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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:56 pm 
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"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.

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"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:33 pm 
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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.


Theoretically speaking, if one had experiential understanding that demonstrates this is not an "unconciousness" but a very subtle "subconciousness", would that modify your understanding? Normally, I would not bring experience to the Academic forum, but I just watched this video and found "academic" corroboration from Dr. Daniel Brown. Start around 28:00min go to at least 30:17, where is the first mention of 'storehouse consciousness':

http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F% ... TVINiwRw3w

:namaste:

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:45 pm 
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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.

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"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:13 am 
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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.


Many times, even among those who speak the same language, we use the same word to talk about different things and different words to talk about the same thing. Going back and forth among cultures, time periods, and languages, I'd be surprised if there were completely consistent descriptions. I've only briefly looked at Xuanzang's Cheng weishi lun in English translation, since I don't read Chinese. And my Sanskrit is nowhere near "translator" quality, so other Yogācāra texts I've studied also have been largely English, supplemented by Sanskrit when available.

In reading Yogācāra, I think we must make a distinction between the ālaya and the ālayavijñāna, unlike Brown in his usage. It is certainly not explicit, but I think such a reading is there in Vasubandhu. The ālaya can be equated to the ground of being, or Tathāgatagarbha, naturally pure. The ālayavijñāna, then, is the very subtle "container" subconsciousness through which we become aware of the perfuming (vāsanā) of the seeds (bīja) and other, adventitious stains (kleśa). Once kleśa and bīja are clear, that consciousness is then mostly superfluous.

What I think is significant is that the same -- or similar -- concepts are there in Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, etc.

I will climb down :soapbox: and allow others to continue their own investigations.

:namaste:

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:11 pm 
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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.


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.

Quote:
    "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.



Italics added by me. This seems to confirm the non-dual nature of the alaya-vijnana. Any analysis that starts with a consciousness that can distinguish separate seeds will draw improper conclusions.


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,


At the level of alaya-vijnana, there is no separate independent substance. It's a blended state.

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.


There must be a continuous knowing quality of the mind, not a continuous consciousness (which by definition is dualistic perception). I think most Buddhists would accept that there can be a non-conscious knowing quality of the mind. At the level of alaya-vijnana both consciousness and karma are in a non-active state. They are both latent.

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.


Yes, an unconscious consciousness is a contradiction. At the level of alaya-vijnana, there is awareness (with co-emergent ignorance), together with latent consciousness and latent karma.

At least that is my take on it. I'm totally open to being corrected!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:37 pm 
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Quote:
"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?

:namaste:

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:16 pm 
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viniketa wrote:
Quote:
"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?

:namaste:

The sutra was not indicated in the text and I'm not sure where it comes from. Maybe someone else can provide a reference.

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If there is clinging, you do not have the view. --Drakpa Gyaltsen


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:44 pm 
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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.


Thanks for the reply. :smile:

:namaste:

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:03 pm 
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viniketa wrote:
Quote:
"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?

:namaste:



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.

Have been looking back into this recently and was going to ask about both sutras too. Is it right to say that the Lankavatara is just basically a repeating of much of what was said in the earlier Sandhinirmocana? If not, does anyone know what makes the Lanka stand out from the Sandhinirmocana? I'm just reading the Sandhinirmocana now and I'm wondering why I didn't do this years back to be honest. It predates the Lanka and might be a lot simpler to work with.

And is it correct to say that the Sandhinirmocana was the first to speak of the Alayavijnana as eight consciousnesses, or is even that just a reinterpretation of something from an earlier sutra?

This is quoted on the wikipedia page for Alayavijnana too :

Quote:
"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."


The source is the Samyutta Nikaya : http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Maybe that explains perfectly why it's often impossible to really speak about it in a way that can be understood. (to those not awakened to their true nature.)

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:04 am 
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rob h wrote:
viniketa wrote:
Quote:
"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?

:namaste:


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.”

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:56 pm 
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anjali wrote:

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.”



Yeah I found that too later on! Was reading through it and thought it was great, then realised I'm probably not so suited to it after reaching chapter 6 when Maitreya starts asking a series of questions and the answers are often set out into groups. There's a lot of it, and after remembering how long it took for me to get through what was in the Lankavatara I think I'll probably stick with that instead as what's probably my favourite sutra of the same type. They're very similar texts though, and The Lankavatara might be a type of re-write of that sutra by the looks of it.

Have just read the Thirty Verses on Consciousness-only too by Vasubandhu, which is short and seems to work really well : http://www.lapislazulitexts.com/T31_1586.html

Will need to search to clarify a few things it says, but have got a feeling that might be another favourite eventually.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:04 am 
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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."

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"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:44 am 
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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]).

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:51 am 
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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."


When we critique an analysis, we can critique the logic or critique the assumptions.

From your discussion of Xuanzang, I take it you are lead to question the assumption of the existence of the alaya-vijnana (provisional explanation).

My critique takes the form of, If the alaya-vijnana exists, it doesn't have the attributes most people think it does. By way of support for that position, I quoted Gampopa's description of a blended state for the alaya-vijnana (which doesn't strike me as a particularly Mahamudra POV). If one assumes it is a blended state, that could address many problematic issues arising when thinking about the alaya-vijnana. One analogy would be to think of the alaya-vijnana as white light. It is only through the prism of conceptual thinking that latent karmas and consciousness separate out. This isn't some mystical non-dualism. It's simply a statement that in a blended state, the mix is indistinguishable.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:46 am 
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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.

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"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
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“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 3:22 pm 
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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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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:03 pm 
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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...


Thank you for the comments. Yes, that is a good literal translation of the term. Perhaps you could elucidate on the contribution the two works you cite made to your understanding?

:namaste:

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If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:30 pm 
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anjali wrote:
viniketa wrote:
Quote:
"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?

:namaste:

The sutra was not indicated in the text and I'm not sure where it comes from. Maybe someone else can provide a reference.


Samadhiraja Sutra


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:31 pm 
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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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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:44 pm 
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Astus wrote:
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.


Some great points raised.

In DT Suzuki’s introduction to his translation of the Lankavatara Sutra, he writes,
Quote:
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.

If we combine this with the notion that subjectivity arises in the manos-vijnana, we can draw the conclusion that, whatever the alaya-vijnana may be, there is no functioning dualistic consciousness. Clearly this gets back to your notion that there is no unconscious consciousness.

If we accept that there is no active consciousness at this level, does that also imply there is no knowing quality of the mind present? I would say no, it doesn’t. At the level of the alaya-vijnana, there is an ignorant knowing quality of the mind undifferentiated from the vasanas (since no dualistic consciousness is active). When the ignorant quality of the mind recognizes the vasanas, then consciousness arises automatically. We are then at the level of manos-vijnana, and we are on our way up the causal chain of dependent origination: Ignorance (avidya)-->fabrications (samskara/vasana)-->consciousness (vijnana)-->namarupa (name and form) --> etc.

But, then we are left with how to explain the arising of latent seeds (samskaras/vasanas) to begin with. Let’s see what we can come up with by starting with the first three links in the chain of DO: Ignorance (avidya)-->fabrications (samskara/vasana)-->consciousness (vijnana). The chain of DO is a noun-based chain. It doesn’t capture the dynamic quality of the chain. Ignorance is not a thing. It is a state of unknowing. There is a dynamic quality of active confusion for the knowing quality of the mind. At the level of samskaras, there is an active, fabricating quality of the mind that produces fabrications. The word samskara is actually a verb but has taken on both noun and verb meanings. From The Doctrine of the Buddha: The Religion of Reason and Meditation By George Grimm, M. Keller-Grimm, Max Hoppe,

Quote:
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


One translation of samskara that I have come across that I like is fabrication. Fabrication, in addition to meaning both the process of fabricating and what is fabricated, also has the meaning of something made up or not real. I don’t know if yogacara says much about this fundamental fabricating quality of the mind. Mostly we just read about the fabrications. [Side note: from what I can tell in my readings, there really isn’t much difference in the terms vasana and samskara. There have been distinctions made, but on the whole they appear to be synonyms.]

From this, we can conclude that there are two basic qualities of the mind: a knowing quality and a fabricating quality. Although conceptually thought of as separate, they are in fact not separate at all--since they both originate from mind which is empty. When the confused knowing quality of the mind recognizes the fabrications of the fabricating quality of mind, dualistic consciousness arises.

If we conceptually divide up a seamless process (DO), we get 1) the alaya-vijnana as a container for both the confused knower and the fabrications, and 2) the manos-vijnana container for the grasper-grasped dualistic consciousness. In this strictly theoretical division, there is no consciousness per se in the alaya-vijnana, harkening back to Suzuki’s comment that the Alaya is not strictly a Vijnana. However, there is still an ignorant knowing and fabrication. Since there is no subject-object dualism at work, this state is by definition an undifferentiated, or non-dual state. [Side note: to address bryandavis' comment, this is an ignorant non-dual state.]

I’ve mentioned this metaphor before: prismatic light. Originally, the fabricating quality of the mind is a undifferentiated, dynamic energy: light. When that undifferentiated light encounters the prism of the ignorant knowing quality of the mind, consciousness and variety manifest. Of course this is only a conceptual way of talking about something that is happening at a non-conceptual level. Any model we use to discuss what is going on at this level is bound to fail in some aspect.

The words citta and alaya-vijnana are considered synonyms. Alaya of course means storage. Regarding citta, Suzuki notes,

Quote:
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.


An interesting alternative way to think of “to arrange in order”, is to view this notion as sequential time. Thoughts are arranged in order. Thus we have the appearance of a continuous order of thoughts over time. The alaya-vijnana can be seen as the fabricated order of an endless sequence of thoughts through time. From a practitioner’s point of view, I like this notion. Here is an excellent quote by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche from As It Is, Vol 2,
Quote:
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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If there is clinging, you do not have the view. --Drakpa Gyaltsen


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