The Concept of Store-Consciousness in the “Laṅkāvatāra-Sūtra”

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Abstract

For the first time the concept of store-consciousness appears in “Laṅkāvatāra-sūtra”. The beginning of the formation of the sūtra dates back to the 2–3d c. AD, that allows us to suppose that this concept — one of the fundamental concepts in Yogācāra philosophy — appeared long before the formation of the Yogācāra itself and, possibly, before the appearance of the Madhyamaka school — historically the first Mahāyāna Buddhist philosophical school. Store-consciousness is the basis for seven empirical consciousnesses denoted as pravṛtti-vijñāna “evolving consciousness”. Attaining of the enlightenment is the cessation of the activity of evolving consciousness, but the store-consciousness remains free from real and potential afflictions and dispositions determined by karma. In the sūtra the concept of store-consciousness is associated with the teaching on three own-beings, and this shows that basic Yogācāra notions are fully presented in the sūtra. The causes of evolving consciousness are: ignorance concerning real nature of the objects of the mind; affliction concerning saṃsāra; essence of consciousness consisting in the difference between subject and object; and attraction to forms that support saṃsāra

About the authors

Sergey L. Burmistrov

Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, Russian Academy of Sciences

Author for correspondence.
Email: SLBurmistrov@yandex.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5455-9788
http://www.orientalstudies.ru/eng/index.php?option=com_personalities&Itemid=74&person=671

Dr. Sci. (Philosophy), Leading Researcher, the Section of South
Asian Studies of the Department of Central Asian and South Asian Studies

Russian Federation, Dvortsovaia naberezhnaia 18, St. Petersburg, 191186

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