We Possess Eight Minds (Part 2)
5. Shinshiki ---- touch-consciousness or the mind of the body. The mind that determines the objects that the body has touched as being hard or soft, warm or cold.
6. Ishiki ---- thought-consciousness or cognition. This is the mind that thinks, memorizes, and dreams. It is this mind that receives various contacts from the first five kinds of consciousness and judges collectively.
7. Manashiki ---- mana-consciousness. In short, it is the mind that is the root of evil that clings to all kinds of things.
8. Alayashiki ---- store-consciousness or Alaya-mind. It is our true mind. It does not perish, even when our physical body dies. It is the mind that transmigrates into the future.
The first six minds are comprehensible because we can recognize them. The next, mana-consciousness and alaya-mind, do not appear on the surface; and therefore, we are not aware that we have such minds. They are, so to speak, the minds that are concealed at the bottom of the ishiki.
Buddhism is a study of the mind, but Buddhist universities put strong emphasis on the subjects of mana-consciousness and alaya-mind. These two complicated minds, it is said, take eight years of study to comprehend, even if one should study with serious determination. It is that difficult.
Then what sort of mind is this alaya-mind? Alaya is a word of ancient India, meaning store-house; hence its name of store-consciousness. What things are stored in the alaya-mind? Our karma is stored in it. What is karma? In plain language, it is the deeds produced by the body, mouth and mind.
In Buddhism, what we think in our mind is considered as one kind of deed. We perform all sorts of deeds, both good and evil, and they are all stored as seeds which, in the future, produce effects in accordance with the Law of Cause and Effect. A good act produces a good effect; an evil act produces an evil effect, accordingly. Oneʼs acts bring the effects back to oneself. In Buddhism, these effects are called karmic seeds, and the storage of these seeds is the alaya-mind. A karmic seed is energy which is colorless and formless from the beginning and therefore, the alaya-mind is also a colorless and formless existence. Within the alaya-mind are stored all the karmic seeds one has practiced from his beginningless past as well as the karmic seeds of his acts since his birth into the human world of his present.
The eight kinds of consciousness may be divided into two categories ---- cognition (thought-consciousness) and alaya-mind. The first five kinds of consciousness (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch) could be categorized as subordinate to cognition and the seventh, mana-consciousnedd, could be incorporated into the alaya-mind.
People today are aware only of the cognition. They are uninformed about the existence of our fundamental consciousness, the alaya-mind, which is concealed at the bottom of cognition and which controls it.
Through education, one learns to distinguish right from wrong, that the cognition stores all knowledge and that the alaya-mind ignores all ethics and morals. Therefore, through cognition, one is aware that it is wrong to commit certain deeds; but, if the alaya-mind commands one to “do it,” he or she will be compelled to commit any atrocious crime.
At the moment of oneʼs death, the cognition, consisting all knowledge, will perish with the body; but the alaya-mind, filled with oneʼs karmic evils since the limitless past, continues to journey into the world of the afterlife. Buddhism is a teaching that expounds salvation of the alaya-mind. It is, so to speak, a religion that saves from the very bottom of your mind.
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #20 | 2012, We Possess Eight Minds (Part 2)
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