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Good morning lankavatara!

oceancaldera207oceancaldera207 Veteran
edited September 2013 in Philosophy
Theres nothing like the smell of mahayana in the morning.
Selections from the lankavatara sutra. If anyone ever tells you that Buddhism is a simplistic, primitive religion, tell them to take a peek at this. (Suzuki/Goddard translation)


Universal Mind
Mahamati to the Blessed One: Pray tell us, Blessed One, about Universal Mind and its relation to the lower mind-system?
The Blessed One replied: The sense-minds and their centralized discriminating-mind are related to the external world which is a manifestation of itself and is given over to perceiving, discriminating, and grasping its maya-like appearances. Universal Mind (Alaya-vijnana) transcends all individuation and limits. Universal Mind is thoroughly pure in its essential nature, subsisting unchanged and free from faults of impermanence, undisturbed by egoism, unruffled by distinctions, desires and aversions. Universal Mind is like a great ocean, its surface ruffled by waves and surges but its depths remaining forever unmoved. In itself it is devoid of personality and all that belongs to it, but by reason of the defilements upon its face it is like an actor a plays a variety of parts, among which a mutual functioning takes place and the mind-system arises. The principle of intellection becomes divided and mind, the functions of mind, the evil out-flowings of mind, take on individuation. The sevenfold gradation of mind appears: namely, intuitive self-realization, thinking-desiring-discriminating, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching, and all their interactions and reactions take their rise.
The discriminating-mind is the cause of the sense-minds and is their support and with them is kept functioning as it describes and becomes attached to a world of objects, and then, by means of its habit-energy, it defiles the face of Universal Mind. Thus Universal Mind becomes the storage and clearing house of all the accumulated products of mentation and action since beginningless time.
Between Universal Mind and the individual discriminating-mind is the intuitive-mind (manas) which is dependent upon Universal Mind for its cause and support and enters into relation with both. It partakes of the universality of Universal Mind, shares its purity, and like it, is above form and momentariness. It is through the intuitive-mind that the good non out-flowing emerge, are manifested and are realized. Fortunate it is that intuition is not momentary for if the enlightenment which comes by intuition were momentary the wise would lose their "wiseness" which they do not. But the intuitive-mind enters into relations with the lower mind-system, shares its experiences and reflects upon its activities.
Intuitive-mind is one with Universal Mind by reason of its participation in Transcendental Intelligence (Arya-jnana), and is one with the mind-system by its comprehension of differentiated knowledge (vijnana). Intuitive-mind has no body of its own nor any marks by which it can be differentiated. Universal Mind is its cause and support but it is evolved along with the notion of an ego and what belongs to it, to which it clings and upon which it reflects. Through intuitive-mind, by the faculty of intuition which is a mingling of both identity and perceiving, the inconceivable wisdom of Universal Mind is revealed and made realizable. Like Universal Mind it can not be the source of error.


Perfect Knowledge or Knowledge of Reality.
Then Mahamati asked the Blessed One: Pray tell us, Blessed One, about the five Dharmas, so that we may fully understand perfect knowledge?
The Blessed One replied: The five Dharmas are: appearance, name, discrimination, right-knowledge, and Reality. By appearance is meant that which reveals itself to the senses and to the discriminating-mind and is perceived as form, sound, odor, taste, and touch. Out of these appearances ideas are formed, such as clay, water, jar, etc., by which one says: this is such and such a thing and no other,- this is name. When appearances are contrasted and names compared, as when we say: this is an elephant, this is horse, a cart, a pedestrian, a man, a woman, or, this is mind and what belongs to it, - the things thus named are said to be discriminated. As these discriminations come to be seen as mutually conditioning, as empty of self-substance, as un-born, and thus come to be seen as they truly are, that is, as manifestations of the mind itself, - this is right-knowledge. By it the wise cease to regard appearances and names as realities.
When appearances and names are put away and all discrimination ceases, that which remains is the true and essential nature of things and, as nothing can be predicated as to the nature of essence, it is called the "Suchness" of Reality. This universal, undifferentiated, inscrutable, "Suchness" is the only Reality but it is variously characterized by Truth, Mind-essence, Transcendental Intelligence, Noble Wisdom, etc. This Dharma of the imagelessness of the Essence-nature of Ultimate Reality is the Dharma which has been proclaimed by all the Buddhas, and when all things are understood in full agreement with it, one is in possession of Perfect Knowledge, and is on his way to the attainment of the Transcendental Intelligence of the Tathagatas.
seeker242riverflowFullCircleblu3ree

Comments

  • I read Red Pine's translation not too long ago. VERY good. I have the Suzuki/Goddard but had a hard time of it. Red Pine's has some helpful bits of commentary which helped me get a little better foothold. Now I can say this is one of my favorite sutras!
    oceancaldera207
  • Ive never read red pines translation but I'd like to.. I loved his of the heart of perfection of wisdom! It captures the profound side without sacrificing complexity or clarity.
    Yeah, this translation could really use a little we-wording..it's a little on the acedemic side vocabulary wise.

    So I think the 'universal mind' section is reminiscent of e cayces and Carl jungs writings on the greater mind or collective unconscious...comments?
  • aMattaMatt Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Perhaps, though that makes it seem as though it is out there. Consider that if the mind is not in the habit of folding itself around phenomena, there is more space for the phenomena to be what it is, an interweaving of conditions. Much like fruit has the seed, the conditions of binding have a seed. A stable mind naturally discerns and understands that seed. Whether it is because it connects to some collective blibbity blab or because we can discern on our own doesn't matter much. If you eat a meal with cumin and pepper, you simply know it once your pallet is refined. Said differently, if our mind undistracted, wisdom grows quickly, exponentially, as we continue to flow through sense data.
  • aMatt said:

    Perhaps, though that makes it seem as though it is out there. Consider that if the mind is not in the habit of folding itself around phenomena, there is more space for the phenomena to be what it is, an interweaving of conditions. Much like fruit has the seed, the conditions of binding have a seed. A stable mind naturally discerns and understands that seed. Whether it is because it connects to some collective blibbity blab or because we can discern on our own doesn't matter much. If you eat a meal with cumin and pepper, you simply know it once your pallet is refined. Said differently, if our mind undistracted, wisdom grows quickly, exponentially, as we continue to flow through sense data.

    So you're saying the topic of this section of the sutra doesn't matter much. And you're saying that the collective unconscious as hypothesized by jung is somehow 'outside.'
  • Anyway.
    I posted these selections precisely because i wanted to present this interesting and different look at mind.
    I thought it would be a nice departure from the old 'nothing to do, nothing to do, chase the thoughts away.'
    The second speaks of the high knowledge of buddhas, based on a supreme understanding of the appearance of reality. Intriguing?

    @riverflow if u have a digital copy of the red pine would you consider posting those versions of the two sections I posted?
  • @oceancaldera207 - no, I'm a luddite with meatworld books haha

    From which chapters are these two passages from. I don't mind copying it tomorrow because its good for my brain.
    oceancaldera207
  • Wow thanks!!
    The perfect knowledge of reality part is chapter 4 suzuki/goddard
    The universal mind part is the last section of chapter 5 (the mind system) suzuki/goddard
  • Cool -- I can track down the passages in those chapter easily enough I think. I should have a chance to type 'em up by tomorrow afternoon! :-)
    oceancaldera207


  • So you're saying the topic of this section of the sutra doesn't matter much. And you're saying that the collective unconscious as hypothesized by jung is somehow 'outside.'

    Neither of those seem to reflect what I was saying, and your aggression is interesting! Perhaps there is striving inside for super powers and abilities? :) What I read in the words reflects to me the refining of a pallet, such as gaining a skillfulness in the mind produces the rooting of awareness in universal mind. Rather than plugging into an externally arising consciousness with a new age ESP cable that gives us akashik access. What do you think?
  • oceancaldera207oceancaldera207 Veteran
    edited September 2013
    aMatt said:



    So you're saying the topic of this section of the sutra doesn't matter much. And you're saying that the collective unconscious as hypothesized by jung is somehow 'outside.'

    Neither of those seem to reflect what I was saying, and your aggression is interesting! Perhaps there is striving inside for super powers and abilities? :) What I read in the words reflects to me the refining of a pallet, such as gaining a skillfulness in the mind produces the rooting of awareness in universal mind. Rather than plugging into an externally arising consciousness with a new age ESP cable that gives us akashik access. What do you think?
    Really, so you're just saying that the jung collective unconscious is not applicable to the sutra? I really am confused and do not understand what you are saying. To what do you equate a new age esp cable?
    Upon re reading your original post I could have very well been mistaken. But please explain your standpoint more clearly if you will
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran



    So I think the 'universal mind' section is reminiscent of e cayces and Carl jungs writings on the greater mind or collective unconscious...comments?

    You could say reminiscent but not really the same since jungs collective unconscious is not "ultimately empty". It has all kinds of stuff, unlike tathagatagarbha which is ultimately based on emptiness.

    :om:
  • seeker242 said:



    So I think the 'universal mind' section is reminiscent of e cayces and Carl jungs writings on the greater mind or collective unconscious...comments?

    You could say reminiscent but not really the same since jungs collective unconscious is not "ultimately empty". It has all kinds of stuff, unlike tathagatagarbha which is ultimately based on emptiness.

    :om:
    Agreed absolutely, and while I'm not a Jungian scholar, it could be reasonably assumed that this keystone (emptiness) would be missing from any discourse of his regarding a 'larger mind'.
    Here I wanted to bring attention to the distinctions in 'mind' are made carefully here in this passage. it is even said that mentations are absorbed into the ultimate mind so to speak. I believe that whenever such distinctions are made in sutras like this, a profound practice or node of truth lies hidden within. Really there is so much to reflect on here, it is quite overwhelming.

  • @oceancaldera207 - I found the second passage in Red Pine, but still looking for the first one (the chapter divisions are different apparently). I should get them copied tomorrow, once I find the first passage.
    oceancaldera207
  • aMattaMatt Veteran
    edited September 2013



    Really, so you're just saying that the jung collective unconscious is not applicable to the sutra? I really am confused and do not understand what you are saying. To what do you equate a new age esp cable?
    Upon re reading your original post I could have very well been mistaken. But please explain your standpoint more clearly if you will

    My standpoint... odd... not sure that there is one. In Jung's collective, at least in my understanding of the maximal interpretation which is usually regarded as "Jung's view", there is an entity such as a "world soul" or "numinous field" which we are all tapped into at a deep level of unconscious, like a psychic network. This would make the universal mind in the sutra something that we gain access to as we erode self-grasping, or the "small I" transforming into a "greater I" through access to this world force.

    This seems more like striving for more identity or spiritual materialism, to me. When I read "universal mind" it seems more to me as "basic fertility" or a stability of mind that allows one to sense reality directly, or deeply. This can quickly become thought of as some kind of numinous power or psychic ability, but it seems to me to be more like "smelling the air" and being able to understand what is present. It only appears special to someone without a nose. To others who have stability of mind, it is more an obvious understanding that arises as we breathe. But I could be wrong, my brain still gets all sorts of mazey, cloudy.
  • aMatt said:

    please explain your standpoint more clearly if you will
    My standpoint... odd... not sure that there is one. In Jung's collective, at least in my understanding of the maximal interpretation which is usually regarded as "Jung's view", there is an entity such as a "world soul" or "numinous field" which we are all tapped into at a deep level of unconscious, like a psychic network. This would make the universal mind in the sutra something that we gain access to as we erode self-grasping, or the "small I" transforming into a "greater I" through access to this world force.

    This seems more like striving for more identity or spiritual materialism, to me. When I read "universal mind" it seems more to me as "basic fertility" or a stability of mind that allows one to sense reality directly, or deeply. This can quickly become thought of as some kind of numinous power or psychic ability, but it seems to me to be more like "smelling the air" and being able to understand what is present. It only appears special to someone without a nose. To others who have stability of mind, it is more an obvious understanding that arises as we breathe. But I could be wrong, my brain still gets all sorts of mazey, cloudy.
    I see! so you're asserting that the universal mind as you see it is an individual affair, an innate aspect of the individual mind, rather than a collective greater self, a 'world force'
    But consider that the sutra says that the universal mind is itself devoid of personality, transcends all individuation and all that pertains to it...so then what is it? How would it be possible to say that it is not universally homogeneous across consciousnesses? (Hence the term universal)
    Clearly the sutra delineates between types of mind systems. Yet it also clearly says that the mind systems are inseperably connected and one. Can you shed some light on why there was any explanation of seperation of 'mind systems' in the sutra?
    an aside, When you say you see 'universal mind' as a fertile basis or stability, does this imply a 'state' or an inherently existing capacity within mind? It seems to imply both, (but you were clear in saying that whichever it is, there isnt anything remarkable as only a person with some disability of sense would find them so. )
    :)


  • riverflow said:

    @oceancaldera207 - I found the second passage in Red Pine, but still looking for the first one (the chapter divisions are different apparently). I should get them copied tomorrow, once I find the first passage.

    Thanks much! That book was in my amazon cart forever, I should have just gotten it. I'd loove to amalgamate the two for personal use, although i respect red pine a lot, and it probably would be pretty unnecessary.
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