Questioning Alayavijnana

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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Lhug-Pa » Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:51 pm

Last edited by Lhug-Pa on Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:54 pm

Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:It is this erroneous thinking that has created so much confusion over the centuries.



No, it is a simple definition found in various sutras.


I question their validity.


Emptiness can never disappear. The Alaya-vijnana is emptiness.


Yes, according to the definition of Candrakirit given in the Madhyamaka-avatarabhasyaṃ but not according to the definition of the cittamatra school. So you have to be clear whose definition you are speaking from. Incidentally, in the tantras, they use the definition of the cittamatra school since ālayavijñāna is relative consciounsess that is a function of the body.


All these variations of explanatory models to serve specific needs is unnecessary.


I resolved these discrepancies. Take another look at my analysis. What you said might be the formulaic subscriptions given by certain teachers from certain lineages at certain times, but there is no reason to think these should remain so fixed.


I go by the definitions provided in the man ngag sde tantras where the definition of the ālaya is well defined. It is of little use to reconcile different terminologies apart from noting that they refer to different things.


See I don't agree with you here. I think everything needs to be reconciled. The fact that there isn't a monolithically reconciled framework, to me, shows this is not the work of enlightened beings who are supposed to share the same enlightenment. I don't agree there are degrees of enlightenment.

In Mahāmudra and Lamdre, ālaya refers to the nature of the mind i.e. inseperable clarity and emptiness. In Dzogchen ālaya refers to ignorance. It is very simple. Not even worth a discussion, really.


It's only polemics and one-upsmanship. What it shows me, with respect to all these Mahayana sutras and tantras is that we are dealing with a work in progress. The jury of Buddhas is still out how all this is going to finally be resolved.

Making the cognitive obscuration a function of the 7th, and the afflictive a part of the 6th, basically frees the 8th to be nirvana. To apply this to tantra: The contact with the consort is body contact. The enjoyment is the 6th and the deity's form is the seventh, transformed to mahamudra is the 8th. To Dzogchen, the clarity is the 5th, the DI destroys the 6th & 7th like an arrow through two cloths, and Dzogchen is the 8th. To me, this is more simple than trying to speak with a trident tongue.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:56 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:Good thread.

What is a simple and short way to describe the difference between the Alaya and the Alaya-Vijnana?

Or is there even a difference?

(I do have an intellectual idea of the difference between the Alaya and the gZhi/Sthana/Laya/Asraya(?)/Ashraya(?); that Malcolm is referring to here).


Alaya-vijnana=afflicted/obscured; Alaya=not
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Lhug-Pa » Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:10 pm

Ah that's right, thanks Deepbluehum.

In fact, I'd noted the difference myself a while back:


Lhug-Pa wrote:I think it is that the Kunzhi has ignorance, yet no afflictions; and that the Kunzhi-Namshe is the storehouse of habits and afflictions.

Whereas the gZhi has neither ignorance nor afflictions.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:27 pm

I just added the stuff above as food for thought in the spirit of freedom from limitations.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:33 pm

deepbluehum wrote:Alaya-vijnana=afflicted/obscured; Alaya=not
Apparently, since none of us have seen this difference. ;)
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:44 pm

deepbluehum wrote:
In Mahāmudra and Lamdre, ālaya refers to the nature of the mind i.e. inseperable clarity and emptiness. In Dzogchen ālaya refers to ignorance. It is very simple. Not even worth a discussion, really.

It's only polemics and one-upsmanship.


No, it is just a different system with a different terminology.

M
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:45 pm

deepbluehum wrote:
See I don't agree with you here. I think everything needs to be reconciled.


Have at it then -- but AFAIC, it is a colossal waste of time.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:49 pm

deepbluehum wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:It is this erroneous thinking that has created so much confusion over the centuries.



No, it is a simple definition found in various sutras.


I question their validity.




Since the whole concept of the ālaya-vijñāna comes from sutra, it is a little strange to contest the definitions set out by the defining literature.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:50 pm

deepbluehum wrote: Dzogchen is the 8th.


So you have just reduced Dzogchen to the level of mind.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Will » Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:52 pm

Maybe I missed a post with these definitions by Asanga; from Rahula's translation:

(1) What is mind (citta)? It is the base-consciousness of all the seeds (sarvabījakam ālayavijñānam) impregnated by the traces (vāsanāparibhāvita) of the aggregates (skandha), of the elements (dhātu) and the sense-spheres (āyatana). The maturation-consciousness (vipākavijñāna) and the appropriating- consciousness (ādānavijñāna) are also the same thing as a result of accumulation of these traces (tad vāsanācitatā).


(2)
What is the mentation/mental sense-faculty (manas)?
The ālayavijñāna, as object (ālayavijñānālambana), always accompanies that which is of the nature of conceiving (manyanātmaka) which is associated with the four defilements, viz. the view of a ‘self’ (ātmadṛṣṭi), self-love (ātmasneha), the conceit ‘I am’/feeling of identity (asmimāna) and ignorance (avidyā). [That which is of the nature of conceiving, i.e., the manas,] is present everywhere (sarvatraga), in wholesome (kuśala), unwholesome (akuśala) or neutral (avyākṛta) states, except in the case of facing the the Path (margasammukhībhāva), the absorption of cessation (nirodhasamāpatti), the stage of those beyond training (aśaikṣabhūmi)59 and also the consciousness that has just this instant ceased among the six kinds of consciousness.


Cannot say it clarifies anything for this blockhead.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby zangskar » Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:18 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:In Theravadran Abhidhamma they get around this glitch through the presence of the Bhavanga, or life continuim consciousness, which is like neutral or idling mode for the mind.
:namaste:

Thanks. I found this interesting article that traces the concept of alayavijnana from its precedents in Theravada. Professor William Waldron: "How innovative is the Alayavijnana?"
http://www.gampoabbey.org/documents/Waldron%20HIIA-revised-b.pdf
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Jnana » Sun Jul 01, 2012 2:20 am

deepbluehum wrote:I think everything needs to be reconciled.

These different systems can be reconciled, but not by conflating and confusing how terms are used differently in each system.

A good example of how Yogācāra can be used in conjunction with Vajrayāna and Mahāmudrā is illustrated in the treatises of Karmapa Rangjung Dorje.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Jnana » Sun Jul 01, 2012 2:22 am

Malcolm wrote:The ālayavijñāna is afflicted since it stores the bijas of affliction.

Yes -- because the ālayavijñāna has all the seeds (sarvabījaka) it is the root of affliction (saṃkleśamūla) and the cause of the continuance of the afflictions (kleśa-pravṛtti-hetu).

Malcolm wrote:Once all the traces have been eradicated, the ālayavijñāna disappears.

Yes, and this is also well attested in the Yogācāra texts. The Yogācārabhūmiśāstra Viniścayasaṃgrahaṇī:

    [O]ne should understand that ālaya-vijñāna, which is the root of the defilements, ceases through the cultivation of skillful dharmas (kuśala-dharma-bhāvanā)....

    [T]hose who have the [six forms of] arising cognitive awareness but do not have ālaya-vijñāna are Arhats, Pratyekabuddhas, irreversible (avinivartanīya) Bodhisattvas, or a Tathāgata in conscious states (sacittakāvasthā).

Malcolm wrote:There is a difference between the ālaya discussed in Mahāmudra teachings and the ālayavijñāna. However in Dzogchen teachings, the ālaya is also considered afflicted. In Dzogchen ālaya = avidyā.

I go by the definitions provided in the man ngag sde tantras where the definition of the ālaya is well defined. It is of little use to reconcile different terminologies apart from noting that they refer to different things.

In Mahāmudra and Lamdre, ālaya refers to the nature of the mind i.e. inseperable clarity and emptiness. In Dzogchen ālaya refers to ignorance. It is very simple. Not even worth a discussion, really.

Indeed.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Astus » Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:39 pm

I'm not sure which one is the case, but it seems the question is either said incorrectly by me, or I don't see the answers' relevance to it, or its meaning has eluded those who have kindly replied. So now I try from a slightly different perspective.

Let's say that the alayavijnana is simply a theoretical supposition, a convenient explanation about how memory, mind and karma works. The seeds are simply our unquestioned views we follow all the time. Once seen through, it's all gone. Unfortunately, this makes the whole argument for alayavijnana quite weak.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby asunthatneversets » Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:17 pm

Astus wrote:I'm not sure which one is the case, but it seems the question is either said incorrectly by me, or I don't see the answers' relevance to it, or its meaning has eluded those who have kindly replied. So now I try from a slightly different perspective.

Let's say that the alayavijnana is simply a theoretical supposition, a convenient explanation about how memory, mind and karma works. The seeds are simply our unquestioned views we follow all the time. Once seen through, it's all gone. Unfortunately, this makes the whole argument for alayavijnana quite weak.


But those unquestioned views generally remain unquestioned for the majority of people. Some are so deeply engrained that the truth remains elusive even when questioned and analyzed repeatedly. Seeing through that veil isn't so easy, and that veil of presuppositions actually manifests as perceptions which appear to be inherent aspects of experience to the untrained eye. Granted once a perception is seen for what it is it does lose it's luster, but some perceptions are so reified through habitual tendencies that their effect can remain indefinitely. It's a veil or a cloud and it serves to block and inhibit true knowledge, doesn't mean it's a physical or mental thing, but it's an abstraction composed of a variety of interlinking causes no doubt.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby zangskar » Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:45 pm

Astus wrote:Let's say that the alayavijnana is simply a theoretical supposition, a convenient explanation about how memory, mind and karma works. The seeds are simply our unquestioned views we follow all the time. Once seen through, it's all gone. Unfortunately, this makes the whole argument for alayavijnana quite weak.

I think that you are right. It seems like the main argument for the alayavijnana is: how else would you explain continuity, etc, in a way that doesn't contradict some other tenets? I understand William Waldron's paper to the effect that previous explanations of memory, continuity etc had been called into question, and the yogacara resolved the questions by proposing this 'unconscious' and unobservable category of consciousness, which however is conveniently also impossible to 'test' in a modern Karl Popper-sense.

Of course if one wanted to defend the alayavijnana that would probably be the question to ask you: what's the alternative?

Best wishes
Lars
p.s. If I am completely missing the point then please forgive me. :oops: :)
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby Son of Buddha » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:10 am

Astus wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:What you are dealing with here is the problem of avidya. How can anger arise without your being conscious of it? Once it's full blown, you are conscious of it. But it comes on to you unawares. As soon as the circumstances align, it jumps out. This is the meaning of seed. Eye organ contacts object, pleasant or painful, generates eye-consciousness, aroused by memory and then anger can arise. This is the seed. In a sense Alaya-vijnana is memory stored deep in the "unconscious."

So the "seeds" are dependent originations. Buddhas don't see them because of that. So turning your attention to the process, seeing nothing, they disappear, slowly never to reappear. That's how it goes.


You just say that there is alayavijnana, but you don't answer how can there be mental phenomena without being aware of them. It is a problem because if there is no need of consciousness for a mental phenomena, then there are thoughts without being thought, and even a stone could have mental phenomena.



HEY ASTUS

I dont know mabey we cant see it and are not aware of it cause the mental phenomena isnt ours to begin with.with our tainted self we are conscious of the preceived "I" or ME in our thoughts,and the Alayavijnana isnt "mine" or has anything to do with the tainted self."I" am not a Buddha nor could "I" ever be a Buddha,mabey when "I" cease Alayavijnana begins,who is really aware or conscious of the mental phenomena???

hmmmm just a guess.

Peace and Love
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:00 pm

Jnana wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:I think everything needs to be reconciled.

These different systems can be reconciled, but not by conflating and confusing how terms are used differently in each system.

A good example of how Yogācāra can be used in conjunction with Vajrayāna and Mahāmudrā is illustrated in the treatises of Karmapa Rangjung Dorje.


Actually what I've presented came from a Kagyu transmission. I didn't make it up, I just wrote it down. After I took a closer look at it, I was amazed. It does resolve conflicts in these formulations.
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Re: Questioning Alayavijnana

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:02 pm

Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote: Dzogchen is the 8th.


So you have just reduced Dzogchen to the level of mind.


Not really. 8th is emptiness, etc.
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