"Since the storehouse is a perception, what is its phenomenon and what is its mode?" Its phenomenon, of course, is the object that it perceives; since the ear perceives sounds, the nose smells, etc., what does the storehouse perceive, since it is said to be a perception? Further, what is its mode (rnam pa, akara)? This term apparently replaces support (asraya, rten), since a support must be something material, and the storehouse has no material support. Vasubandhu answers both questions by essentially not answering them: "Its phenomenon and mode are undiscerned (aparichinna, yongs su ma chad pa'o)" Nor does Gunaprabha comment. The matter is covered, though none too clearly, in Sthiramati's commentary to Vasubandhu's Trimsika; but it is a matter for another paper. (p. 16)
This is a strange analysis all the way around, is it not? First, the translation of āśraya
as "support", which is the typical (and usually specific) translation of ālambana
. Then, the translation of ākāra
as "mode"? The typical translation would be as "appearance" or even "phenomenon".
Second, there is the assumption that "a support must be something material". Why? There are immaterial objects of support (ālambana
) for meditation; this is the whole idea behind visualization.
Most misleading, perhaps, is the failure to recognize āśraya
as the basis, or "ground of being". I cannot access my original source on this, at the moment, so did a search and was very surprised to find one in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_of_Being_(Dzogchen)
) which references: Dudjom Rinpoche and Jikdrel Yeshe Dorje (1991). The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: its Fundamentals and History.
Two Volumes. Translated and edited by Gyurme Dorje with Matthew Kapstein. Wisdom Publications, Boston. ISBN 0-86171-087-8, p.535 Index of Technical Terms.
*Further, there is the translation of aparicchinna
as "undiscerned", whereas it is likely "uninterrupted" (i.e., infinite). This would mean Vasubandhu's statement is "The support is the basis [that is] infinite". (But I cannot find a statement in Triṃśikā that corresponds to either.)
I have not read Gunaprabha, so I do not know if the source of the confusion is Gunaprabha or Galloway.
One of my own ongoing questions is whether the āśraya
can be said to be equivalent to Tathatā, but that leads off-topic...