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Journal of Indian Philosophy

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 283–319 | Cite as

Ālayavijñāna from a Practical Point of View

  • Nobuyoshi Yamabe
Open Access
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Abstract

In 1987, Lambert Schmithausen published an important extensive monograph on the origin of ālayavijñāna (Ālayavijñāna: On the Origin and the Early Development of a Central Concept of Yogācāra Philosophy). In his opinion, the introduction of ālayavijñāna was closely linked to nirodhasamāpatti, but it was not meditative experience itself that directly lead to the introduction of this new concept. Rather, according to Schmithausen, it was dogmatic speculation on a sūtra passage about nirodhasamāpatti. My own hypothesis is that the introduction of ālayavijñāna was more directly based on meditative experiences. Focusing on the “Proof Portion” of the Viniścayasaṃgrahaṇī of the Yogācārabhūmi, the present paper examines this hypothesis. My examination reveals that ālayavijñāna is the physiological basis of the body, and as such it is correlated to the state of the body and mind. When one’s body and mind are transformed from an inert to a well-functioning state through meditative practice, the transformation seems to hinge on the transformation of ālayavijñāna itself. It appears that Yogācāra meditators intuitively realized this mechanism at the stage of darśanamārga. This paper also responds to some points raised by Schmithausen on my hypothesis in his recent monograph on early Yogācāra (The Genesis of Yogācāra-Vijñānavāda: Responses and Reflections, 2014). Through these discussions, this paper sheds light on the importance of the correlation between body and mind in meditative contexts and proposes that this was the key issue in the introduction of the ālayavijñāna theory.

Keywords

ālayavijñāna Yogācārabhūmi dauṣṭhulya praśrabdhi ekayogakṣema mind-body correlation 

Notes

Acknowledgement

This paper is based on the presentation I made at the international workshop, entitled, “Yogācāra Buddhism in Context: Approaches to Yogācāra Philosophy throughout Ages and Cultures,” held at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München on June 19–20, 2015. I thank Professor Jowita Kramer, Ms. Constanze Pabst von Ohain, and Mr. Marco Walther for organizing this fruitful workshop and for inviting me as one of the keynote speakers. Discussions with participants of the workshop, in particular with Professors Lambert Schmithausen and Daniel M. Stuart, were highly helpful for improving this paper. Professors Ogawa Hideyo and Matsumoto Shiro and the two anonymous reviewers gave me helpful comments. I further thank Professor Robert Kritzer for kindly checking the English of this paper. I thank Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München for providing travel expenses for attending this workshop. The research for this article was funded by Waseda University Grant for Special Research Projects (Project Number: 2015S-020) and JSPS Kakenhi Grant (Project Number: 17K02218).

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Letters, Arts and SciencesWaseda UniversityShinjukuJapan

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