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The Eight Consciousnesses Revisited (poem)


In this world of birth-life-death,
when we do not interact with the world we live in,
reality appears non-existent.
Through the six senses organs
and their corresponding objects
we interact with the world.
During sleep or unconscious,
our six consciousnesses are dormant.

The Sixth Consciousnesses Arise

Reality exists through our experience of phenomena.
By interacting with it through the six senses,
we constantly experience reality as being real.
Our experiences are moderated by our mind as consciousness.
Therefore reality exists because we constantly interact with it.
While awake and fully conscious, our six consciousnesses arise.

When eyes see a visual object, sights lead to visual consciousness arising.
When ears hears a sound, sounds lead to auditory consciousness arising.
When nose detects an odor, smells lead to olfactory consciousness arising.
When tongue detects tastes, tastes lead to gustatory consciousness arising.
When body feels tangibles, feelings lead to tactual consciousness arising.
When mind ideates, thoughts leads to mental consciousness arising.

the Seventh and Eighth Consciousness

From the mind arises
two more consciousnesses,
base consciousness and
storehouse consciousness.

When mind experiences a disturbing emotion or attitude, self grasping leads to deluded awareness.
When mind experiences reflexive awareness, memory leads to all-encompassing foundation consciousness.

The Sense of Self is of the Mind

According to the Tibetan Lama Thrangu Rinpoche,
When sometimes you have a sense of self,
and you think “I”, that is an operation
not of the seventh consciousness
but of the sixth.

The Three Mental Consciousnesses

In the Chittamatra and Svatantrika-Madhyamika schools,
three mental consciousnesses exist, mental consciousness,
base consciousness, and store-house consciousness.
Of these three consciousnesses, mental consciousness
and base consciousness are active, and
the store-house consciousness is not active
being a subtle, neutral level of consciousness.
In it, traces of past actions are stored as "seeds"
ready to ripen into future experience.
For their further manifestations and activities, these seeds are potential energy
retained by the store-house consciousness, which receives impressions
from all functions of each of the other seven consciousnesses.

Seventh Consciousness as Source of the Other Consciousnesses

According to conventional Yogacara tradition, deluded awareness,
being the base consciousness, is the "source" of
the other seven consciousnesses, which all evolve and transform
based on experience of phenomena which make up reality.

The Names of the Seventh and Eight Consciousnesses

According to the Tibetans lamas of Vajrayana,
base consciousness is called emotional consciousness.
Lama Chökyi Nyima calls it afflictive aspect of consciousness.
Padmakara calls it defiled emotional consciousness.
Gyurme Dorje, the Agyur Rinpoche, calls it deluded consciousness.
The store-house consciousness is called all-ground consciousness.
Called the "seed consciousness" or container consciousness,
it serves as the "container" for all experiential impressions

Store-house Consciousness Empowers Rebirth

The store-house consciousness accumulates all potential energy
for the mental and physical manifestation of a sentient being's existence.
It is the storehouse-consciousness which induces transmigration
or rebirth, causing the origination of a new existence.

Base Consciousness Focuses Inward

In Tibetan Buddhism, the base consciousness
focuses inwards on the ground of all (alaya)
that is mistaken for a self that is real,
which results in all experience of reality
then consists of the choice of wanted or unwanted.

Always present, it is the basis for
all ordinary mental states,
be it virtuous, non-virtuous or neutral,
The base consciousness only stops
when the Bodhi Mind arises,
in the highest state of samadhi,
or during the non-abiding nirvana —
the great nirvana beyond
both ordinary existence in Samsara —
this world of birth-life-death, —
and in the basic nirvana of self-power.

Tathagata and Alaya Vijnana are One

Both the Lankavatara Sutra and Ch'an & Zen agree:
the Tathagatagarbha and alaya vijnana are one,
identical and fundamentally pure.
Atman is the permanent, unchanging self,
and prakrti, the original and primal nature
from which all things evolve, whether
it be mental, emotional and physical.
Though the Tathagatagarbha looks similar to atman
and alaya vijnana, prakrti, the Tathagatagarbha
conforms to the non-self doctrine,
and alaya vijnana is the mind-stream.
Mind-stream or consciousness-stream,
both streams are the same, but
cannot be reified as atman at all.

Ayatana (sense bases):
Salayatana (the six sense bases):
Eight consciousnesses:

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