[Advaita-l] Vijnanavada and the concept of Alaya vijnana.

vinayaka ns brahmavadin at gmail.com
Sat Mar 2 00:02:38 CST 2013

On Fri, Mar 1, 2013 at 6:39 PM, Srikanta Narayanaswami <
srikanta.narayanaswami at yahoo.com> wrote:

> The Vijnanavada was developed by Vasubandhu in aprrox.300-400A.D.After
> words this was further developed by Dignaga around 500 A.D.The concept of
> Dignaga that the word exists internally,'Yad antar jneya rupam tad bahirvat
> avabhasate"(In his "Alambana Pariksha book"Dignaga writes "Yadantar Jneya
> rupam tad bahiriva avabhasate"is quoted by Sri.Shankara in BSB under the
> topic ":Abhavadhikarana"Sri.Shankara criticises this concept of idealistic
> Mahayana Budhism in this topic.This quotation is quoted by Kumarila Bhatta
> also in his "Sloka vartikam".This concept was further developed by
> Dharmakeerthi,and later by Bhavya,Shantaraksita and Kamala shela .This is
> mentioned brriefly by Sri.Shankara in his BSB after this
> 'Abhavadhikarana"topic.This is one evidence to show that Sri.Shankara lived
> during this period.


Aforementioned view is the standard model of the vijnAnavAda which is
refuted in the brihadAraNyaka bhAshya too.

> The concept in Buddhism is more intricate and they strive to go further
> and further into idealism.In advaita the Maya is mere appearance on the
> substratum
>  ,Brahman.

 This is fine.

But,in Buddhism it is not merely an appearance but without any subsratum,a
> nullity.
The concept of the AlayavijnAna contradicts the aforementioned view. This
view, as far as I know, is not mentioned by the bhAshkAra. Either it was
not the mainstream vijnAnavAda which he didn't come across or this may be
the conclusion of later buddhists.

Its an interesting concept and it has been criticized by the buddhists
themselves since it comes close to the conclusion of the vEdAnta.

Here are some points culled from an article attributed to N.A. Sastri:

"Alaya, store-consciousness is the seed bed of
all that exists. Every seed lies in the store-consciousness and when it
sprouts out into objective world. This new seed lies latent in it and gets
manifest when the seed becomes matured under favourable conditions.

Some criticisms from the buddhists:

"The great champion of the mAdhyamika school, Chandrakirti comments: The
advocate of store-consciousness pleads that is the seat of all the seeds of
all active consciousness and it produces the appearance of the world. This
advocacy resembles the brahminical system pleading for God as a creator of
the universe. One difference between them is that God is viewed permanent
(apparent in advaita!) and the Alaya impermanent but in other respect they
differ not much.

"The same accusation has been levelled by AchArya bhAvaviveka in his
karatala-ratna: If dharma-kaya, Norm-body which is characterised by the
yOgAchAra as Ashraya-paravritti, metamorphosis of the store-consciousness
be admitted in an existing self-being, then it is
hardly distinguishable from the soul, Atman of the brahmanical system
because the soul also is described in their scripture as something existent
but beyond the reach by word and mind..."

The author mentions that the Alaya-doctrine does not appeal so much to the
Tibetan mystics as the doctrine of shunyata does.

Best Wishes,


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