Questioning Alayavijnana

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Astus
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Astus » Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:56 pm

"After 8 pages on this topic do you believe anyone directly addressed the issues of your original post?"

Except for these last posts after my summary of the problem, no.

"It's object and form are undeterminate [aparacchinna]. Why? Because..."

I think it just explains that the alayavijnana is not bound to any specific form of perception, therefore everything can be within it.

Now I address your kind responses using Xuanzang's Cheng weishi lun (all quotes from "Three Texts on Consciousness Only"). He writes,

"THAT WHICH IT GRASPS is twofold: the seeds and the body provided with organs. "Seeds" refer to images, names [or words], and the perfuming of imagination. "Body provided with organs" refers to physical organs and the support of the organs. These two are what is grasped by consciousness" (p. 60)

"The term PERCEPTION means that the eighth consciousness as retribution has the function of perceiving its objects. The function of perceiving is the seeing part of this consciousness." (p. 61)

""Seeds" refers to all the impure seeds held by the consciousness that is retribution. They are included in the nature of this consciousness and are therefore its object of perception. Although pure seeds are connected with this consciousness, they are not included in its nature, and therefore they are not its perceptual object." (p. 65)

"The term IMPERCEPTIBLE [in Vasubandhu's verses] means that the mode of activity of this consciousness is extremely subtle and fine and therefore difficult to know thoroughly. Or, we may say that it is hard to know because the internal objects that it grasps and holds are extremely subtle, while the extent of the external world is hard to fathom. Why are the objects it grasps and the mode of activity of this consciousness difficult to know, [and how do we therefore know that it even exists!? Like consciousness that does not depart the body during the samadhi of cessation [of perception], it must be trusted to exist. You must admit that during this samádhi there is a consciousness, because the meditator is still classified as a sentient being, just as when the mind is functioning in a normal way. It is the same even at the final stages of the cessation of thought [in samádhi]. (p. 67-68)

So, in effect what Xuanzang says is that while the alayavijnana necessarily works as a consciousness with subject and object, it is actually imperceptible. The reason the alayavijnana is posited is simply to explain states where the normal six consciousnesses cease. This is also the same reason the bhavanga-sota/citta is put in to abhidhamma works and most likely copied from Yogacara.

"How do we know that apart from visual consciousness, etc., the eighth consciousness has a separate, independent substance? Through holy teaching and proper reasoning." (p. 83)

There is no experience of the alayavijnana, no pointing to the seeds, simply texts and arguments. While in his explanation Xuanzang repeatedly says that the alayavijnana is the true object of belief in self - i.e. there should be something any ordinary people experience about it to mistake it for a self - his reason for its existence is mostly a tautology: it must exist "because without this consciousness there is no mind to hold the seeds." (p. 90) Also,

"It must be granted that there is a real mind as retribution that repays projected karma, that is found in the three realms, is not interrupted, that changes into the body and world receptacle, and acts as a support for sentient beings. I We argue this I because (1) apart from mind, body and world receptacle are in fact nonexistent; (2) dharmas not associated with mind have no real substance; and (3) the evolving consciousnesses, etc., do not always exist. Without this consciousness, what changes into a body and world receptacle? Based on what dharmas can sentience be always established [in samadhi, etc.]?" (p. 94-95)

That is, there must be a continuous eighth consciousness otherwise we have no explanation of the continuity of mind/being. What shows well how the alayavijnana is an unconscious consciousness is that Xuanzang brings up nirodhasamapatti, cessation samadhi, where there is no conscious activity as an argument for alayavijnana.

"Apart from this [eighth] consciousness, no consciousness that does not leave the body would exist in someone in this samádhi. ... If you do not admit the existence of a consciousness that is subtle, homogeneous, constant, and omnipresent and sustains life, [heat,] etc., how can [the scripture] speak of a consciousness that does not desert the body?" (p. 104)

And that's why I say that the alayavijnana is nothing more than a provisional explanation of the working of karma, because in the Yogacara's own system it is admitted that it is a consciousness without anyone being aware of the functions it performs. And an unconscious consciousness is a contradiction in my view.
Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



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viniketa
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby viniketa » Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:33 pm

. ~

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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Astus » Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:45 pm

Yes, there was this point about the nature of mind or ground-mind I have not replied to. While theoretically we can say that alayavijnana is the same as tathagatagarbha, but as we can see in the descriptions, they don't actually match. One reason is that, just as Daniel Brown says, it is realising the dharmakaya, it is enlightenment, and not the experience of the storehouse-consciousness but in fact becoming free from karma. Another reason can be that not all Yogacara traditions teach universal buddha-nature, it is not essential to the Yogacara teaching, although it is true that in many cases there is a fusion of these two ideas, like in Mahamudra.
Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



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viniketa
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby viniketa » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:13 am

. ~

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anjali
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby anjali » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:11 pm

All things are unworthy of clinging to (sabbe dhammā nâla abhinivesāyā). --Shakyamuni Buddha
Wanting to grasp the ungraspable, you exhaust yourself in vain. --Gendun Rinpoche

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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby viniketa » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:37 pm

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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby anjali » Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:16 pm

All things are unworthy of clinging to (sabbe dhammā nâla abhinivesāyā). --Shakyamuni Buddha
Wanting to grasp the ungraspable, you exhaust yourself in vain. --Gendun Rinpoche

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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby viniketa » Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:44 pm

. ~

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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby rob h » Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:03 pm

"A 'position', Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with." - MN 72

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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby anjali » Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:04 am

All things are unworthy of clinging to (sabbe dhammā nâla abhinivesāyā). --Shakyamuni Buddha
Wanting to grasp the ungraspable, you exhaust yourself in vain. --Gendun Rinpoche

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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby rob h » Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:56 pm

"A 'position', Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with." - MN 72

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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Astus » Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:04 am

Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



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Matt J
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Matt J » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:44 am

One thing that has been circulating in my mind for a little while is how Astus said that the alaya vijnana struck him as simply a convenient explanation of how things work. This led me to think of alaya vijnana as an inference based on direct perception (plus memory).

Exploring this further, it seems that almost every concept is an inference. Direct perception makes up such a large amount of experience, but such a small amount of thinking about experience. In fact, all thoughts are inferences, and all concepts are too, such as causality, space, time, and so forth.

In classic Indian though, there is often talk of valid means of knowing, or pramanas. Traditional Advaita accepts 6 of them, the most important being perception, inference, and testimony of others (such as the Vedas and the words of the sages). Of these, I believe if we are completely honest, only perception is self-validating. Beyond this, there are many possible interpretations. The Advaitins reject alaya vijnana, but using the same perceptions, infer the existence of Brahaman. The problem is, how does one measure the validity of an inference?

In fact, one of the most damaging inferences is the inference of a self. The Old Shakya suggested that if we set aside what we think we know, and look at what is actually happening moment to moment, we find there is no self. Nagarjuna wraps these inferences against themselves nicely.

So I suppose any inference suffers from the (perhaps fatal) weakness of being just an inference, one way to interpret perceptions. One way, in fact, out of an infinite number of ways.

I suppose I'm not really adding to the discussion so much as thinking aloud (so to speak [yes, I see the irony in that as well]).
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming


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anjali
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby anjali » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:51 am

All things are unworthy of clinging to (sabbe dhammā nâla abhinivesāyā). --Shakyamuni Buddha
Wanting to grasp the ungraspable, you exhaust yourself in vain. --Gendun Rinpoche

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Astus
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Astus » Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:46 am

anjali,

The idea that there is no subject-object in the alayavijnana is problematic already. The very definition of consciousness is that there is a subject consciousness being conscious of a mental object. If there were a stand alone, independent consciousness it would make it a substance, an eternal thing, an atman. Also, if the basis were pure there is no reason for impurity to arise. Pure mixing with impure to make a single consciousness is another problem, because it lacks the explanation for the connection between the two. By the way, in your quote it just gives an example but not an explanation of latent seeds, failing to address the problem of unconscious mental factors. Also, the seeds are not one but many mental factors, each with its own causal continuum of momentary existence and disappearance.
Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



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bryandavis
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby bryandavis » Sat Oct 27, 2012 3:22 pm

Greetings to all who have been posting,


I am new to this forum, but have been reading this thread. It is a topic I like to study, though I am not really leared in it.

From my own view I think the etemolgoy of the word in sansakrit makes me feel it is very straight forward in what the term implies.

आलय
ālaya, abode or place

वि (vi)
Prefix to verbs or nouns and other parts of speech derived from verbs, to express division, distinction, distribution, arrangement, order, opposition, or deliberation.

ज्ञान
jñāna, “knowledge”.

I have always taken the sanskrit to mean "the ground of divided knowledge" or "the ground of subject object distinction". Personally feel there is no way this could ever be non dual wisdom. Thats my two sense.

I think a very good text in the form of a tibetan tibetan comentary is "distigushing consciousness from wisdom" by Karmapa Rangjung Dorje. I personaly feel it has helped me in reconciling my own view on this subject.

Also Dolbopas mountain doctrince was very helpful when contemplating issues with alayavijnana.

Hopefully I will be able to add some meaningful post in the near future,


Bryan.

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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby viniketa » Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:03 pm

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deepbluehum
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:30 pm


deepbluehum
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:31 pm

What you are discussing is related to the Kagyu view of 8 consciousnesses that I described at the beginning of this thread.

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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby anjali » Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:44 pm

All things are unworthy of clinging to (sabbe dhammā nâla abhinivesāyā). --Shakyamuni Buddha
Wanting to grasp the ungraspable, you exhaust yourself in vain. --Gendun Rinpoche


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