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The Sanskrit ‘ahaMkAra’ is a compound of two elements.
One is ‘aham’ meaning ‘I’. And the other is ‘kAra’, which
means ‘doing’ or ‘acting’ (from the root ‘kRR^i’, meaning to
‘do’ or to ‘act’).

 

 

HOME

THREE TYPES OF ALAYA

 

(Glimpses of Alaya: the Full Version)

 

A Discussion with Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa
Rinpoche and the Translation Committee

 

The character and style of translation meetings with the
Vidyadhara were often fairly straightforward and
businesslike. There was a job at hand, translating a dharma
text, usually from Tibetan into English. So we all followed
our teacher’s lead and generally stayed on task, unless
of course he leaned out into the wind a bit, which sometimes
resulted in a gem of a conversation like the following. In
the midst of digitizing and archiving our tapes of previous
translation meetings with the Vidyadhara, Tingdzin Ö
tro rediscovered this jewel, and we are happy to present it
to you.

 

The following discussion took place during a translation
meeting on The Rain of Wisdom at the 1979 Vajradhatu
Seminary. Present at the meeting were the Vidyadhara (VCTR),
Robin Kornman (RK), Jud Levinson (JL), Larry Mermelstein
(LM), John Rockwell (JR), and Scott Wellenbach (SW). A
shorter condensed version appears as “Glimpses of Alaya
(Condensed Version)” on our Translation Offerings
page.

 

In the Tibetan understanding of the yogachara school of
mahayana Buddhism, there are eight types of consciousness:
(1-5) five sense consciousnesses, (6) mental consciousness
(San. mano-vijnana; Tib. yi-kyi nampar shepa), (7) klesha
mind (San. klishtamanas; Tib. nyönmong pe yi-kyi nampar
shepa), and (8) “storehouse” consciousness (San.
alaya-vijnana; Tib. künshi nampar shepa). The hinayana
schools only recognize the first six. The eighth, often
simply referred to as the “alaya” (San.; Tib.
künshi; “ground of all”) is sometimes
confused with the ultimate alaya, which is the ground of all
phenomena, both of samsara and nirvana. The Vidyadhara
described the ultimate alaya and the split from it, which
resulted in ego and the eighth consciousness, like this:

 

This basic ground does not depend on relative situations
at all. It is natural being which just is. Energies appear
out of this basic ground and those energies are the source
of the development of relative situations. Sparks of
duality, intensity and sharpness, flashes of wisdom and
knowledge—all sorts of things come out of the basic
ground. So the basic ground is the source of confusion and
also the source of liberation. . . . The eighth
consciousness arises when the energy which flashes out of
the basic ground brings about a sort of blinding effect,
bewilderment. That bewilderment becomes the eighth
consciousness, the basic ground for ego. [Garuda IV: The
Foundations of Mindfulness p. 58. Also found in the
“Form” chapter in Glimpses of Abhidharma.]

 

In the following discussion, in addition to the alaya of
the eighth consciousness and the alaya of the basic ground,
there appears a third type of alaya, whose nature is
self-aware and luminous (Tib. rang rik rang sel).

 

JL: In the text, there are images of a dancer, a
magician, and a stage.

 

VCTR: Alaya is like a dancer, and yi (Tib.; San. manas;
“mind”) is like a magician with the dancer. Then
[inaudible] is put together with namshe (Tib.
“consciousness”), the stage.

 

JL: I do not understand why the alaya is like a
dancer.

 

VCTR: It is not alaya. It is chitta, which seems to
include more than alaya.

 

RK: How can you say that alaya is active like a
dancer?

 

VCTR: You cannot quite. It is chitta. What is the
Sanskrit word for sem (Tib. “mind”)?

 

SW: Chitta.

 

VCTR: Yes, that is better.

 

JL: In Garuda IV, you said that the alaya is basically
sem.

 

VCTR: Sem is what comes out of alaya. Sem is defined as
“that which minds an object.” Alaya is the
background, and sem is what creates the split. Then out of
that comes the yi, which is like drawing in. Yi is almost
like a receiver. Sem is like an arm stretching out, which
then brings back yi. Then the sixth consciousness, which can
be referred to as the fifth skandha, edits the whole thing.
Then it becomes presentable to rikpa (Tib.
“awareness”).

 

JL: What is rikpa here?

 

VCTR: Rikpa is discriminating awareness.

 

RK: Is rikpa one of the eight consciousnesses?

 

VCTR: No.

 

RK: Does the seventh consciousness reach into the alaya
in order to find an object? In other words, where does it
get its objects, such as apples and pears?

 

VCTR: Those are probably recognized as objects by the
seventh consciousness.

 

RK: Does the yogachara school say that this glass exists
in any sense? Or is it just something that arose as my
perceptions out of the alaya?

 

VCTR: It gets complicated, because you have crude
kündzop (Tib.; San. samvriti; “relative”
reality), which exists without your mind. Then the concept
of “glass” actually makes a glass a glass.

 

RK: Does crude kündzop exist without my mind?

 

VCTR: Yes, from the yogacharin point of view. But the
glass would not survive as a glass unless you perceive it.
The seventh consciousness reaches out and makes it into a
glass.

 

RK: How does the seventh consciousness use the alaya to
make it into a glass?

 

VCTR: The alaya is the quality of light that exposes
things, like sunshine.

 

RK: How would a bija (San.; karmic “seed”) and
the vasanas (San.; Tib. bakchak; “habitual
pattern”) in the alaya participate in my turning this
into a glass? Are both the bijas and habitual patterns in
the alaya?

 

VCTR: No, the vasanas are not there. Generally, there are
different types of alaya: a lower level, or storehouse
consciousness, and a higher level, which is basic
brilliantness.

 

JL: Is that what is referred to in Atisha’s slogan,
“Rest in the nature of alaya”?

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

JL: It is pure tathagatagarbha.

 

VCTR: So to speak.

 

RK: Would we call the lower alaya the unconciousness of
an ego?

 

VCTR: It contains a lot of stories and habitual
patterns.

 

RK: The seventh consciousness takes crude kündzop
and uses bijas and habitual patterns . . .

 

VCTR: As a reference point, as a comparison.

 

RK: It presents it to the sixth consciousness?

 

VCTR: Yes. Then comes the sixth consciousness, which
edits.

 

JR: Is the seventh consciousness mainly a sense of
fixation?

 

VCTR: It is what reaches out.

 

SW: Is crude kündzop actually a part of the lower
level of alaya?

 

VCTR: No, crude kündzop is just what it is. However,
the vajrayana would say that there is no such thing as crude
kündzop. It would say that everything is dharmata, or
something like that.

 

JL: Would that be closer to the vajrayana understanding
of what the brilliance of alaya is?

 

VCTR: Yes, prabhasvara (San.; Tib. ösel;
“luminosity”). That is why you can bless the
world, because every k ü ndzop is an expression of
dharmata.

 

RK: Blessing is just acknowledging what it really is.

 

SW: It is sacred outlook.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

JL: If the higher level of alaya is brilliance, is there
also a dharmakaya level of alaya? Is there a formless purity
before it becomes luminous?

 

VCTR: Yes. According to vajrayana, there is the dharmata
itself, which you return to at the moment of your death. It
is just dissolving. After the moment of death, there is the
bardo of dharmata, which goes beyond the alaya, even beyond
the brilliance. It is just a kind of
blankness—dead.

 

JL: The vajrayana seems to say that there are three types
of alaya: complete purity or dharmata, luminosity, and the
alaya that gives birth to grasping.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: Which of these is post-split, pre-split, and at the
split? For example, I take it that the lower alaya, which is
responsible for our ego, is not still.

 

VCTR: It is fickle.

 

RK: When we rest in alaya in our regular shamatha
practice, the only thing I find to rest in is still a kind
of vibrating. It is as if thoughts are being thrown out, and
I am bubbling and throwing them out. There is no sense of
complete peace, but there is a sense of being behind the
thoughts as they come out. Is that the lower alaya?

 

VCTR: It could be seeing the lower alaya, though
connected with the luminous aspect a little bit. If you are
in the state of fickleness, you cannot see it because you
are it. You begin to see it because you are beginning to be
a little steady; therefore you have a reference point. The
reason you see the fickleness might be because the luminous
aspect allows you to step back a little.

 

RK: So I am almost behind the lower alaya?

 

VCTR: You are beyond it a little bit.

 

JL: Is the point of coemergence in the luminous
alaya?

 

VCTR: No, the luminous alaya goes beyond that.
Coemergence occurs at the level of dharmata.

 

JL: It is completely pure.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: When things split into samsara and nirvana . . .

 

VCTR: That is what coemergence is. When you reach the
bardo of dharmata, you have a chance of either splitting
downward or not. That is where coemergent ignorance and
coemergent wisdom arise.

 

JR: Is that the sense of shying away from bright lights
and going toward the dull lights?

 

VCTR: No, that comes afterwards, after you wake up from
the bardo of dharmata.

 

RK: If you wake up from dharmata and go toward coemergent
ignorance, then you are presented with the lights.

 

VCTR: Yes. But that point is slightly hopeless, because
you are already in duality.

 

RK: But if you go in the direction of coemergent wisdom,
you are enlightened.

 

VCTR: You at least glimpse it.

 

LM: At every Seminary I have attended, we have had a
discussion about alaya. But in the past, there have been
only two: one that is a sense of very primordial egolike
consciousness and the other that is much more kosher. What
is the third one?

 

VCTR: Dharmata.

 

JL: So there is not even luminosity.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

JL: By the time the experience of luminosity takes place,
the split has already occurred.

 

VCTR: There are two kinds of luminosity: the luminosity
of coemergent wisdom and the luminosity of the basic
alaya.

 

JL: Does the luminosity of coemergent wisdom take place
at the level of dharmata?

 

VCTR: It takes place after the coemergence.

 

JL: After the split.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

JL: There is coemergent wisdom, which is luminous, and
coemergent ignorance, which is dull.

 

VCTR: You could still be light as you are coming down
from the lower alaya level.

 

JL: Within the prabhasvara, the luminosity-brilliance
level, there are two kinds of brilliance: coemergent-wisdom
brilliance and a coemergent-ignorance light that continues
down into the basic alaya.

 

VCTR: No. The separation takes place at the level of dull
dharmata.

 

RK: When you say “separation,” do you mean
coemergent wisdom?

 

VCTR: Or ignorance.

 

RK: Is the lower alaya post-split?

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: The lower alaya is on the side of samsara.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: Is the higher alaya also post-split?

 

VCTR: No, the higher alaya is neutral.

 

LM: Is that the alaya referred to in the slogan,
“Rest in the nature of alaya”?

 

VCTR: Mm-hmm.

 

LM: Which alaya did Khyentse Rinpoche refer to when he
said, “Begin by resting in the nature of alaya”?
Is it the level of dharmata?

 

VCTR: To teach ordinary beings, any higher or more
awakened form must be reached through the lower level of
alaya.

 

RK: That is what you told the Seminary to do: rest in the
lower alaya.

 

VCTR: Yes, because it is reachable.

 

JL: Would that be the neutral luminosity?

 

VCTR: It is not even neutral. It is just before any
thoughts arise, which is very ordinary. There is a gap.

 

LM: It is not very brilliant.

 

VCTR: It is not as brilliant. It is also called shepa
rang rik rang sel (“self-aware and self-luminous
knowing”).

 

RK: Because you are looking at yourself.

 

VCTR: It is called shepa rang rik rang sel. It is the
shepa (“knowing,” “consciousness,” or
“mind”).

 

RK: So it is still dualistic in some sense.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: Depending on what you mean by rang rik rang sel.

 

VCTR: In this ordinary rang rik rang sel, you
self-liberate consciousness only momentarily.

 

JL: That is what yogacharins call “self-luminous
mind.”

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: But that is just looking at yourself basically.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: Because that is what we do when we get to the lower
alaya.

 

VCTR: That is right, yes.

 

LM: What is the term for the higher alaya?

 

VCTR: It is “ultimate alaya” (Tib tön-gyi
künshi; don gyi kun gzhi) or “completely pure
(Tib. yangdak) ultimate alaya.”

 

LM: Does that mean it is more free from qualities?

 

VCTR: It is the place where the split has occurred.

 

LM: Is it the ultimate one, which is more like
dharmata?

 

VCTR: Out of that ultimate alaya, you could have a split.
Finally, ultimate alaya is the atmosphere where the split
can occur.

 

RK: When you have coemergent wisdom, there is a sacred
side and a samsaric side.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: Where does the sense of enlightenment or sacredness
come from? Is it sacred because it comes out of the ultimate
alaya?

 

VCTR: You could say that. Ultimate alaya at least holds
the potentialities of the whole thing. We could say that
samsara came out of some kind of freedom. That is the basic
logic why anyone can attain enlightenment.

 

RK: Is coemergence the fact that samsara came out of that
ground?

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: So only one thing comes out?

 

LM: Both things come out. For coemergence, two things
have to emerge.

 

VCTR: Yes, it depends on which ones merge (sic).

 

JL: Is that a vajrayana take on where tathagatagarbha
comes from, why everyone could become enlightened?

 

VCTR: The ultimate alaya is also found in the
mahayana.

 

LM: Can that be described?

 

VCTR: It is the nonthought level, into which the luminous
mind dissolves.

 

RK: The lower luminous mind dissolves into the nonthought
level?

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

LM: The lower luminous mind is . . .

 

VCTR: Definitely samsaric.

 

RK: And that is as samsaric as the lower alaya.

 

VCTR: Which is the third one, the alaya that stores
memories.

 

JL: That is what we call alaya in the conventional sense.
We have been mixing together the luminous alaya and the
completely pure alaya. Does the split come out of the
ultimate alaya?

 

VCTR: Yes, well. . . .

 

RK: The three alayas are shepa rang rik (Tib.
“self-aware knowing”), ö sel
(“luminosity”), and künshi nampar tok
(“alaya of conceptual thought”).

 

VCTR: Yes. The last one contains the habitual
patterns.

 

RK: Do we rest in the alaya of conceptual thought?

 

VCTR: No, we rest in the self-luminous self-aware
mind.

 

LM: Is the conceptual alaya not used in meditation
practice?

 

VCTR: It is more ignorant and discursive, so you cannot
work with it particularly. We are trying to take one step
back to the shepa rang rik rang sel.

 

RK: Is ultimate alaya at the dharmata level?

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: Which point is pre-coemergence—the ultimate
alaya?

 

VCTR: Yes. The split comes in the ultimate alaya. When
you split, you are already well on your way to samsara. Then
you have the experience of shepa rang rik rang sel.

 

RK: Coemergent wisdom is represented as one thing coming
up and then splitting into two. But here I do not see two
things. I just see a ground from which one thing comes.

 

VCTR: That is the idea. If any birth takes place, you
have to prepare yourself.

 

JL: And that declaration takes place in the ultimate
alaya?

 

RK: Is that when you decide to split?

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: In meditation, is our approach to identify with the
ultimate alaya?

 

VCTR: New practitioners try to meditate with the shepa
rang rik rang sel.

 

RK: When meditators practice coemergent wisdom, does the
sense of the ground make it coemergent wisdom instead of
coemergent ignorance?

 

VCTR: Yes. You try to tune yourself into the ultimate
alaya, and from there you try to flash.

 

RK: You flash on phenomena evolving?

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: You sort of drop back, and then you let things
happen.

 

JL: And you catch it right at that point, just before it
does anything.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: You drop back to the point before thought arises,
then you let the thought arise, but you flash on it as it
arises.

 

VCTR: Not quite. You just flash.

 

LM: It is like saturating yourself first, then you let go
of that.

 

VCTR: Yes. When you create pressure, then you can pop the
balloon.

 

JL: Are you popping the balloon of your thoughts?

 

VCTR: You are popping your alaya.

 

JR: Then quite anything could come out
[laughter].

 

SW: Does it come out as sacred?

 

VCTR: Absolutely, yes. You have sacred outlook.

 

RK: It is like you have a balloon full of water and a
swimming pool? You drop the balloon into the swimming pool
and then pop it.

 

LM: Or you swell up your balloon with whatever, then you
pop it by going out.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

LM: And what you pop into would be sacred, the ultimate
alaya.

 

VCTR: Then you could go a little beyond the ultimate
alaya.

 

JR: Does this relate to “First thought, best
thought”?

 

VCTR: Yes, very much so.

 

LM: Is that why we have some sense of schmooze about the
whole thing?

 

VCTR: Yes. There is a term called tangpo sang-gye (Tib.
“first buddha”), the zero buddha.

 

RK: When you rest in ultimate alaya, is there the same
schmoozy, bubbling sense that you have at the level of shepa
rang rik rang sel?

 

VCTR: It is more powerful because you are no longer
subject to any karmic bringing down.

 

LM: When you hold, it seems there is a sense of
condemnation of the lower two alayas.

 

VCTR: A little bit, depending on how you hold it.

 

RK: So it is like you hold it, pop it, and the drop into
ultimate alaya, or a little bit before.

 

VCTR: You hold it in the ultimate alaya. You pass beyond
the luminous mind, or lower level. You hold it in the
ultimate alaya, and then you pop it there.

 

LM: Then that is what you are left with.

 

VCTR: That is the level where you can actually transcend
the karmic force. Once you slowly go downward toward the
luminous mind, you are bound by karma. So you are helpless
in some sense. That is where the seventh consciousness comes
from. You have been forced.

 

JL: Once it is popped, you start coming back down again
in a sense. You expand back in through phenomena.

 

VCTR: Sometimes you just pop and then come back, because
you cannot sustain it. But if you pop it many times, you are
able to sustain it more. The idea is to flash as much as you
can so that you will finally be able to sustain it.

 

JL: Then you just dwell there.

 

VCTR: “Dwell” is not exactly the right
word.

 

JL: How would you describe it?

 

VCTR: There is some level of awake and space, I
suppose.

 

JL: No subject and no object.

 

VCTR: No. You come down from the dharmakaya level to the
sambhogakaya level.

 

LM: So are we talking about the dharmakaya principle?

 

VCTR: We are talking about the first buddha, which we
usually refer to as Samantabhadra and which is higher than
Vajradhara.

 

LM: So this is the dharmakaya of dharmakaya.

 

VCTR: Right, which is a very early stage, even beyond the
ultimate alaya.

 

RK: So the first buddha is beyond ultimate alaya.

 

LM: Would ultimate alaya have more sense of dharmakaya or
sambhogakaya?

 

VCTR: There is not very much there. It is just the
atmosphere where the split can occur, sort of a neutral
ground.

 

JL: So it is not particularly related to dharmakaya.

 

VCTR: No. It is not related to the kayas at all.

 

LM: It is not formed yet in any sense.

 

VCTR: No.

 

SW: It is like dharmadhatu?

 

VCTR: Dharmadhatu is beyond that. Dharmadhatu is before
the first buddha.

 

SW: And vajradhatu before that?

 

LM: Is that because, with vajradhatu and dharmadhatu, we
are talking about a very cosmic level, rather than any level
of mind?

 

VCTR: Yes. That is why we describe it with such terms as
trödrel (“simplicity”), gyurme
(“unchanging”) and soma (“fresh”).

 

RK: When you hold yourself back in the ultimate alaya, is
there a sense of holding your discursive thoughts still?

 

VCTR: You have to retreat back to the origin. So it is
holding discursive thoughts and also going beyond the
luminous aspect.

 

RK: So it is a very neutral feeling.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: You cannot possibly hold it, so you drop it.

 

VCTR: You pop it.

 

RK: And you do not entertain any doubts about this
process.

 

VCTR: That is why it is called the “fourth moment
beyond the three.” It is so minute. It is subtle and
vajra, like the middle of space.

 

RK: It is as unchanging as a vajra and as subtle as the
middle of space (probable reference to the fourth abhisheka
of the Chakrasamvara Sadhana).

 

JL: Therefore, it is outside of time.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

JL: Therefore, there is no karma.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

JL: So that is the vajrayana take on the twelve
nidanas.

 

VCTR: Yes, they do not exist.

 

RK: So there is no luminosity?

 

VCTR: There is the greater luminosity, which is
coemergent wisdom itself. That luminosity also contains
softness and so forth.

 

RK: Where does that greater luminosity come from?

 

VCTR: From the practitioner’s point of view, it
comes from the coemergent moment of fresh. You are thrown
into an entirely different space. There is also some sense
of comfort, which is known as mahasukha.

 

JL: When we talk about attaining mahamudra, it that what
we are talking about?

 

VCTR: Yes, that is the fourth moment.

 

RK: It is curious that in order to appreciate
coemergence, you have to be at a level after ultimate alaya.
Coemergence means that something has come into being.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: So it is as if you were in two places at once.

 

VCTR: No, not necessarily. When you were born, you were
born with two things: yourself and your placenta. Your
umbilical cord is cut and your placenta is cooked, or
whatever. You come out as separate. So you have coemergence
there.

 

LM: Since coemergence predates the luminous alaya . .
.

 

RK: The lower one.

 

LM: No, the middle one that we have been talking about,
the shepa rang rik.

 

VCTR: That is the lower one.

 

LM: Since coemergence comes before that, when we
experience the result or footprint of coemergence, could
that tie into the experience of that alaya? It comes after
you have already coemerged, but you notice it after the fact
to some extent. There is some dropping of fixation, but not
completely, since there is still samsaric kind of mind.

 

VCTR: Do you mean ordinary people’s
consciousness?

 

LM: Yes.

 

VCTR: You kind of poke your head up and it goes back,
because you are still pulled back by your karma.

 

RK: So you keep on poking your head up.

 

VCTR: That is right.

 

RK: The more pokes, the better.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: At the same time, it makes coemergent wisdom not the
highest wisdom.

 

VCTR: Coemergent wisdom of that kind, which contains
bliss, is the sambhogakaya level. That is why there is the
coemergent mother and coemergent heruka.

 

RK: So have you been talking about an ultimate
coemergence level?

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

LM: But that is even beyond the notion of wisdom.

 

VCTR: Yes. It is emptiness, the essence.

 

JL: So the first one is primordial purity (Tib.
kadak).

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

JL: That is Samantabhadra.

 

VCTR: Yes. But it is also the path, if the path is more
completion-oriented. Then there is more emphasis on the
seeing the coemergent beyond . . . [tape turned; some
words lost]

 

RK: Do you mean low in the sambhogakaya sense?

 

VCTR: Yes, the nirmanakaya.

 

RK: So that is a very relative situation.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: It has discursive thoughts and everything going
on.

 

VCTR: A little bit. That is probably not really
coemergent anyway.

 

JL: Now we are down to the notion of resting in the
nature of alaya?

 

VCTR: Yes, something like that.

 

RK: The sambhogakaya level of coemergence has mahasukha
in it.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: And that is coemergent out of the dharmakaya.

 

VCTR: And you rise into the sambhogakaya.

 

RK: What is the ground from which things coemerge?

 

VCTR: It is the same ground.

 

RK: So this is still the same coemergence that occurred,
but you are standing further down the road.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

LM: It your experience of it not as realized?

 

VCTR: You are brought down by this. You take off and come
back down, but not quite to the samsaric level.

 

JL: So bliss is some notion of conditionedness.

 

VCTR: Something like that.

 

RK: Is it karma?

 

VCTR: No, not karma at all.

 

JL: Not karma, but it is not pure anymore.

 

VCTR: It is the sambhogakaya level.

 

JL: So there are qualities.

 

VCTR: It is very helpful to have those, so that you can
speak to confused people in their own language. Sambhogakaya
is connected with the throat, speech, and compassion.

 

LM: The point is that we can approach this from either
perspective. We could go up to the sambhogakaya, or we could
go down. And that is the point of mahamudra transmission, to
go down to the sambhogakaya.

 

VCTR: You go up to pure kadak.

 

JL: Is the point of mahamudra to go up to kadak?

 

VCTR: No.

 

RK: You go down to sambhogakaya instead of going up to
kadak, because then you would just have emptiness and could
not do anything.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

JL: Does mahamudra come out of kadak if you are coming
down?

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: That sounds like mahamudra from a maha-ati
perspective.

 

VCTR: I would say that it is straight mahamudra.

 

RK: Would mahamudra say that mahasukha is still relative
in some sense?

 

VCTR: No, it is the seed of buddha activity.

 

RK: I am still confused. You talked about the union of
mahasukha and jnana. Is that . . . ?

 

VCTR: Jnana contains the mahasukha.

 

RK: Mahasukha and prajna?

 

VCTR: Mahasukha and emptiness.

 

RK: Is that still the sambhogakaya level?

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

JL: In some way, mahasukha is the highest experience,
because after that there would be nothing.

 

VCTR: There would be some kind of ati experience.

 

JL: But would there still be some kind of experience?

 

VCTR: No, not experience, but space, a different kind of
space.

 

RK: It is like one of those Chinese dolls.

 

VCTR: It is more like a soup.

 

JR: Nettle soup [laughter], one taste.

 

RK: But mahamudra talks about the dharmakaya level.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

RK: Does it talk about dharmakaya in terms of mahasukha,
or is it just emptiness?

 

VCTR: It is emptiness. . . .

 

LM: Isn’t the dharmakaya the third abhisheka? The
fourth is the svabhavikakaya.

 

VCTR: Yes.

 

LM: That is what it says right here (probable reference
to the Chakrasamvara Sadhana). I read it in the book.

 

RK: And you translated the book! [Laughter]

 

 

 

 

 

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spiritual life is threatening. Spiritual life is not
leading toward your fulfillment in some great vision.
Spiritual life is leading to the absolute undermining of
your separate existence. Absolutely. That is what this work
is all about.

He is always undermining the principle of your separate
life and the drama into which you are always evolving it. So
the Guru is a dangerous person.

There are no separated individuals, there is only One
Reality, eternal God, the Nature and Condition of all beings
and worlds.

I also pointed out to you that another characteristic of
this ordinary awareness is that it feels itself to be
separate, individuated, personal, just as you regard your
body to be personal and a limitation and different from
other bodies, so also this functional awareness feels itself
to be different from other awarenesses, other
consciousnesses, other beings. If that is so, how can it be
equated with the Divine Self-Consciousness? The energy you
feel in your body is a manifestation of the Ultimate Energy
of Which everything is the modification. Yet to think that
feeling bodily energy is the same as Realizing the Ultimate
Energy is an illusion, an indiscriminate point of view. A
non-discriminating point of view would make such an
equation.

That’s all that appears, and he ecstatically knows
himself to be the divine form, because he has died, because
that limitation is gone, only the divine exists. So he’s no
longer talking about himself as a separate entity who it
divine, he is speaking ecstatically outside of his
ordinariness.

the Guru is one in whom this limiting principle has died
so that in him only the divine form is conscious. No longer
is this separate entity the principle of his existence.

Therefore the point of view of the divine is as is
stated, I live all things. Things do not live themselves,
beings are not generating themselves. Nothing exists
independently even at this moment. There is no separate
individual that must return to the source. All individuals
are already in the condition of that very source, so you
need not make yourself evaporate into the soup in order to
be one with the divine condition is one with the divine and
the divine is living it. This is the divine realm. I never
return to myself but always appear as myself. There is no
dilemma in the process of my appearance.

The cult of this world is based on the principle of
Narcissus, of separated and separative existence, and the
search for changes of state, for happiness.

There is not now, nor has there ever been, nor will there
ever be an individual being. There is no such thing. All of
the cultic ways are strategic searches to satisfy
individuals by providing them with various kinds of
fulfillment, or inner harmony, or vision, or blissfulness,
or salvation, or liberation, or whatever. But the truth is
that there is no such one to be fulfilled; literally, there
is no such one. Everything that arises in consciousness, is
something that you may observe. You can observe your
experiences, you can observe the world, you can observe your
thoughts, strategies, and actions, you can observe the
sensation of “me: — all of that is something you can
observe. The one who observes that is your very Nature, the
absolute intensity of real existence, which is being
endlessly and universally modified, appearing as all forms
and states. The principle of spiritual Community is that
there is already no such person, no such separate one, no
such dilemma.

 

The cult of this world is based on the assumption that
there exists such a separate one, who needs to be realized
or fulfilled or made healthy or made happy or whatever. All
of that is a colossal lot of nonsense, because there is no
such one. There is already no such one. You do not have to
run through aeons of time for there to be no such one, to
destroy this phantom ego. There is already no such one. He
does not exist to be destroyed. He does not exist.

 

Individuation

The first stage of life is the process of adapting to
life as a separate individual,

Mind Dharma

Ego, Idenity, Desire, Illusion, Me, You, Self, Other,
Reincarnation, Evil, Death, Eternity, Infinity, Phenomenal
Self, Id, Super-ego, A feeling of center, acting, thinking,
behaving, speaking and interacting with others and the
world, social and natural.

“lasting or recurrent psychical continuity of the body
and mind In an individual in respect to space, time and
causality.”

Are the Buddhists wrong when they say their is no
self?

Of course they are…NOT

We call think we are one, we all act as if it exists and
it would be foolish to presuppose it didn’t, this sense of
me. I could I walk around if my brain didn’t delinate time
and space in a seeminly continuous sense of being.

from the point of view of the ego, the separate
consciousness identified with the body-mind and the natural
world, it is not true. From that point of view, you are
doing all kinds of things, and others are doing all kinds of
things, all kinds of entities, powers, energies are all
doing things, making things happen.

!

The Buddhist are not referring to a body walking around,
viewing, thinking and acting as an individual. Of course
their is a sense of perception and therefore identity with a
‘point of view’. But when ‘push’, when investigated, not
just through language and thought, but through bodily
experience does it whole up to inspection? Can you find it?
Locate it? Sense it? Feel it? Identify it’s essential
characteristics?

The functional observer is awareness, and mind-forms,
emotions, bodily sensations that arise are objects to it,
but they are also itself, in some curious manner. You feel
identified with these things that are arising.

You are functional awareness, awareness coincident with
what arises, separate awareness, awareness that is
identifying itself, or at least feeling itself to be in
necessary association, with things arising. The awareness
that you are functionally is not dissociated from
conditions, is not apart from conditions, is not prior to
conditions. It is functional awareness, separate awareness,
ego-consciousness. It must submit, surrender, not presume
itself to be something other than it is in order to avoid
surrender.

The game you are suggesting, however, is just another one
of the illusions of egoity, just another presumption of
separateness, or, in other words, a dramatization of the
self-contraction itself. The separate awareness does not
exist independent of conditions. Its very presumption of
separateness is a sign of its identification with
conditions. Therefore, in the context of feeling and being
identified with conditions and troubled by them, you must do
the sadhana, the Yoga, of the submission of all these
factors of your life.

According to William James it seems to be a problem or as
he said a puzzle. According to William James the ego or self
is, “the most puzzling puzzle with which psychology has to
deal.”

Freud (1927) developed the concept of ego as one of the
systems In his tripartite structure of personality.

In this framework,

1. the ego functions as the mediator between the
Instinctual urges of man and the demands of the
environment.

2. The ego must also mediate between the superego (one’s
moral and Ideal values) and the environment.

Gumming and Gumming point out that;

“… psychologists have characterized the ego as partly
conflict-born and synthetic In function and partly
conflict-free and executive in function while the whole
structure is sensitive to the environment for maximum
development (I963, p. 13)”

 

Hlnsle and Campbell (1970)

Define the ego as “that part of the psychic apparatus
which Is the mediator between the person and reality. It’s
prime function is the perception of reality and adaptation
to it.”

 

Federn (1952, p. 94) gives us three definitions of
ego

1. Descriptive deflnition The ego Is the lasting or
recurrent psychical continuity of the body

and mind In an individual in respect to space, time and
causality.

2. Phenomenologlcal definition The ego is felt and known
by the individual as a lasting or

recurring continuity of the body and mental life In
respect to time, space, and causality,

and Is felt and apprehended by him as a unity.

3. Metapsychologlcal deflnltloni The basis of the ego Is
a state of psychical cathexls of certain Interdependent
bodily and mental functions and contents, the cathexes In
question being simultaneous and Interconnected, and also
continuous.


The Psychologist Malgré Lui:* William James

by Morton Hunt

The Story of Psychology

“This Is No Science”

http://www.des.emory.edu/mfp/hunt.html

 

The self: Even breaks in consciousness, such as those
occurring in sleep, do not interrupt the continuity of the
stream; when we awaken, we have no difficulty making the
connection with our own stream of consciousness, with who we
were and are. But that is because of another major
characteristic of consciousness: its personal nature.
Thoughts are not merely thoughts; they are my thoughts or
your thoughts.

There is a personal self that separates one’s
consciousness from that of others and that knows, from
moment to moment and day to day, that I am the same I who I
was a moment ago, a day, decade, or lifetime ago.

From the beginnings of psychology, thinkers had struggled
with the problem of who or what knows that I am I and that
my experiences have all happened to the same Me.

What substance or entity, what watcher or monitor,
accounts for the sense of selfhood and of continuous
identity?

Unit One: The Self

Attempting to define the human self:

Surprisingly, there is no widely accepted description or
definition of the self in psychology, despite decades of
study. William James–psychologist, philosopher and
theologian–described the self as “the most puzzling
puzzle with which psychology has to deal,” and despite the
brilliant writings of James on the subject, and a century of
research, the self remains something of a mystery.

This is not to imply that social and behavioral
scientists remain completely in the dark on the subject, or
that the existence of the self is doubted (though some
scientists do–see Unit Two.)

A large body of empirical research on the self has
convinced most psychologists that the self is real, and must
be accounted for in any complete science of human experience
(1).

James called this “the most puzzling puzzle with which
psychology has to deal.”

The classic answer was the soul or transcendental self:
But a century earlier both Hume and Kant had shown that we
can have no empirical knowledge of such a self. Philosophers
might still speculate about it but psychologists could not
observe or study it. Accordingly, the experimental
psychologists of the nineteenth century did not even discuss
the self, and the British associationists sloughed it off as
no more than the connected chain of passing thoughts.

James, however, felt that “the belief in a distinct
principle of selfhood” was an integral part of the “common
sense of mankind,” and found a way to restore to psychology
a meaningful—and researchable—concept of self. We
are all conscious of our individual identity, we think of
certain things as me and mine; these feelings and the acts
associated with them can be investigated and thus are the
“empirical self.”

The empirical self has several components: the material
self (our body, clothing, possessions, family, home); the
social self or selves (who we are and how we behave in
relation to the different people in our lives—an
anticipation of social psychology, which would not emerge as
a specialty for decades); and the spiritual self, a person’s
inner or subjective being, his entire collection of psychic
faculties or dispositions. All these can be explored by
introspection and observation; the empirical self is, after
all, researchable.

But this still leaves unsolved that most puzzling puzzle
of all. What accounts for the sense of me-ness, selfhood,
and identity, the sure knowledge that I am who I was a while
ago? James identified such thoughts as belonging to the
“pure Ego,” a wholly subjective phenomenon, and suggested
that its perception of continuing personal identity arises
from the continuity of the stream of consciousness:
“Resemblance among the parts of a continuum of feelings
(especially bodily feelings) . . . constitutes the real and
verifiable ‘personal identity’ which we feel.”

This being so, James said, psychology need not postulate
a watcher or soul that observes the knowing mind and
maintains a sense of identity: “[The soul] is at all
events needless for expressing the actual subjective
phenomena of consciousness as they appear.” He stated this
powerful conclusion even more forcefully in Jimmy:

The states of consciousness are all that psychology needs
to do her work with. Metaphysics or theology may prove the
Soul to exist; but for psychology the hypothesis of such a
substantial principle of unity is superfluous.

Will: Some commentators say that James’s most valuable
contribution to psychology was his theory of the will, the
conscious process that directs voluntary movements.

Much of James’s discussion of the will in Principles was
neurophysiological, dealing with how the will generates the
nerve impulses that produce the desired muscular movements.
But the far more interesting question he took up was how we
come to will any act in the first place. The key factor, in
his view, was a supply of information and experience about
our ability to achieve a desired end:

We desire to feel, to have, to do, all sorts of things
which at the moment are not felt, had, or done. If with the
desire there goes a sense that attainment is not possible,
we simply wish; but if we believe that the end is in our
power, we will that the desired feeling, having, or doing
shall be real; and real it presently becomes, either
immediately upon the willing or after certain preliminaries
have been fulfilled.

How do we sense that the end is in our power? Through
experience; through the knowledge of what different actions
of ours would achieve: “A supply of ideas of the various
movements that are possible, left in the memory by
experiences of their involuntary performance, is thus the
first prerequisite of the voluntary life.” Infants trying to
grasp a toy make numerous random movements of their arms and
hands, and sooner or later connect with the toy; they
eventually become capable of willing the proper movement. In
analogous fashion, adults accumulate a vast repertoire of
ideas of different actions and their probable consequences;
we walk, talk, eat, and perform myriad other activities by
willing the appropriate actions and achieving the desired
ends.

Much of the time we will our routine actions
unhesitatingly, because we feel no conflict about what we
want to do. But at other times conflicting notions exist in
our mind: we want to do A but we also want to do B, its
contrary. In such cases, what determines which action we
will? James’s answer: we weigh the possibilities against
each other, decide to ignore all but one, and thereby let
that one become the reality. When we have made the choice,
the will takes over; or perhaps one could say, Choosing
which idea to ignore and which to attend to is the act of
willing.

James gave one of his inimitably personal examples. He is
lying abed of a chilly morning, he says, knowing how late he
will be if he does not get up and what duties will remain
undone, but hating the way getting up will feel and
preferring the way staying in bed feels. At last he
deliberately inhibits all thoughts except that of what he
must do that day—and lo and behold, the thought, made
the center of his attention, produces the appropriate
movements and he is up and out of bed. “The essential
achievement of the will, in short, when it is most
‘voluntary,’ is to ATTEND to a difficult object and hold it
fast before the mind . . . Effort of attention is thus the
essential phenomenon of will.”

Sometimes making the choice is instant and simple,
sometimes protracted and the result of deliberation,
reasoning, and decision making. Whatever the process, in
every case the mind is a cause of behavior, an intervener in
cause-and-effect relationships, and not an automaton
responding passively to outside influences. Voluntary action
implies freedom of the will.

James himself, as we know, had come to believe in tree
will during his emotional Crisis; that belief had enabled
him to climb out of his Slough of Despond. But he still had
to reconcile that belief with the basic tenet of scientific
psychology: all behavior is, or ultimately will be,
explicable, and every act has its causes. If every act is
the result of determinable causes, how can there be any
freedom for us to choose one of several possible, not wholly
determined, futures? Yet we all experience what feels like
freedom of will every time we make a decision to do, or not
to do, anything, however trifling or however weighty.

James was utterly candid: “My own belief is that the
question of free-will is insoluble on strictly psychologic
grounds.” The psychologist wants to build a science, and a
science is a system of fixed relations, but free will is not
a fixed and calculable relationship; it is beyond science
and so is best left to metaphysics. Psychology will be
psychology, whether free will is real or not.

But he insisted that a belief in free will is
pragmatically sensible and necessary. He developed his
philosophy of pragmatism after tunning away from psychology,
but its seeds exist in Principles. James’s pragmatism does
not say, as crude oversimplifications of it aver, that
“truth is what works”; it does say that if we compare the
implications of opposed solutions to a problem, we can
choose which one to believe in and act on. To believe in
total determinism would make us passive and impotent; to
believe in free will allows us to consider alternatives, to
plan, and to act on our plans. It is thus practical and
realistic:

The brain is an instrument of possibilities, but of no
certainties. But the consciousness, with its own ends
present to it, and knowing also well which possibilities
lead thereto and which away, will, if endowed with causal
efficacy, reinforce the favorable possibilities and repress
the unfavorable or indifferent ones . . . If
[consciousness] is useful, it must be so through its
causal efficaciousness, and the automaton-theory must
succumb to the theory of common-sense.

As solid and enduring as these observations are, some
parts of James’s discussion of will sound curiously
old-fashioned today. In his discussions of “unhealthiness of
will,” the “exaggerated impulsion” of the alcoholic or the
drug user, or the “obstructed will” of the immobilized
person, one hears genuine compassion for people in a
diseased state—and overtones of moralistic
disapproval:

No class of [persons] have better sentiments or
feel more constantly the difference between the higher and
the lower path in life than the hopeless failures, the
sentimentalists, the drunkards, the schemers, the
“dead-beats,” whose life is one long contradiction between
knowledge and action, and who, with full command of theory,
never get to holding their limp characters erect.

James’s psychology of will was an important feature of
American psychology tor some years, but during the long
reign of behaviorism—from about 1920 to the
1960s—the topic all but disappeared from American
psychology; there was no place in that deterministic system
for any behavior initiated by the organism itself. Nor has
will come hack into fashion since then, at least not under
that name; the word does not even appear in the index of
many a contemporary psychology textbook.

Yet James’s psychology of will is, in fact, part of the
mainstream of modern psychology under other names:
“purposive behavior,” “intentionality,” “decision making,”
“self-control,” “choices,” “self-efficacy,” and so on.
Modern psychologists, especially clinicians, believe that
behavior is, or eventually will be, wholly explicable, yet
that human beings can to some degree direct their own
behavior. If psychologists have not yet been able to answer
how both these notions can be true at the same time, they
often settle for William James’s own conclusion: the belief
that we cannot affect our own behavior produces disastrous
results; the belief that we can, produces beneficial
results

Principles of Psychology

http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/James/Principles/prin10.htm

William James

1. The constituents of the Self may be divided into two
classes, those which make up respectively –

(a) The material Self;

(b) The social Self;

(c) The spiritual Self; and

(d) The pure Ego.