Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lankavatara Sutra, Chapter 6, Section LXXXII

As usual, I'm using the translation here. First though, it's useful, as I did here, to reiterate Suzuki's introductory material on Buddhist psychology...

What may be termed Buddhist psychology in the Lanka consists in the analysis of mind, that is, in the classification of the Vijnanas. To understand thus the psychology of Buddhism properly the knowledge of these terms is necessary: citta, manas, vijnana, manovijnana, and alayavijnana.
To begin with Vijnana. Vijnana is composed of the prefix vi, meaning "to divide", and the root jna which means "to perceive", "to know". Thus, Vijnana is the faculty of distinguishing or discerning or judging. When an object is presented before the eye, it is perceived and judged as a red apple or a piece of white linen; the faculty of doing this is called eye-vijnana. In the same way, there are ear-vijnana for sound, nose-vijnana for odour, tongue-vijnana for taste, body-vijnana for touch, and thought-vijnana (manovijnana) for ideas—altogether six forms of Vijnana for distinguishing the various aspects of world external or internal.
Of these six Vijnanas, the Manojivnana is the most important as it is directly related to an inner faculty known as Manas. Manas roughly corresponds to mind as an organ of thought, but in fact it is more than that, for it is also a strong power of attaching itself to the result of thinking. The latter may even be considered subordinate to this power of attachment. The Manas first wills, then it discriminates to judge; to judge is to divide, and this dividing ends in viewing existence dualistically. Hence the Manas' tenacious attachment to the dualistic interpretation of existence. Willing and thinking are inextricably woven into the texture of Manas.
Citta comes from the root cit, "to think", but in the Lanka the derivation is made from the root ci, "to pile up", "to arrange in order". The Citta is thus a storehouse where the seeds of all thoughts and deeds are accumulated and stored up. The Citta, however, has a double sense, general and specific. When it is used in the general sense it means "mind", "mentation", "ideas", including the activities of Manas and Manovijnana, and also of the Vijnanas; while specifically it is a synonym of Alayavijnana in its relative aspects, and distinguishable from all the rest of the mental faculties. When, however, it is used in the form of Citta-matra, Mind-only, it acquires still another connotation. We can say that Citta appears here in its highest possible sense, for it is then neither simply mentation nor intellection, nor perception as a function of consciousness. It is identifiable with the Alaya in its absolute aspect. This will become clearer later on.
Alayavijnana is alaya+vijnana, and alaya is a store where things are hoarded for future use. The Citta as a cumulative faculty is thus identified with the Alayavijnana. Strictly speaking, the Alaya is not a Vijnana, has no discerning power in it; it indiscriminately harbours all that is poured into it through the channel of the Vijnanas. The Alaya is perfectly neutral, indifferent, and does not offer to give judgments.
The gist of this section can be extracted from the text as:

[T]he Tathāgata-garbha holds within it the cause for both good and evil, and by it all the forms of existence are produced. Like an actor it takes on a variety of forms, and [in itself] is devoid of an ego-soul and what belongs to it. As this is not understood, there is the functioning together of the triple combination from which effects take place. But the philosophers not knowing this are tenaciously attached to the idea of a cause [or a creating agency]. Because of the influence of habit-energy that has been accumulating variously by false reasoning since beginningless time, what here goes under the name of Ālayavijñāna is accompanied by the seven Vijñānas which give birth to a state known as the abode of ignorance.
 And once more, the theme of the externally perceived as "what is seen of the Mind itself" is repeated:

As to the other seven Vijñānas beginning with the Manas and Manovijñāna, they have their rise and complete ending from moment to moment; they are born with false discrimination as cause, and with forms and appearances and objectivity as conditions which are intimately linked together; adhering to names and forms, they do not realise that objective individual forms are no more than what is seen of the Mind itself; they do not give exact information regarding pleasure and pain; they are not the cause of emancipation; by setting up names and forms which originate from greed, greed is begotten in turn, thus mutually conditioned and conditioning.

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