Thread: The Unconscious

  1. #1

    The Unconscious

    This is an article from the blog of Zen practitioner Alan Gregory Wonderwheel:



    The Unconscious in Buddha Dharma


    As we in the West are discovering the teachings of Buddha Dharma about mind and consciousness, we are confronted with the necessity of rediscovering our own repressed traditions of the study of the psyche, consciousness, and the unconscious.

    Western explorers of the psyche discovered the unconscious in the 19th century. The Buddhist explorers of mind, through their deep meditation, discovered the unconscious over two thousand years ago. Since then, the Buddhist admonition to “turn the light around and shine it on yourselves,” as stated by Linji in the 9th century (or “take the backward step that turns the light and shines it inward on your self,” as Dogen restated it in the 12th century, or “to personally turn around to face inward” as Hakuin restated it in the 18th century) is the direction to study the unconscious by introspection. In Buddhism, the unconscious is called the storehouse- or treasury-consciousness (Skt. alayavijnana) and the fruit of this introspective study was the Mahayana Sutras.


    CONTINUED HERE




    Any thoughts about the article ?

  2. #2
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Lots of jargon and it sounds more Tibetan than Zen with its 'unconscious storehouse consciousness' from past lives.

    The attempted reconciliation with Jungianism doesn't work for me since the five khandhas are essentially always conscious, at least in a superficial way, since consciousness cannot exist without the other aggregates serving as sense objects of consciousness because there cannot be any arising of consciousness without an object (MN 38; SN 22.53).

    To be intimately conscious of the aggregates requires meditation therefore certainly a more profound experience of the aggregates remains ordinarily 'unconscious'. But to assert the four aggregates are the 'unconscious' is not really accurate since, ordinarily, the aggregates are partially conscious & partially unconscious.

    The Jungian 'collective unconscious' is not a very clear phrase. It could mean all sorts of things.

    The Buddha refers to the underlying tendencies (anusaya) & ignorance (avicca), which are certain (but not all) sankharas (mental formations) that all beings share, which are probably the closest Buddhist representation of something 'collectively unconscious' in a Jungian sense.



    "Monks, there are these seven underlying tendencies. Which seven?

    (1) The underlying tendency of sensual passion.

    (2) The underlying tendency of resistance.

    (3) The underlying tendency of views.

    (4) The underlying tendency of uncertainty.

    (5) The underlying tendency of conceit.

    (6) The underlying tendency of passion for becoming.

    (7) The obsession of ignorance.

    These are the seven underlying tendencies.

    Anusaya Sutta
    And what is ignorance? Not knowing stress, not knowing the origination of stress, not knowing the cessation of stress, not knowing the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress: This is called ignorance. SN 12.2

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    Forums Member ancientbuddhism's Avatar
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    Waldron’s The Buddhist Unconscious: The ālaya-vijñāna in the Context of Indian Buddhist Thought gives a thorough survey of the subject of ālaya-vijñāna. Attempting to show a basis for it in the early texts, anusaya is the strongest support presented.

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    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ancientbuddhism View Post
    Waldron’s The Buddhist Unconscious: The ālaya-vijñāna in the Context of Indian Buddhist Thought gives a thorough survey of the subject of ālaya-vijñāna. Attempting to show a basis for it in the early texts, anusaya is the strongest support presented.
    The issue here is 'anusaya' are not a form of consciousness/sense-awareness (vinnana). They are sankhara, defilements or pollutants.

    Or expressed another way, 'anusaya' (similar to sights & sounds) are objects of consciousness rather than a type of consciousness.

    Regards

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