Tag Archives: Alaya vijnana

The Abyss

Pamela and Evan found themselves standing before a deep pit, blocking their path. As they peered down into the depths of the pit, their eyes widened in shock and horror. A vast sea of writhing, squirming bodies filled the space below, each one desperately clawing and scrabbling at the walls in a frenzied attempt to escape. read more

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Ālayavijñāna: The Hallmark of the Yogācāra

Our next chapter in question for this present sutra is Number Five in the Tibetan Translation and Number Three for the Chinese. We have been following John Keenan’s numbering sequence. Basically the difference between the translations is that the Tibetan breaks-down the chapters according to the individual Bodhisattvas, whereas the Chinese bundles them together. read more

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A further look at the Vijñānas

The Sagathakam posits numerous statements concerning the Vijñānas, as does the Lanka as a whole. Doing a search here at Unborn Mind Zen you will discover a rich source of connotations concerning the vijnanic system. This blog offers a further observation through the lens of hermeneutics. Florin Giripescu Sutton in his monumental work, Existence and Enlightenment in the Lankavatara Sutra, makes reference to a paper by Edward Hamlin entitled, Discourse in the Lakāvatāra-Sūtra, Journal of Indian Philosophy 11 (1983): 267-313. For a good treatment of Sutton’s work as well as a great technical breakdown of the Vijñānas, see The Complete Lanka and Discussion, available in our Unborn Mind Library. But for now the focus is on Hamlin’s paper with his hermeneutical treatment of the vijñānas. He begins by elucidating: read more

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Karma’s Repository

The advent of Mahāyāna Buddhism that coincided with the beginning of the Christian-era gave birth to the most sublime innovations in Buddhist-thought that have not been surpassed even to this day. Colorful, dynamic and transcendent in scope, resplendent with rich metaphorical language founded in the rich soil of sūtra and śāstra laden literature, the Mahāyāna shaped a new and indefatigable-direction for the nature of the karma-effect. According to the Sarvāstivādin and Theravādin doctrine, one’s goal in unraveling the karmic-equation was to slowly and diligently eradicate it through determined demolition of its defilements, in essence, being empowered to save-oneself. In Mahāyāna doctrine the emphasis was not so much in eradicating its effects, but standing above and beyond it by not focusing so much on individual-salvation, but by the salvation of others by practicing the six perfections or pāramitās. This found its inestimable worth in the cult of the Bodhisattvas. Generally, the causes of birth for ordinary beings are past deeds (karman) and defilements (klesa). But the Bodhisattva’s birth is unique in that it is caused exclusively by his will and purpose. Thus, a Bodhisattva volunteers to be born (sacintyabhavopapatti—intentional birth) into a life of suffering for the precise purpose of alleviating the suffering of sentient beings. read more

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Technique #2: Binzuru-Ho

Question: In Shoden Session #2 you refer to the Dhyana Technique as Binzuru- Ho. What is the significance of that? read more

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The Effects of Purification

ii. 33-45 Positive Exchange of the Mind-stuff

2.33 Destructive negative thoughts can be deterred through positive reinforcement. read more

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Womb of Darkness, Womb of Light: Bardo 2, Part 5

One of Mind’s Revelations, by virtue of its Wordless Transmission, as expounded in the Dharmakaya Sutra is that all six realms within the samsaric order of creation are mere skandhic-apparitions. For instance, gods and demi-gods “dream” just as much as humans do and even those lowly inhabitants of the hell and hungry-ghost realms dream of eventually transcending their hellish existence; all are linked through skandhic-apparati that perceive avenues of desire that left to themselves are never relinquished. It is by virtue, then, of Mind’s own ascendency to the Noble Wisdom of Self Realization that these dependent chains of origination can be broken. The route of discernment through these first two Bardo Realms is something of a twofold nature: intrinsic and extrinsic awareness power and it is the former alone that is unequivocally undivided whereas the latter is soiled through the camera obscura-like lens of the Five Skandhas. The first two Bardo Realms are essentially traversed through extrinsic channels of awareness that are hindered by a temporal continuum: the body consciousness. Although masked in the dream-realm of Bardo 2, it is this self-same consciousness that digs-deep into the Alaya-vault that is stuffed with all kinds of imaginable and fantastic imagery that flashes across the soiled screen of vexatious intoxications that can prevent Mind’s return to Bhutatathata. Yet, the Manomayakāya has the power to break the spell—provided it issues its commands with the resolute authority that emanates from the Unborn Will Itself. If the proper alignment of the Chakras has been procured with consistent practice of Primordial Qigong in Light of the Unborn Spirit as relayed during our expose of Bardo 1, then sufficient authority will be granted since the light of these highly-spiritually-charged chakras pierces through and dissipates these unruly spectacles of the defiled garbha of the Alaya. read more

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The Black Dragon Eye Mandala: A Singular Focal-point of the Unmoving Principle

The Black Dragon Eye Mandala is an auspicious medium in which to navigate through the turbulent and erratic seas (the Moving Principle). read more

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A Movable Feast

Mardi Gras is fast approaching with its vast array of spectacular shapes and colors all manifesting into one great orgy, indulging and gorging (Fat Tuesday) oneself before the solemn season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. After studying the Lanka, it’s apparent that this event serves as a metaphor to the greatest movable feast of them all—the Alaya vijnana. You will find in the archive here numerous references to two contrasting principles: The Unmoving Principle and the Moving Principle. It wasn’t apparent until once again going over the Lanka in depth that these two principles can be seen in light of the “twin” effect: the Tathagata garbha and the Alaya vijnana. As we have seen through the study of the Lanka, these two terms are interchangeable as their essential stature is linked together as a mirrored reflection of the womb of suchness: tathata. The Tathagata garbha is Unmoving, motionless, yet utterly dynamic in Its ability to initiate contact with its quite vivacious twin, the Alaya vijnana; although not positioned in the realm of movement, It, in effect, “turns away” from its position-less stature in the Unborn and somehow becomes (animates) enraptured with the moving antics (animations) of Its precocious sibling—something that the Hindu’s describe as Shiva-dancing. read more

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The Other

Section LXXXII of the Lanka delineates the nature of the Tathagata-garbha and the Alaya vijnana (repository consciousness). This can be quite confusing because although apparently different—one pure, one defiled—they are also essentially synonymous in nature. A good analogy to break this down is the nature of “twins”; while they may be different in temperament and personality, they are a product of the same seed-bed, or womb. In UnbornMind Zen the bodhichild is the developing light-bearer, or bodhisattva within the womb (garbha) of tathata (Absolute Suchness); yet there is another alongside it, a “dark-side” whose “habit-energy of beginningless fabrications…gives birth to fundamental ignorance…”(Red Pine, pg. 241) If the bodhichild were to exclusively “tune-into” this dark-side, thus neglecting its rightful affinity with the Unborn Buddha Mind through the Recollective resolve, the waves of the vijnanas (defiled body consciousness) become stirred into motion within its alaya (receptacle)—which is really all those stored defiled-seeds since beginningless time. If left alone and not stirred through the act of grasping, the alaya would remain calm, like the surface of the ocean—just reflecting its pure-essential stature as the Tathagata-garbha. The way, of course, to avoid this release of all that stored habit energy, is to initiate the “turn-about” (paravrtti) and keep one’s sight devotedly fixated on one’s Original Self-Nature. Another way of expressing this is what Sutton states, “Being closely associated with the system of the Sense perceptions (Vijnanas), it is only through its purification, or reabsorption (paravrtti—or turn-about) that the Embryo-of-Buddhahood may emerge in its original state.” (Existence and Enlightenment in the Lanka, p.86) read more

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