Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Everyday Consciousness and Buddha Awakening

Everyday Consciousness and Buddha Awakening by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

This is an interesting book, one of many books published of transcribed teachings from the master and scholar. It is a very good explanation of the Yogacara Mahayana School of Indian Buddhism’s idea of the eight consciousnesses and provides a conceptual framework for the nature and function of mind and mental phenomena. Basically, the eight consciousnesses refer to the five sense consciousnesses, thought (which interprets sense data), the so-called ‘klesha-mind’ which does not directly involve the kleshas (disturbing emotions such as desire and aversion) but their source which is fixation on a permanent unchanging self. Finally, there is the alayavijnana, the storehouse, or basis consciousness. This is said to be where karmic imprints are stored from life to life and is also involved in memory and learning. The last three consciousnesses are called stable consciousnesses while the sense consciousnesses are said to be unstable.

Becoming enlightened , or awakened is said to involve transforming the eight consciousnesses into the five wisdoms represented by the five Buddha families. These are the wisdom of the dharmadhatu, the all-accomplishing wisdom, the wisdom of equanimity, the mirror-like wisdom, and the wisdom of discriminating awareness. These wisdoms are types of enlightened awareness and represent the purified original nature of a specific klesha.

So in terms of enlightened nature the eight consciousnesses really only occur in the delusional state where the nature of mind as wisdom remains unrecognized.

As a model of mind and consciousness this doctrine can be useful in explaining how mental and emotional processes work and how the various methods devised to undo delusion function.

There is a useful tantric-style Medicine Buddha meditation given at the end of the book on the transformation of the five elements.

All books by this master are highly recommended

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