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Sunday, 25 February, 2024

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Buddhism Yogacara

 

Buddhism Yogacara

An Insight into Consciousness-Based Philosophy

Introduction

Yogacara Buddhism, often referred to as the "Mind-Only" or "Consciousness-Only" school, is a profound and influential branch of Mahayana Buddhism. Emerging in India during the 4th century CE, it remains one of the most sophisticated attempts within Buddhism to understand the nature of consciousness and reality.

Origins

Yogacara was founded by two brothers, Asanga and Vasubandhu, who were driven by the objective of comprehending the nature of existence and experience. The term 'Yogacara' translates to 'practice of yoga' or 'yoga practitioner', reflecting the school's emphasis on meditation and mindfulness as pathways to enlightenment.

Core Tenets

Yogacara Buddhism posits that our understanding of reality is fundamentally shaped by our mind and that external objects do not exist independently of our perception. This notion is encapsulated in the concept of "vijnapti-matra", often translated as "consciousness-only" or "representation-only". According to this idea, what we perceive as 'reality' is merely a projection of our own consciousness.

Three Natures

Yogacara describes reality through 'Three Natures' or 'Three Modes of Existence':

1. Parikalpita (Imagined nature): This represents the world as we normally perceive it, filled with distinct and independent objects. Yogacara maintains that this level of reality is a product of our imagination, based on the mistaken belief in the inherent existence of objects and self.

2. Paratantra (Dependent nature): This is the dependent or causal nature of phenomena, acknowledging that our experiences are not random but arise due to specific causes and conditions.

3. Parinishpanna (Absolute nature): The absolute or ultimate nature of reality, experienced when one realizes the interdependent and mind-only nature of existence. It represents the world as it is when not filtered through our conceptual constructs.

Eight Consciousnesses

Central to Yogacara is the model of 'Eight Consciousnesses', a comprehensive explanation of how human consciousness operates:

1. The Five Sense Consciousnesses: These correspond to our five senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell.

2. The Mind (Manovijnana): This is the coordinating consciousness that processes and interprets sensory information.

3. The Defiled Mental Consciousness (Manas): This consciousness gives rise to the sense of "I" and "mine", it is the root of self-attachment and delusion.

4. Storehouse Consciousness (Alayavijnana): This serves as a repository for all potential energy and information, including our karmic seeds. It is this consciousness that continues from one life to the next in the process of rebirth.

Influence and Legacy

Yogacara's insights have had widespread influence, not only within Buddhism but also in various fields such as psychology, cognitive science, and philosophy. Within Buddhism, Yogacara concepts have been integrated into many Mahayana traditions, including Tibetan Buddhism and East Asian Buddhism.

Conclusion

Yogacara Buddhism provides a unique perspective on consciousness and reality. Its teachings invite us to question our habitual perceptions of the world and understand the profound role our minds play in constructing our experiences. By doing so, Yogacara offers a path to liberate ourselves from delusion and suffering, leading us towards enlightenment.

While the complex metaphysical and psychological systems of Yogacara can be challenging to comprehend, their essence lies in the practical application—mindfulness and meditation. As we navigate our contemporary world, the wisdom of Yogacara remains relevant, reminding us to examine our perceptions, cultivate awareness, and realize the interconnected nature of all phenomena.

THE "IDEALIST" THEORY OF REALITY

Preamble

Tathata

Citta

Dhyana

Paravritashraya

Preamble

The Yogakara Teaching is a "continuation" and an "extension" or "deepening" of the Sunyata Teaching. (at least in the view of the followers of the Teaching): The Only Reality is Sunyata, all is Sunyata, all are transitory phenomena. Even Sunyata is Sunyata, Emptiness. The only Stable Support (Asraya) is the One who experiences them, who "perceives" all these. Thus, the Ultimate Reality, Sunyata) Is Essentially Identified with Vijnana.

Jnana means Pure Knowledge, non-dual knowledge, pure perception. Vijnana is 'discerning perception'. In Yogacara when the term Vijnana is used it simply implies Jnana. When used with some aggressive designation it implies Vijnana as "discerning perception" (Alaya vijnana), or "objectifying perception with separateness " (Manas, Manovijnana, Visaya-Vijnana or vijnana of the senses).

(The root jna - means " to know "

Prajna means spontaneous, unhindered and untouched (by processing) knowledge, the primary experience of knowledge, an emergence beyond processed knowledge, into a higher knowledge, a higher awareness.

Jna -na is the Higher Unadulterated Knowledge, the True Knowledge, the "transcendence" of vi - jna -na.

Vi - jna - to be the discerning rational knowledge.

A- jna -to be non-knowledge).

Tathata

TATHATA (As It Is, So It Is) is the One Reality. Tathata is absence of all perception, without any determination, without differentiation, empty of everything, it is Sunyata (Emptiness). Tathata Exists by Itself, Alone. Tathata is based in Himself, in His Absolute Nature. It is the Real, That, which Exists Thus.

Tathata is the Supreme Jnana, Pure Knowledge, Enlightenment.

Tathata is Nirvana, the completion of 'being'.

As in all Buddhism, "Ontology", Epistemology, Ethics, are identical. Thus, Tathata has both "Ontological" and Epistemological and Ethical Character, it is Tathata and Vijnana and Nirvana at the same time, it is all three.

There is no perception that there is anything different, outside:

Whatever is perceived whatever 'appears' is Cittamatra (Mind Alone).

Within the Absolute - Vijnana - Citta all consciousness and "material" phenomena appear. (Vijnanakaya or Cittakalapa , or Ayatana , "worlds").

Citta

All that exists and all that can exist is only Citta (Cittamatra – Only Mind) or Vijnana. When the Chitta or Vijnana is Activated, a different quality of energy called " Vijnana " (consciousness, mental flow) appears and from which arises the world of phenomena.

So, what appears (vijnana, consciousness) is actions, processes, phenomena, arising spontaneously within the Citta and again disappearing within It, (Citamatra Lokam – the world is only Mind). In this case the Citta is called Alaya Vijnana. (The Mental Activity which produces everything, the Transatomic Consciousness which contains the seeds of all possible forms – the equivalent of Calculus). All this is vijnana. They have no self-existence, a reality of their own (svabhava). The ultimate essence of all these vijnana (perceptions, sensations, phenomena) is vasana, that is, the crystallized memory that keeps them in existence There is no external, self-existent world. The ceaseless succession of perceptions (phenomena), creates the impression of an "objective world". All this apparent life is subject to the law of karma.

There are various kinds of Vijnana (discerning consciousnesses). It must be understood that all these " Vijnanas " described are not distinct categories of Vijanas but several phases of the cosmic evolution of the One Vijnana. Vijnana has Objective Character, Subjective Character, Limited Subject Character, Special Personality Character, etc.

Vijnana in detail (the Variations of Vijnana, the "Vijnan "):

1) Cittamatra: (Tathagata, Tathagata-Garba): Has an Objective Character:

Prabada Alaya Vijnana (Unceasing) or Paramalaya Vijnana or Viviktadharma (Oneness, Absolute Reality).

2) Citta: It has a Subjective Character; It is the Great Subject, the Objective Subject, without particularly subjective elements:

Laxana Alaya Vijnana (Manifest) or Vijnaptir Alaya Vijnana or Hetuka Vijnana (subject to causation): The all-encompassing consciousness, the inner intelligence, which has three gradations, in which:

a) there is no underlying object (empty consciousness),

b) underlying object identify (global consciousness),

c) subject, object, are separated (omnipresent consciousness).

3) Citta:

Manas: Individuality (Consciousness of Self), Higher Self, Pure Ego (not empirical personality).

Manas has a "Double Side". When it does not relate to the "objective world" or withdraws from the "objective world" it is non-Local and does not differ in essence from the Objective Subject, from the lower form of Alaya Vijnana (omnipresent consciousness). When it turns towards the "objective world" it acquires Local Character within a secular environment. In its Physical State it is a Non-Dual Subject, a Non-Dual Consciousness that in its Awareness Embraces everything. It has the Character of the Non-Dual Ego (Ego, discriminating and classifying activity – mentality having an internal function with object in the world of forms and an external activity in the world of forms). It is the Enlightened-I. It does not have the character of a special personality.

4) Manovijnana: It has the character of the limited particular ego, the binary-ego which functions as a separate subject within an objective world and feels all objects "opposite". It is the special special personality.

Manovijnana is still the unification of the five senses, the sixth sense – the equivalent of Perception. It is the Experiential Personality.

Manovijnana is Intellect (Alambana - representational perception and Visaya - external perception): Three varieties: (intellect, intellect, external perception).

5) Five Visaya-Vijnanas or Pravrittis Vijnana, (Vijnana of the Senses).

6) Visaya (objective world, material world).

Dhyana

Citta or Vijnana is the One Reality. Either in Fundamental, Unmodified Stillness, Empty of all perception (Prabada), or in energy, like Lakshana Alaya Vijnana, then all phenomena appear (Variations of Alaya, Manas, Manovijana, Visaya Vijnanas, Visayas), there is no difference. There is no reality outside of the Citta. Either there is recognition of the Reality of the Citta, or there is not. Absorption in phenomena is not reality, it is a dream. Therefore, since the Citta is the One Reality, there is no falling into another reality, no evolution, no redemption, nothing. Simply, either there is recognition of the reality of the Citta, or not. When the Reality of the Citta is not recognized, phenomena are left to operate according to their own laws. But all this is a dream situation.

Citta or Vijnana is the One Reality. All that Appears as "Creation" is "Contents" of Citta or Vijnana, the Great Subject, is Mental in Nature. And the Small Subjects (Mother), and the "objective phenomena". The "difference" between the Great Subject (citta or Vijnana) and the small subjects (Manas) is that the Vijnana Understands all phenomena more correctly while the manas see the phenomena in a distorted way.

So since "Creation", the "Experience of the World", has a "subjective character", is of a mental texture, it becomes clear that it depends entirely on the "Subject" how he will see Reality, it does not depend on the perception or not of an object or from some real object, there is no such thing.

Consequently, the deeper meaning of Dhyana also changes character. In "Realistic" Theravada, all processes of "existence" must be exhausted in order to naturally reach Nirvana. In "Dialectical" Sunyavada we must realize the "Emptiness" of all experiences, all phenomena. In "Idealistic" Jnanavada we have to understand that it is entirely up to us (from the Subjective Existential Basis) whether we continue to " give up" the "Creation" and "dream" of an individual, limited life or whether we "give it up":

1) Certainly, as long as we are absorbed in the external "objective" life we have no hope of progress. For this, in principle, the external discipline of a righteous life is required.

2) The correct understanding and use of the "senses", is the basis for a real release from the fantasy world.

3) The "Discreet" Observation of Manovijana, the external intellect, comes next. Rejecting beliefs, prejudices, "knowledge" and "experiences" is to some extent easy because all of these are immediately recognizable as "conditional lies". There is no delay here. The dialectical intellect which is supposed to be able to as "thought", "contemplation", "philosophy", can mislead some as a process of finding or revealing the truth. But anyway "thought" is a closed system that cannot lead beyond its own right. Truth lies outside of 'thought. Even looking at things objectively is not enough as long as even a trace of "I" remains. The physical exhaustion of ego-viewing can actually "lead" to transcendence into Manas, the Non-Dual Consciousness that in its Awareness includes everything.

4) Manas marks the essential passage beyond the lower worlds, the "liberation" from reincarnation in the lower worlds. Because, in fact, it constitutes Non-Dual Consciousness it sees the world and acts in the world without getting "involved" (and thus does not create karma or leave residue). When the karma of the present life is exhausted the mere "being" does not return to the lower worlds.

As an "experience" the Manas because all "personal" mental content has been exhausted is like the one-dimensional point which always escapes when you try to grasp it. When he turns to the world he works without personal nuances. When he "remains" in his awareness, in his understanding he is in a free blissful state (which is not, however, fixed or permanent). When he "leaves" the world he is essentially (emerges in) Alaya Vijnana in its lowest state as 'omnipresent consciousness'.

So essentially Manas is an Intermediate State between the Higher States (worlds) of Alaya Vijnana and the lower worlds of reincarnation. It is a Gate, to "Above" or to "Below". As a Status, because it is Timeless it can last forever but it has no meaning when the Infinite Worlds of Alaia Open to its perspective Vijnana.

5) The Experiences of Alaya Vijnana actually constitute the passage from the "Split" of the Subject into Subject-Object to the Complete Unification of the Subject within its Real Essential Nature, its Limitless Oneness. It is the State of True Sunyata the Complete Emptiness of the Subject.

When the Subject Reaches This Unbounded State, It Finally Metamorphoses into its Objective Nature, It "Ceases" to Be a Subject. It is the Ultimate State of Agni Alaya Vijnana before 'Becoming' 'That', 'That Which Is Thus', Tathata.

6) The Tathata

Ultimately, the One Substantial Reality Is Tathata. The All, the Support of All. Any "consciousness" is without entity. Experiences, life, etc., are dreamlike. There is no individuality, no samsara, no redemption, nothing, everything is dreamlike.

Paravritashraya

What does Paravritashraya mean:

Bhritti is 'mental content', mental fluctuation, thought.

Para means "beyond", above.

Asraya means Base, Foundation

Paravrittiasrajya means:

"Beyond Thought Foundation", means "Beyond Mind".

"Elimination of mental activities and return to Subjective Base", or "Return to Base", or "Return to Back" or "Return to Original Nature".

It means a total spiritual conversion.

The Truly Experienced Yogacara Dhyana, who Rightly Understands the Teaching, does not need to walk this gradual approach to the Inner Self. One who is truly determined can immediately discard all the Vijnana processes and emerge directly into the Absolute. This is the "Direct Way". But such people who can "apply" the "Direct Path" are rare. So, most people necessarily follow the Path of gradual approach.

...

Ελληνικά:

Βουδισμός Γιογκακάρα

https://www.wholeness.gr/2022/05/blog-post.html 

 

 


 


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Our Prayer

The Path Within

 

O Cosmos, we stand at the precipice of the Absolute, gazing into the void of the Unknown. We search for a way to transcend the bounds of thought and ego, to experience the essence of our deepest being.

The Buddha, the Masters of the East Upanishads, Orpheus, Jesus – all these wise beings have pointed us towards the Path. But it is not a path that is external, not a journey that can be traversed by the feet. It is a path that lies within, a journey that must be undertaken by the heart and the mind.

We must let go of the external orientations that nurture and educate us, that direct us towards other goals. We must look inward, to the stillness and silence that resides within. We must listen to the whispers of our soul, to the voice that speaks of the Absolute.

Krishnamurti and other modern Sages have shown us that it is possible to experience the Absolute, to transcend the limitations of thought and ego. They have shown us that it is not a mystery, not a miracle, but a possibility that lies within our human nature.

So let us embark on this journey, this Path that few follow. Let us let go of the burdens that weigh us down, the attachments that bind us. Let us embrace the unknown, the uncertainty, the chaos that lies within.

For in the depths of the Absolute, we will find the stillness and peace that we seek. We will find the answers to the questions that have plagued us for centuries. We will find the Truth that lies within.

Let us be brave, let us be bold, let us be fearless. Let us take the step into the void, into the unknown. For it is there that we will find the Absolute, the essence of our being. It is there that we will find our true nature, our true self.

May we be guided on this journey by the wise words of the Sages, by the light of the Absolute that shines within us. May we find the strength and courage to let go of the old, to embrace the new. May we find the peace and stillness that we seek, the Truth that lies within.

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Glimpses of the Absolute

 

Within each of us lies the potential to transcend the limitations of ordinary mind and experience a deeper reality - what some traditions call the Absolute, the Ground of Being, or God. While this state of unity or peak experience has often been considered the domain solely of mystics and saints, the truth is that the capacity dwells dormant in every human soul. It is our essential nature, awaiting discovery through disciplined inner work.

All genuine spiritual paths point to the same destination, though using different languages and methods. At their core, they offer a process of liberation from identification with separate ego and gradual awakening to our intrinsic divine essence. This involves cultivating noble virtues, practicing presence of mind through meditation, and cultivating wisdom through inquiry into the nature of reality and self.

Over time, such disciplines help peel away layers of superficial conditioning to reveal our true blissful and peaceful self - one with the fundamental pure consciousness that underlies all forms. In that state of inward stillness and clarity, the usual boundaries between subject and object fall away. One perceives directly that all is contained within the one infinite life and knows directly one's identity with the eternal. Though ineffable, this realization brings transcendent peace, love, creativity and compassion.

While glimpses of the Absolute may come through grace to anyone at any time, consistent experience depends on committed effort. The seeker must firmly resolve to strip away all that obscures their true nature like the proverbial onion, layer by layer. With patient practice of presence and purification, the trappings of small self dissolve, and one may abide as peaceful, blissful awareness itself - fully awake in every moment to life's deepest meaning. Then daily living becomes worship, and ordinary reality is transfigured by love, joy, wisdom and service. This is the fruit of following the perennial path with heart and will - a taste of our shared spiritual potential.

 

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Quotes

Constantinos’s quotes


"A "Soul" that out of ignorance keeps making mistakes is like a wounded bird with helpless wings that cannot fly high in the sky."— Constantinos Prokopiou

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...

CHAPTER III

 

QUIETING PEOPLE

Neglecting to praise the worthy deters people from emulating them; just as not prizing rare treasures deters a man from becoming a thief; or ignoring the things which awaken desire keeps the heart at rest.

Therefore, the wise ruler does not suggest unnecessary things, but seeks to satisfy the minds of his people. He seeks to allay appetites but strengthen bones. He ever tries by keeping people in ignorance to keep them satisfied and those who have knowledge he restrains from evil. If he, himself, practices restraint then everything is in quietness.

...

Quieting People

Neglecting to praise the worthy:

Neglecting to acknowledge and praise individuals who deserve recognition can discourage others from emulating their positive qualities.

Just as not appreciating rare treasures deters a person from engaging in theft, the absence of recognition can hinder the development of desirable traits in others.

By recognizing and praising the worthy, we can inspire others to strive for excellence.

Ignoring the things that awaken desire:

When we disregard or ignore the things that evoke desire, we can maintain a sense of contentment and inner peace.

By not constantly seeking external stimuli, we can cultivate a state of tranquility within ourselves.

This approach allows us to find satisfaction in what we already have, rather than constantly chasing after new desires.

The wise ruler's approach:

A wise ruler understands the importance of satisfying the minds of the people they govern.

They do not unnecessarily burden their subjects with irrelevant information or demands.

Instead, they focus on allaying appetites and reinforcing the overall well-being of their people.

The wise ruler restrains those with knowledge from engaging in harmful actions and promotes a culture of restraint and tranquility.

The benefits of quietness:

When individuals practice restraint and embrace a state of quietness, harmony and peace prevail.

By prioritizing calmness and self-control, both on an individual and societal level, conflicts can be minimized.

The pursuit of quietness allows for personal growth, contentment, and a more harmonious coexistence.

Embracing quietness

Quieting people involves recognizing the worthy, ignoring unnecessary desires, and fostering a state of tranquility. The wise ruler seeks to satisfy the minds of their people by allaying appetites and promoting restraint. By embracing quietness, individuals can experience personal growth and contribute to a more peaceful society. Remember to appreciate the positive qualities in others, find contentment in the present, and practice self-restraint for a harmonious existence.

 

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Δικαιώματα πνευματικής ιδιοκτησίας

Το σύνολο του περιεχομένου του Δικτυακού μας τόπου, συμπεριλαμβανομένων, ενδεικτικά αλλά όχι περιοριστικά, των κειμένων, ειδήσεων, γραφικών, φωτογραφιών, σχεδιαγραμμάτων, απεικονίσεων, παρεχόμενων υπηρεσιών και γενικά κάθε είδους αρχείων, αποτελεί αντικείμενο πνευματικής ιδιοκτησίας (copyright) και διέπεται από τις εθνικές και διεθνείς διατάξεις περί Πνευματικής Ιδιοκτησίας, με εξαίρεση τα ρητώς αναγνωρισμένα δικαιώματα τρίτων.

Συνεπώς, απαγορεύεται ρητά η αναπαραγωγή, αναδημοσίευση, αντιγραφή, αποθήκευση, πώληση, μετάδοση, διανομή, έκδοση, εκτέλεση, «λήψη» (download), μετάφραση, τροποποίηση με οποιονδήποτε τρόπο, τμηματικά η περιληπτικά χωρίς τη ρητή προηγούμενη έγγραφη συναίνεση του Ιδρύματος. Γίνεται γνωστό ότι σε περίπτωση κατά την οποία το Ίδρυμα συναινέσει, ο αιτών υποχρεούται για την ρητή παραπομπή μέσω συνδέσμων (hyperlinks) στο σχετικό περιεχόμενο του Δικτυακού τόπου του Ιδρύματος. Η υποχρέωση αυτή του αιτούντος υφίσταται ακόμα και αν δεν αναγραφεί ρητά στην έγγραφη συναίνεση του Ιδρύματος.

Κατ’ εξαίρεση, επιτρέπεται η μεμονωμένη αποθήκευση και αντιγραφή τμημάτων του περιεχομένου σε απλό προσωπικό υπολογιστή για αυστηρά προσωπική χρήση (ιδιωτική μελέτη ή έρευνα, εκπαιδευτικούς σκοπούς), χωρίς πρόθεση εμπορικής ή άλλης εκμετάλλευσης και πάντα υπό την προϋπόθεση της αναγραφής της πηγής προέλευσής του, χωρίς αυτό να σημαίνει καθ’ οιονδήποτε τρόπο παραχώρηση δικαιωμάτων πνευματικής ιδιοκτησίας.

Επίσης, επιτρέπεται η αναδημοσίευση υλικού για λόγους προβολής των γεγονότων και δραστηριοτήτων του Ιδρύματος, με την προϋπόθεση ότι θα αναφέρεται η πηγή και δεν θα θίγονται δικαιώματα πνευματικής ιδιοκτησίας, δεν θα τροποποιούνται, αλλοιώνονται ή διαγράφονται εμπορικά σήματα.

Ό,τι άλλο περιλαμβάνεται στις ηλεκτρονικές σελίδες του Δικτυακού μας τόπου και αποτελεί κατοχυρωμένα σήματα και προϊόντα πνευματικής ιδιοκτησίας τρίτων ανάγεται στη δική τους σφαίρα ευθύνης και ουδόλως έχει να κάνει με τον Δικτυακό τόπο του Ιδρύματος.

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