ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

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ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

Postby conebeckham » Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:00 am

Reposted, after some editing, as off-topic on the Chandarkirit/Alaya thread.

The question is, whether ālayavijñāna is posited to be truly existent, or merely conventionally existent, in Yogacara texts....If it is a given that Yogacara texts do posit an ultimate existent, which I think is beyond argument, is that ultimate existent the ālayavijñāna itself, or some sort of "under-structure" or "basic element" which merely "holds" the seeds? I'm not interested in later Tibetan commentary, really, but only in Indian source texts, pro or con. I think we can all agree that Nonconceptual Wisdom is not the ālayavijñāna as it is normally defined.

conebeckham wrote:Asanga, in the Mahayanasamgraha, VIII.21:

There is no difference between prajnaparamita and nonconceptual wisdom.


Namdrol, your statement-
What Maitreyanatha, Asanga and Vasubandhu claim is that the dependent nature is real, it exists. However, the dependent nature = the ālayavijñāna. The ālaya is only called the ālaya as long as there are seeds. When these have been eradicated, the ālaya also ceases; but the dependent nature, being an existent, does not.


--equates the ālayavijñāna with the paratantra, the dependent nature. If the Alaya ceases, then how does the dependent nature not cease, if they are the same?

If the dependent is, on the other hand, conventionally (and thus temporarily) containing the stains we call "seeds," and including the dualistic experience which we experience as sentient beings and phenomena, I'd say that the eradication of the seeds would mean the ceasing of the ālayavijñāna.

....but not the ceasing of mere cognizance, which is the nonconceptual wisdom, an aspect of the perfect nature(parinispanna). This is the same as the dependent (paratantra) purified of false imagination (and not merely the parakalpita), in this case, as you pointed out before, the ceasing of the duality implicit in the other-dependent, as well as afflictions and all "seeds." The paranispanna, the perfection of wisdom and it's outflow, two aspects of the Ultimate, are that which comprises the Dharmakaya and Dharmadhatu, by way of conventional explanation. The perfection of wisdom is equal, according to Asanga, with nonconceptual wisdom, which is the the Dharmakaya, which we agree the early Yogacaras posit as Ultimate.

In other words, the Alaya is not inherently existent, but is merely the collection of incidental stains obscuring the Dharmakaya.
Mahayanasutralamkara, XIII.19:

It is held that mind, which is always naturally luminous,
is [only] blemished by adventitious flaws.
It is stated that there is no other mind apart from
The naturally luminous mind of dharmata.


I don't see how this quote posits an existent Alaya--it posits an existent "luminous mind of dharmata," for sure....but this is not the ālayavijñāna.
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Re: ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:57 am

conebeckham wrote:Reposted, after some editing, as off-topic on the Chandarkirit/Alaya thread.

The question is, whether ālayavijñāna is posited to be truly existent, or merely conventionally existent, in Yogacara texts...


The question ought to be: is the dependent nature ultimate or not in yogacara texts. I think that actually the answer is yes.

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Re: ālayavijñāna?

Postby Will » Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:23 am

Waldron's notion from The Buddhist Unconscious page 100-01:

For what the alaya-vijñana effectively represents, in these classical Yogacara texts at least, is all aspects of vijñana excluding supraliminal cognitive processes. And since the functions and characteristics of subliminal mental processes are extremely complex and manifold, the alaya-vijñana is more appropriately understood as the conceptual rubric under which they are categorized than as a singular process of its own. It comprises, in other words, the totality of the mental stream minus whatever conscious processes happen to be arising on its surface. From this perspective (in basic agreement with early ideas on mind and contra later attempts to substantialize the alaya-vijñana), it can hardly be construed as a singular entity, much less an unchanging one. It represents rather – in its own terms – an unending stream of mind with all of its currents, eddies, and backwaters, disturbed by debris deposited on its riverbed perhaps, stirred up by windswept waves on its surface, to be sure, but nevertheless still conceptualized separately from the transient rising and falling of the surface waves of arising cognitive awareness.


[my bold]
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Re: ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

Postby Huifeng » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:08 am

Any sort of academic discussion on the topic of "ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?" would have to be text, or text statement, specific.

~~ Huifeng
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Re: ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:57 am

Huifeng wrote:Any sort of academic discussion on the topic of "ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?" would have to be text, or text statement, specific.

~~ Huifeng



Well then make one.
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Re: ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

Postby Will » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:11 am

Huifeng wrote:Any sort of academic discussion on the topic of "ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?" would have to be text, or text statement, specific.

~~ Huifeng


Do we have to go through this "what is academic" hooey again? Do academics ever discuss ideas or is it just shuffling papers around? If the latter, I have provided a textual springboard - Waldron's book on the alaya-consciousness.

Or better yet - the only posters allowed in this "academic" section must hold and be able to prove their credentials - a masters or PhD in something cool.
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Re: ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

Postby Mariusz » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:04 am

conebeckham wrote:The question is, whether ālayavijñāna is posited to be truly existent, or merely conventionally existent, in Yogacara texts


Here you have to orginal yogacara (Maitreya’s Madhyãntavibhãga; Distinguishing the Middle from Extremes):
"Emptiness is asserted to be the absence of entities,
This non-entity, and natural.
Absence of self is taught to be an absence of characteristics,
Characteristics that conflict with that, [III.7]"


1.the absence of entities with respect to the imaginary nature, because it does not exist in any way at all.
2.With respect to the dependent nature, it is empty in the sense that this lack of entity is itself a non-entity, for while nothing exists as imagined, it is not the case that wakefulness does not exist.
3.And the thoroughly established nature, in being the essence of emptiness alone, is held to be naturally empty.

So these are the Three types of absence of self only: The imaginary nature
is taught to be an absence of characteristics because it does not
possess any characteristics. The characteristics of the dependent nature is taught
only with reference to those characteristics that conflict with that [which
is imagined]. And since the thoroughly established nature is selfless by
its very essence, it is taught to be selfless in terms of its own characteristics.

So as I understand it, the ālayavijñāna/the dependent nature is posited to be truly existent only from POV of the conflict with the imaginary. In other words is accepted only as a worldly convention, the "anditote, medicine" to point out what is the naturally empty.
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Re: ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

Postby Mariusz » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:43 am

Namdrol wrote:The question ought to be: is the dependent nature ultimate or not in yogacara texts. I think that actually the answer is yes.

N

I think that actually the answer is no. Please read my post above where "the antidote, medicine". To look at the moon, it is necessary to gaze beyond the finger which points-out the moon. I hope the finger, the necessary tool only, is not too big for you:)
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Re: ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

Postby Mariusz » Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:09 pm

Will wrote:
Huifeng wrote:Any sort of academic discussion on the topic of "ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?" would have to be text, or text statement, specific.

~~ Huifeng


Do we have to go through this "what is academic" hooey again? Do academics ever discuss ideas or is it just shuffling papers around? If the latter, I have provided a textual springboard - Waldron's book on the alaya-consciousness.

Or better yet - the only posters allowed in this "academic" section must hold and be able to prove their credentials - a masters or PhD in something cool.

The rules here are little different as you see. Thank you for "THE BUDDHIST UNCONSCIOUS The alaya-vijñana in the context of Indian Buddhist thought" William S. Waldron. There is a pdf version in google browser, the no 2 finding. Strange, I did not find there anything about the three natures of yogacara?
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Re: ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:13 pm

Mariusz wrote:
Namdrol wrote:The question ought to be: is the dependent nature ultimate or not in yogacara texts. I think that actually the answer is yes.

N

I think that actually the answer is no.


The answer is yes:


From the Madhyāntavibhagatīka:

As it is said:

    "The imagination of the unreal exists,
    duality does not exist in that,
    emptiness exists in this,
    that also exists in that.

Now then, the imagination of the false means the concept of an apprehended object and the apprehending subject. Duality means free from a real apprehended object and an apprehending subject. Emptiness means the imagination of the false being free from a real apprehended object and an apprehending subject. "That also exists in that" means the imagination of the false. As such, that non-existence of something somewhere, that is truly seeing the empty truly just as it is. Whatever remains here, that is understood just as it truly is to exist here. As such, the characteristic of emptiness is demonstrated without mistake.

    Not empty and not not empty,
    in that way is everything explained,
    because of existence, because of non-existence, because of existence,
    that is the middle path.

"It is not empty" means emptiness and the imagination of the false. "It is not not-empty" means duality i.e. the apprehended object and an apprehending subject. 'Everything' means 'the imagination of the false' is the conditioned and 'emptiness' is the unconditioned. 'Explained' means demonstrated. 'Exists' means the imagination of the false. 'Non-existence means duality. 'Existence' means emptiness exists in the imagination of the false, and the imagination of the false exists in that too. "That is the middle path" means everything is not only empty.
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Re: ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

Postby Mariusz » Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:30 pm

Namdrol wrote:....
"It is not empty" means emptiness and the imagination of the false. "It is not not-empty" means duality i.e. the apprehended object and an apprehending subject. 'Everything' means 'the imagination of the false' is the conditioned and 'emptiness' is the unconditioned. 'Explained' means demonstrated. 'Exists' means the imagination of the false. 'Non-existence means duality. 'Existence' means emptiness exists in the imagination of the false, and the imagination of the false exists in that too. "That is the middle path" means everything is not only empty. [/i]

I guess it was yours. Now from the translation of Khenpo Shenga:

Emptiness and the false imagination are not empty, yet they are
not not empty of apprehended and apprehender either. This explains
it all, both the conditioned, which is referred to as the “false imagination,”
and the unconditioned, which is referred to as “empty.” Because
of the existence of the false imagination, the non-existence of apprehended
and apprehender, and the existence of emptiness, there is nothing
that is unequivocally either empty or not empty
. This is the path
of the Middle Way.
Next Mipham elaborate it more, but copyrights.

So as I understand, it is still the middle way, the poining-out the freedom beyond the reference points.
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Re: ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:14 pm

When ever I present some text without attributing the authorship of the translation, you may immediately assume the translation is mine.

Mariusz wrote:Now from the translation of Khenpo Shenga:


I asssume by "translation" you mean the presentation of Khenpo Shenga's interlinear commentary as translated in the Middle Beyond Extremes (Snow Lion 2006)? Khenpo Shenga himself never translated anything.

The final line of Khenpo Shenga's commentary (which you seem to find at odds with Vasubandhu's statement I cited above) actually says:

    །ཐམས་ཅད་གཅིག་ཏུ་སྟོང་པ་ཡང་མ་ཡིན་ལ་གཅིག་ཏུ་མི་སྟོང་པ་ཡང་མ་ཡིན་པ་དེ་ནི་དབུ་མའི་ལམ་ཡིན་ནོ།

    Though everything is not empty on the one hand, it is also not not empty on other hand. That is the middle way.

While someone might be tempted to see a difference in meaning between Khenpo Shenga's passage and Vasubandhu's original commentary based on the way the Dharmacakra translation comittee has chosen to translate this passage, in reality, based on the way Khenpo Shenga wrote the original Tibetan there is no difference in meaning.

I think I should add that Khenpo Shenga was in no way a supporter of gzhan stong and was a staunch supporter of Gorampa. Therefore, he, like Gorampa before him, would have and did consider the Madhyāntavibhāga, the Dharmadharmatāvibhāga and the Mahāyānasutrālaṃkara cittamatrin texts.
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Re: ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

Postby Mariusz » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:11 pm

Namdrol wrote:I asssume by "translation" you mean the presentation of Khenpo Shenga's interlinear commentary as translated in the Middle Beyond Extremes (Snow Lion 2006)? Khenpo Shenga himself never translated anything.

The final line of Khenpo Shenga's commentary (which you seem to find at odds with Vasubandhu's statement I cited above) actually says:

    །ཐམས་ཅད་གཅིག་ཏུ་སྟོང་པ་ཡང་མ་ཡིན་ལ་གཅིག་ཏུ་མི་སྟོང་པ་ཡང་མ་ཡིན་པ་དེ་ནི་དབུ་མའི་ལམ་ཡིན་ནོ།

    Though everything is not empty on the one hand, it is also not not empty on other hand. That is the middle way.

While someone might be tempted to see a difference in meaning between Khenpo Shenga's passage and Vasubandhu's original commentary based on the way the Dharmacakra translation comittee has chosen to translate this passage, in reality, based on the way Khenpo Shenga wrote the original Tibetan there is no difference in meaning.

I think I should add that Khenpo Shenga was in no way a supporter of gzhan stong and was a staunch supporter of Gorampa. Therefore, he, like Gorampa before him, would have and did consider the Madhyāntavibhāga, the Dharmadharmatāvibhāga and the Mahāyānasutrālaṃkara cittamatrin texts.


I meant translation into english :shrug: Nevertheless for me it is clear when following the Mipham's explanation of the sentence in this book:
...Hence, this is ascertained to be the nature
of appearance that lacks essential establishment, the unity of appearance
and emptiness. This type of realization transcends the extremes of super-
imposed existence and non-existence—it is the path of the Middle Way.


Of course here I not consider it as the shentong also. Following Nitartha Institute I consider it as yogacara not as cittamatra's the narrow interpretation.
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Re: ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:03 pm

Mariusz wrote:
Of course here I not consider it as the shentong also. Following Nitartha Institute I consider it as yogacara not as cittamatra's the narrow interpretation.


Only gzhan stong pas maintain there is a difference between Yogacara and cittamatra.

N
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Re: ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:11 pm

Mariusz wrote:
So as I understand, it is still the middle way, the poining-out the freedom beyond the reference points.



Both Madhyakamaka and Cittamatra/Yogacara agree that wisdom is free from proliferation (nisprapañca) and free from reference points (anupalambha).

The difference between them is whether this wisdom is held to be ultimately real or not. This the main reason why Candarkirti goes to such great lengths to refute the Yogacara presentation of paratantra very pointedly at 6:72 in Madhyamakāvatara

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Re: ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

Postby Lhug-Pa » Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:38 pm

I've been under the impression that Yogacara is basically a term that can refer to either Asanga's Cittamatra or Vasubandhu's Vijnanavada.

In other words, that Chittamatra and Vijnana-vada are distinct, yet are also both considered Yogachara.
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Re: ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:46 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:I've been under the impression that Yogacara is basically a term that can refer to either Asanga's Cittamatra or Vasubandhu's Vijnanavada.

In other words, that Chittamatra and Vijnana-vada are distinct, yet are also both considered Yogachara.


Well, cittamatra is a term used interchangeably with vijn̄ānamatravada by Mādhyamika authors. The yogacarins referred to themselves as "yogacarins".
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Re: ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

Postby conebeckham » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:11 pm

Namdrol wrote:
conebeckham wrote:Reposted, after some editing, as off-topic on the Chandarkirit/Alaya thread.

The question is, whether ālayavijñāna is posited to be truly existent, or merely conventionally existent, in Yogacara texts...


The question ought to be: is the dependent nature ultimate or not in yogacara texts. I think that actually the answer is yes.


OK, attempting to get back on track, and keeping in mind the original question as noted in my title, as well as Namdrol's question above...

Mahayanasamgraha, II,32:

In the other-dependent, the imaginary does not exist.
The perfect exists in it.
Therefore, as for these two, in it,
Nonobservation and observation occur together.


If the perfect exists in it, does that mean the dependent is necessarily ultimate? The last line of my quote seems to indicate, to me, that nonobservation of the imaginary and other-dependent occurs, as does observation of the perfect nature (once one is liberated from afflicted phenomena). If the other-dependent is the ālayavijñāna, it would seem to me that the perfect nature may "exist" in it, but not be the "same" as it. As the Dharmadharmatavibhaga teaches, all phenomena are the matrix of the nature of phenomena, but the nature of phenomena is not the same as phenomena themselves. In the same way, the perfect nature is not the same as the Alaya.
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Re: ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

Postby catmoon » Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:05 pm

Ok ok, let's follow cone's lead here as he tries to get back on topic.

If everyone make an effort to focus, I'm sure this can be a useful discussion, beneficial to many.
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Re: ālayavijñāna--conventional or ultimate existent?

Postby Will » Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:04 pm

For referring to - if one does not have it already:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/78296007/Etie ... GRAHA-Vol2

"It" being MAHĀYĀNASAṂGRAHA by Lamotte via Gelongma as translator from French.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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