are his words new scripture? That would mean the addition by Dzogchen of a Gzhi beyond the Alaya is not necessary and needs to be rewritten. If you are someone practicing in both traditions, which many are these days and have been for hundreds of years, one might wonder if one's experience in Mahamudra is deficient by Dzogchen standards. Conversely, one might practice Dzogchen and falsely think an experience is higher than some other method, wrongly disparaging the non-dzogchen method. This causes doubts, wrong views and prevents someone from genuinely experience the methods assigned. If it is just polemical discussions that have spawned these changes to the outline, then one can do away with them. Or as I have tried to do after the transmission that turned me on to it, reevaluate the whole field. The benefit is that one can understand a method like two stages is gradual and direct introduction immediate, that there is a question of speed, but level, as the outline could represent, would be identical in both systems of practice. Coherent maps are useful, and given the number of smart people getting into buddhism these days, it's worth the effort to generate a model for our time. I would also point out that Vasubandhu and other masters were unafraid to generate a new school of thought. They did not balk at shirking their predecessors. Why should we?
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:17 am

Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:But if you take the alayavijnana to be emptiness...


But it isn't, except in Candrakirti's scheme of things.


So what you are saying is you don't agree with Candrakirti. You haven't shown "it isn't."
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:19 am

Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:
Malcolm wrote:So you have just reduced Dzogchen to the level of mind.


Not really. 8th is emptiness, etc.



All consciousnesses are empty.


Obviously. If you really are going to hold this as a view, then there is no reason even to use something like an 8 Consciousness model. The model is there to represent what happens when you don't know all consciousnesses are empty.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:29 am

In the talk on Yogacara and by Dan Lusthaus he says explicitly that Vasubhandu's attitude was it's dharma if it is true, not it's true if it is dharma. According to Dan, dharma can borrow from a broad spectrum of fields as well. We are not limited to the traditional Buddhist dogmas, and it is not "buddha-dharma" to adhere dogmatically to buddhist cannons and treatises. It is our duty to reevaluate constantly. If it is a living tradition we will do that. Anything living must change. We should try to expose flaws in our predecessors' reasoning. This is not about being arrogant and wanting to start a new school. It's only about being a responsible person, keeping both feet on the ground and genuinely working with the subject matter.
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