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Laya

Mind, Soul, Spirit.

The remaining three terms are all from verse 9 of Stanza I: "But where was the Dangma when the Alaya of the universe was in Paramartha and the great wheel was Anupadaka?" The word âlaya, like parinispanna, is one of the characteristic technical terms of the Yogâcâra school of Buddhism. And similarly, the standard Sanskrit dictionaries do not record its meaning as a Buddhist technical term, because the Yogâcâra sourcebooks were not yet published when these dictionaries were compiled. This has led some to question whether the term in the Stanzas should be alaya or âlaya, the former being taken as a-laya, or "non-dissolution." However, Blavatsky's comments on pages 48-49 of The Secret Doctrine, I, as well as in The Theosophical Glossary, "The name belongs to the Tibetan system of the contemplative Mahayana School," leave no doubt that âlaya is meant. Blavatsky defines âlaya as "Soul as the basis of all," "Anima Mundi," the "Soul of the World," the "Over-Soul" of Emerson, the "Universal Soul." As can be seen from the Buddhist texts now available, âlaya is short for âlaya-vijñâna, which can be defined literally as the "storehouse consciousness." This is the eighth and highest consciousness posited by the Yogâcâra school, where it is indeed understood to be the universal consciousness, or "soul," as the basis of all. A primary Buddhist Sûtra on âlaya-vijñâna is the Lankâvatâra Sûtra, which has been translated into English in 1932 by D.T. Suzuki. The primary Yogâcâra sourcebook on âlaya-vijñâna is Asanga's Mâhâyana-samgraha. This has been translated into French by Étienne Lamotte in 1938-39, and into English by John P. Keenan in 1993 under the title, Summary of the Great Vehicle. In this translation all technical terms have been translated into English, but the original terms have not been retained in parentheses following their translation. Thus when reading about the container consciousness, one must know that it is the âlaya-vijñâna In Sanskrit, âlaya-vijñâna has a full range of connotations; in English, container consciousness has none, and practically no meaning. To me, this type of translation takes a lucid and incisive text by one of the greatest spiritual teachers of all time, and reduces it to pablum. A much superior type of translation is found in an important text on âlaya- vijñâna by Tsong-kha-pa, translated by Gareth Sparham in 1993 under the title, Ocean of Eloquence: Tsong-kha-pa's Commentary on the Yogâcâra Doctrine of Mind. A major two-volume study of âlaya-vijñâna by Lambert Schmithausen, one of the leading Yogâcâra scholars today, was published in 1987 as laya-vijñâna: On the Origin and the Early Development of a Central Concept of Yogâcâra Philosophy. All these works may profitably be consulted by Theosophical students wishing to study further the âlaya-vijñâna, perhaps the most important and distinctive Yogâcâra doctrine. http://www.blavatskyarchives.com/reigle02.html (external link)



Page last modified on Tuesday 22 of June, 2010 08:24:44 MDT

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