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A COMPARISON OF ALAYA-VIJNANA IN YOGACARA AND DZOGCHEN

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A COMPARISON OF ALAYA-VIJNANA IN YOGACARA AND DZOGCHEN

David F Germano and William S. Waldron


How are we shaped by structures and processes outside our conscious awareness?

To what degree are these processes bodily, emotional, or cognitive? How do they determine the way we react to or apprehend our world? Are they peculiar to each individual or also intersubjective? Are these structures largely fixed, or are they ongoing constructive processes? How can we bring these structures and processes into conscious awareness? How can reflexive awareness alter their character and influence? Are these processes pure or impure? If they were originally pure, how would deluded and distorted reactive patterns arise? Or if these processes were originally impure, how could they be purified? And if they were originally pure, how would such purity appear within deluded bodily, emotional, and cognitive experiences? These questions have been raised by countless thinkers over the centuries and systematically addressed by mystics and philosophers alike. We will examine Buddhist responses to these questions in the Indian Yogacara and Tibetan Great Perfection (rdzogs chen) traditions as articulated through the concepts of "foundational consciousness" (S: iilaya-vijfiiina, T: kun gzhi rnam par shes pa) and "foundation/ground" (S: iilaya, T: kun gzhi), respectively. Originally, the con-cept of iilaya-vijfiiina arose in response to the attempt by Abhidharma Buddhists to express all the functions of consciousness (vijfiiina) in strictly dharmic terms (see section Abhidharma: A Systematic Phenomenology of Experience). Our first section thus reviews the development of theories of consciousness in early Buddhism and their problematization within Abhidharma, before focusing on the notion of a "fundamental consciousness" operating outside of conscious aware-ness that was proffered by the Yogacara school. These notions were transformed within the esoteric schools of Indian Buddhism from the seventh century on, which were rendered into systematic philosophical discourse in Tibet starting from the eleventh century. The second section will thus examine the foundational conscious-ness within the works of Tibetan scholar, Longchenpa, the great systematizer of

the Great Perfection tradition in the fourteenth century. This chapter thus sketches out the development of this central notion from Indian Buddhism into Tibetan esoteric discourse. Alaya-vijiiiina in Indian Buddhist thought Early Buddhist analyses of mind The arising of cognitive awareness The analyses of consciousness (vijfiiina) found in the Pali texts are simple but subtle enough to have invited centuries of later development. As classically expressed, perceptual consciousness arises when an appropriate sense object impinges upon the relevant sense faculty (indrirya; "power"), with attention thereto. Types of perceptual consciousness are classified according to their respective sense base: the five faculties of vision, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and the sixth, mind Mental consciousness is anomalous in that it arises in conjunction with both its "own" mental objects, such as ideas, thoughts, mem-ories, etc., as well as with a previous moment of perceptual consciousness as an object. This is a reflexive consciousness that we have perceived something visual, etc. The mental mode of consciousness thus encompasses higher cognitive func-tions, such as abstract thought and language. Some important implications follow from these simple formulations:

• First, temporally, perceptual consciousness is a phenomenon that occurs in dependence upon specific supporting conditions; it is not a faculty that actively cognizes objects. Rather, consciousness automatically arises when an appropriate object impinges upon its respective sense base.1 Note the passive, impersonal syntax. • Second, constitutively, objects that induce perceptual consciousness are necessarily correlative with their respective faculties. And like their objects, the forms of ordinary perceptual consciousness reflect the structure of their supporting faculties. We can only ordinarily see things the way our faculties enable us to. • Third, contextually, consciousness is also dependent upon the way sense faculties function. Like a spark, a stimulus must be distinctive enough from both its previous moment and its surrounding context in order to stimulate perceptual consciousness. In this sense, vijfiiina only arises as a function of temporally effervescent yet contextually distinctive stimuli. It follows that our ordinary awareness of the world has several crucial constraints. It depends upon the responsive structures of the faculties, which themselves only operate in relation to the distinctions that trigger them - distinctions which, like all contrasts, are relational, not stand-alone qualities. The phenomenal "world,"


our world, is thus both ephemeral and constructed at the same time - characteristics that will continue to beguile later Buddhist thinkers. Two aspects ofvijiiana The constructed nature of experience is highlighted in the second way consciousness (S: vijiiana, P: viiiiia~Ja) is portrayed in the Pali texts. As the only process that continues uninterruptedly from one lifetime to the next, vijiiana is said to "descend" into the womb at conception, arise throughout one's lifetime, and leave the body at the time of death. To contrast this with the aforementioned perceptual or "cognitive-consciousness," Pali scholar Wijesekera (1964: 259) designates it "sarrzsaric viiiiiiil}a," insofar as it is the basis for all conscious and unconscious psychological manifestations pertaining to individuality as it continued in Samsara or empirical existence." Although this sense of vijiiana is by no means a permanent or eternal self, since it always arises in dependence upon conditions,2 it does not depend upon perceptual objects.

What this consciousness does depends upon are the psychological and physio-logical structures brought about by previous karmic actions, the "karmic formations" (S: sarrzskiira, P: sankhara). 3 This is seen in the twelve-limbed formula of depend-ent arising, where vijiiana arises not in dependence upon transient conditions as "cognitive consciousness" does, but upon enduring conditions, such as sense organs, faculties, dispositions, traits, etc. - that is, the sarrzskiirii. The distinction between these "aspects" of vijiiana, or more precisely between the conditions that support their arising, is clearly illustrated in these typical formulations: Depending on karmic formations consciousness arises (SN.2.2). Depending on eye and forms visual consciousness arises (SN.2.73).

What these analyses highlight are the continuous and discontinuous conditions for vijiiana, respectively. The conditions underlying the arising of "samsaric consciousness," the karmic formations, are relatively continuous, while those evoking forms of "cognitive consciousness," such as sense objects, are strictly intermittent. It should be clear, however, that these consciousnesses are neither contradictory nor truly separable, for "samsaric" consciousness is a precondition for perceptual consciousness to arise. As philosopher John Searle has recently pointed out: "Perception ... does not create consciousness but modifies a preexisting conscious field ... the field was there before you had the perceptions. You had to be already conscious before you had the perceptual experience" (Searle 2005).4 These modes of consciousness are also interdependent. "Samsaric conscious-ness," together with the karmic formations (i.e. sense faculties) that support it, constitutively influences the arising of cognitive consciousness. And the arising of cognitive consciousness, in turn, continuously modifies the responsive structures of the faculties and thus, by extension, the arising of samsaric consciousness.


This occurs both in the short term, in cognitive processes oflearning, memorization, etc, as well as in the long term, in the evolutionary processes of the growth and development of sentient life over multiple generations (which in the Buddhist context includes rebirth).5 Hence, these two ways of analyzing the arising of consciousness pertain not so much to distinct forms of consciousness, but to distinct kinds of conditions that support consciousness, some enduring chronologically, others arising momentarily. These give rise, as Pali scholar and psychologist Johansson (1979, 106) has observed, to "two layers of consciousness: what we called the momentary surface processes, and the background consciousness." The Yogacarins will exploit these distinctions in formulating their own conception of "a basis for all conscious and unconscious psychological manifestations," namely, alaya-vijiiana. Reciprocity between actions, effects, and ajjlictive dispositions These enduring conditions- the karmic formations comprising one's sense faculties, cognitive schemas, affective dispositions, etc. - have not come about haphazardly.

They have been brought together, "constructed," through the causal effects of each individual's activities, through their karma (SN.2.64).6 This idea is not some anti-quated artifact unearthed from another time or place, but a sophisticated under-standing of the reciprocal relations between forms of consciousness, the actions they instigate, and the effects these lead to - effects which, in turn, tend to reinforce the very conditions that engendered them, creating a positive feedback loop between the constructed schemas and dispositions, actions, and their results. We can see this in something we all experience: habit-formation. We do something enjoyable, like drinking caffeine or alcohol, which affects our bodies and minds in certain, mostly pleasurable, ways. In the process, these experiences create (or reinforce) specific neural pathways in the brain and body, whose very presence supports their repetition, just as storm runoff creates furrows in the ground that attracts further runoff.7 As a result, we start to crave (S: tr~~Jii, P: tal}hii), both physically and psychologically, the pleasures these actions bring and so tend to repeat them. In this way, our actions reinforce the conditions that lead to their repetition, creating neuro-psychological complexes we call dispositions. 8 In Pali these are the anusaya, underlying tendencies. These tendencies are the latent counterparts to the three afflictions of greed, hatred, and ignorance, which make actions karmically consequential, that is, actions that lead to effects that may be experienced in the future. They "are called anusaya, underlying tendencies," a later Pali commentary explains, "in the sense that they have not been abandoned in the mental continuum to which they belong and because they are capable of arising when a suitable cause presents itself" (MN 1995, 1241, n. 473). Such "suitable causes," of course, are ubiquitous. Whenever some kind of feeling or sensation occurs, such as through sensual contact, these dispositions tend to arise: we tend to respond to pleasure with greed, to pain with aversion, and to neutral feeling with ignorance or indifference


(MN.1.303). These afflictive responses then tend to evoke actions whose long-term effects reinforce the conditions, the dispositional saf!lskllrlis, that supported their arising - thereby perpetuating the patterns of cyclic behavior called sarp.sara. This is well illustrated in a single passage describing the four "nutriments" that sustain cyclic existence: food, sensual experience, mental volitions (i.e. karma), and consciousness: If, monks, there is lust for the nutriment edible food [for sensual experi-ence, etc.], if there is delight, if there is craving, consciousness becomes established and comes to growth. Wherever consciousness becomes established and comes to growth, there is a descent of name-and-form. Where there is a descent of name-and-form, there is the growth of karmic formations. Where there is the growth of karmic formations, there is the production of renewed existence. Where there is the production of renewed existence, there is future birth, aging, and death. Where there is future birth, aging, and death, I say that is accompanied by sorrow, anguish, and despair.


The a.fflictive dispositions and liberation Human beings, of course, are complicated. Chief among our underlying tendencies "that have not been abandoned" is the tendency I am" (asmlti-anusaya), our sense of ourselves as enduring entities, agents of our actions, subjects of our experi-ences and, of course, objects of attachment. 9 This sense of self is one of our most deeply rooted dispositions, the texts suggest, for "even though a noble disciple (ariyaslivaka) has abandoned the five lower fetters, still ... there lingers in him a residual conceit 'I am,' a desire 'I am,' an underlying tendency 'I am' that has not yet been uprooted" (SN.3.131 ). Not only are these tendencies not abandoned until far along the path toward liberation, but their presence virtually defines the boundaries of samsaric exis-tence. As the Buddha himself said, it is "impossible" that "one shall here and now make an end of suffering without abandoning the underlying tendency to lust for pleasant feeling ... to aversion towards painful feeling ... to ignorance in regard to neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling" (MN.3.285). Until then, the ever-present possibility remains for these afflictions to reoccur. These latent dispositions thus serve as continuing conditions for new afflictive responses to occur in much the same way that the consciousness that depends upon karmic formations serves as a continuing condition for new forms of con-sciousness to arise. Both cognitively as well as affectively, then, early Buddhism not only articulated the underlying conditions continuously supporting perceptual consciousness and active afflictions, but also recognized the indispensable roles they play in the feedback cycle of action, results and afflictive responses that con-stitutes samsaric existence. This cycle is therefore perpetuated not just through


manifest consciousness and overt afflictive behavior, but also - and even more intractably, through the continuing, underlying conditions that support them. Together, these effectively constitute, as Wijeskera's characterizes "saf!lsliric vijiilina," "the basis for all conscious and unconscious psychological manifestations pertaining to individuality as it continued in Samsara or empirical existence." While early Buddhists clearly recognized the influence of these continuous conditions, they never systematically contrasted them with the transient conditions supporting perceptual consciousness, such as cognitive objects. Thus, although early Buddhists had articulated a sophisticated conception of the interrelation between distinct forms of consciousness, the actions they evoke and the phenom-enal experience resulting from them, they left it to the Yogacarins in the third to fifth centuries CE to systematically distinguish the "basis" of samsaric existence in the form of iilaya-vijiilina. Their point of departure nevertheless remained the penetrating analyses of mind and experience bequeathed them by the Buddha and his early followers: • Our experienced world both depends upon and is correlative with our cognitive faculties, which themselves only function in terms of temporally and contextually discrete stimuli. • The receptivity to such stimuli is determined by the structure of our phy-siological and psychological complexes (saf!lskllrli), which thus serve as constitutive conditions for the formation of our "world." • These complex structures are themselves constructed through the reciprocal reinforcing relationships between actions, their results, and the afflictive dispositions, • amongst which, the continuous, underlying latent dispositions, particularly the sense "I am," play crucial roles in the arising and arousal of our perceptions and actions. • Finally, it is the persistence of these latent afflictions, as with "samsaric" vijiilina, that demarcates samsaric existence and whose cessation is thus tantamount to liberation. But this is not all. The Pali texts also refer to a form of mind (c itta) which "is luminous (pabhassaraf!l), but defiled by adventitious (iigantuka) defilements" (AN.l.l 0). This, too, never became an object of systematic thought in the early texts, leaving both it and the basis" of samsaric existence relatively unsystem-atized. That would require more analytic ambition, the impetus for which is found in the next stage of Buddhist thought, Abhidharma.

Abhidharma: a systematic phenomenology of experience These analyses of mind from the earliest Buddhist texts may have sufficed for the pragmatic aims of Buddhist practice- were no further questions asked. But ques-tions arose. The Buddha's disciples, facing a bewildering array of doctrines, texts,


and practices from his forty-five years of teaching, soon began sorting, classify-ing, and systematizing them according to topic, degree of difficulty, and internal consistency. In the process, they drove Buddhist thought in a productive but prob-lematic direction that deeply influenced all later forms of Buddhism, especially Indian Mahayana. It was in this milieu ofA bhidharma scholasticism (third century BCE to fifth century CE) that the concept of iilaya-vijfliina originated, for its most systematic treatments were couched in largely Abhidharmic terms - foremost of which, carrying its own host of problems, was the allusive concept of dharma.

There is little doubt that dharma is the most important concept in Abhidharmic analysis of experience, an analytic discourse still surviving in South Asia Buddhist traditions. There is considerable debate, however, over its ultimate meaning and ontological status, with different schools each proffering their own interpretations. One school, Sarviistiviida, leaned toward pluralistic realism, another, Sautriintika, toward nominalism, while yet a third, Yogiiciira, toward mentalism. Despite such differences, Abhidharma analysis provided contempora-neous Buddhists with a common vocabulary, a common conceptual framework -and a common set of problems. as we shall see.

They also shared a common aim: eradicating the aftlictions, the maleficent motives by which actions accrue karmic consequences. As the great fifth century scholar, Vasubandhu (AKBh I 3) states: "apart from the discernment of the dhar-mas, there is no means to extinguish the aftlictions, and it is by reason of the aftlictions that the world wanders in the ocean of existence."10 In order to discern the presence of these aftlictions, and thereby attenuate and eradicate their malef-icent influences, Abhidharmists analyzed the arising of each moment of con-sciousness. Bhikkhu Bodhi (1993: 4) thus calls Abhidharma a "phenomenological psychology ..." insofar as it focuses on "conscious reality, the world as given in experience." This analysis of "conscious reality" self-consciously systematized the same basic terms, and their interrelationships, found in the earliest Buddhist texts. Only now this analysis was focused primarily upon those factors that could be discretely identified as influencing "the world as given in experience" from moment to moment. Moreover, it was claimed that these momentary factors - and these alone - were ultimately true (paramiirtha-satya), ultimately effective in determining in one's ongoing experience (AKBh ad I 2b). It is these factors that are called dharmas, as each "carries" its own mark. 11 This dharmic analysis has several significant characteristics: it is a phenome-nological analysis of experience couched in systemic terms, terms that are mutually defined and distinguished from one another. It is therefore metapsychological, insofar as it self-consciously "deals with the various concepts and categories of consciousness as the primary objects of investigation" Piatigorsky (1984: 8). Finally, analysis in dharmic terms was considered an ultimate account of "how things really are" (yathiibhuta). In conjunction with concerted meditative practice, dharmic analysis of conscious experience provides a powerful tool for discerning one's present states of mind and the patterns of behavior and experience that constitute our ongoing existence.


If the strictures of this analysis are strictly adhered to, however, they also create serious conceptual problems. For promoting the factors identifiably affecting one's momentary conscious experience simultaneously entailed demoting other, more subtle or more enduring factors to the status of mere conventionalities (sal!lvrti-satya). Moreover, if dharmic analysis is limited to what we are (or can be) consciously aware of, and these are the only factors accepted as real, then this analysis precludes a full account- in "real" terms- of the very thing it set out to discern: the aftlictions that keep beings wandering in the "ocean of existence" until they are abandoned at advanced stages on the path. This engendered, in short, the Abhidharma Problematic. The Abhidharma Problematic More specifically, if the aftlictions were present and active in each and every moment then there would be no possibility of non-aftlicted states, and hence no possibility of liberation. But they could not be both present and inactive at the same time because dharmic analysis only discerns what affects "conscious real-ity." Nor could they be completely absent during non-aftlicted states, for once the continuity of the aftlictions is severed they would be destroyed altogether, since they have no real existence when they are not present, and this would be tantamount to liberation. The problem with dharmic analysis is that it could not readily account for latency, 12 for the persistence of the aftlictive dispositions, as present yet ineffective, in the way the early suttas suggested. The same kind of problem arose with the accumulation of karmic potential (karmopacaya), the potential for karmic results to come to fruition in the future. How could these persist within one's mental stream without constantly affecting one's conscious experience? And, like the dispositions, karmic potential also requires unbroken continuity between their originating actions and their ultimate fruition. But if these potentials are not discernibly affecting one's conscious expe-rience, that is, if they are not dharmas, then how could they be present? Either they are not "real," in which case they are irrelevant, or they are real and relevant but inexpressible in dharmic terms, in which case dharmic analysis is either incomplete or not completely ultimate. Simply put, other modes of "existence" had to be entertained.

Abhidharmists were well aware of these problems; it was, after all, the early suttas, with their clear account of samsaric continuities, which they were system-atizing. Hence, they addressed them in various ways, the most relevant for our purposes being the notions of seeds (b'ija) and "perfumations" (or "impressions, predispositions," viisanii). Vasubandhu used these metaphors from the early suttas to suggest how the potential for karmic fruition and the aftlictions in a latent state could persist within one's mental stream without directly and discernibly affecting the moment-to-moment arising of mind- and hence evading dharmic analysis. But he also considered these metaphors (prajflapti-sat; AKBh IT 36), not real dharmas (dravya-sat)- a tacit admission, it appears, of the limitations of dharmic analysis. UAVW 1'.

Even if these problems were more conceptual than pmctical, they still disclosed two problematic assumptions: • that the contents of consciousness were, in effect, homogeneous, that is, that mutually contmdictory factors, such as latent afflictive dispositions and manifest meritorious states, could not coexist; and, crucially, • that the relevant conditions of cognition and behavior were tmnsparent to dharmic analysis. As Piatigorsky (1984, 202, n. 17) points out, "the Abhidharma does not deal with what is non-conscious, because the Abhidhamma is a 'theory of consciousness', and the rest simply does not exist in the sense of the Abhidhamma." But the Abhidharma Problematic undermined these assumptions, leading to the recognition, as Eliade ( 1973, xvii) put it, that "the great obstacles to the ascetic and contemplative life arose from the activity of the unconscious." As we shall see, in its initial systematic treatments the concept of iilaya-vijiiiina explicitly addressed this Abhidharrnic Problematic in almost exclusively Abhidharrnic terms. The Yogiiciira analysis of experience The early development of iilaya-vijiiiina can profitably be seen as the gmdual integmtion of the "samsaric" aspects of vijiiiina found in the early suttas into the terms of dharmic discourse favored by the Abhidharmists. This was adumbrated in the third century CE Saf!ldhinirmocana Sutra, but only fully systematized in the fourth to fifth century works of Asanga and Vasubandhu, which effectively define classical Yogacara. We will briefly tmce this evolution in several key texts. Rvo aspects ofv ijfiana revisited It is in an early section of the Yogiiciirabhilmi, a voluminous third to fifth century text attributed to Asanga, that the term iilaya-vijiiiina probably first appears (Schmithausen 1987, 12, 18, n. 146). It is portmyed there as a basal conscious-ness that persists uninterruptedly in the material sense faculties during a medita-tive state (nirodha-samiipatti) in which all other mental processes cease. Yet this consciousness "embraces" (parigrhltam) the causal conditions, represented as seeds, for manifest forms of perceptual consciousness to reoccur. In an important terminological innovation, the tmditional six forms of perceptual consciousness are chamcterized as "arising" or "manifesting" (pravrtti) vijiiiinas insofar as they intermittently arise in conjunction with cognitive objects, in contmst to the uninterrupted stream of sentience newly coined "iilaya-vijiiiina," whose over-lapping senses include "home, base, store" and "clinging."13 The distinction between discontinuous forms of cognitive consciousness and a continuous non-cognitive consciousness, which was merely implicit in the Pali materials, is now terminologically explicit.


It is in a few short passages of the Sal!ldhinirmocana Sutra that a wholly new model of mind centered on iilaya-vijiiiina is introduced First (Y.2), 14 iilaya-vijiiiina is said, like "samsaric" vijiiiina, to arise at conception and "grow, develop, and increase" based upon its enduring, supporting conditions (upiidiina): the material sense faculties and, notably, "the predispositions toward prolifemtion of conven-tional images, names, and concepts." Alaya-vijiiiina arises, that is, in dependence upon our cognitive schemas and the sense faculties that embody them, which are themselves constructed from past actions. The text then (Y.3) suggests the reciprocal relationship between these two kinds of consciousness: iilaya-vijfiiina is "heaped up (iicita) and accumulated (upacita) by visual forms, sounds, smells;' etc., that is, by the objects of the tmditional six "aris-ing" vijiiiinas. The "arising consciousnesses," in turn, now arise in dependence not just upon the sense faculties and their respective objects, as before, but also "arise supported by and depending upon (sa'!lniSritya prati~(hiiya) the 'appropriating con-sciousness' (iidiina-vijiiiina)" (a synonym of alaya-vijiiiina) (Y.4--5). Moreover, they arise simultaneously with each other as well as iilaya-vijiiiina, resulting in a model of multiple, distinct yet simultaneously occurring cognitive processes, each with its own object. The Sutra (VIII.37.1) describes iilaya-vijiiiina's own object as the "indiscernible, stable, surrounding world (asa'!lvidita-sthira-bhiijana-vijiiapti)." Alaya-vijiiiina and the "arising consciousnesses" thus reinforce each other: iilaya-vijiiiina arises based upon physiological and psychological structures (sa'!'Skiirii), that is, the sense faculties and linguistic and conceptual predisposi-tions (Y.2), which together support the simultaneous arising of manifest cognitive processes (V.4--5) (and thereby help determine the specific forms, iikiira, they take), the results of which, their specific objects, "heap up and accumulate" in iilaya-vijiiiina (Y.3). This is another significant development. Perceptual consciousness now arises not only in dependence upon the sense faculties and their correlative objects, as before, but also upon another kind of consciousness, one that is itself dependent upon our embodied cognitive schemas, including linguistic dis-tinctions and discriminations. Even simple perception, the text suggests, is inescapably conceptual. It is in later portions of the Yogiiciirabhumi that the iilaya-vijiiiina complex is fully articulated in dharmic terms, addressing the Abhidharma Problematic described earlier. First, the Pravrtfi Portion depicts iilaya-vijfiiina as a full-fledged vijiiiina with its own cognitive object and associated (sa'!lprayukta) mental factors (caitta), all of which are "subtle" (sflk:tma) and "difficult to discern even by the wise ones of the world" ((l.b)B.l). Elabomting on iilaya-vijiiiina's "indis-cernible" object, the text ((l.b)2) states that iilaya-vijiiiina arises through an outward perception of the stable surrounding world, whose aspects are not clearly delineated (bahirdhii-apariccinniikara-sthira-bhiijana-vijiiapti)15 ... based upon that very iilaya-vijiiiina which has inner appropriation as its objective support

This subtle "outward perception" is possible, in other words, only insofar as iilaya-vijiiiina itself arises conditioned by its two "inner bases" or "appropriations" (adhyiitmam upiidiina), the material sense faculties and the "predispositions of attachment to the falsely discriminated" (parikalpita-svabhiiviibhinivesa-viisanii). This process is compared "to a burning flame which arises inwardly while it emits light outwardly on the basis of the wick and oil" ((l.b)A.3), that is, on the basis of our embodied cognitive schemas, which include names, concepts, and discriminations. It is telling that the term "base" or "appropriation" ( upiidiina) also means "fuel, supply, substratum by means of which an active process is kept alive or going" (PED 149). What provides the "fuel" to keep iilaya-vijiiiina going is, as before, its relationship with the six pravrtti-vijiiiinas and their associated activities, which the Pravrtti Portion explicitly portrays as continuous, simultaneous (sahabhava), and recip-rocally conditioning (anyonya-pratyayatii). This is illustrated metaphorically by waves in a stream. While the ongoing stream of iilaya consciousness supports the "waves" of surface perceptual consciousness - insofar as it both continuously "appropriates" the underlying physical and mental cognitive structures as well as "embraces" the seeds, the causal potential, for future arising of perceptual con-sciousness - so, too, do the surface waves of perceptual consciousness incessantly effect this underlying stream of sentience, this iilaya-vijiiiina, inasmuch as each wave is always both integral to and a transformation of the stream itself. Put in terms of the Yogacarins' other preferred metaphor, just as the seeds of past karma are constantly coming into fruition in the form of mental processes that occur in nearly every moment, such as perceptual consciousness and feeling - so too does one's intentional actions constantly infuse seeds and impressions (viisanii-parib-havita) into iilaya-vijiiiina insofar as intentions (cetanii), the criteria for actions to be karmic, also occur in nearly every moment of mind. This is the import, and these are the images, of the new Yogacara model of mind, portraying an intrapsy-chic dynamism between two inseparable, yet separately conceptualized, 16 aspects of mind in which the whole is greater than its parts. This model of iilaya-vijiiiina is fully compatible with the spirit, and the termi-nology, of contemporaneous Indian Buddhist analyses of consciousness. It is neither an agent nor a faculty, much less an "iitman in disguise." It represents, rather, a conceptual rubric within which various continuous yet clearly subliminal processes - such as bodily awareness, subliminal perception, and the influences of language - are categorically subsumed. This is clearly not a singular entity. As the Pravrtti Portion warns, "iilaya-vijiiiina is momentary regarding its object, and even though it arises continuously in a stream of instants, it is not singular (na ekatva; gcig pa nyid ni ma yin no)" ((l.b)B.3). We ought not substantialize it.17 The affliction of "I am " revisited But, of course, this is exactly what we are wont to do.18 Since iilaya-vijiiiina has the most continuity and consistency of any of our mental processes, 19 and is most


closely associated with our embodied existence, our persisting dispositions and their continuing karmic potentialities- that is, our physical experience, emotional traits, and personal histories- it is precisely iilaya-vijiiiina that we most identify with, that we most consider our "selves." Thus, the Yogacarins posited a specific kind of "mentation" (manas), one whose mode is conceiving (manyanii) "1-making" (ahaf!Zkiira) [and] the conceit "I am" (asmimlma), [which] always arises and functions simultaneously with iilaya-vijiiiina ... taking iilaya-vijiiiina as an object, conceiving [it] as "I am [this]" (asmlti) and "[this is] I" (aham iti). ((4.b) A.l.(a)) This sense of "I am," we remember, remained even in "a noble disciple" (ariyasiivaka) until far along the path, and its lingering presence persistently vexed Abhidharma theory. Yogacarins approached this problem much as they did the accumulation of karmic potential and the continuing, "samsaric" aspects of vijiiiina: by conceptualizing a distinct, continuous,20 and subliminal stream of afflictive dispositions (manas) which are karmically neutral and may thus occur simultaneously with, but not contradictory to, supraliminal processes of various kinds: Know that until it is completely destroyed [this mentation] is always associated with the four afflictions that by nature arise innately (sahaja) and simultaneously: a view of self-existence (satkiiyadr~{i), the conceit "I am" (asmimiina), self-love (iitmasneha), and ignorance (avidyii) ...

These afflictions arise without impeding (avirodha) the [[[karmic]] quality] of skillfulness, etc. ((4.b)B.4) This will be christened "afflictive mentation" (kli~ta-manas) in Asanga's Mahiiyiina-saf!Zgraha and thereafter considered a seventh form of consciousness, with iilaya-vijiiiina as the eighth. But latent dispositions are just that: latent. In order to perpetuate cyclic existence they must be rendered into afflictive activity. This occurs through mental cognitive consciousness (mano-vijiiiina), which, insofar as now arises moment-to-moment "based upon [afflicted] mentation," is "not freed from the bondage of perception in regard to phenomena (nimitta)" ((4.b)A.2). That is, as long as our mental perceptual consciousness is accompanied by the deep-seated, subliminal ignorance, self-love, the conceit "I am," etc., signified by manas, then we will never cease seeing phenomena in terms of self and other,21 inviting all the maleficent and misguided actions such self-centeredness supports. And this, Yogacarins concur, persists even in Arhats who have attained the Path of Seeing. 22 With the addition of affliction mentation (kli~ta-manas), the Yogacarins realized a radically new model of mind in Indian Buddhism in which subliminal cognitive,

affective, even afilictive, processes interact with and mutually reinforce supraliminal processes. Together, they construct our experience of the world (loka), which is ordinarily inseparable from its multiple supporting conditions- for consciousness arises moment-to-moment in relation to cognitive objects, simultaneously based upon our embodied faculties, informed23 by subliminal linguistic and affective dispositions, and colored by an ingrained self-centeredness.

All this, however, serves to more fully describe the problem - the perpetuation of samsaric existence through habitual activities informed by selfishness and ignorance, etc. - or, rather, transcribe it into subliminal reaches where it is appears even more intractable. How then can we ever find a way out? Eliminating Alaya-vijfiana Since in this Yogacara view iilaya-vijfiiina is intimately associated with the con-ditions that contour our experienced world, it is considered both "the root of all that is defiled" (sarrzklesa-mfda) ((5.b)A.5) and "the constituent element (dhiitu) of all kinds of karmic formations (sarrzskiirii)" ((5.b)C.1). As such, iilaya-vijfiiina must be abandoned (prahl~a) through the "cultivation of wisdom (jfliina) which takes true reality (tathatii) as its object" (ibid.), a gradual process of"transforming the basis" (iisraya-pariivrtti). But given the insidious influence of this "unconscious construction of reality," how could we ever come to see "true" reality? And what would mind be after iilaya-vijfiiina is abandoned? These questions were addressed in Asanga's Mahiiyiina-sarrzgraha (MSg).

Although iilaya-vijfiiina had heretofore been couched in Abhidharmic terms, befitting a concept addressing Abhidharmic problems, MSg introduced distinc-tively Mahayana perspectives, fundamentally changing the framework, and thus the import, of the concept.

The mind (citta) that has tathatii as an object is not an ordinary, mundane mind, based on bias and obscured by ignorance, nor is its object this-worldly. Rather, MSg. I.45 calls it a supramundane citta that "arises from the seeds of the impression of hearing [the Buddha's teaching] which issue from the per-fectly pure Dharma-dhiitu (suvisuddha-dharma-dhiitu-nisyanda-sruta-viisanii-blja)."24 These seeds for supramundane insight into reality can exist within iilaya-vijfiiina "like milk and water" (MSg. 1.46), because, though it is the "root of all defilements," it is also a resultant consciousness (vipiika-vijfiiina), a karmically neutral (avyiifcrta) medium capable of "embracing" seeds of all kinds. By strengthening these impressions through hearing, contemplation, and meditative practice (sruta-cinta-bhiivanii), one gradually counteracts (pratipa~a) the contents of iilaya-vijfiiina, eventually eliminating it "in all aspects"25 until, thoroughly "seedless" (MSg. I.48), only the "transformed basis" remains in its stead. Since iilaya-vijfliina serves as "the constituent element (dhiitu) of all kinds of karmic formations," and yet still carries the seeds of its own destruction, it is the


common "element" connecting both bondage and liberation, as expressed in this famous verse from the Mahiiyiina-abhidharma-sutra: The element (dhiitu) since beginningless time is the common support of all dharmas; As this exists, so do all the destinies as well as the realization ofNirvana.


Alaya beyond Yogiiciira Two interrelated questions remain, raised but not resolved in classical Yogacara: If iilaya-vijfliina is the "the common support of all dharmas," the basis or ground upon which the phenomenal world appears, what remains after it is abandoned? And what is the relation between its originally defiled and its subsequently purified state, that is, what, if anything, connects them? Recall the idea of original purity found in early Buddhism. The Buddha proclaimed that "this mind (citta), 0 monk, is luminous (pabhassaram), but is defiled by adventitious defilements (iigantuka )" (AN.1.1 0), qualities preserved in Yogacara sources which speak of "a citta that is pure and luminous in its original nature (prakrti-prabhiisvara-citta)" but whose faults are "adventitious," extraneous, added on (MSA XITI, 19; MAVBh. I. 22. c-<1).27 This perspective was developed by the third to fourth century CE Laitkiivatiira Sutra, which adamantly identified alaya-vijiiiina with the perfectly pure tathiigata-garbha, the "womb" or "matrix" of the Tathiigata - despite the fact that they are nowhere equated in classical Yogacara treatises. Moreover, this Sutra characterizes iilaya-vijiiiina as "sub-sist[ ing] uninterruptedly, quite free from the fault ofi mpermanence ... thoroughly pure in its essential nature" (Suzuki 1932, 190 [220])- despite the fact that it is considered momentary, associated with the seven evolving consciousnesses (pravrtti-vijiiana), and "the very root of the defilements" (sarrzklesa-mula~. The Sutra handles these discrepancies hermeneutically: the teaching that ," Alaya-vijiiiina evolves together with the seven Vijiiiinas . .. is meant for the Sravakas [[[Disciples]]], who are not free from attachment," whereas the equation of tathiii: gata-garbha with iilaya-vijiiiina is "meant for those Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas who ... are endowed with subtle, fine, penetrating thought-power" (192 f.). As Wayman (Wayman and Hideko 1974) rightly points out, this radically alters the original conception of iilaya-vijiiiina.28 A different approach, one preserving the integrity of iilaya's corruption, was taken by the sixth-century Indian translator, Paramartha, who preserved iilaya-vijiiiina as a defiled eighth consciousness that is eliminated upon awakening, and proffered the "transformed basis" as a ninth, "undefiled consciousness" (a mala-vijiiiina) that persists after iilaya-vijiiiina ceases. These tendencies are combined in some Tibetan schools, who, extrapolating upon Indian Yogacara models, posited a primordial iilaya wisdom (iilaya-jiiiina; kun gzhi ye shes) that is prior to and apart from defiled and discursive forms of iilaya consciousness, of which it is nevertheless the basis. This is the topic of our next major section.


Alaya in the great perfection

Philosophical Vajraylina One of the most interesting aspects of the historical development of Tibetan Buddhism is the way in which esoteric ritual, lexicons, motifs, and iconography drawn from Indian Buddhist tantra were utilized to shape an innovative and loosely coordinated philosophical movement. In India, Buddhist esotericism - the "adamantine vehicle" (vajraylina) - tended to be focused elsewhere than philosophy per se. Its new terminology and ideas were encoded instead in the often radically distinct ritual and yogic systems, elaborate iconographic programs, cosmological narratives, behavioral codes and ethics, and narrative literature in the form of lineal accounts and hagiographies. Thus while Buddhist tantra in India was characterized by striking innovation and radical dis-continuity with previous Buddhist norms, its ideological shifts and discursive transformations did not predominantly take the shape of distinctive philosophical discourses and systems. As non-institutional forms of Buddhist tantra emerged in the eighth and ninth centuries with the radical agendas of the yogini tantras, they were rapidly domesticated back into the institutional and scholastic milieu of Buddhist monasteries. This process of domestication involved a process of cod-ing Buddhist scholastic values and concepts back into the shocking rhetoric and imagery of these tantras, interpreting the radical behavioral calls as either metaphorical or as references to inner yogic processes. Monastic discourse sys-tematically divorced esoteric traditions from the need to actually alter individual or communal social forms and practices. They tended to accomplish this by viewing esoteric movements as primarily about practice rather than theory, and treating esoteric practices as purely internal and yogic rather than social in character. Thus not only did these new religious forms not alter the social life of the institution or its individuals, but it also could be claimed to have left unaltered the fundamental intellectual forms and traditions that had preceded them -namely Mahayana scholastic traditions and their predecessors.

Throughout the eftlorescence of Indian tantra from the sixth through eleventh centuries, philosophical discourse and exchange in Buddhist circles continued to be dominated by the nomenclature, concepts, and discourses transmitted under the rubrics of Abhidharma, Yogacara, Madhyamaka, and Prajftaparamita. The greatest impact on such areas instead stemmed from the rise of PramiiJ;la, that is, Buddhist logic and epistemology, which exerted an increasingly strong influence on the form and character of Buddhist philosophical discourse. Assimilation of tantric traditions into Buddhist philosophy was limited to fairly sterile discursive maps where anomalous or innovative elements of tantric discourse were explained away by monastic exegetes through identifying them with conventional philosophical notions from non-esoteric discourse. When one examines the philosophical discourses themselves, one finds relatively sparse citation oftantric literature, practices or ideas per se. The famed Kalacakra Tantra (late tenth to early eleventh centuries) stands out as an exception, as it does in so much else. Appearing as one of the last great products of Indian Buddhist intellectual and


literary civilization, its esoteric agenda is distinguished by a remarka~ly s~stem­atic approach which attempts to reassess the entire history .of Bu~dhism, md~ed in many ways Indian religions overall, within its own disc.ursive b~undane~. Whether this might have been the beginnings of a new era m Bu~dhis~ tantnc thought and philosophical discourse in India is a.histori~ally.moot P?mt, smce t~e decline of Buddhist thought, literature, and philosophic~! mno~tiOn ~s rapid from the eleventh century onwards in India. Thus despite ~e mnovatiOns and influential nature oftantra in India, and its plethora of new ~onfs and ne': mode~s of consciousness, Vajrayana in India never emerged. as an. Important philosophi-cal vehicle, and its influence on mainstream Buddhist philosophy was generally limited, at least in terms of explicit acknowledgment. . In Tibet, however, a brilliant renaissance of Buddhism bega~ ar~und the. same time as the final flowering of Buddhist India, driven by a .massive Imp~rtanon of literature, practices, and ideas from India across the Himalayas. Uruquely for Buddhist Asia Tibetans imported and actively developed the full spectrum ~f tantric traditio~s from their early roots in the ritual life of.Mah~y~na throt~gh theu radicalization in yogini tantras to their final systematiz~tion within the Kalacakra literature. One of the most interesting aspects of this was the e~ergenc.e of esoteric Buddhism as a vehicle for vital philosophical discourses ~~ Inn~vab~ns.

From the eleventh to fourteenth, a series of thinkers and tradition~ m ~Ib~t pursued central philosophical issues i~ a syste~atic ~n~ ri~orous fashio~ withi~ a specifically esoteric discursive terram. Working within differe~t ev~lvmg sec tarian configurations across a huge geographical area, an~ often .m qmte marked disagreement, these thinkers developed a profoundly philosophical transfo~a­tion of tantra that included distinctive positions on most of the great Buddhist philosophical motifs - consciousness, emptiness, purity, th~ natur~ of the p~th, the relationship between saip.Sara and nirviiJ;la,. an_d ~erce~n~n. This new philo-sophical literature at times was p~r~ly .tantnc .m Its citatiOns .a nd frame of reference while at other times explicitly mtegrative through detailed references to exoterlc literature and debates. While much of it in form explored the .bound-ary between poetry and philosophy, other texts were fo~ally c~aractenze~ ~y the evolving norms of Tibetan scholastic literature, mcludmg syllogistic argumentation. . · wth f During the same time period in Tibet we witness an explostve ~ro . o + · hilosophical discourse which makes no reference to tantnc motifs, exo.enc P . · k stra d f including the rise of a PramiiJ;la movement, the dominant PriiVTao (talk) 02:39, 19 April 2020 (UTC)g a . _ ~ 0 Madhyarnaka thought, extensive writings on Yogaciira and PraJnaparamitii litera-ture, and in general a thriving scholastic industry that covered ~e full .range of Indian Buddhist literature, thought, and ~ractice .. ~~rge bodie.s of Tib~tan literature evolved that deal with the respective def1llltiOns an~ mt~rrelati~ns b tw " -tra" and "tantra" often in a general context, and at times m special-e een su • 'th thr "(dm ized topical treatments such as ethics and behavior - ' e ee vows s 0 gsum) texts- or issues of path structure- the "stages of the pat~" (l~m ~im) and related types of texts. There gradually emerged a general polanzation mto two broad trajectories: one which tended to keep these two discourse realms separate by treating tantra as innovative in "practice" but consonant with traditional exoteric "view (philosophy and experiential realization); and one which tended to see these discourses as interpenetrating, and understood tantra to be profoundly philosophical and even superior to traditional exoteric intellectual discourses. Modem international scholarship has yet to adequately deal with this complexity, often continuing sectarian bifurcations in their tendency to deal with "philosoph-ical" issues by looking exclusively at Mahayana philosophical discourse in traditional lines ofPramat:ta, Mahdhyamaka, and Yogacara.

Some of the most innovative of these tantric movements were those loosely affiliated lineages that shared the rubric of the Great Perfection (rdzogs chen, pr. dzokchen), found especially within the Bon (bon) and Nyingma (rnying ma) traditions. The Great Perfection, along with the Great Seal (phyag chen, S: mahiimudrii) traditions, formed a particularly interesting set of movements that were often intensely philosophical, but were also involved in contentious rela-tionships with mainstream Vajrayana. Claiming to transcend other Vajrayana traditions, they were critical oftantra's complex ritualism and rhetoric of subju-gation. Based on notions of pure awareness and the primacy of gnosis termed "primordial cognition" (ye shes, S: jiiiina), these traditions ranged over a broad variety of exoteric and esoteric themes and problems. However, they had a par-ticular interest in models of purity and consciousness found in Buddha-nature lit-erature and Yogacara scholastic thought. We thus find in these texts models and terminology clearly derived from those Mahayana literary corpuses, but often in quite different forms and unprecedented constellations with other doctrines and practices. "Fundamental consciousness" in the Great Perfection One such reinterpretation ofYogacara doctrines is the central role played within the Great Perfection by the notion of a "fundamental consciousness," literally in Tibetan universal ground consciousness" (kun gzhi rnam par shes pa, S: iilaya-vijiiiina). Whereas many Tibetan authors addressed this notion in conservative, exoteric discourse which continued the form and content of Indian discussions in repetitive and innovative ways, authors in the Great Perfection were more inno-vative in their treatment of the concept, though often continuing and relying on standard Yogacii.ra nomenclature and motifs as well. At this stage in our scholar-ship of Tibetan thought, vast bodies of literature remain inaccessible, unedited, unanalyzed, and untranslated, while synthetic and detailed analysis of specific lin-eages and themes remain scarce during this earlier period. Thus I will contribute to an understanding of the Tibetan tantric development of the notion of funda-mental consciousness by summarizing its role within the corpus of Longchenpa (klong chen pa, 1308-1363), one of the greatest philosophical figures in the history ofTibet and the most important scholar within the Seminal Heart (snying thig) variety of the Great Perfection.


The obvious point of departure is the literature's stock contrast between the "universal ground" and the "Reality Body" (chos sku, S: dharmakiiya), which is linked to other such dyads: ordinary "mind" (sems, S: citta) and "primordial cognition"; "mind" and "awareness" (rig pa, S: vidyii); and, less often, "psyche" (yid, S: manas) and "insight" (shes rab, S: prajiiii). While these four pairs are not synonymous, they all use contrasting models of consciousness and perception to articulate the basic Buddhist dualism of saiJ1Sii.ra and nirvat:ta, suffering sentient beings and liberated Buddhas, impurity and purity. We will focus on the relation-ship of the first two pairs: the universal ground and Reality Body form the basis for the operations and configuration of the mind and primordial cognition, respectively. The ordinary mind is the constellation of cognitive and emotive acts based upon the universal ground's unconscious substratum within ordinary beings, while primordial cognition is the constellation of cognitive and emotive acts based upon the Reality Body's non-manifest substratum in enlightened Buddhas. The mind and universal ground are thus impure, dualistic, fragmenting, and emotionally poisoned, while pristine cognition and the Reality Body are pure, non-dual, holistic, and emotionally healthy. It is a distinction between distorted and optimal experience, as well as the corresponding unconscious matrices. More typically, the focus is on the ordinary mind (sems) or ordinary consciousness (rnam shes) contrasted to pure awareness (rig pa) or primordial cognition (ye shes). The discussions are straightforward in terms ofbuddhology- namely, mod-els of consciousness for Buddhas in contrast to sentient beings, or, in epistemo-logical terms, the contrast of global, holistic, and reflexive modes of awareness to foeval, dualistic, and non-reflexive modes of awareness.

These discussions form a stock element of Great Perfection literature whether in the form of short essays such as Longchenpa 's (1973a) Precepts on Examining Mind and Primordial Gnosis or Rangjung Dotje's (rang byung rdo rje, 1284-1339) A Treatise on the Differentiation of Consciousness and Primordial Cognition,29 or in standard sections of larger texts such as chapter four in Longchenpa's (1983c) The Treasury ofWords and Meanings. The form generally has a relatively recognizable Mahayana-based structure, even if the overall agenda is distinctive. Precepts on Examining Mind and Primordial Gnosis (Longchenpa 1973a) focuses on mind and primordial cognition rather than the universal ground, and is only slightly esoteric; indeed, even the treatment in The Jreasury (Longchenpa 1983c) a masterly summary of Seminal Heart esotericism, is mostly in and of itself fairly recognizable in an Indian exoteric context.

Longchenpa presents the universal ground in a distinctive fourfold formula-tion: the primordial universal ground (ye don gyi kun gzhi), the linking universal ground (sbyor ba don gyi kun gzhi), the universal ground of varied karmic propensities (bags sna tshogs pa 'i kun gzhi), and the universal ground of the karmic propensities(-derived) body (bag chags Ius kyi kun gzhi). This discussion provides an excellent depiction of the functional diversity of the concept in the Great Perfection as summarized in The Treasury of Words and Meanings (Longchenpa 1983c, 234.6--235.1). DAVID F. GERMANO AND WILLIAM S. WALDRON "The primordial universal ground" is the dimension that primordially from the very first innately arises upon awareness, like gold and tarnish; it is the non-awareness itself dependent upon awareness, and which serves as the initial foundation of all phenomena in cyclic existence. 2 "The linking universal ground" is the foundation of karmic factors, the morally indeterminate fundamental basis which individually links and impels us to either cyclic existence or transcendent reality (via our particular) karmic actions. 3 "The universal ground of varied karmic propensities" is the morally indeter-minate dimension of the diverse latent karma which perpetuates the vicious cycle of our ordinary mind and its specific operations. 4 "The universal ground of the karmic propensities(- derived) body" is the base of non-awareness serving as the foundation for the respective manifestations of the following three types ofbodies: a coarse body manifest in parts formed from atomic particles (i.e. the major limbs and their secondary appendages); a lucent body of light; and a body manifesting in accordance with one's deep contemplation.

This quartet outlines cosmogonic, cosmologicaVexistential, psychological, and somatic functions of fundamental consciousness as four devolutionary phases (the following cites alternative formulations by Longchenpa 1983b, vol. 2, 35. 6-36.6). (i) The primordial universal ground refers to a primordial ground's own cognitive energy failing to self-recognize itself, such that this "non-awareness" operates as the transcendental condition for the entirety of cyclic existence. It is thus "the original stirring of cognitive processing being in conjunction with non-awareness." (ii) The linking universal ground indicates how this cogni-tive energy's deepest substratum operates as the unifying karmic mechanism linking, and impelling, personal continuity across many lifetimes and experiential worlds. The two broadest types of life-worlds are SaJ:!lSiira and nirvii:Q.a: "that psychic energy links to cyclic existence if is not self-aware, while it links-up to transcendence if it is aware." Longchenpa elsewhere correlates the universal ground of primordial presence to "indeterminate non-awareness," and the linking universal ground to our eightfold ordinary consciousness (the six perceptual consciousnesses, integrative psychic consciousness, and universal ground consciousness) (Longchenpa 1971b, vol. 1, 446.4ff.). (iii) The universal ground of varied karmic propensities operates as a repository for the network of psychic seed-potencies and karmic propensities that constantly influence our specific mental states, emotions, and modes of consciousness below the level of consciousness. Thus "this psychic energy functions as the exclusive foundation-source for all the impure karmic actions and propensities." (iv) The universal ground of our karmic propensities-derived body signifies how its karmic propensities materialize into one of three specific body types with distinctive perceptual apparatus acting as unifying orientational points for our experience of the world. In summary, "this root psychic energy has the


karmic propensities for physical embodiment such that it manifests a flesh and blood, light, or psychic body." These are four aspects of the single wellspring of all cognitive processes from the primordial emergence of consciousness within the ground's self-contained virtual reality up until the current moment. There is a developmental logic behind the specific sequence - an initial phase which sets the stage, a second phase which bifurcates into one of two broad trajectories of life-worlds, a third phase which is the actual morally infused interactional system sustaining our existence, and a fourth phase where this takes somatic form in one of three types. While these presentations are usually terse, they offer a useful platform to organ-ize the diverse usages of fundamental consciousness, as well as to reflect on its broader contextualization within the Great Perfection. While the structured pre-sentations of the universal ground in its own right are modestly distinctive, the truly innovative reinterpretation is revealed when they are fully contextualized within the wider discourses in which those sections are positioned.

Cosmogonic functions: the primordial universal ground The primordiality of the universal ground points to its role in beginnings and creation. This is traditionally a problematic topic in Indian Buddhism with its anti-cosmogonic orientation rejecting a model of divine creation or even the topic of a specific temporal onset to the universe. Traditionally we find a "beginning-less" ignorance (ma rig pa, S: avidyii) of saJ:!lsiira stretching into an infinite past, creation impelled by emotionally infused activities (karma) and their traces-cum-propensities (viisanii), and the divinity of enlightened Buddhas located on the other side of ordinary existence as the result of a long developmental trajectory.

Despite this, there are precedents in Indian Buddhism for divine creation in terms of Buddhas creating pure lands and their own enlightened displays classified into "three Bodies" (skugsum, S: trikiiya), as well as the cosmological theme of vast Bodies of Buddhas containing billions of worlds. In addition, the motif of"a nucleus of enlightened movement" (de bzhin gshegs pa 'i snying po, S: tathiigatagarbha) or Buddha-nature within all life points to a possible divinity that logically precedes ordinary existence. In esoteric forms of Indian Buddhism, we find these motifs intensified with the central yogic practice of "creating" (bskyed) deities in visu-alization practices, as well as creating entire divine worlds of beings, residences and grounds known as mar:uf.alas. We also find Buddha-nature theory deepening with new somatic practices involving the presence of these mat:Ufalas within the ordinary body, as well as an entire alternative subtle physiology with pure flows of divine energy. Tibetan Buddhists thus inherited a complex array of themes from India regarding creation, divinity, and primordiality.

When we thus regard the universal ground in its "primordial" dimension, it is not surprising that there is tension and ambiguity as to the relative divinity or impurity of this foundational consciousness, as well as its role in beginnings -whether of time, life, srup.sara, or nirvii:Q.a. A reoccurring question concerns its DAVID F. GERMANO AND WILLIAM S. WALDRON relationship to ignorance/non-awareness on the one hand, and Buddha-nature on the other hand. Non-awareness is the grand progenitor and transcendental con-dition of saq1sara, and is the first of the twelve links of interdependent origination describing the formation and persistence of saq1sara, an early Buddhist existen-tial and psychological diagnosis of the problem of existence. Such accounts were early on explicitly denied a cosmogonic cast, as non-awareness is described as ~thout beginning. On the other hand, Buddha-nature emerges in some Mahayana discourses as the ultimate matrix and source of nirva:J;ta, though important controversies swirled about whether to construe this as a passive potential for development, or as a more radical notion of a divine agent working from within ordinary being toward self-expression. The positing of a foundational consciousness, whatever the factors and motivations driving its original formulators, naturally raises the issue of its relationship to the formation of samsara and nirvana to impurity and purity, to ordinary being and enlightened bei~g. · '

The Treasury ofWords and Meanings (Longchenpa 1983c, chapter 2, 187.3-188:5) strictly defines the universal ground in all four aspects as exclusively the 1mpure substratum of saqJ.Sara. Indeed, the entire rationale for the discussion is to draw a strict and rigid demarcation between "universal ground" and "Reality Body" as the ongoing matrices of saqJ.Sara and nirva:J;ta, respectively. Its first "pri-mordial" dimension of fundamental consciousness is thus identified with the ancient Buddhist concept of ignorance. In the Great Perfection, ignorance or non-awareness is classified as having three primary aspects keyed to the sequential unfolding of ordinary existence (Longchenpa 1983c, chapter 2, 187.3-188.5): (i) single identity non-awareness (rgyu bdag nyid gcig pa 'i ma rig pa), (ii) coemer-gent non-awareness (lhan cig skyes pa 'i ma rig pa), and (iii) non-awareness of rampant reification (kun brtags pa'i ma rig pa). Longchenpa further details an accompanying "four conditions" (rkyen bzhz) derived from normative Buddhist epistemology which are necessary for a perception to take place. In a broad man-ner, it is possible to correlate the "single identity non-awareness" with the "uni-versal ground of primordial presence," "coemergent non-awareness" with the "linking universal ground," and the "non-awareness of rampant reification" with the universal ground's fmal two aspects dealing with the network of karmic propensities.30 Elsewhere, in his analysis of the twelve links of interdependent origination, Longchenpa describes the first link of "non-awareness" as "non-recognition (of appearances) as self-presencing," the second link of "karmic con-ditioning" as stemming from the non-awareness of rampant reification" clinging and fixating on objects, and the third link of"perceptual consciousness" as deriv-ing from the universal ground, which is "awareness adulterated with karmic propensities" (Longchenpa 197lb, vol. 2, 175.3ff.). However, the discourse on non-_awareness is chiefly epistemological and ideational in orientation, though apphed equally to a cosmogonic and individual psychological scenario in describ-ing the rise of distorted perception and thought processes. In contrast, the discus-sion of the foundational consciousness is intended to explain the working system of consciousness, including a plurality of processes operating at unconscious levels,


and embracing its role in emotions, embodiment, morality, and action. Both thus function to explain the inception, character and operations of consciousness within saqJ.Sara, yet diverge in terms of explanatory agendas therein.

The relationship of foundational consciousness and non-awareness is thus clear in these terms - non-awareness undergrids the very possibility of samsaric existence, and the foundational consciousness attempts to provide a model for how that basic lack of awareness can serve as a working basis for other emotions, cognitive acts, and personal continuity over many lifetimes. The other three dimensions of the universal ground are a natural extension offering details on how this unconscious substratum determines the health of one's life world, shapes emotional and cognitive details across time, and constitutes one's bodily struc-ture. It does this primarily through acting as a repository for the trace impressions of past and present activities and emotions, and then furthermore acting as the operational basis for those trace impressions to subsequently ripen into active proclivities influencing present and future cognition, emotion, and activity. Yet how do these fundamental layers of unconscious processes relate to other unconscious dimensions in human beings described as divine, yet in ordinary existence equally far removed from introspection, reflexive awareness, and deliberate intention?

In order to assess this question, we must examine the standard Great Perfection distinction between the terms universal ground" (lam gzhi; iilaya) and the "uni-versal ground consciousness" (kun gzhi'i rnam shes; iilayavijfiiina), a distinction Longchenpa locates in Indian Yogacara literature. He cites a Bodhisattvabhumi passage which defines the universal ground" as "non-conceptuality uninvolved with objects" and the universal ground consciousness" as "non-conceptuality involved with objects" (Longchenpa 1973b, vol. 1, 85b.2). He also cites Sthiramati's commentary to the Mahiiyiina-sutriilankiira, where he characterizes the universal ground" as the overall basis for the accumulation of karma in the manner of their house, while the universal ground consciousness" is that which "opens up the space ... for the increase, amassing, decline, and so on of these karmic forces" (84.5). Longchenpa himself describes the universal ground con-sciousness as the "unceasing brightness and clarity" of the universal ground's radiation, such that the former signifies how the latter diffuses outwards to oper-ate as the other seven aspects of typical consciousness-activity (Longchenpa 1971a, vol. 3, 120.lff.). This subtle distinction, however, is of exceptional impor-tance when one considers its broader discursive context within the Seminal Hearts central interest in cosmogony and divine creation stemming from pri-mordial cognition. The tradition posits an original, divine ground termed the ground of all" (kun gyi gzhi ma), which in its contracted form leads us back to a universal ground" (kun gzhi). This results in a fundamental ambiguity that extends throughout the system, namely whether "ground of all" with its cos-mogonic primordiality signifies all of saqJ.Siira and nirva:J;ta, or simply all of saqJ.Sara. Despite Longchenpa's following the latter interpretative trajectory in The Treasury ofWords and Meanings (Longchenpa 1983c), the term "primordial" DAVID F. GERMANO AND WILLIAMS. WALDRON CJ:e, ye don) typically signifies the transcendent dimension of a Buddha and rnrva.l).a, whether _r~ferring to a Buddha's knowledge as "primordial knowing" (ye shes) or descnbmg the cosmogonic base as a "primordial ground" (ye gzhi).

Indeed, Longchenpa 's own corpus elsewhere explicitly uses the term "universal ground" to signify the innately pure primordial ground of all reality (Longchenpa 1983d, 89.7). This divine ground is explicitly identified as "a nucleus of enlightened movement" (de bzhin gshegs pa, S: tathiigatagarbha) or Buddha-nature. While presented as a cosmogonic ground which ontologically precedes cyclic existence (sarrzsiira) and transcendence (nirvii~a), it is also explicitly located within the human interior as an ongoing, deeply unconscious dimension. This dimension is engaged in a constant efflorescence that gives rise to both samsara and nirvana leading to ~he . stock fo~ulation of a single ontological gro~nd leading to n'v~ paths, that ts, Interpretative trajectories resulting in a bifurcation of life-worlds.

The grou~d itself is described as threefold - empty essence, radiant nature, and all-~ervastve compassion- in a model explicitly based upon a Buddha's three Bodies: the empty Reality Body (dharmakiiya), the radiant Enjoyment Body (sambhog~kiiya), and the all-pervasive Emanational Body (nirmii~akiiya). The ~osm~go~c movement from the ground's deep interiority and potential into man-Ifestation IS modeled after the description of the divine creation of pure lands a process bound up with the emergence of Enjoyment Bodies and their mandaias out of the non-manifest matrix of the Reality Body. The completely interi~~ and pure ·:gro~d". is descri~ed as undergoing a process of exteriorization and rupture res~tmg m this scenano, from which two paths (lam) extend: a path leading to e~~ghtened transcendence (nirvii~a) by means of the cognitive capacity recog-mzmg the appearances as self, and a path leading to distorted cyclic existence (sarrzsiira) by means of a lack of such recognition. The former path is described as the mode of freedom (grol tshul) of the primordial Buddha All Good (lam tu bzang po, S: samantabhadra), while the latter path is described as the mode of deviation ( 'khrul tshul) of sentient beings (sems can, S: sattva). Furthermore. the la~er path is termed "non-awareness," which is here identified as the "primordial urnversal ground," that is, the basic unconscious matrix for animate life in srup.sara. . The incep~on of srup.sara and nirva.l).a is thus described as emerging in a bifurcated eptsVTao (talk)ological scenario in which an emergent cognitive capacity (shes pa, S: .vy~ana) develops out of a deeply unconscious state to newly encou_nter a hghting-up or aPPearances (snang ba). The bifurcation hinges on wha~ IS te~ed "recognition," namely the reflexivity involved in this process of marn~estatwn. ~ the ca~e of transcendence, the interior and unconscious ground now ~sed Wit~ ~eflexiVe self-awareness becomes the Reality Body, the matrix of a divme c~e~tiVIty constituting the Buddha's prolific forms and activity. In the case of de~Iation, .the. ground remains, albeit in a state of deep unconscious la~ency, while a denvative cognitive formation termed the universal ground con-sciOusness" becomes the operational matrix of a distorted and tainted creativity


constituting a sentient being's embodiment and activities. In other words, Buddha-nature is the cosmogonic ground, and the Reality Body is its transforma-tion with reflexive self-awareness, while the universal ground consciousness is a derivative unconscious matrix embedded within the even more deeply uncon-scious pure ground. In this manner, the relationship of the Buddha~nature/Reality Body and fundamental consciousness - wisdom and ignorance - IS between two distinct unconscious domains in the body and mind that account for creation and agency beneath conscious reflection. The universal ground literally dissolves into the always already extant Buddha-nature, which then becomes an awakened Buddha. Thus foundational consciousness does not transform into a new type of unconscious process or cognitive constellation, but rather dissipates so that deeper movements can emerge into being, perception and emotions directly out-side of its meditating and distorting influences. Cosmological and existential functions: the linking universal ground The foundational consciousness's "linking" function ensures unconscious continuity of personal trajectories in either distorted (i.e. sarrzsiira! or o~tim~l (i.e. nirvii~a) worlds of experience and being. Each s~ying sentient ,hem~ IS linked to cyclic existence or transc~ndence throu~h the urnversal ~ro~d s s~onng and preserving of karmic potencies as determmed by that . bemg s partlc~lar actions. It serves to coordinate all of this in a network ofkarmtc traces stretching across individual life-tracks and impelling a given individual from one state of being to another, while in particular tightly "intermeshing" them with cyclic existence in their total physical, verbal, and mental being. The Treasury of Reality's Expanse (Longchenpa 1983a, 233.4) defines the linking uni:ersal ground as, "[T)he non-awareness operating as the basis for .th~ acc~ulatwn of all karmic actions, such that it links us to all aspects of fictive eXIstence (the psycho-physical components, etc.)."

The cosmogonic scenario discussed earlier is interiorized as well, so that a psycho-cosmogonic process unfolds within each individua~'s interiority thro~~­out its life. The ground of their pure awareness unfolds, there 1s a lack. of recognt~~n and it thus devolves into the universal ground. This forms the matrix for spec1f1c perceptual cognitions, emotions, and behaviors, which in turn leave traces back on that ground leading in the future to propensities that ultimately lead ~n.e down the path toward srup.sara or nirva.l).a. Great Perfection psychology thus utihzes the divine cosmogony, and its secondary process of deviation, as the basic model for describing the ongoing functioning of unconscious and conscio~s proces~e~ of each person's being. The unconscious dimensions thus occur m two distinct strata: a more deeply unconscious and ontologically prior matrix known as the "ground," "Buddha-nature," "awareness" (rig pa), "self-emerging primordial cognition" (rang byung ye shes), or even the Reality Body: and a shallower level that is developmentally dependent on the former matrix and known as the ~· .. "'"" r. unKMANU AND WILLIAMS. WALDRON "universal ground (consciousness)" or "single identity non-awareness." The grand drama of the divine explosion followed by ignorance, deviation, and contraction is thus interiorized and existentialized as a daily and unconscious process that constitutes the depth psychology of sentient life.

This cosmological role also entails controversies pertaining to idealism, namely the extent to which foundational consciousness creates and structures the external world. A soft interpretation would be that the foundational consciousness is an unconscious array of dynamic and interdependent predispositions under-gridding our patterns of emotions, conceptual projections, perceptual construc-tions, and even actual physical structures of our body which produce our actual life world. However, the literature clearly indicates that controversies over the ide-alistic implications of the theory were pervasive, namely, the stronger interpreta-tion that foundational consciousness actually creates the external world and its appearances. This is a natural extension of older theories of the power of human action- karma- to literally create worlds, including relatively terse references to how karma can work in a coordinated fashion across communities and species. Since the foundational consciousness is essentially a way to account for the dynamic operations of karma beneath the level of consciousness and across lives, the role of human agency in the creation of the world is an inescapable issue.

However, this creative agency becomes more personalized, focused on cognition rather than action, and systematized to a greater degree. Longchenpa explicitly rejects solipsistic idealism, namely the notion that ordinary "mind" or founda-tional consciousness creates the external world in which individuals find them-selves, though the actual quality of that world is profoundly altered through our cognitive engagement with it. Thus the experience of material elements in their qualitative experience may well be a result of the foundational conscious-ness and its karmic propensities, but their essential energy as dynamic con-figurations of light remain outside of individual subject's influence, while even their experiential character is a product of dynamic interaction between multiple beings. On the other hand, Longchenpa's work is pervaded by evocative depic-tions of the creative function of consciousness vis-a-vis the world in terms of pristine cognition, the Reality Body and Buddha-nature, as indicated in the tradi-tion's divine cosmogony. In fact, the ancient Buddhist notion of interdependent origination, a process of cause and effect driven by human action (karma), has been displaced by the model of a magical web (sgyu 'phrul drwa ba), a process of complex causality transcending linearity driven by pristine cognition Uniina). Thus the human unconscious leads, at its deepest levels, to a cognitive network that is understood to form a concealed, secret array of continuities driven by what is believed to be a fundamentally intelligent and divine dynamic. One of the consequences of this is a valorization of unconscious processes deeply linked to imagination, somatic processes, and non-conceptual experiences. This is a topic to which we will return in the following section in regard to contemplation.


Psychological functions: the universal ground of varied karmic propensities The foundational consciousness's third aspect is the actual networlc of karmic propensities, namely the impressions left on the psychic substratum by physical, verbal, and mental actions (karma). Each action's conscious and unconscious moti-vation shapes one's ongoing existence by leaving corresponding seed-potencies in the substratum, which eventually flower into propensities to repeat such types of action in the future. As previous karmic impressions ripen into present emotions and mind-sets, one's current psychological state and action create new impres-sions, such that a vicious cycle perpetuates itself into the indefinite future. This network of karmic propensities is morally indeterminate in that while it is the effect of morally determinate actions, it is itself a latent, unconscious dimension beyond the personal volition that could be classified with such ethical valuations as "virtuous" or non-virtuous." It can thus karmically influence one's future, but is not itself an intentional psychic factor capable of generating any new karmic energy. As a whole, this thus accounts for the specific dynamics of personal continuity, behavior, and dynamic interplay of the unconscious and conscious processes in cognitive and emotional life. This aspect is a fairly conventional dis-cussion consonant with earlier Mahayana depictions offoundational consciousness accounting for personal continuity.

Somatic functions: the universal ground of the karmic propensities-derived body Foundational consciousness's fourth function points to its interdependence with embodiment, namely the deeply somatic character of the unconscious. The Treasury ofR eality's Expense (ibid.) describes the universal ground-as-body" as the "beginningless karmic propensities for manifestation in terms of a body," which becomes the "basis for the constellation of factors making up our individ-ual bodies." In general, the ordinary body is termed "ripened karmic propensi-ties" (Longchenpa 1983b, vol. 2, 329.6) since it forms via the dynamics of karmic propensities from the moment of conception onwards: When the mind, constellation of eight modes of consciousness, and fifty one mental factors manifest along with the karmic propensities, it is termed the "sheath" or "body" of the ripening karmic propensities. Furthermore, they are three in number- the flesh and blood body of the desire realm, the light body ripening in the four meditative states, and the psychic body which is latent in the formless realm. (Longchenpa 1971a, vol. 3, 202.3)

The three bodies correspond to the three realms of cyclic existence: (i) the flesh and blood corporeal body of the sensual realm, with the major limbs (the two arms, DAVID F. GERMANO AND WILLIAM S. WALDRON two legs, and head) and auxiliary appendages (the rmgers, toes, chin); (ii) the luminous, etherealized bodies of the form realm corresponding to various levels of deities and rarefied states of meditation; and (iii) the "psychic bodies" of the formless realm, in which existence is attenuated to concentrated psychic energy without material physicality. In the third case, embodiment is limited to a ghost-like existence between lives in the intermediate process (bar do), a mere mental image deriving from the karmic propensities of eons of embodied existence. In this way, the lived body can manifest on three different levels, which can be understood as dimensions of experience accessible to us in this life - the coarse physical level enmeshed in material existence, a vibrant subtle body reflexively sensed in contemplation, and the experiential body in various states - dreams, post-death, rarified contemplative states, visions, various imaginative processes, and acts of cognitive modeling. The basic point is that the karmic traces consti-tuting the unconscious dynamics of the foundational consciousness are deeply constitutive of all forms of embodiment: Since the karmic propensities for a body are present within the root psychic energy (ofthe universal ground), the bodies of flesh and blood, light, and the psyche manifest, and hence (this division of the universal ground) is termed (the universal ground of the karmic propensities-derived body." (Longchenpa 1983b, vol. 2, 36.2)

This somatic character of the foundational consciousness extends deeply into the body's interior structure and processes, since the cosmogonic drama leading to it is not only interiorized within the consciousness and unconscious processes of sentient life, but is also somatically embedded within the body's physiological detail. Earlier Buddha-nature literature in Mahayana was pervaded by evocative metaphors placing divinity (whether potential or actual) within the ordinary body, but details are sparse on how that might actually work. The rise of yogic physiol-ogy in yogini tantras constituted a deeply somatic turn in Buddhist contemplation and discourse that focused on the intimate physiological detail of the human peripersonal space. At times this took the form of an abstract mapping of Buddhist doctrinal concepts and iconographic detail onto the human body, but contemplation also involved genuine attention to ordinarily unconscious physio-logical processes and intense physical sensations. This somatic discourse entailed that all important concepts had to be embodied in very precise manners. Thus the heart forming one of the four main "wheels" (S: cakra) of Buddhist subtle bodies is the somatic residence of the divine ground of pure awareness. Its cosmogonic luminosity- technically termed the "presencing of the ground" (gzhi snang)- spills out from the heart into a series of"luminous channels" ('od rtsa) extending throughout the body from a central channel running up the body's torso. As complicated physical and mental human structures evolve based upon it, it remains within the human body's central vitality channel as a radiation of the


heart's radiant light via the network of the latter's luminous channels. The foundational consciousness is understood as deriving from the luminous chan-nels' "brightness" (gdangs), and is viewed as "clouds" which obscure the heart's pristine awareness and thus must be cleared away via contemplation. It is located within the "vitality channel" (srog rtsa), a term usually specifying the aorta ?r blood channel trunk, and often associated with the spinal cord (rgyungs pa) m these texts (Longchenpa 1971a). In Tibetan medical texts, the aorta is termed the "black vitality channel" and the spinal cord the "white vitality channel," clearly relating to the key role of blood and nervous energy. The luminous channel of transcendence remains located within this vitality channel, such that its somatic reality again reiterates the primacy and primordiality of Buddha-nature in terms of human being, and the secondary and derivative nature of the fundamental consciousness. In summary, these unconscious processes - both mundane and divine - are deeply intertwined with somatic processes and realities. This entails both that our physical state is a direct function of our relationship to unconscious processes, and that the key to gnosis lies through a somatic engagement rather than a purely cognitive one.

Contemplative functions: the gnostic transformation These models of the unconscious dimensions of being as well as bifurcated models of creation and agency are clearly manifest in the Seminal Hearts con-templative traditions. The contemplative focus on the foundational consciousness is chiefly on its eradication through traditional practices of "calming" _(samatha) and insight (vipa.Yyana). These function to deconstruct the f?undat10nal .c~n­sciousness's sedimented patterns, while also opening up a clearmg for the divme ground's efflugence to emerge in the field of reflexive awareness. Similar prac-tices include meditations on the sounds of the elements (wind, water, etc.) through cultivating calming based upon the sound of natural elements, as_ we~l as ~e "differentiation of sarp.sara and nirv~a" ('khor 'das ru shan) pract1ce m which people act crazily in an isolated valley until pure fatigue exhausts ordinary constructions of experience. This culminates in the breakthrough (khregs ch~d) contemplative praxis, which essentially is a form-free relaxed presence of ~d immersed within the depth unconscious of the ground. However, the most dis-tinctive contemplative practices are those focusing on a deeply somatic experi-ence of creative imaginal processes termed "direct transcendence" (thod rgal).

This core practice involves cultivating a spontaneous flow of images understood to be the effulgent flow of luminosity from the heart's universal ground through the eyes into exterior space. As this ordinarily unconscious process becomes reflexively self-aware, an alternative form of organization and patterning comes to the fore. Hence a dual tracked contemplative model is explicitly geared toward first eradicating the shallower layers of unconscious processes, and second bringing deeper processes into reflexive awareness.


Conclusion


Explicit models of unconscious mental and physical processes arose within Indian Buddhism in response to the Abhidharma tradition's intensive analysis of con-sciousness, both in theory and practice. Yogacii.rin Buddhists subsequently dis-cerned the limits of conscious awareness, and, in the process, the underlying conditions that must necessarily support all ordinary conscious experience. Until this point, the notion of a foundational consciousness (iilaya-vijiilina) had largely remained a solution to an Abhidharmic Problematic concerning the relationship between different modalities and functions of consciousness. Once the notion of a foundational consciousness underlying all other forms of mind was fully articu-lated, however, it became an interpretive nexus inviting speculation on its relation-ship to other processes outside consciousness awareness and control. These included Buddha-nature and pure consciousness (amala-vijfiiina), leading increas-ingly to speculation on older but as of yet poorly developed notions of original purity hidden within ordinary existence. This basic tension - namely whether fundamental consciousness is defiled or pure - came to be further developed in philosophical esoteric movements in Tibet. In at least one such tradition, the Great Perfection, we fmd a complex new synthesis elaborating both aspects into a deeply somatic portrayal of the unconscious as a dramatic unfolding of radically active divine and distorted processes with contrasting paradigms of creation and causality.


Notes


1 There are, of cow-se, active cognitive processes, such as apperception, but these are not consciousness. 2 In a famous passage the Buddha specifically denies this "heresy of Sati": "As I under-stand the Dhamrna taught by the Blessed One, it is this same consciousness that runs and wanders through the round of rebirths, not another." The Buddha responds: "apart from conditions there is no origination of consciousness" (MN.l.258. afifiatara paccaya natthi vifiiiar.zassa sambhavo ti). 3 Compounded oft he preftx "sarrz;' "with" or "together with;' and a form of the verbal root "kf' "to do or make;' Sa1!1Skiira literally means "put or made together" or simply "forma-tion." In the psychological sense, sa'!ISkiira refer to the volitions, dispositions, and actions that constitute human life, both insofar as these are constructed complexes formed from past actions and constructive activities formative of present and future experience. 4 See Johansson (1979, 106f.), Wijeskera (1964, 254-259). 5 For a longer discussion of this in Buddhist terms see Waldron (2003b). 6 This body is not yow-s, nor does it belong to others. It is old kamma, to be seen as generated and fashioned by volition, as something to be felt." The commentary (atthakathli) explains It is old kamma (purliflam idatr~ kammatr~): This body is not actually old kamma, but because it is produced by old kamma it is spoken of in terms of its condition. It should be seen as generated (abhisankhata), in that it is made by conditions; as fashioned by volition (abhisaficetayita ), in that it is based on voli-tion, rooted in volition and as something to be felt (vedaniya), in that it is a basis for what is to be felt (SN 2000, p. 757, n. 111)


7 Milinda's Questions (Homer 1963-64, 79f.; I. vii.57) uses this same analogy for the habits and tendencies of mental processes. 8 The definition of disposition suggests both a result of previous actions and the ten-dency to repeat it: "a person's inherent qualities of mind and character; an inclination or tendency" (Concise Oxford Dictionary 1976). 9 MN. 1.8. "It is this self of mine that speaks and feels and experiences here and there the result of good and bad actions; but this self of mine is permanent, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and it will endure as long as eternity." 10 AKBh 1.3 (Shastri, 14; Pruden, 57). He continues: "So it is with a view to this discernment that the Abhidharma has been, they say, spoken [by the Master.) ... without the teaching of the Abhidharma, a disciple would be incapable of discerning the dharmas." 11 AKBh ad 1.2b (Shastri 12: svalalcya!ladhara"(lad dharma). This definition exploits the etymology of dharma: "dhr," to hold, bear, carry, maintain, preserve, keep, possess, place, ftx," etc. 12 There are ad hoc categories for anomalous factors such as samskiiras dissociated from mind (citta-viprayukta-satr~Skiira), whose very existence belies the claims of dharmic discow-se. See Jaini (1959b). 13 Alaya is composed of the preftx "a," "near to, towards," with the verbal root, "ll," to cling or press closely, stick or adhere to, settle upon, etc." (SED 154; PED 109). 14 See complete passage in Waldron, The Coarising of Self and Object, Infra. 15 It is i~dis~ct or unperceived" (asatr~vidita) the Tritr~sikii-b!Jaryam (TBh 19.14-15) explams, masmuch as one does not know it is that, it is here" (so 'sminn idatr~ tad iti

pratisatr~vedanaklire!liisatr~vidita ityatas tad asatr~viditakopadi iti ucyate) . See also Schmithausen (1987, 389f.). 16 These are two simultaneous, yet conceptually distinct forms of consciousness (ASBh 12.15: dvayo/;1 vijfianayo/;1 yugapatpravrtti bhavi~ati). 17 Freudian theorists faced the same challenge with its concepts: "Just because the [[[ego]], id, and superego] have different names does not mean that they are separate entities ... They are merely a shorthand way of designating different processes, functions, mechanisms, and dynamisms within the total personality" (Halll954, 34f.). 18 As Satr!dhinirmocana Sutra V.7 explained, the Buddha has not taught [alaya-vijfiana] to the ignorant, lest they should imagine it a self." 19 It's "perception (vijfiapti) arises," according to the text, "with a single flavor ( ekarasatvena) from the first moment of appropriation [of the body at conception) for as long as life lasts" ((l.b)B.2). 20 Even "in states lacking mental activity" (acittaka; (4.b) A.l.a). 21 As MSg 11.16.1 points out, "Mental perceptual consciousness is conceptual discrimi-nation (parikalpita) ... It arises from its own seeds ofthe impressions oflanguage, and from the seeds of the impressions oflanguage of all perceptions (vijfiapti)." See also Waldron, The Co-arising ofS elf and Object, infra, n. 80. 22 ASBh. 62.3ff. yam adhi!;thiiyotpannadarsanamargasyapy aryaSrlivakasyasminana/;1 samudlicarati. 23 We use "informed" in the sense of effecting something coming into form, to give shape to, fashion, impart quality to" (Concise Oxford Dictionary 1976). 24 ASBh. 35.26f concw-s that the impressions leading toward liberation (mokSab-hliglyanatr~ vlisana) have supramundane causes (lokottaradharmahetu). 25 MSg 1.61 's argument that, "without the [partial elimination of alaya-vijfiana] the gradual cessation (kramanivrtti) of the defilements (sajklewa) would be impossible," supports the interpretation of alaya-vijfiana as a set of aggregated processes, not a singular entity. 26 MSg 1.1. anadikliliko dhatuh sarvadharmasamawrayah!tasmin sati gatih sarva nirvana adhigamo 'pi ca. Sanskrit original in TBh 37.


27 (MSA XIII, 19; MVBh. I.22.c-d). See also Jaini (1959a, 249), Johansson (1979, 102), and especially Keenan (1982) for a lucid treatment of this question in earl~ Yog~ara. 28 "It is plain that when the Larikavatlira Sutra identifies the two terms, this scnpture necessarily diverges in the meaning of one or both of the terms from the usage of the term Tathagata-garbha in the earlier Srl-mlila or of the term alayavijfilina in the subsequent Yogacara school" (Wayman and Hideko 1974, 53). 29 See Michael Sheehy's following chapter (Chapter 4) on this text. 30 Longchenpa's (1971c, vol. 1, 445.3) The Seminal Quintessence of the Pro_found, does present only three classifications of the universal ground, through prectsely such a consolidation of the last two features from the fourfold set.


References

Abbreviations and primary sources

AKBh Abhidharmalwsabhrcya, S.D. Shastri (ed.) (1981) Varanasi: Bauddha Bharati Series; L. Pruden (trans.) (1988), Abhidharmakosabhrcyam, Berkeley, CA: Asian Huntanities Press. AN Ariguttara Nikiiya, Nyanaponika Thera and Bhik:khu Bodhi (trans.) (1999) Numerical Discourses of the Buddha: An Anthology of Suttas from the Aliguttara Nikiiya, Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. ASBh Abhidharmasammucaya-bh[cyam, N. Tatia (ed.) (1976) Patna: K. P. Jayaswal Research Institute. Bhattacharya, V. (ed.) (1957) Yogliclirabhumi ofA sanga, Calcutta: University of Calcutta. Only this portion of the Sanskrit text survives. There are classical Tibetan (#5536-43) and Chinese translations (T. 1579). Bhikkhu Bodhi (rev.) (1993) Compendium Abhidhammattha-sangaha, Narada (trans.) ( 1993) A Comprehensive Manual ofA bhidhamma, Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society. Concise Oxford Dictionary (1976) Oxford: Oxford University Press. Homer, I. B. (trans.) (1963-64) Milinda s Questions, London: Pali Text Society. Lamotte, E. (ed. and trans.) (1935) Sa7!1dhinirmocana Sutrli, Explication des Mysteres, Louvain. Longchenpa (197la) "The Seminal Quintessence of the Dakinis (mkha' 'gro yang tig)," The Seminal Heart in Four Parts (snying thig ya bzhi), New Delhi: Trulku Tsewang, Jamyang, and L. Tashi, vol. 4-6. - - (197lb) "The Seminal Quintessence of the Profound (Zab mo yang tig)," The Seminal Heart in Four Parts (snying thig ya bzhi), New Delhi: Trulku Tsewang, Jamyang, and L. Tashi, vol. 10-11. - - (197lc) "The Seminal Quintessence of the Spiritual Master (bLa rna yang tig)," The Seminal Heart in Four Parts (snying thig ya bzhi), New Delhi: Trulku Tsewang, Jamyang, and L. Tashi, vol. l. - - (1973a) Precepts on Examining Mind and Primordial Gnosis (sems dang ye shesbrtag pa 'i man ngag), in Miscellaneous Writings (gsung thor bu), Delhi: Sanje Dorje, vol. 1, 377-392ff. - - (1973b) The Great Chariot (shing rta chen po), in The Trilogy of Resting at Ease (ngalgsoslwr gsum), Gangtok, Sikkim: Dodrup Chen Rinpoche, vol. 1, 112-729ff., vol. 2, 1-381ff. - - (1983a) "The Treasury of Reality's Expanse (cbos dbyings mdzod)," The Seven Treasuries (mdzod chen bdun), Gangtok, Sikkim: Sherab Gyaltsen and Khyentse Labrang, I-Tib

- - (198~b) "The Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle (theg mchog mdzod)," The Seven Treasunes ('!'dzod chen bdun), Gangtok, Sikkim: Sherab Gyaltsen and Khyentse Labrang, I-Ttb 83-905058. - - (198_3c) "The Treasury of Words and Meanings (tshig don mdzod)," The Seven Treasurzes (mdzod chen bdun), Gangtok, Sikkim: Sherab Gyaltsen and Kh t Labrang, I-Tib 83-905058. yen se - - (1983d) "The Wish-Fulfilling Treasury (yid bzhin mdzod)," The Seven Treasuries (mdzod chen bdun), Gangtok, Sikkim: Sherab Gyaltsen and Khyentse Labrang. I-Tib 83-905058. , MN Majjhima Nikiiya, NiiiJ.amoli (trans.) (1995) The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, Boston, MA: Wisdom Books. MSA Mahliyana-sutralankara, Sylvain Levi (ed) (1907) Paris: H. Champion MSg Mahliyana-sarrzgraha, T. 1594; P. 5549; D. 4048. · MVBh Madhyanta.vibhaga-bharya ofVasubandhu, G. Nagao (ed.) (1964) Tokyo: Suzuki Research Foundation.

PED . Plili-En~lish Dictionary, T. W Rhys-Davids and W Stede (eds) (1979) London: Palt Text Soctety. Pravrtti Portion, Part of the Yogliclira-bhumi, T. 30.1579.579c23-582a28· Tibetan Peking edn #5539 Zi. 4a5-lla8; Derge edn #4038 Shi. 3b4-9b3. English tra~slation found in Waldron (2003a, 178-189). Rangjung Dorje, A Treatise on the Dijferentiation ofC onsciousness and Primordial Cognition (rnam par s~s pa ~ang ye shes 'byed pa 'i bstan bcos), TBRC Resource Code W28666. SE~ tr.~akan~krzt-Engizsh Dictionary, M. W Monier-Williams (rep. 1986) Tokyo: Meicho u"'.Y"' 1. SN The. Conn~cted Discourses of the Buddha, Bhikkhu Bodhi (trans.) (2000) Somervtlle: Wtsdom. Suzuki, ~· ~·. (~s} (1932) Larikavatlira Sutra, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. TBh . ~rzrrzsikli-bharyam ofSthiramati, S. Levi (ed.) (1925) V'zjfiaptimlitratli-siddhi: Deux Traztes de Vasubandhu, Paris: H. Champion.

Secondary sources

Eliade, Mircea (1973) Yoga: Immortality and Freedom, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Freud, Sigmund (1984) On Metapsychology: The Theory of Psychoanalysis, "Papers On Metapsychology" (1915); "The Unconscious" (1915) Pelican Freud Library Hannondsworth: Penguin Books. ' H~ll.' Cavlin S. (1954) A Primer ofF reudian Psychology, New York: Mentor Books. Jaun, ~ S. (19S?a) "The Sautrantika Theory ofBrja," Bulletin oft he School ofO riental and African Studzes, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 236--249. - - (1959b) "!he Development of the Theory ofViprayukta-srup.skaras," Bulletin oft he School of Oriental and African Studies, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 531-547. Johansson, Rune Edvin Anders (1979) The Dynamic Psychology of Early Buddhism London: Curzon Press. ' Keenan, J.. P. (1982) ·:o~ginal Purity and the Focus of Early Yogacara," Journal of the . I~ternatzona/ Assoczatzon ofB uddhist Studies, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 7-18. Ptatigorksy, A. (1984) The Buddhist Philosophy ofThought, London: Curzon Press.


Schmithausen, Lambert (1987) Alayavijfiana: On the Origin and Early Development of a Central Concept of Yogliclira Philosophy, Tokyo: International Institute for Buddhist Studies.

Searle, J. (2005) "Consciousness: What We Still Don't Know," New York Review ofB ooks, Jan. 13,2005,p.37. Waldron, W. (2003a) The Buddhist Unconscious: The Alaya-vijfiana in the Context of Indian Buddhist Thought, London: RoutledgeCurzon. -- (2003b) "Common Ground, Common Cause: Buddhism and Science on the Afilictions of ldentity," in B. Alan Wallace (ed.) Buddhism and Science: Breaking New Ground, New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 145-191. Wayman, Alex and Hideko Wayman (trans.) (1974) The Lion's Roar of Queen Srl-mlila, New York: Columbia University Press. Wijesekera, 0. H. de A. (1964) "The Concept of VififiiiQ~t in Theraviida Buddhism," Journal oftheAmerican Oriental Society, vol. 84, no. 3, pp. 254-259.




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