The process of Conciousness
Enlightenment is not achieved through only "conceptual understanding." Since everything prior to wisdom is consciousness, enlightenment requires an internal transformation of consciousness. Initially, if we can begin to distinguish that there is a difference between the constructs of the relative, conditioned mind and the pure, absolute enlightened mind, then we can "...leave the former and dwell in the latter." For to "...ascend to the wisdom of enlightenment necessitates negating samsaric reality, while aspiring to the nirvanic ideal."
The process of the transformation of consciousness is threefold:
1) The seeds of past actions automatically ripen into the form of mental phenomena which we believe to be external events. This is the retribution process that occurs in the eighth consciousness. The ongoing sprouting of karmic seeds gives us belief in the "reality" of our senses, of our body, and the external world which we "know" via a process of five mental operations:
- 1) the connection between the exterior object and the sense organ,
- 2) the mind focusing on the object,
- 3) our experience of the object,
- 4) recognizing and categorizing the object, and
- 5) making a judgment about the object.
2) The seventh consciousness, which deals with cognition and mentation, believes in a "self" represented by the eighth consciousness. Since the eighth contains all the seeds, the seventh takes it as its object.