Tag Archives: tathagata-garbha

Ghosts in the Machine

  1. So the flood of the Alayavijnana is always stirred by the winds of objectivity (vishaya), and goes on dancing with the various Vijnana-waves.

Familiar phraseology of the dancing waves of the Vijnanas, stirred into motion through both objective (vishaya) and subjective instigators. The Alaya-receptacle itself is usually dormant, but it houses a million-fold [images] that are ready to spring into action at the least suggestion, in effect once again “haunting” its host. Memories, fears and phobias, sexual fantasies, times of love and betrayal, familiar moments in time that are always there but rarely relivable yet still sting with their indelible impressions on the psyche—all these are housed in that store-house consciousness and return again and again, like recurring Ghosts in the skhandhic machinery. How best to exorcise these old demons that forever linger on through entrenched habit-energy since time immemorial? Unborn Mind Zen is one such spiritual modality that provides the remedy. Disengage the Alaya by awakening its dominant twin—the Tathagata-garbha—that houses the Immaculate-Seed of the Bodhichild, a mystical child of Light that has no former associations nor obtuse attachments and thus can never be affected or haunted by the onslaught of its defiled-twin and harbinger of so much misery. Thus, having been graced with the full import of this Self-realization of Noble-Wisdom, this child of matured-garbha can enter into limitless deep-samadhis for the sake of its own spiritual development as well as leading others to drink from the deep and nurturing spring of the Unborn: read more

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Having Faith in the Tathāgata-garbha

Within this series we have encountered the seven Vajra-points that essentially constitutes the main leitmotiv of the Ratnagotravibhāgaśāstra, which is the core make-up and teachings of the Tathāgata-garbha: read more

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The Tathagata’s Womb

Carl Van Brunt



The Correction of Evil Attachments


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The Realm of Suchness



A.The Greatness of the Essence of Suchness 

[The essence of Suchness] knows no increase or decrease in ordinary men, the Hīnayānists, the bodhisattvas, or the buddhas. It was not brought into existence in the beginning nor will it cease to be at the end of time; it is eternal through and through.  read more

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Awakening of Faith: Preliminaries



I take refuge in [the Buddha,] the greatly Compassionate One, the Savior of the world, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, of most excellent deeds in all the ten directions;
And in [the Dharma,] the manifestation of his Essence, the Reality, the sea of Suchness, the boundless storehouse of excellencies;
[And in the Sangha, whose members] truly devote themselves to the practice,
May all sentient beings be made to discard their doubts, to cast aside
their evil attachments, and to give rise to the correct faith in the Mahāyāna, that the lineage of the Buddhas may not be broken off. read more

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The Mahāyāna-shraddhotpāda-shāstra

We next will be exploring perhaps the most significant document, alongside the Lankavatara Sutra, for adherents of Unborn Mind Zen as well as the best concise-systematic treatment of the Mahayana as a whole. This ‘Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana’ is attributed to the great early Buddhist philosopher and poet, Aśvaghosha: 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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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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Children of the Buddha

Having been graced with a full understanding of the Noble Wisdom of self-realization, the perfected bodhisattvas (mature garbha, or bodhichild) enter into deep and unfathomable samadhis for the benefit of all sentient beings: “And they enter hundreds of thousands of samadhis, countless hundreds of thousands of samadhis. And as they do so, they travel to other buddhalands and venerate other buddhas and are reborn in celestial palaces, where they praise the three treasures and appear as buddhas themselves surrounded by assemblies of sharvakas and bodhisattvas, and where they liberate beings by explaining to them that what they perceive is nothing but their own mind and that external existence does not exist, thus enabling them to transcend such views as existence and nonexistence.” Perfected in this fashion, these noble champions of Unborn Light empower the blind to see with imageless eyes that all dualistic manifestations are nothing more than fata morganas on the plane of emptiness (sunyata); devoid of self-awakening and recollection of the true and Primordial Self-hood in the dharmatic womb of suchness—tathata—these unwholesome projections of the deluded mind can even lead to the extremes of eternalism and nihilism, the awful curses of believing that some-thing (apart from the Unborn Mind) can exist forever—while simultaneously a belief that this thing-ness is basically a form of nothingness. The Lanka teaches that it is always best to avoid all forms of discriminatory assertions and denials—and also to never cling to the “word-ness” of things since this can lead to extreme wordiness and thus utter dependence upon words (vs. what words are pointing to) in themselves. read more

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