Astus wrote: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.
Astus wrote: 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.
Astus wrote:"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.
"The receiving consciousness [alaya-vijnana] is profound and subtle. All seeds descend like a flowing river. If it turns into a thought of self it is called 'unsuitable.' This is something which I do not show to the childish. Profound meaning difficult to plumb to it's depth; this is profound."*In other words, the karma and result of' 'from this cause this result arises' is exceedingly subtle. That being so, it is not known by anyone other that the all-knowing one, so is 'profound.' Subtle means 'not visible.' 'Seeds descend like a flowing river' is as follows. Where do latency's seed first come from? The come from consciousness. Where are they planted? They are planted in consciousness. Where do they ripen into a result? They ripen in consciousness. How do they sit there? For example, if letters are written on birch bark in white goat's milk, the birch bark and letters are not two separate things and, when the right conditions are met, the letters appear** and, similarly, for a latency's seed which has been planted in consciousness, the consciousness and latency are not different and, at the time when appropriate condition of virtue or evil is met, the latency from before is aroused and the result, pleasant or suffering, comes. That moreover, is confusion. p. 140
* This is the Buddha speaking in a sutra
** By gently scorching the bark, the milk turns brown and the lettering appears. This was a way of making secret writing int Tibet.
Astus wrote:"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,
Astus wrote:"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.
Astus wrote:"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.
"The receiving consciousness [alaya-vijnana] is profound and subtle. All seeds descend like a flowing river. If it turns into a thought of self it is called 'unsuitable.' This is something which I do not show to the childish. Profound meaning difficult to plumb to it's depth; this is profound."*
viniketa wrote:"The receiving consciousness [alaya-vijnana] is profound and subtle. All seeds descend like a flowing river. If it turns into a thought of self it is called 'unsuitable.' This is something which I do not show to the childish. Profound meaning difficult to plumb to it's depth; this is profound."*
Is the sūtra indicated? Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra?
anjali wrote:The sutra was not indicated in the text and I'm not sure where it comes from. Maybe someone else can provide a reference.
Is the sūtra indicated? Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra?
"Monks, I will teach you the All. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."
"As you say, lord," the monks responded.
The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."
rob h wrote:viniketa wrote:
Is the sūtra indicated? Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra?
I could easily be wrong but that doesn't seem like the Lankavatara. Maybe a version of the Sandhinirmocana Sutra? If wrong though I'd love to know what translation it's from.
After some digging, it is at the very end of Samdhinirmocana Sutra, Chapter 3 (http://www.scribd.com/doc/31219661/Samd ... cana-sutra, p29): “The appropriating consciousness is profound and subtle indeed; all its seeds are like a rushing torrent. Fearing that they would imagine and cling to it as to a self, I have not revealed it to the foolish.”
anjali wrote:I believe Xuanzang’s analysis of the alaya-vijnana is faulty. The alaya-vijnana is non-dual--subject/object duality haven't popped up yet. That comes at the next level. There is no perceiver and perception of separate objects. There is no grasper-grasping. Let me offer up a quote from Gampopa. I was reading from Gampopa Teaches Essence Mahamudra by Tony Duff a couple of days ago, and came across something that confirmed a suspicion I had.
anjali wrote:At the level of alaya-vijnana both consciousness and karma are in a non-active state. They are both latent.
Astus wrote:anjali wrote:I believe Xuanzang’s analysis of the alaya-vijnana is faulty. The alaya-vijnana is non-dual--subject/object duality haven't popped up yet. That comes at the next level. There is no perceiver and perception of separate objects. There is no grasper-grasping. Let me offer up a quote from Gampopa. I was reading from Gampopa Teaches Essence Mahamudra by Tony Duff a couple of days ago, and came across something that confirmed a suspicion I had.
Xuanzang teaches Yogacara and he gives a detailed analysis of the alayavijnana. Gampopa teaches Mahamudra and how the alayavijnana as a general teaching fits into it without giving the step by step details of it. The way the two present and interpret is different in that for Xuanzang the alayavijnana is basically ignorant, while for Gampopa it is just the obscured version of buddha-mind. Nevertheless, the problem of latent, unseen, unconscious mental phenomena still stands. Also, when there are many seeds we can't call it non-dual which would exclude both one and many.anjali wrote:At the level of alaya-vijnana both consciousness and karma are in a non-active state. They are both latent.
As you said, "an unconscious consciousness is a contradiction."
bryandavis wrote: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...
Is the sūtra indicated? Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra?
The sutra was not indicated in the text and I'm not sure where it comes from. Maybe someone else can provide a reference.
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.
Strictly speaking, the Ālaya is not a Vijñāna, has no discerning power in it; it indiscriminately harbours all that is poured into it through the channel of the Vijñānas. The Ālaya is perfectly neutral, indifferent, and does not offer to give judgments.
Sankhara is derived from the verb sankharoti, an equivalent to the Latin verb, “conficere”, meaning literally “to make (together)”, i.e. “to put together”. Hence its participium praeteritum means “put together”, “joined together”, in the sense of “made”, “created”, “produced”. According to the Canon, it can be used of anything in the world: plainly everything is sankhata, i.e. put together, joined together, and even therefor created, produced. …
The substantive verb pertaining to sankhata is Sankhara, which means “the making together”, “the putting together”, “the joining together”, the producing”: “Monks, the sankhara derive their name from the fact that they produce (sanhkaronti) what is sankhata.” Therefore the concept sankhara is as all-comprising as that of sankhata: simply everything is sanhkata, “brought forth”, “producted”, and simply everything which is sankhata, is based upon a sankhara, and “act of producing”. In this, sankhara means, first of all, the act of bringing forth, but may as well cover that which has been brought forth, produced, i.e. may as well be used in the sense of sankhata, just like our word “Production” (which also covers both concepts: the action of producing as well as that which has been produced, namely the product. p.207
Citta comes from the root cit, "to think", but in the Laṅkā the derivation is made from the root ci, "to pile up", "to arrange in order". The Citta is thus a storehouse where the seeds of all thoughts and deeds are accumulated and stored up.
Unless we know how to see our own nature, we reconnect again with the twelve links of dependent origination and the wheel of samsara spins endlessly. If you first recognize the nature of that which is ignorant, of that which is unknowing, then samsara stops at the first step in this wheel. That is called “ignorance purified at the very base”. The moment you recognize mind essence, this self-knowing wakefulness interrupts the stream of deluded thinking which is formation, the second link. Once formation is topped, dualistic consciousness stops, and gradually all the other links are cleared up. In one instant, the very basis for continuing in samsara has been interrupted, because dualistic consciousness has become original wakefulness. P. 226
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