Thursday, July 02, 2009

Lankavatara Sutra, Chapter 2, Section IV

This relates to Vijñānas, the reaction or response of the sense-organs when they come in contact with external objects. The objective behind this philosophical taxonomy is the "how and why" of the transcendance of dukkha, having to do with the "store-conciousness" - memories, resentments, euphoric recalls "getting in the way" and affecting behaviors and perceptions.

At that moment, Mahāmati the Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva said again to the Blessed One: In how many ways, Blessed One, does the rise, abiding, and ceasing of the Vijñānas take place?

The Blessed One replied: There are two ways, Mahāmati, in which the rise, abiding, and ceasing of the Vijñānas take place, and this is not understood by the philosophers. That is to say, the ceasing takes place as regards continuation and form. In the rise of the Vijñānas, also, these two are recognisable: the rise as regards continuation and the rise as regards form. In the abiding, also, these two [are discernible]: the one taking place as regards continuation and the other as regards form.

[Further,] three modes are distinguishable in the Vijñānas: (1) the Vijñāna as evolving, (2) the Vijñāna as producing effects, and (3) the Vijñāna as remaining in its original nature.

[Further,] Mahāmati, in the Vijñānas, which are said to be eight, two functions generally are distinguishable, the perceiving and the object-discriminating. As a mirror reflects forms, Mahāmati, the perceiving Vijñā a perceives [objects]. Mahāmati, between the two, the perceiving Vijñāna and the object-discriminating Vijñāna, there is no difference; they are mutually conditioning. Then, Mahāmati, the perciving Vijñāna functions because of transformation's taking place [in the mind] by reason of a mysterious habit-energy, while, Mahāmati, the object-discriminating Vijñāna (38) functions because of the mind's discriminating an objective world and because of the habit-energy accumulated by erroneous reasoning since beginningless time.

Again, Mahāmati, by the cessation of all the sense-Vijñānas is meant the cessation of the Ālayavijñāna's variously accumulating habit-energy which is generated when unrealities are discriminated. This, Mahāmati, is known as the cessation of the form-aspect of the Vijñānas.

Again, Mahāmati, the cessation of the continuation-aspect of the Vijñānas takes place in this wise: that is to say, Mahāmati, when both that which supports [the Vijñānas] and that which is comprehended [by the Vijñānas] cease to function. By that which supports [the Vijñānas] is meant the habit-energy [or memory] which has been accumulated by erroneous reasoning since beginningless time; and by that which is comprehended [by the Vijñānas] is meant the objective world perceived and discriminated by the Vijñānas, which is, however, no more than Mind itself.

Mahāmati, it is like a lump of clay and the particles of dust making up its substance, they are neither different nor not-different; again, it is like gold and various ornaments made of it. If, Mahāmati, the lump of clay is different from its particles of dust, no lump will ever come out of them. But as it comes out of them it is not different from the particles of dust. Again, if there is no difference between the two, the lump will be indistinguishable from its particles.

Even so, Mahāmati, if the evolving Vijñāna are different from the Ālayavijñāna, even in its original form, the Ālaya cannot be their cause. Again, if they are not different the cessation of the evolving Vijñānas will mean the cessation of the Ālayavijñāna, but there is no cessation of its original form. Therefore, Mahāmati, what ceases to function is not the Ālaya in its original self-form, but is the effect-producing form of the Vijñānas. When this original self-form ceases to exist, then there will indeed be the cessation of the Ālayavijñāna. (39) If, however, there is the cessation of the Ālayavijñāna, this doctrine will in no wise differ from the nihilistic doctrine of the philosophers.

This doctrine, Mahāmati, as it is held by the philosophers, is this: When the grasping of an objective world ceases the continuation of the Vijñānas is stopped; and when there is no more of this continuation in the Vijñānas, the continuation that has been going on since beginningless time is also destroyed. Mahāmati, the philosophers maintain that there is a first cause from which continuation takes place; they do not maintain that the eye-Vijñāna arises from the interaction of form and light; they assume another cause. What is this cause, Mahāmati? Their first cause is known as spirit (pradhāna), soul (purusha), lord (iśvara), time, or atom.

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