The Yogācarā Connection



c. The Relationships Between Enlightenment and Nonenlightenment 

Two relationships exist between the enlightened and nonenlightened states. They are “identity” and “nonidentity.” 

(1) Identity  Just as pieces of various kinds of pottery are of the same nature in that they are made of clay, so the various magic-like manifestations (māyā) of both enlightenment (anāsrava: nondefilement) and nonenlightenment (avidyā) are aspects of the same essence, Suchness. For this reason, it is said in a sutra that “all sentient beings intrinsically abide in eternity and are entered into nirvāa. The state of enlightenment is not something that is to be acquired by practice or to be created. In the end, it is unobtainable [for it is given from the beginning].” Also it has no corporeal aspect that can be perceived as such. Any corporeal aspects [such as the marks of the Buddha] that are visible are magic-like products [of Suchness manifested] in accordance with [the mentality of men in] defilement. It is not, however, that these corporeal aspects [which result from the suprarational functions] of wisdom are of the nature of nonemptiness [i.e., substantial]; for wisdom has no aspects that can be perceived. 

Invincible and Vincible Enlightenment share the same “substance” in that they are functions of intrinsic Suchness. Suzuki’s footnote on nirvana indicates that it is used in this context as a synonym of suchness (Bhutatathata). The state of enlightenment is never “acquirable” since it’s not a “state” to begin with. It Is As Such from the beginning, no more, no less. Just as the Lanaka states, any apparent corporeal manifestations are like “the stuff that dreams are made of.” Once again, Wisdom is a function of Mind That In Itself shares nothing to be perceived.

(2) Nonidentity  Just as various pieces of pottery differ from each other, so differences exist between the state of enlightenment and that of nonenlightenment, and between the magic-like manifestations [of Suchness manifested] in accordance with [the mentality of men in] defilement, and those [of men of ignorance] who are defiled [i.e., blinded] as to the essential nature [of Suchness]. 

Invincible and Vincible Enlightenment differ in terms of their ontological base; the latter is rooted in defiled garbha while the former is associated  exclusively with the Dharmakaya aspect.

That a man is in sasāra results from the fact that his mind (manasand consciousness (vijñāna) develop on the ground of the Storehouse Consciousness (citta). This means that because of [the aspect of nonenlightenment of ] the Storehouse Consciousness, he is said to be in possession of ignorance [and thus is bound to remain in sasāra].

As referenced in the commentary from the previous post, these terms (manas), (vijnana) and (Storehouse Consciousness) are associated with the yogacara school. 

Manas=ego-centered intellect

Vijnana=8-fold consciousness

Storehouse=alaya receptacle

Both the Lanka and TAOF share this Yogacara connection. The Lanka itself goes into greater detail. Back in 2002, in the Zen School of the Unborn Mind, we conducted an exhaustive study of Suzuki’s translation of the Lanka; the following is an extract (the file “Complete Lankavatara Sutra and discussion” is now available in our library):

At this point it would do well to break-down two aspects of the Vijnana system as mentioned in these gathas…Manas and the Manovijnana…the following is taken from the “Ocean of Eloquence: Tsong kha pa’s commentary on the Yogacara Doctrine of Mind”: (p. 112;113;145)

” Also the Abhidharma-samuccaya says:
‘What is manas? It is the continual selfishness (manyana) that has the alaya-vijnana as its objective support and has associated with it four afflictive emotions: opinion about I, attachment to I, and pride and ignorance in the thought “I Am.” Except when the path [i.e., direct vision of the ultimate] is manifest, when absorbed in cessation or on the level of no-more-learning it goes with every virtuous, nonvirtuous and neutral [state of mind]. It is also the consciousness that ceases just prior to the six consciousnesses.’
Therefore manas is twofold: the egotistical manas, and the just-prior manas. These are also called ‘ultimate manas’ and ‘conventional manas,’ because the ultimate manas is not contingent on another consciousness and exists self-sufficiently as a material reality and conventional manas is not posited apart from the group of six’s consciousnesses. The first then, the egotistical manas produces all that is contaminated and thoroughly afflicted by functioning as that basis on which the six kinds of consciousness’ enthrallment with marks comes about. The second, i.e.,the just prior manas functions as the immediate condition of the six, giving the next consciousness the occassion to arise by force of its removal. Thus it is said: There are two aspects of Manas. First is the ground for the production of consciousness (vijnana), called “the manas that ceases just prior to consciousness.” It is the basis in that it functions as immediately preceding condition (samanantara-pratyaya). The second is the manas that is afflicted (klistam). With it are always associated four afflictive emotions: view that the perishable aggregate is a single, permanent soul (sat-kaya-drsti), pride in the thought “I am” (asmimana), self-love, and ignorance. It is basis for the thorough affliction of consciousness. A consciousness is, then, produced by the basis supplied by the first and caused to be afflicted by the second. It is consciousness (vijnana) since it perceives an object (visaya-prati-vijnapti). Thus, since there is one just-previous (samanantara) and an egotisical thought (manana) manas is twofold.” Manovijnana: the sixth Vijnana, “thinking-mind consciousness”–this acts as a ‘connecting-link’ between the preceeding five sense vijnanas (pravrtti-vijnana) and the alaya-vijnana.

In order to make better sense out of detailed above anaylsis…consider the following “flow-chart” concerning the eight Vijnanas as a whole:
The five sense-vijnanas (pravrtti-vijnana)—–>
these interact with the sixth vijnana (mano-vijnana) which filters the sensate phenomena mentally—–>
thus, the ego-centered seventh vijnana (manas) creates its own self-centered “reality” out of the mentality (also known as the klista-manas, or afflicted thinking-mind)—–>
and it all becomes deposited into the great warehouse, or eighth Vijnana (Alaya-vijnana)——>
*then, the cycle repeats in an “outward” motion as the seeds (bija) of phenomena within the Alaya “ripen” and become “picked-up” with radar precision in the mano-vijnana, which is also accompanied with the engrained attitude of the manas which perceives phenomena filtered through the five sense-vijnana (pravrtti-vijnana) with its own karmic dispostions–all created through the past ripened ACTIONS stored within the Alaya Vijnana….So, you see, it’s all indeed a “cyclic” and ongoing system since beginningless time.” 

  1. Mind 

 [The mentality] that emerges in the state of nonenlightenment, which [incorrectly] perceives and reproduces [the world of objects] and, conceiving that the [reproduced] world of objects is real, continues to develop [deluded] thoughts, is what we define as mind. This mind has five different names.  The first is called the “activating mind,” for, without being aware of it, it breaks the equilibrium of mind by the force of ignorance. The second is called the “evolving mind,” for it emerges contingent upon the agitated mind as [the subject] that perceives [incorrectly]. The third is called the “reproducing mind,” for it reproduces the entire world of objects as a bright mirror reproduces all material images. When confronted with the objects of the five senses, it reproduces them at once. It arises spontaneously at all times and exists forever [reproducing the world of objects] in front [of the subject]. The fourth is called the “analytical mind,” for it differentiates what is defiled and what is undefiled. The fifth is called the “continuing mind,” for it is united with [deluded] thoughts and continues uninterrupted. It retains the entire karma, good and bad, accumulated in the immeasurable lives of the past and does not permit any loss. It is also capable of bringing the results of the pain, pleasure, etc., of the present and the future to maturity; in doing so, it makes no mistakes. It can cause one to recollect suddenly the things of the present and the past and to have sudden and unexpected fantasies of the things to come. The triple world, therefore, is unreal and is of mind only. Apart from it there are no objects of the five senses and of the mind. What does this mean? Since all things are, without exception, developed from the mind and produced under the condition of deluded thoughts, all differentiations are no other than the differentiations of one’s mind itself. [Yet] the mind cannot perceive the mind itself; the mind has no marks of its own [that can be ascertained as a substantial entity as such]. It should be understood that [the conception of ] the entire world of objects can be held only on the basis of man’s deluded mind of ignorance. All things, therefore, are just like the images in a mirror that are devoid of any objectivity that one can get hold of; they are of the mind only and are unreal. When the [deluded] mind comes into being, then various conceptions (dharma) come to be; and when the [deluded] mind ceases to be, then these various conceptions cease to be. 

This is a good snapshot and breakdown of the operations of manas.

b. Consciousness 

What is called “consciousness” (vijñāna) is the “continuing mind.” Because of their deep-rooted attachment, ordinary men imagine that I and Mine are real and cling to them in their illusions. As soon as objects are presented, this consciousness rests on them and discriminates the objects of the five senses and of the mind. This is called “vijñāna” [i.e., the differentiating consciousness] or the “separating consciousness.” Or, again, it is called the “object-discriminating consciousness.” [The propensity for discrimination of ] this consciousness will be intensified by both [the intellectual] defilement of holding fast to perverse views and [the affectional] defilement of indulgence in passion. That the [deluded mind and] consciousness arise from the permeation of ignorance is something that ordinary men cannot understand. The followers of the Hīnayāna, with their wisdom, likewise fail to realize this. Those bodhisattvas who, having advanced from their first stage of correct faith by setting the mind [upon enlightenment] through practicing contemplation, have come to realize the Dharmakāya, can partially comprehend this. Yet even those who have reached the final stage of bodhisattvahood cannot fully comprehend this; only the Enlightened Ones have thorough comprehension of it. Why? The Mind, though pure in its self nature from the beginning, is accompanied by ignorance. Being defiled by ignorance, a defiled [state of ] Mind comes into being. But, though defiled, the Mind itself is eternal and immutable. Only the Enlightened Ones are able to understand what this means. What is called the essential nature of Mind is always beyond thoughts. It is, therefore, defined as “immutable.” When the one World of Reality is yet to be realized, the Mind [is mutable and] is not in perfect unity [with Suchness]. Suddenly, [a deluded] thought arises; [this state] is called ignorance. 

There is continuity in the vijnanaic-fields when Mind discriminates its own outflows. Ordinary (body) consciousness is incapable of breaking-free from this cycle and thus indulges itself with the free-flow interplay that emanates from the bottomless pit of the alaya-receptacle. Even those Bodhisattvas who have successfully advanced through the ten stages of Mind development are still “subjected” to the influence from these outflows. Only the *Tathagatas* are immune from this continuity. Suzuki’s footnote states that these mysteries are “comprehended only by a fully enlightened mind”.

c. Defiled States of Mind 

Six kinds of defiled states of mind [conditioned by ignorance] can be identified. The first is the defilement united with attachment [to ātman], from which those who have attained liberation in Hīnayāna and those [bodhisattvas] at the “stage of establishment of faith” are free.

The second is the defilement united with the “continuing mind,” from which those who are at the “stage of establishment of faith” and who are practicing expedient means [to attain enlightenment] can gradually free themselves and free themselves completely at the “stage of pure-heartedness.”

The third is the defilement united with the discriminating “analytical mind,” from which those at the “stage of observing precepts” begin to be liberated and finally are liberated completely when they arrive at the “stage of expedient means without any trace.”

The fourth is the [subtle] defilement disunited from the represented world of objects, from which those at the “stage of freedom from world of objects” can be freed.

The fifth is the [subtler] defilement disunited from the “[evolving] mind that perceives” [i.e., the defilement existing prior to the act of perceiving], from which those at the “stage of freedom from [evolving] mind” are freed.

The sixth [and most subtle] is the defilement disunited from the basic “activating mind,” from which those bodhisattvas who have passed the final stage and have gone into the “stage of Tathāgatahood” are freed.

These six defilements are nuanced in Suzuki’s footnote:

The defilement which is the product of the evolution of the alaya-vijnana, is of two kinds, primary and secondary. The primary defilement is a priori, originating with the birth of the mind. There is as yet no distinct consciousness in it of the duality of the subject and the object, though this is of course tacitly asserted. Aśvaghosha calls the primary defilement ‘’ non-interrelated, ” meaning that there is no deliberate reflexion in the ego to assert itself. The secondary defilement called ” interrelated ” on the other hand explicitly assumes the ego in contradistinction to the non-ego and firmly clings to this conception, which brings forth all selfish desires and actions on the part of the defiled mind. The former being more fundamental than the latter is completely effaced from the mind only after going through all different stages of religious discipline.

d. Comments on the Terms Used in the Foregoing Discussion 

On [the expression] “the one World of Reality is yet to be realized.” From this state those [bodhisattvas] who have advanced from the “stage of the establishment of faith” to the “stage of pure-heartedness,” after having completed and severed [their deluded thoughts], will be more and more liberated as they advance, and when they reach the “stage of Tath1gatahood,” they will be completely liberated. On “united.” By the word “united” [appearing in the first three defilements] is meant that though difference [i.e., duality] exists between the mind (subject) and the datum of the mind (object), there is a simultaneous relation between them in that when the subject is defiled the object is also defiled, and when the subject is purified the object is also purified. On “disunited.” By the word “disunited” is meant that [the second three subtle and fundamental defilements are the aspects of ] nonenlightenment on the part of the mind existing prior to the differentiation [into the subject and object relationship]; therefore, a simultaneous relation between the subject and object is not as yet established.  On the “defiled state of mind.” It is called “the hindrance originating from defilements,” for it obstructs any fundamental insight into Suchness. On “ignorance.” Ignorance is called the “hindrance originating from misconceptions of objects,” for it obstructs the wisdom that functions spontaneously in the world. Because of the defiled [state of ] mind, there emerges the subject that perceives [incorrectly; i.e., the evolving mind] and that which reproduces [the reproducing mind] and thus one erroneously predicates the world of objects and causes oneself to deviate from the undifferentiated state [of Suchness]. Though all things are always in quiescence and devoid of any marks of rising, because of the nonenlightenment due to ignorance, one erroneously strays from the dharma [i.e., Suchness]; thus one fails to obtain the wisdom that functions spontaneously by adapting oneself to all circumstances in the world.

Hakeda’s commentary:

“The wisdom that functions spontaneously in the world.” Technically this wisdom is called the “later-obtained wisdom” ( pristhalabdha-jñāna; Ch., houdezhi ). It is the wisdom that, after achieving enlightenment and witnessing the pitiful state of existence of the world, naturally emerges to help save the world. When a man caught in a vicious cycle of frustration awakens to his essential being, returns to the Absolute order, and reinstates Suchness in himself, he can for the first time see the suffering world in its full scope. As eyes cannot see eyes, so as long as he is in the midst of suffering, without transcending it, he cannot see the real state of existence of the world. A keen awareness of the fact that, so long as a man is not awakened, everything is suffering, came to the Buddha after he had attained enlightenment. The well-known words of the Buddha that “everything is suffering” (sarvam duhkam) were, in fact, uttered after he had attained enlightenment. Hence, he was compelled to work for the salvation of the world.

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8 Responses to The Yogācarā Connection

  1. Kantairon says:

    The “Complete Lankavatara Sutra and discussion” is a great addition to the library.

  2. Kantairon says:

    (I also noticed a PDF version of the study of the Uttara-tantra-shastra ie. Ratnagotravibhaga there. Excellent.)

  3. Kantairon says:

    From the Hakeda commentary, very interesting how the First Noble Truth is actually not something that can be realized by the unawakened. This is why as much as we try, we can’t really see all existence as suffering. Obviously, some states are quite pleasurable and desirable to us ordinary men. It is from the vantage point of Enlightenment that the First Noble Truth can really be realized. So the “most basic” of Buddhism converges here with the highest.

    So the “Noble Truths” are actually the truths of the noble disciples, arya-sravaka, not for the uninitiated. (I first realized this from reading Zennist blog). The “beginner’s truths” are not the Noble Truths, but the Five Precepts, which serve as a guiding principle, together with faith in the Tathagata and the Dharma and the Sangha (going for refuge in the three jewels).

    I’m afraid today’s Buddhism mixes all these levels… when I first came to Buddhism this greatly confused me and caused cataracts or a parallax view from which I wouldn’t be able to see the Dharma even close to the right approach. Then you also add the fact that there are predatory sects out there who distort the Dharma for profit, and you get a pretty bad picture.

    I remember Tozen always encouraged me to do well in the world and to not shun the ordinary life and the prusuit of prosperity… I thought he was misrepresenting the Dharma, but actually the Buddha himself gave laypeople business tips and advice how to invest money etc.

    There’s a book by Bhikku Rasnagoda Rahula on this topic: – the West has completely overlooked the teachings on prosperity by the Buddha!

    Of course if one becomes greedy and pursues money for money’s sake, and not as a catalyst for good, then it all degrades into predatory capitalism which is the cause of so much harm today…

    Back to 1 Noble Truth: the Hakeda commentary passage you posted reminds me that I am not presently able to realize the First Noble Truth. – That there is the happiness of the renunciant, of the monk, of the Muni, which is the highest happiness. And there is also the happiness of the householder, which doesn’t exclude one from the Dharma, but it’s a different situation. Not inferior – at least not in the Mahayana – just different.

    Namo Amitabhaya, Buddhaya, Dharmaya, Sanghaya

    • Vajragoni says:

      Would like to open this up for more blogging…

      Would you care to undertake, let us say, a series on the Noble Truths in light of the arya-sravaka?

      It also need not be a complete series; if you prefer a series of articles?

  4. Kantairon says:

    (One those who realize the highest joy, the highest bliss, can then – in comparison – see all other happiness as “dung-like”… it’s like comparing the light of the sun with the light of the candle… compared to the sun, everything is dark… compared to the highest bliss known by the Buddhas, all is suffering. That’s the First Noble Truth as I understand it. But for us ordinary men, who only know glimpses of that Light, the Noble Truth is not yet realized, and we still tend to chase candlelight, due to past karma, but we also know about the Sun’s existence and when not distracted, look towards the Land of Limitless Light.)

  5. Kantairon says:

    I would certainly be honored to contribute to this great resource. My knowledge and especially my experience is quite limited and far from the level of your series, but if you think my contributions could in any way be helpful to the readers of this blog, then I’ll happily undertake this “Noble Truth” mini-series.

  6. n. yeti says:

    How amazing!

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