• Hi guys, I was reading an interview with John Peacock and there is something interesting about Anatta, Alaya, Rigpa:
    "It’s about the radically contingent nature of everything that leaves us with nothing left to grasp onto. Dependent Origination, in its universal form and in its sense of human becoming, is unique to world thought and utterly undermining of every other system of thought. It is so challenging, in fact, that both in early India and in current Buddhist teaching, few are able—or willing—to get it totally.
    Can you say more about this?
    Some of the movements and trends we see in Western Buddhism actually are akin to what was going on in the ancient period—a reification of some element of thought or experience. First there was an attempt to treat the notion of a person, a puggala, as somehow privileged metaphysically, much like with the modern psychological self. Even after Nāgārjuna reiterated the absolute emptiness of any thing, very soon after we begin to hear that “everything is empty except for one thing,” the mind. A whole metaphysics of the mind springs up, first around a storehouse consciousness (alaya), and then around a primordial or perfected consciousness (rigpa). These ideas of course resonate easily with both Judeo-Christian, Romantic era, and New Age notions in the Western tradition and thus have great popular appeal in modern Dharma teaching.
    Even if these ideas came initially as a report on experience, which I believe many of them did, it shows a tendency of the human mind to grasp after something to hold onto and to solidify it. This is what is getting us today, “Just fall back on your awareness, just be aware of awareness itself.” When awareness is used as a noun like this, it ends up looking strangely like some Upanishadic Brahman.
    But the Buddha’s final words in the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta are “Everything is evanescent; strive on diligently.” He is encouraging us to be fearless in the face of radical contingency. He knows that we are going to go running away to the safest haven we can just as quickly as possible. In fact if we try to create a false haven for ourselves, we end up just dukkharing, creating more suffering for ourselves. I think that is the absolute radical nature of it—impermanence so profound and far reaching there cannot be any fixed notion of the self.".
    Full interview here:
    Back to the Source


  • André A. Pais
    The nature of mind is supposed to be beyond affirmation and denial. Being stuck on affirming it is as bad as being stuck on denying it.
    Impermanence is a relative teaching (ultimately, all are), because if there is no arising, abiding or ceasing, there can't be any "evanescence" either.
    (Even if there is no Evanescence, they still dropped a few good albums back in the days! 😎)

  • Bartek Nowacki
    There is no absolute point of view.

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  • Soh Wei Yu
    While many teachers and students may reify rigpa, rigpa is not reified in original dzogchen texts and teachings:
    A Letter to Almaas on Dzogchen and Longchenpa
    A Letter to Almaas on Dzogchen and Longchenpa
    A Letter to Almaas on Dzogchen and Longchenpa

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  • Soh Wei Yu
    The alaya of mahayana sutras is also not a reified entity.
    Thrangu rinpoche explains in his book “pointing out the dharmakaya”:
    “The Seventh and Eighth Consciousnesses
    Previously, we looked at the first six consciousnesses: the eye consciousness, ear consciousness, nose consciousness, tongue consciousness, tactile con- sciousness, and mental consciousness. Five of these, the consciousnesses of the five gates or five senses, are obviously intimately connected with the physi- cal body, as they rely upon particular organic supports in order to function. These experiences of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling are gen- erated in dependence upon the physical body. Even the sixth consciousness, which is, in a sense, less physically oriented, is still intimately connected with
    the body in the way we experience it.
    It is the seventh and eighth consciousnesses that we might take to be fun-
    damentally different from the body. The seventh consciousness is called the consciousness that is mental affliction; the eighth consciousness is called the alaya consciousness. The eighth consciousness, the alaya, is called that because it is itself the ground of consciousness. It is that mere cognitive lucid- ity which is the fundamental level of consciousness.
    Earlier, the terms “unstable consciousnesses” and “stable consciousnesses” were mentioned. Unstable means a consciousness that is generated when var- ious causes and conditions come together and subsequently vanishes when those causes and conditions are no longer present together. The first six con- sciousnesses are like that. The seventh and eighth are stable, which does not mean permanent, but means they are continuous. They never stop func- tioning.
    The eighth consciousness in particular, the alaya consciousness is subtle, not obvious; it never becomes more obvious, and it never simply disappears or ceases to function altogether. Nor is it permanent, because it is not the same consciousness that passes through time. For example, the alaya con- sciousness of last year, of last month, of yesterday, like the five conscious- nesses or six consciousnesses that were generated at those times, has ceased to exist. Nevertheless, the habits of those consciousnesses and the habits of the actions performed at those times have been retained in the continuity of the alaya; therefore, in each moment, the alaya consciousness retains those habits. Eventually the results of these karmas, these actions and habits, arise or emerge as form, much like the way that, at night, when we’re dreaming, the images and habits stored in the daytime emerge as dream images. What emerges from the alaya consciousness arises as both body and mind, the expe- rience of a body and the experience of a mind.
    The alaya consciousness retains the particular habits that are implanted through one’s actions and habituation throughout time, as well as the begin- ningless habit of ignorance. All of these habits that are stored in the alaya con- sciousness re-emerge from it in the form of various appearances. That is how the eighth consciousness functions, how it projects appearances.
    The seventh consciousness is called the consciousness which is mental affliction, or the afflicted consciousness; essentially, it is fixation on a self. The seventh consciousness is that faculty which fixates on the cognitive aspect of the alaya consciousness and mistakes it to be “I,” or a self. On the basis of mistakenly fixating upon that awareness aspect of the alaya consciousness as a “self,” it designates “others” as well. That’s why it’s called the consciousness which is mental affliction because this duality between self and other is the
    root of all mental affliction, or klesha. This is not the same as when we con- sciously think “I.” That happens on the level of the sixth consciousness. The seventh consciousness is stable, which is to say, it is constant; it is always there. Whether you recollect yourself or not, whether you think of yourself or not, there is a fixation on this imputed self that is always there, whether you’re eating, talking, in the midst of activity, no matter what you’re doing; and it never stops.
    The alaya consciousness arises as apprehended objects and an apprehend- ing subject. The seventh consciousness fixates on the appearance of the appre- hending subject as a self and, then, on the appearances of apprehended objects as other. In that way, through the action of these consciousnesses, the appearances of body and mind arise as distinct from one another, in the sense that the body appears as an apprehended object, while the mind appears as an apprehending subject. They’re distinct in appearing that way, but they’re not, in fact, different from one another, since they are merely two aspects of a single appearance that arises through the projection of the alaya conscious- ness. In that sense, as well, they are beyond being the same or different.”

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