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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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