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The ninth consciousness

edited March 2011 in Philosophy
1.International
The Nine Consciousnesses1
Buddhism defines nine layers of consciousness. This doctrine helps to explain how karma is stored and how it can be changed. The first five consciousnesses are the five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. The sixth level is the thinking mind which integrates the information we receive from these five senses. For instance, when you see a rose in blossom and smell its fragrance, your sixth sense integrates what you have seen and smelt to identify it as a rose.
The seventh consciousness is where we form judgements about what action to take. It corresponds to the thinking and aware self which discerns value. “Shall I pick this rose?” you think. “No, better not, it”s in someone else”s garden.” This seventh level is the area of motivation and intention, much of it subconscious.
The eighth (alaya) consciousness is the storehouse of our karma. Alaya literally means “accumulation”, as in the name Himalaya mountains which means “accumulation of snow”. All of our experiences are filtered through the initial seven layers of consciousness and stored in the eighth, which exists as an unconscious memory of all our previous actions and reactions. This in{luences our reactions at any given time, based on our past experiences, including those of previous lifetimes.
You may recognize repetitive pattems in your behaviour. You may find, for instance, that someone at work always makes you angry. Much as you reflect and determine that next time it happens you will rise above it, you find that you are stuck in the same pattem of behaviour. Or you may find that after having had an unhappy relationship, you get together with a new partner, but that soon the same problems start to occur in the new relationship. These kinds of behavioural pattems are all included in karma.
These patterns of behaviour are also perpetuated in family groups. People whose karma is similar are drawn together in families. For example, research
has shown that children who are abused are, in turn, more likely to abuse their own children. On the face of it, one would think that a person who has suffered abuse is the least likely person to abuse others. The doctrine of karma clarifies why it is that people behave in these repeating cycles.
Psychology recognizes the existence of conditioned responses such as are stored in the eighth consciousness and seeks to help people change these through understanding or self-awareness. Although it undoubtedly helps to understand our behaviour with our rational minds, our most deeply ingrained karma cannot be changed in this way, because the eighth consciousness lies deeper than the rational mind (seventh consciousness). Our thoughts are therefore constantly influenced by our karma.
In order to change karma fundamentally, we have to get beyond its inlluence into the realm of the ninth consciousness, which is pure and undefiled, free of karmic impurities. Nichiren Daishonin defined the ninth consciousness as Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the universal law of life. When we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we are expressing our Buddhahood. As we do this more and more. we become aware of those karmic tendencies which are restricting us. As our confidence grows, we feel able to challenge these tendencies and establish a new direction in our lives, based on our ever-emerging Buddhahood.
The Buddha discovered a mystic law which simultaneously contains cause and effect, and designated it as myoho-renge. The single law of myoho-renge is perfectly endowed with all phenomena in the universe. Therefore, those who practice this law simultaneously acquire the cause and effect of Buddhahood.
www.sgi-usa-southbaycc.org/study/Nine_Consciousnesses.pdf


2. Vajrasamadhi Sutra.


3. Buddhism on the other hand, enables people to change their karma by chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. The mantra, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo enables us to tap into the ninth consciousness, which enables us to change our destiny, because of the purification of the eight consciousness or alaya consciousness. Chanting Nam Myoho- Renge-Kyo is such a powerful tool for changing karma and revealing one's innate Buddhahood.

The first five levels of consciousness relates to our senses: sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste. The sixth consciousness is concerned with judgments pertaining to external matters and integrating all the sensory input of the first five consciousness. It is our seventh consciousness, which enables us to make value judgments, form ideas, imagine things, philosophize, to express our spiritual side of life. So while our sixth consciousness says, “ that this is a green bottle of Perrier.” It’s our seventh consciousness that enables us to discern, “ water is excellent and it is so important to replenish our fluids with eight glasses of water a day.” The eight consciousness- the alaya consciousness is the consciousness that we are so used to that we act on it on an unconsciousness level, it’s were our karmic tendencies lie. The karmic storehouse is the same as our memory, it is also the consciousness that records all our individual experiences through our thoughts, words, and deeds. Everything that happens in our life however minuscule, can not escape the reality of the eight consciousness.

The ninth consciousness is our Buddhahood and can only tapped by chanting NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO. The fundamental original and absolute consciousness which is universal, and without tapping the ninth consciousness our destiny is fixed in the eighth consciousness (ku). The ninth consciousness is free of all karmic impurity. When we chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo we tap into the pure cosmic life force. As a result, this powerful life force filters the other eight consciousness which purifies our lives which in turn purifies our environment. When we base our lives on the “ palace of the ninth consciousness”, we are able to make causes which are not ruled by our previous karmic tendencies.
www.examiner.com/buddhism-in.../why-nicheren-buddhism-works


4. The Nine Consciousnesses
International Official SGI site: http://www.sgi.org/english/Buddhism/more/more24.htm


























deep- fear of death, as well as the aggression and violence that spring from this fear. A wisdom arises which enables us to perceive the fundamental equality of all living beings and to deal with them on an unchanging basis of respect. It is this type of transformation and wisdom that is sorely required in our world today.

Comments

  • Deepak- Please use spacing between the paragraphs of your post. Maybe Cloud or one of the other moderators can help you edit it.

    Many of us are unable to read things that are so closely spaced. Thanks for your consideration.

    By the way, where is this quotation from?
  • taiyakitaiyaki Michigan Veteran
    so the point is to expand our consciousness so there is no more unconsciousness.
    i like how it's broken down into 9 consciousness but i feel it's important to mention that it's the same consciousness.

    it's nice that you mention that most people are stuck on their 8th consciousness, which i would call ego consciousness.

    thank you!
  • "The ninth consciousness is our Buddhahood and can only tapped by chanting NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO."

    Hmmm...
  • TalismanTalisman Veteran
    edited March 2011
    The sixth consciousness is more than just a combination of the 5 "gross" senses. It includes thoughts, ideas, and concepts, as well. The notions of "yes," "yellow," "home," etc. are all generaed within the realm of the sixth consciousness, which itself is made up of the sensor (mind,) the sensed (mind object,) and its correspondence with the function to discern (mind-consciousness.)

    Also, a person can chant any mantra as many times as they want, but attachment to RITUAL and SUPERSTITION will never bring about liberation and enlightenment.
  • edited March 2011
    I was just going to point out that Siddhartha Gautama spoke the dialect current in his area at the time, and it seems quite odd to me that he would teach that only the chanting of a specific ritual in Japanese would lead to the state that is claimed.
  • @SherabDorje

    Quite the conundrum indeed :wtf:
  • DhammaDhatuDhammaDhatu Veteran
    edited March 2011
    This doctrine helps to explain how karma is stored and how it can be changed.
    Consciousness is simply sense awareness. It is unrelated to karma, which is intention.

    Consciousness is simply seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling & mental cognition, that is all.
    Nichiren Daishonin defined the ninth consciousness as Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the universal law of life.
    Yes. This may be so but not the Buddha himself. The Buddha only defined six kinds of consciousness.

    The universal law of life is AN OBJECT OF CONSCIOUSNESS but not consciousness itself. Consciousness is simply sense awareness. It follows Nichiren Daishonin cannot be fully enlightened.

    To say the universal law of life is a consciousness or has mental characteristics is basically the same as invoking "God". For example, the Hebrews created a "God" that personified the laws of nature. To say the universal law of life is a consciousness or has mental characteristics is assert what the Hebrews asserted. It follows this is unrelated to Buddhism.

    With metta

    :)




  • DhammaDhatuDhammaDhatu Veteran
    edited March 2011
    The sixth consciousness is more than just a combination of the 5 "gross" senses.
    The sixth consciousness allows the mind to know its own creations (feelings, perceptions & thoughts), just as eye consciousness allows the mind to know a sight.

    The notions of "yes," "yellow," "home," etc. are not GENERATED within the realm of the sixth consciousness.

    The notions of "yes," "yellow," "home," etc. are GENERATED by perception or sanna khanda.

    The notions of "yes," "yellow," "home," etc. are simply KNOWN within the realm of the sixth consciousness.

    All the best

    :)



  • Thanks for clarifying, DD.
  • @Dhamma Dhatu

    How do you feel about the teachings expressed in the Tathagatagharba literature regarding the Citta, Manas, and Manovinjana? I found them quite insightful, and often a very powerful commentary and interpretation. Citta being the 6th Dhatu, Manas being the discriminating function for performing volition, and Manovinjana being the "storehouse," or the potentiality for the fruition of Karmic seeds.

  • The notions of "yes," "yellow," "home," etc. are GENERATED by perception or sanna khanda.

    The notions of "yes," "yellow," "home," etc. are simply KNOWN within the realm of the sixth consciousness.
    Thanks for the correction, I'll look further into the material regarding this.
  • it's nice that you mention that most people are stuck on their 8th consciousness, which i would call ego consciousness.
    Sure, i get what you are saying, Taiyaki

    But ego is an object of consciousness. There is no "ego consciousness". There is consciousness of ego but not ego consciousness.

    But yes, people are so stuck on "ego" that they cannot even differentiate between consciousness & its objects.

    :)
  • Thanks for clarifying, DD.
    You're welcome

    :)
  • TalismanTalisman Veteran
    edited March 2011
    The sixth consciousness allows the mind to know its own creations (feelings, perceptions & thoughts), just as eye consciousness allows the mind to know a sight.
    I used the word "generates" improperly. You are correct in stating that the mind-consciousness does not generate the concepts that it "knows." What I was trying to express was that although the other 5 senses add to the development of the concepts, perceptions, and thoughts "known" by the mind-consciousness, they are not the only contributing factors.

    In your opinion, are the other 5 senses subordinate and contributing the nature of the mind sense, or do all 6 rest in differing, mutually dependent spheres of "knowing?" Like ... can sight be "known" without the pressence of "mind?" Or is the discerning function (consciousness) associated with sight, the actual "knowing" faculty?
  • DhammaDhatuDhammaDhatu Veteran
    edited March 2011
    How do you feel about the teachings expressed in the Tathagatagharba literature regarding the Citta, Manas, and Manovinjana? I found them quite insightful, and often a very powerful commentary and interpretation. Citta being the 6th Dhatu, Manas being the discriminating function for performing volition, and Manovinjana being the "storehouse," or the potentiality for the fruition of Karmic seeds.
    Hi Talisman

    I have little knowledge of Tathagatagharba literature.

    But if you are referring to the 8 kinds of consciousness, then the last two incorporate into consciousness the 'citta' and its objects.

    They can certainly be useful notions but, in a way, they do not accord with the suttas & may have their shortcomings, imo.

    The citta is the mind-heart. The citta is sankhara khanda. It is the CREATOR of defilements, cravings, intentions, thoughts, images, etc. The citta is the "storehouse" of latent tendencies (anusaya) & conditioned karmic tendencies.

    All of the creations & accumulations of the citta are KNOWN by consciousness.

    The Buddha has separated the citta, its creations and its associated consciousness rather than bundled them all in together.

    Why?

    Because part of liberation is being able to simply KNOW a mind object as simply a mind object. If the citta & its creations (i.e., mental objects) are considered to be "one" & inseparable from consciousness then there is no detachment or non-attachment from thoughts. There is not separation from thought.

    There is not the awareness of the spaciousness consciousness within which thoughts & other mental objects simply arise & pass.

    Kind regards

    :)
    Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself.
    "And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & clear comprehension? There is the case where feelings are known to the monk as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Perceptions are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & clear comprehension.

    On knowing a mind object with the mind, he is not passionate for it if it is pleasing; he is not angry at it if it is displeasing. He lives with attention to body established, with an immeasurable mind, and he understands realistically the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom wherein those evil unwholesome states cease without remainder. Having abandoned favouring and opposing, whatever feeling he feels - whether pleasant or painful or neither-pleasant-nor-painful - he does not delight in that feeling, welcome it, or remain holding to it. As he does not do so, delight in feelings ceases in him. From the cessation of his delight comes cessation of clinging; from the cessation of clinging, the cessation of becoming; from the cessation of becoming, the cessation of birth; from the cessation of birth, ageing-&-death sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair cease. Thus is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering.




  • DhammaDhatuDhammaDhatu Veteran
    edited March 2011
    What I was trying to express was that although the other 5 senses add to the development of the concepts, perceptions, and thoughts "known" by the mind-consciousness, they are not the only contributing factors.
    Yes. I realised that.
    In your opinion, are the other 5 senses subordinate and contributing the nature of the mind sense, or do all 6 rest in differing, mutually dependent spheres of "knowing?" Like ... can sight be "known" without the pressence of "mind?" Or is the discerning function (consciousness) associated with sight, the actual "knowing" faculty?
    Pretty tough questions there. I am not sure I can offer a conclusive answer or opinion.

    I can only speculate or theorise the Buddha deliberately asserted six kinds of consciousness, each dependent on their sense organ, in order to avoid asserting there is one consciousness (akin to a "soul").

    I can only speculate or theorise the Buddha deliberately asserted six kinds of consciousness to assert the impermanence of the various kinds of consciousness, as he did.

    But, in response to your question, all of the various mind-only meditations, up to the cessation of perception & feeling, still include the functioning of mind consiousness. So it is difficult, at least for me, to assert there is a state where mind consciousness ceases to function but the other consciousness continue to function.

    We can hypothesise at least two theories:

    (1) there are six different kinds of consciousness;

    (2) there is one consciousness that flows to whatever sense organ that is engaged.

    The Buddha seemed to tend towards the former whereas later Buddhist thought, including Classical Theravadva & Mahayana, have possibly tended towards the later.

    Myself, I do not know. As I said, my view is the Buddha avoided the notion of a "same" or "one" consciousness in favour if emphasising consciousness is DEPENDENT on causes & conditions for its arising, namely, the sense spheres.

    With metta

    :)





  • taiyakitaiyaki Michigan Veteran
    thank you DD! always nice to see your posts =]
  • TalismanTalisman Veteran
    edited March 2011
    ^^^
    Could it be that consciousness (specifically the function to discern) is not an over-arching phenomenon that "flows" to the individual sense sphere thus giving rise to the 18 Dhatus, but instead the pressence of the sense spheres both implies and necesitates the pressence of the function to discern (consciousness.)

    I think that this makes sense because consciousness is one the 5 aggregates, dependent upon the pressence of the other 4 aggregates including Form. Form, I believe, is the most important aggregate when discussing the pressence of the sense spheres, specifically the "sensors" ear, eye, nose, tongue, skin and muscle, and brain. In this sense, the illusory "self" arises with the co-dependent factors of both the function to discern (consciousness) and form. So instead of a "chicken or egg" analogy, neither phenomena can be viewed as preceding the other.

    In this way, for the purpose of concentration and meditating upon the different arisen marks and signs perceieved by the Dhatus, there are indeed 6 senses, but the actual discerning function is a shared phenomena. Not to say that this discerning function (consciousness) is an actual entity in and of itself.

    It is like saying that the candle burns with fire and the oil burns with fire as well. The fire is neither the same nor different, as the function it serves is equal but the fuels by which it burns can be indivually distinquished.
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