Posts Tagged ‘alaya’


Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

I have been meditating continuously on emptiness since I last wrote as a huatou and also in terms of holding the emptiness behind the breathing.

I had a dream the other night in which I was standing within a void. I could see the void clearly. It was dark with a diffused light, shining within the darkness, like the fog on the manukau in the morning. But in this case the fog was the light.

I ordered the Lankavatara Sutra, which arrived a couple of days ago. It’s translated by Daisetz Teitarao Suzuki who has an interesting introduction. Although I’m reminded of a comment by Hyon Gak Sunim; to paraphrase it’s not what’s said that’s interesting but what is being pointed to. I think that’s much the case here.

“The Tathata-garba, therefore, whose psychological name is Alayavijnana, is a reservoir of things good and bad, pure and defiled. Expressed differently, the Tathagatagarbha is orginally, in its self-nature, immaculate, but because of its external dirt it is soiled, and when soiled – which is the state generally found in all sentient beings – an intuitive penetration is impossible. When this is impossible as is the case with the philosphers and ignorant masses, the Garbha is believed sometimes to be a creator and sometimes to be an ego-substance. As it is so believed, it allows itself to transmigrate through the six paths of existence. Let there be, however, an intuitive penetration into the primitive purity of the Tathata-garbha, and the whole system of the Vijnanas goes through a revolution. If the Tathata-garbha or Alaya-vijnana were not a mysterious mixture of purity and defilement, good and evil, this abrupt transformation of an entire personality would be an impossibility. That is to say, if the Garbha or the Alaya while absolutely neutral and colourless in itself did not yet harbour in itself a certain irrationality, no sentient beings would ever be a Buddha, no enlightenment would be experienced by any human beings. And as this illogicalness is practically possible, the Mahayana establishes the theory of Mind-only.”

And what I really love is that we find this within. Not that there is a without and within. And besides where else would we find it? Suzuki goes on to say Mind here does not mean our individual mind…

It was only a dream, but perhaps what it pointed to was interesting.

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