Printer Friendly

A compendium of ways of knowing.

Homage to Manjusri

This text concerns the mind and the ways in which it knows things. By understanding how your mind works and training it properly, you can attain Omniscience and the Full Enlightenment of Buddhahood. You will then be able to liberate from their suffering all sentient beings, that is everyone else with a mind. Homage is therefore made to Manjusri who manifests the complete wisdom of the Buddhas.

1. Introductory Discussion

As people have different levels of aptitude, Buddha has taught many different schools of theories to meet their needs. This text is written from the Savtrantika point of view. According to it all things validly knowable, that is validly cognisable, are either impermanent or permanent depending on whether or not they have the ability to produce an effect. There are three kinds of impermanent phenomena: those with physical qualities, those with qualities of consciousness and those with neither. The first category has six divisions: sights, sounds, smells, tastes, bodily sensations and objects of thought, plus the cognitive powers of the senses and of the mind corresponding to each of them. The second, phenomena having qualities of consciousness, has three divisions: primary consciousness, secondary mental attitudes and elements, and awareness of consciousness. Impermanent phenomena having neither physical qualities nor those of consciousness include instincts, people's conventional 'I' and so forth.

Something having qualities of consciousness is defined as an impermanent phenomenon of a clear awareness permeating an object. With primary consciousness you are aware merely of the fundamental data of a sight, sound and so forth. With secondary mental attitudes and elements, you become aware of distinctions in such objects, make judgements about them, react to them and so forth. With awareness of consciousness, you know that you have been conscious of something and you experience or feel your reactions to it.

Take the example of seeing a beautiful work of art. With the first type of consciousness you receive its bare visual impression. With the second you identify it as a work of art, judge it to be beautiful, react to it with pleasure and so on.

With the third you are aware of your state of mind and experience or feel your reaction of pleasure.

A consciousness in general is defined as a principal faculty of awareness upon which can be placed the impression of the fundamental data of anything that can be validly cognised. Thus consciousness refers specifically to primary consciousness, and there are six types in connection with the six cognitive powers. Visual consciousness depends on the cognitive power of the eyes to become aware of sights or forms; audial on that of the ears for sounds; olfactory on that of the nose for smells; gustatory on that of the tongue for tastes; tactile on that of the body for sensations or touch; and mental on that of the mind for anything validly knowable.

The objects and power of a particular cognitive faculty, such as that of vision, are known as the two physical bases of that faculty, and thus there are twelve such bases. When the consciousness of that faculty is added to its objects and cognitive power, they are called the three spheres of that faculty, and of these there are eighteen. When a moment of consciousness of a particular faculty, its attendant secondary mental attitudes and elements and awareness of consciousness are grouped together, they are known as conscious phenomena of that faculty or as an instance of its cognition.

Thus there are the cognitive faculties of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking. Encompassing all six is your faculty of knowing. Through it you know things or have knowledge of them in a variety of ways. As this faculty is an impermanent phenomenon and since such things are defined as the ability to produce an effect, then in fact what is discussed are the various ever-changing instances of the functioning of this faculty, that is specific instances of various ways of knowing things. To simplify the language of this translation, 'the faculty of knowing', 'knowledge', 'knowing', and 'ways of knowing' are often used interchangeably.

There is much involved in explaining the various ways in which you know things. For instance there is knowledge, which is something that has an object, arid then there are its objects. In general, things that have objects are defined as anything impermanent that necessarily possesses or takes an object. Such things may be phenomena having either physical qualities, those of consciousness or neither. An example of the first is all communicating sounds, of the second all cognitions, and of the third everyone's conventional 'I'.
      All spoken words signify something. Cognitions are always of
   something and a conventional 'I' must refer to someone. Thus each
   of these types of impermanent phenomena is always in conjunction
   with a specific object. Thus they are things that have objects.


There are definitions, synonyms and divisions of knowing, which is defined as being aware of something. Knowing, cognising, being aware of and having a clear experience of something are all mutually inclusive terms.
   For two terms, 'x' and 'y', to be mutually inclusive they must
   satisfy the eight requirements of congruence: if it is 'x' it is
   'y' and if it is 'y' it is 'x'; if it is not 'x' it is not 'y' and
   if it is not 'y' it is not 'x'; if there is an 'x' there is a 'y'
   and if there is a 'y' there is an 'x'; and if there is no 'x' there
   is no 'y' and if there is no 'y' there is no 'x'. Thus if you know
   something you are aware of it, if you do not know something you are
   unaware of it, and so forth. The standard example is that if
   something is impermanent it is the product of causes.

      An example of two terms that are not mutually inclusive is a
   vase and being impermanent. Although if something is a vase it must
   be impermanent, it is not the case that if it is impermanent it
   must be a vase, or if not a vase it must be permanent.

      The relation, then, between these two is one of pervasion. 'x'
   is pervasive with 'y' if all instances of 'x' are 'y', although all
   'y' need not be 'x'. All vases are impermanent, but all impermanent
   things are not vases.


When divided there are many aspects. You can know something either with or without apprehending it correctly. Moreover you can know it in seven different ways. In addition there are both valid and invalid ways of knowing, as well as conceptual and non-conceptual ones. There are bare perceptions and inferential understandings, primary consciousness' and secondary mental attitudes and elements, and many such things.

A way of knowing something is said to be either with or without apprehension depending on whether or not through it you discern your object correctly.
      When one of your types of consciousness apprehends something
   correctly, this does not mean that it necessarily comprehends or
   understands what it is. It merely means that it has grasped its
   object correctly the way it actually is. If you see a white snow
   mountain as white, you have apprehended it correctly. If you see it
   as yellow, you have not.


Of the seven ways of knowing, you can apprehend things correctly only through bare perception, inference or subsequent cognition. With the other four, you know something, but you have not apprehended it correctly the way it is.
   Thus if your knowledge of something is presumptive, inattentive,
   indecisive or distorted, you have not apprehended it correctly.


However, some scholars incorrectly maintain that presumption also is a way of apprehending something because things may be discerned correctly by mere presumption.

You may apprehend something either directly or indirectly. This is determined by whether or not the aspect of the object you apprehend actually dawns on your consciousness.
      When you have a bare visual perception of something blue, for
   instance, you have a direct apprehension of what is blue and an
   indirect one of what is not blue. When you hear a man speaking in
   the next room, you directly apprehend the sound of his voice.
   Although his form does not actually dawn on your visual
   consciousness, you know indirectly that he is there.


From the 'De-dun yi-kyi mun-sel' (by K'a-dr'ub Je): "Generally speaking, through a valid way of knowing you can apprehend an object both directly and indirectly. Things may be apprehended in either of these ways through bare perception and inference. The first statement is a very rough one, while the second is the Sautrantika position. Or you could say that the second concerns specific instances of bare perception and inference.'
      Thus to say that valid ways of knowing, that is bare perception
   and inference, can apprehend objects both directly and indirectly,
   is only a rough general statement. It does not mean that they do so
   simultaneously. Any specific instance of these valid ways of
   knowing can only apprehend its object either directly or
   indirectly, one at a time, not both at once. This is how the
   Savtrantikas explain this topic.


'As for how an invalid way of knowing something can nevertheless correctly apprehend its object directly or indirectly, this should be understood in the same way as explained for the valid ones.'
      A valid way of knowing something is defined as a fresh,
   non-fraudulent awareness of it. To say that your knowledge must be
   fresh in order to be valid precludes the possibility of subsequent
   cognition being considered a valid means of knowing. Since it must
   be non-fraudulent, presumption cannot be taken as valid, and since
   it must be an awareness, the cognitive power of the organ of sight,
   for instance, cannot be considered as such either.

      Even though subsequent cognition is invalid because it is not
   fresh, this does not, mean that it is fraudulent. once you have
   initially inferred or have had a bare perception of an object and
   thus have apprehended it correctly, your subsequent cognition of it
   continues to discern it as it is. Therefore in the same manner as
   these two valid ways of knowing, it too can apprehend its objects
   both directly and indirectly, although specific instances of
   subsequent cognition can do so only one way or the other at a time.


The seven ways of knowing something are by presumption, inattentive perception, subsequent cognition, distorted cognition, indecisive wavering, bare perception and inferential understanding.
      Of these seven only the last two are valid. Subsequent
   cognition, bare perception and inferential understanding, however,
   each apprehend their objects correctly. Distorted cognition is the
   worst of all since it falsifies what is correct.


2. Presumption

Presumption is defined as a fresh jumping to a correct conclusion through an invalid way of knowing.
      Through a valid means such as inference you have a fresh
   understanding of a correct conclusion. Here, however, you have a
   fresh reaching of a correct conclusion without really understanding
   it or knowing why it is true. With presumption, therefore, you
   merely seem to understand or apprehend something freshly, because
   what you know is true, but actually your knowledge of it is
   invalid. You presume it to be true either for no reason, a wrong
   one, or even a right one but without understanding why it is
   correct.


There are five kinds of presumption: presuming what is true to be so (1) for no reason, (2) for a contradictory reason, (3) for a non-determining one, (4) for an irrelevant one and (5) for a correct reason, but without knowing why. Examples of each in turn are as follows. The first is the knowledge that sound is impermanent when you reach this conclusion by merely hearing the words, 'Sound is impermanent'. When to prove this you use lines of reasoning that are contradictory, non-determining or irrelevant, or when you rely on a correct reason--because it is a product of causes--(but are not yet convinced that this proves anything), these are the examples of the other types of presumption by which you can conclude the same.

To understand something by inference depends on a correct line of reasoning. This involves the use of a three-part-logical demonstration such as sound is impermanent because it is the product of causes. This is one of the most commonly used examples in Buddhist logic since it is used to refute the assertion by several non-Buddhist schools that such sounds as the words of certain sacred scriptures are eternal and permanent because they are the revelations of super-empirical truths without any author.

In this case sound is the subject or the basis of the proposition. Being impermanent is what is to be proved about it. These two together are known as the thesis--sound is impermanent. Because it is the product of causes is the line of reasoning or simply the reason used to prove it. The opposite of what is to he proved, in this case being permanent, is what is to be disproved. This and the subject of the proposition taken together form the anti-thesis--sound is permanent. Everything to which what is to be proved applies--all impermanent phenomena--constitutes the analogous set. Everything to which the opposite applies--all permanent phenomena--constitutes the counter-set.

To prove a thesis and disprove its anti-thesis, then, three factors must be established about the line of reasoning: (1) the reason must pertain to or he a property of the subject of the proposition; (2) it must be an exclusive characteristic of the analogous set and (3) it must be a quality never found in the counter-set. These three are known as the factors of agreement, congruence and incongruence.

In the logical demonstration that sound is impermanent because it is a product of causes, the reason--being a product of causes--is (I) a property of sound, (2) an exclusive characteristic of all impermanent: phenomena and (3) never a quality of things that are permanent. Thus because (I) sound is a product of causes, (2) impermanent phencnneua are the only things that are products and (3) there are no permanent things that are products, you correctly conclude that sound is impermanent with a fill understanding of how and why. This is an example of an inferential understanding, a valid way of knowing something to be true that is not obvious by relying on validating reasons.

With presumption, on the other hand, because there is sonic fault in your line of reasoning you can only presume something to be true, for you do not fully understand why. The last four types of presumption are illustrated as follows.

You conclude that sound is impermanent because you believe it to be non-functional. If something is non-functional, it is not a product of causes and does not produce any effects. This, however, is the Savtrantika definition of permanent phenomena such as space, defined as the absence of anything tangible that impedes motion. The empty space or place that a physical thing occupies does not in any way affect it. Nor is this space created when you remove the object; it was there all the time. Thus it is permanent because it is non-functional. To conclude, however, that sound is impermanent because it is not functional is contradictory to the facts. Examine the three factors. (1) Does being non-functional apply to sound? No, it does not. If you hear a loud noise you may be startled. (2) Is it an exclusive characteristic of the analogous set? on the contrary, there is not one impermanent phenomenon that does not produce an effect, for this is the definition of impermanence. (3) Is it a quality never found among those things in the counter-set? It is not, for all permanent phenomena are defined as being non-functional. Therefore to conclude that sound is impermanent because it is non-functional is a presumption based on a contradictory reason.

You may reach this same conclusion by using the line of reason: because it is something that can be validly known. (1) Can sound be validly known? Yes, it can. This reason satisfies the factor of agreement with the subject of the proposition. (2) Is being validly knowable an exclusive characteristic of the analogous set? on the one hand it is true that all impermanent phenomena may be validly known, but on the other hand everything that can be validly known is not necessarily impermanent. Both permanent and impermanent phenomena can be known in this way. Therefore this fails the test of congruence. (3) Is being validly knowable a quality that never applies to anything in the counter-set? No, everything permanent may be validly known. Therefore this reason fails the test of incongruence as well. Thus to conclude that sound is impermanent because it can be validly known is presumption based on a non-determining reason.

You may also conclude correctly as above, but for the reason that it is something that can be seen by the eye. Being visible, however, (1) is not a quality of sound, (2) is not an exclusive quality of impermanent phenomena and (3) is not a quality never found among those things that are permanent. Everything impermanent is riot necessarily visible and some permanent phenomena such as an empty space may be seen indirectly. Therefore to reach the correct conclusion that sound is impermanent because it may be seen by the eye is presumption based on an irrelevant reason.

A correct line of reasoning for concluding that sound is impermanent is because it is a product of causes. However, if you reach this correct conclusion and say it is for this reason, but do not understand what being the product of causes means or what it has to do with being impermanent, then you have presumed what is true to be so for a correct reason, but without knowing why.

These five may be condensed into two categories: presumption based on either (1) no reason or (2) some reason (that is either incorrect or, if correct, not understood). Most of the understanding you gain from merely hearing something is presumptive knowledge. Therefore it is said that the stream of continuity of such knowledge is unfirm and unstable.
      Knowledge may be gained from either hearing, contemplating or
   meditating. When you merely hear or read a fact, however, if you do
   not think about it or examine it carefully to understand how and
   why it is true, you usually can only presume it to be so. Because
   you have not comprehended it fully, often you cannot remember such
   factual knowledge. Thus it is said that its stream of continuity is
   unsteady because often such knowledge does not endure. Another
   example is uncritical faith, which is a form of respectful belief
   based on no reason.


3. Inattentive Perception

When you know something through inattentive perception, an objective entity that could be conclusively known appears clearly (to one of your types of consciousness), yet you are unsure that it has. There are three varieties (1) bare sensory and (2) bare mental perception and (3) the bare perception of awareness of consciousness, when any of these has become inattentive.
      In general there are four kinds of bare perception: sensory,
   mental, that of awareness of consciousness and yogic. With these,
   objective entities may be conclusively known. When through a
   non-defective sense organ one of your five sensory types of
   consciousness apprehends an object freshly and correctly, without
   mixing it with any conceptualisations or ideas, this is bare
   sensory perception. An example is the first moment of your visual
   consciousness correctly perceiving the form of a vase. After having
   such a bare sensory perception and before your mind begins to
   conceptualise about it, your mental consciousness must first grasp
   correctly the form of this vase. This is the bare mental perception
   of a form. It lasts only a very short time. Your initial awareness
   of such valid cognitions, which al lows you later to remember them,
   is the bare perception of awareness of consciousness. When you have
   had such bare perceptions, yet are unsure of them or your attention
   is preoccupied, these are then termed inattentive.


There is no such thing as inattentive yogic perception, since no matter what appears (clearly as its conclusively known object) you are always certain of it (and give it your full attention).
      Every sentient being consists of five aggregate physical and
   mental faculties. All his objects of cognition, including his
   physical body and its cognitive powers, constitute his aggregate of
   form. His aggregate of consciousness is his six types of primary
   consciousness, while his aggregate of recognition and response or
   feeling are his secondary mental elements performing these two
   functions. All his other secondary mental attitudes and elements,
   as well as his instincts, his conventional 'I' and all other such
   impermanent phenomena lacking either physical qualities or those of
   consciousness, as well as the permanent phenomena in his
   mind-stream, are grouped together as his aggregate of compositional
   factors. Thus this fifth aggregate includes everything else
   composing his cognitions that is not found in his other four
   aggregates. His conventional 'I' is the point of reference by which
   he is known. It accounts for how he and others can label the name
   'I' or any name onto his particular collection of aggregate
   physical and mental faculties

      In the Sautrantika theories Buddha explained that everyone does
   have a valid conventional 'I'. However, such an impermanent
   phenomenon lacks an identity that is (1) permanent and (2) can
   exist independently and objectively on its own apart from the
   ever-changing five aggregates for which it is a convenient label.
   These are known respectively as the coarse and subtle
   Identity-lessness of the conventional 'I'.

      Anyone having a non-conceptual correct apprehension of either of
   these is called a Noble One or an Arya. Such a being has in his
   meditation achieved a union or yoga of mental quiescence and
   penetrative insight. The former is an exhilarating state of
   consciousness free from all conceptualisations as well as any
   mental dullness, agitation or wandering. The latter is a correct
   apprehension of either coarse or subtle Identity-lessness of the
   conventional 'I'. In his meditation on Identity-lessness, then, an
   Arya has bare perception directly apprehending his impermanent
   aggregates, the conventional 'I' of which is devoid of a permanent
   or substantially existing identity. In this way he indirectly
   apprehends the Identity-lessness of his conventional 'I'. This is
   known as bare yogic perception and, according to the Sautrantika
   explanation, it is experienced only by Aryas.


There are five kinds of inattentive sensory perception. Examples of these are an ordinary person's (that is a non-Arya's) five types of bare sensory perception, from that grasping a form through that grasping a bodily sensation, when his mind is diverted in another direction.
      When you are attentively listening to music, you have bare
   audile perception of its sound. At such a time your sensory
   perceptions of the picture on the wall in front of you, of the
   sound of your watch ticking, of the smell or taste of your
   cigarette and of the feel of your watch on your wrist are all
   inattentive. Although each of these sensory objects appears clearly
   to your visual consciousness, your audile and so forth, you cannot
   be certain that they are there. You take no notice of them because
   your attention is preoccupied, that is diverted elsewhere.


Another example is the final moment in a particular stream of continuity of any of the five kinds of sensory perception in an ordinary being's mind-stream.
      When, for instance, as an ordinary being with non-defective
   senses, you correctly see a vase, your visual perception of it free
   of any conceptualisation may last for several moments. The first
   instant when your knowledge is fresh is your bare perception of the
   vase, and this is a valid knowing of it. Afterwards, although you
   still apprehend the vase correctly, your knowledge of it is no
   longer fresh and thus your subsequent cognition is invalid. During
   the last instant of the stream of continuity of this particular
   sense perception, however, you no longer even apprehend the vase
   correctly. Your attention is about to shift to another object and,
   like a candle about to go out, your clarity becomes very dim.
   Although the vase still appears to your visual consciousness, you
   are not paying full attention to it. This final moment is an
   example of inattentive visual perception.


The final moment in a particular stream of continuity of any bare mental perception and any bare perception of awareness of consciousness is also inattentive. Even Aryas have this specific type of inattentive mental perception. This is attested to in the 'Tsa-mar rig-pai gyan' (by His Holiness the First Dalai Lama).
   Unlike Buddhas, the lower Aryas do not continue to have joint
   mental quiescence and penetrative insight after they leave their
   meditation on Identity-lessness. They have bare yogic perception
   only during such a meditation period, and it is only this type of
   bare perception that is never inattentive. During post-meditational
   periods, therefore, when Aryas have bare mental perception, such as
   when perceiving the thoughts of others, the final moment of a
   stream of continuity of any such perception is inattentive.
   Likewise inattentive is the final moment of a stream of their bare
   sensory perception.


Examples of inattentive perceptions of awareness of consciousness are, for instance, those experiencing valid inferential understandings in the mind-streams of Carvakas and Jains, those experiencing distorted perceptions and so forth.
      According to the theories of the Carvakas and the Jains, you
   cannot know anything validly by inferential understanding.
   Nevertheless, when adherents of these two non-Buddhist schools see
   smoke on a mountain, they know there is fire. Although such valid
   inferential understanding appears clearly in their mind-stream, and
   although their awareness of consciousness actually experiences this
   inference, they are not fully aware of it. This is because their
   mind is preoccupied with their belief that there is no such thing
   as inference. Thus this perception of their awareness of
   consciousness is inattentive.

      Likewise when you have a distorted perception, such as of a blue
   snow mountain, and an image of one seems to appear clearly to your
   visual consciousness--although in fact there is no such thing--your
   awareness of this perception is also inattentive. Except for that
   of an Arya, an ordinary being's awareness of consciousness merely
   experiences or is aware of a mental state or cognition. It does not
   understand what this cognition is of or whether or not it is
   correct. Thus with your awareness of consciousness you merely
   experience a distorted perception without knowing it is incorrect.
   However, because your mind is preoccupied with thinking that what
   you see is truly so, you are not fully aware of your distorted
   perception. Therefore the cognition of this distorted perception by
   your awareness of consciousness is inattentive.


Among the Buddhists, all perceptions of the awareness of consciousness in the mind-stream of Vaibhasikas and the final moment of any stream of continuity of an ordinary being's awareness of consciousness are also inattentive. There are many such examples.
      When Buddha taught the Vaibhasika theories, he did not explain
   that sentient beings have a mental faculty of awareness of
   consciousness. Although adherents of this belief experience their
   mental states and cognitions through such a faculty, they are not
   fully aware of it. This is because their mind is preoccupied with
   their misconception that they have no such faculty. All such
   perceptions in their mind-stream of awareness of consciousness,
   therefore, are inattentive.


4. Subsequent Cognition

Subsequent cognition is defined as an awareness through an invalid way of knowing that correctly apprehends what has already been so apprehended. There are three types: those that arise in a stream of continuity of (1) a bare perception, (2) an inferential understanding and (3) those that are neither of these two.
      Both permanent and impermanent phenomena may be known validly,
   the former directly through inferential understanding and the
   latter through bare perception. Although in general impermanent
   phenomena change from moment to moment, nevertheless according to
   the Sautrantika explanation they still exist objectively from their
   own individual stance. Thus once you have apprehended a vase
   correctly you can subsequently do so again, for although the
   impermanent vase has changed from moment to moment there is still
   objectively a vase existing as an external object that can
   repeatedly be seen correctly.

      Your perception of this vase may last several moments and thus
   it can be said to have an unbroken stream of continuity. Initially
   you see it with bare perception. As a fresh, non-fraudulent
   awareness of it, apprehending the vase correctly the way it is,
   this is a valid way of knowing it. As this vase changes from moment
   to moment, so does your cognition of it. You may continue to
   apprehend it correctly, but normally only the first instance of
   your doing so is valid. This is because only this initial cognition
   is a fresh awareness.

      During the unbroken stream of continuity of your awareness of
   this vase, each subsequent moment of cognition depends on the
   immediately preceding one as the immediate condition for its
   clarity. The initial moment in such a sequence, however, has no
   such dependency. It is clear by itself and thus only it is truly
   valid according to the Sautrantika explanation. This is because
   they say that each moment in a sequence exists objectively as
   first, second and so forth.

      Each moment in a Buddha's perception, however, is fresh and
   valid, without ever relying on the immediately preceding one for
   its clarity. But for all other beings, including Aryas, each stream
   of continuity of a cognition having an initial moment that is fresh
   and valid has subsequent moments also. In these, what has already
   been apprehended correctly continues to be so, but through an
   objectively non-fresh and therefore invalid way of knowing it. Such
   moments are known as subsequent cognitions.


There are many kinds of subsequent bare perceptions, such as sensory, mental, that of awareness of consciousness, yogic (and that which is none of these four). Examples of each progressively are the second moment (in the stream of continuity following from a specific instance) (1) of any of the five bare sensory perceptions; (2) of a bare extra-sensory mental perception cognising someone else's thoughts; (3) of the bare perception of an awareness of consciousness having continuity and (4) of a bare yogic perception of an Arya still training for perfection. The second moment (in the stream of continuity following) from a bare perception in general is accepted as a subsequent bare perception not specifically in any of these four categories

A subsequent cognition of an inferential understanding is, for instance, the second moment (that is the next moment) after a fresh and valid one. As for the third type, a subsequent cognition that is neither of a specific bare perception nor of a specific inferential understanding, this would be, for example, (the second moment of) a confirmation to which you have been led by another individual bare perception or inference, and also the second moment in the stream of continuity following from a valid knowing of anything in general.
      You hear a buzzing nearby. If later you confirm that there is a
   mosquito in the room either from having inferred it from the sound
   or from actually having seen this insect, then the second moment in
   the stream of continuity of such a confirmation is an example of
   this third type of subsequent cognition. Also in this category are
   all cognitions of remembering something, including their first
   moment.


All these varieties of subsequent cognition may be condensed into two sorts, conceptual and non-conceptual.
      Bare perception and inferential understanding are non-conceptual
   and conceptual respectively. Therefore subsequent cognition of the
   former is likewise non-conceptual, while that of the latter and
   that which is neither are both conceptual.


5. Distorted Cognition

Distorted cognition is defined as a way of knowing something that grasps its object in a contrary manner.
      Of the five invalid ways of knowing things, inattentive
   perception and subsequent cognition are not necessarily detrimental
   to your spiritual progress. The former may lead to a correct and
   valid cognition and the latter may follow one. For instance, the
   last moment of your conceptual understanding of Identity-lessness
   before you have bare yogic perception of it is inattentive, yet
   leads directly to this beneficial state of mind. Your subsequent
   yogic perception of Identity-lessness, though invalid since not
   fresh, nevertheless leads to your full acquaintance with this true
   way in which all things exist. By developing such familiarity with
   this correct apprehension in meditation, you will be able when
   becoming a Buddha to have valid bare perception of it at all times.

      Distorted cognition, however, is extremely detrimental to your
   development. Nevertheless it can have a last instance. If the
   proper opponents are applied, all such cognitions can be destroyed.
   A true practitioner feels that delusions and distortions are much
   easier to overcome than external enemies. This is because he
   realises that neither bombs nor sophisticated weapons are needed to
   root them out. By developing the proper opponents in his
   mind-stream, he can be free of all such obstacles to his
   Enlightenment.


Distorted cognition may be either conceptual or non-conceptual. The former is defined as an awareness of something by a conceptualising mind that is deceived with respect to what would be its implied object. The definition of the latter is an awareness of something appearing to exist clearly that is deceived with respect to its approach in grasping (such a thing, which in fact does not exist at all). Examples are grasping at any person's or thing's identity, on the one hand, and, on the other, a sensory cognition of what appears to be a blue snow mountain.
   All types of conceptual cognition are deceptive in that a mental
   image is confused with an actual object. 'Not all are distorted.
   The object that appears to such a cognition is a mental image. What
   this mental image is of is known as its implied object. In the case
   of a non-distorted conceptual cognition, such as one of Tibet, for
   instance, the mental picture you have of this land is the object
   that appears to your consciousness, while Tibet itself is the
   implied object. Although your idea of what Tibet is like is not the
   same as the country itself, nevertheless Tibet is something validly
   knowable.

      In a distorted conceptual cognition, however, such as that of
   the permanent identity of your conventional 'I', your mental image
   of such an identity is the object that appears to your
   consciousness, while this permanent identity itself would be the
   implied object. But, since your conventional 'I' has no such thing
   as an actual permanent identity, this conceptual cognition is
   deceived with respect to what would be its implied object. As such
   an implied object does not exist, any conceptual cognition in which
   a mental image of one appears is distorted.

      When you see a white snow mountain as blue, such as through a
   haze at a great distance or when wearing tinted glasses, or when
   you see two moons, by looking at the real one cross-eyed, such
   objects seem to appear clearly to your consciousness. They are not
   mixed with any mental images. But your non-conceptual cognition of
   them is distorted. What seems to appear to your consciousness in
   reality does not exist at all. Your consciousness is approaching
   such seeming objects in a manner that is deceptive and therefore
   your cognition is distorted.


From the 'Tsa-ma yi-kyi miin-sel' (by K'a-dr'ub je), 'Distorted conceptual cognition, conceptual distorted cognition and interpolation are allmuttrally inclusive terms. An indecisive wavering inclined towards an incorrect conclusion is also a conceptual distorted cognition.'

6. Indecisive Wavering

Indecisive wavering is a secondary mental attitude that fluctuates between two conclusions concerning its object of cognition. There are three varieties: that which is inclined towards (1) a correct conclusion, (2) an incorrect one and (3) that which is evenly balanced between the two. Examples of each in turn are knowing a sound and wondering whether it is impermanent, permanent or one or the other. There are two traditions concerning indecisive wavering. One asserts that any form of it is pervasive with being a root delusion. The other differentiates two kinds, that which is deluded and that which is not.
      It is this latter tradition that is commonly followed. Thus an
   indecisive wavering inclined towards a correct conclusion is not
   considered a delusion, while those that are inclined towards an
   incorrect one or are evenly balanced are taken as deluded. A
   delusion, or moral and mental defilement, is defined as any state
   of mind that when developed brings about uneasiness and suffering.
   The six root ones are longing desire, general fearful and angered
   repulsion, pride and arrogance, ignorance, deluded indecisive
   wavering and the speculative defilements.


7. Bare Perception

When knowing something, if an objective entity is the object that appears to one of your types of consciousness, this is a bare perception. If it is a metaphysical entity that appears, it is a conceptual cognition.
   According to the Sautrantika explanation all validly knowable
   things are either objective or metaphysical entities. The former
   are impermanent. They arise collected from, that is dependent on
   being a product of causes and circumstances, and they have the
   ability to produce an effect. The latter are all permanent. They
   arise uncollected from, that is without being a product of causes
   and circumstances, and they have no ability to produce an effect.
   objective entities exist objectively or substantially from their
   own individual stance and cannot be known by a conceptual cognition
   through a mental label. on the other hand, metaphysical entities do
   not exist objectively, yet they do exist inasmuch as they can be
   known by a conceptual cognition through a mental label.

      Included among objective entities are all impermanent phenomena,
   that is those having physical qualities, those having qualities of
   consciousness and those having neither such qualities. As ultimate
   truths they cannot be designated by words. They must be directly
   perceived and personally experienced in order to be known. You
   cannot describe in words to someone the difference between the
   sweetness of sugar and that of chocolate. He can only know it by
   tasting it directly himself. The same is true of the pleasure and
   pain of giving birth and what it is like to have suicidal
   tendencies or the latent talents of a genius. These are all validly
   knowable objective entities. When they are the object that appears
   to one of your types of consciousness, you know them through bare
   perception. What are designated by words, then, are metaphysical
   entities. Because they are known through verbal conventions, they
   are called conventional truths. For example, if you have ever given
   birth, you have an idea of what it feels like based on personal
   experience. Even if you have never experienced it yourself, you may
   have an idea of what it is like based on hearsay. You can describe
   this to someone and then he too will have his own idea. But what
   has been talked about and come to be known in this case is merely a
   verbal approximation. It is only an idea of what the experience of
   giving birth is like, not the actual experience itself. Such an
   idea is a metaphysical entity and when it appears to your
   consciousness you know it through a conceptual cognition. The
   actual experience of giving birth, on the other hand, is an
   objective entity and can only be known directly through bare
   perception.

      Metaphysical entities such as ideas, then, are permanent in the
   sense that they are uncollected phenomena incapable of producing
   any effect. When a woman tells you what it is like to give birth,
   an idea arises in your mind-stream. Her telling you is the occasion
   that marks this arisal, but unlike actually giving birth, your idea
   was not the result of a long process of cause and effect. It was
   not conceived and nurtured over a period of nine months and did not
   require a special diet and rest or the help of nurses and doctors.
   It was not collected by any accumulation of causes and
   circumstances, it merely came about uncollected, as it were.
   Moreover, your idea of giving birth is incapable of producing any
   effect. It does not make you exhausted or your muscles ache, nor
   does it produce something that needs to be fed or have its dirty
   clothes changed. When this idea is the object that appears to your
   consciousness, your conceptual cognition of it may make you feel
   happy, but your idea itself did not produce this effect. This,
   then, is what it means for a metaphysical entity to be permanent.

      Other examples of metaphysical entities are the empty space or
   place that something occupies and the Identity-lessness of the
   conventional 'I'. Although such things can be thought about
   conceptually, an empty space or the Identity-lessness of someone's
   conventional 'I' can never appear directly as the object of your
   bare perception. Nevertheless they can be indirectly apprehended by
   such perception when there directly appears to one of your types of
   consciousness what occupies this space or the five aggregates that
   are known in terms of the conventional 'I' that is void of this
   permanent identity. In this instance your bare perception directly
   apprehends the object that appears to it, an objective entity. The
   metaphysical entity that it apprehends indirectly is also
   considered its conclusively known object, but it is not an object
   that appears to this bare perception. If a metaphysical entity
   actually appears to your consciousness, then it is through a
   conceptual cognition that you know it.


Bare perception is defined as a non-deceptive awareness of something devoid of any conceptual cognition. There are four types: sensory, mental, that of awareness of consciousness and bare yogic perception.
   As these four are non-deceptive, it is important first to know the
   causes for deception of which they are free.


The four causes for (a cognition to be) deceptive are (1) the cognitive organ upon which it relies, (2) its object, (3) the situation in which it occurs and (4) its immediate condition.
   (1) A cognition may be deceptive through reliance on a defective
   sense organ. If you are cross-eyed you will see two moons. (2) If
   the object of your cognition is moving very quickly, such as a
   torch being whirled around in the dark, you may be deceived into
   seeing a ring of fire. (3) If you look out from a moving train, you
   may see trees approaching and rapidly receding. (4) If immediately
   before looking at something your mind is violently disturbed by
   anger you may see red or, with paranoia, threatening figures when
   no one is there. Bare perceptions are not affected by any such
   causes for deception.


Bare sensory perception arises from the cognitive power of one of the physical senses as its main condition. There are five types, from that which takes a visible form (as its object) to that which takes a bodily sensation.
      Thus there are bare sensory perceptions of sights, sounds,
   smells, tastes and bodily sensations or touch.


Each of these perceptions can have initial and valid, subsequent or inattentive moments.
      When you see a vase non-deceptively and without conceptualising
   about it, the first moment is your valid bare perception of it.
   From the second instant you have subsequent visual perception,
   while the last moment is inattentive. Seeing this vase while
   listening intently to music is also an example of an inattentive
   visual perception.


When a bare perception arises dependent on the cognitive power of the mind as its main condition, this is a bare mental perception. There are five kinds, such as that which takes a visible form (as its object) and so forth.

When you remember, imagine or dream about a sight, sound, smell, taste or touch, the object of your cognition is an idea or mental image of these sense objects. In these cases you know a metaphysical entity by a conceptual cognition. However with bare perception you are aware of an objective entity, one of these five actual types of sense objects, through the cognitive power of your mind without any conceptual cognition of it. You have such bare mental perception of a vase, for instance, immediately after your visual perception of it and just prior to conceptualising about it. The stream of its continuity lasts only a very short time.

The bare perception of awareness of consciousness is the non-deceptive experience of a conscious phenomenon free of any conceptual cognitions about it. Both of these, (mental perception and that of awareness of consciousness), can have three varieties, that is an initial valid cognition, (a subsequent and an inattentive one), in the same way as was explained above (concerning sensory perception).

Bare yogic perception is that which arises in the mind-stream of an Arya (during his meditation session on Identity-lessness) having as its main condition the force of his single-minded meditation in a joint state of mental quiescence and penetrative insight.
      As explained previously, bare yogic perception has only initial
   valid and subsequent moments. It never is inattentive. However when
   an Arya is not meditating on the Identity-lessness of his
   conventional 'I', he may have initial valid, subsequent and
   inattentive moments of sensory are mental perception or that of
   awareness of consciousness.


When divided from the point of view of its basis, (that is who experiences it), there are the bare yogic perceptions of Sravaka, Pratyekabuddha and Mahayana Aryas.
      Both Sravakas and pratyekabuddhas work for their own personal
   Liberation from rebirth with suffering in samsara. The former rely
   on a teacher throughout their entire training, while the latter
   during the final stages do not. Bodhisattvas, on the other hand,
   work to achieve the Full Enlightenment of Buddhahood in order to be
   able to liberate all others. According to the Sautrantika
   explanation, when any of these three achieve bare yogic perception
   of the Identitylessness of his conventional 'I', lie becomes an
   Arya either of the Sravaka, Pratyeka-buddha or Bodhisattva, that is
   the Mahayana class according to his motivation and style of
   practice.


From the point of view of its nature, each of these three has its bare yogic perception of the path of seeing, meditation and perfection.
      Sravakas, Pratyekabuddhas and Bodhisattvas each progress to
   their goals through a five-fold path. When they have developed as
   their motivation a pure renunciation of the suffering of samsara
   and its causes, Sravakas and Pratyekabuddhas enter their first
   path. Bodhisattvas enter theirs when in addition they develop a
   pure motivation of Bodhicitta, that is an Enlightened Motive of
   working to become a Buddha for the sake of all sentient beings.
   Although their motivations and goals are different, and thus from
   this point of view their paths are also different, nevertheless
   according to the Sautrantikas each of these three follow similar
   practices on each of their five paths and develop the same wisdom.

      On the first path, then, that of accumulation, they develop
   single-minded concentration in mental quiescence meditation. on the
   second, the path of preparation, they gain conceptual cognition of
   the Identity-lessness of their conventional 'I', that is valid
   inferential understanding of this, in penetrative insight
   meditation. On the third, the path of seeing, they gain a bare
   yogic perception of this Identity-lessness in their meditation
   state and become Aryas of their respective classes.

      On the fourth path, that of meditation, they follow the
   Eightfold Path of the Aryas to overcome the obstacles preventing
   either their Liberation or omniscience. They achieve these goals on
   the last path, that of perfection, when Sravakas and pratyekabuddha
   Aryas overcome the former and become Arhats of each of these
   classes and Bodhisattva Aryas surmount both obstacles and become
   Buddhas. As omniscient Buddhas they perceive the Identitylessness
   of their conventional 'I' at all times.


From the point of view of its object, there are bare yogic perceptions of what things are and what they are like.
      With bare yogic perception you can apprehend things either
   directly or indirectly. Directly, you can apprehend the object that
   appears to it. This is an objective entity, what a thing is, which
   by definition is an ultimate truth. What it apprehends indirectly
   does not actually appear to it. It is a metaphysical entity, what a
   thing is like, and as such is a conventional truth. Thus with bare
   yogic perception you directly apprehend the ultimate truth of your
   five impermanent aggregate physical and mental faculties which are
   known in terms of a conventional 'I' lacking a permanent or
   substantially existing identity. Indirectly, you apprehend the
   conventional truth of this permanent Identity-lessness of your
   conventional 'I'. Thus directly you apprehend what you are and
   indirectly how you exist.


8. Seemingly Bare Perception or Deceptive Cognition

The opposite (of bare perception) is seemingly bare perception.
      This is mutually inclusive with deceptive cognition and is
   defined as an awareness that is deceived with respect to the object
   that appears to it. It takes the appearance of something to be the
   actual thing itself. Distorted cognition, on the other hand, is
   deceived with respect to what actually exists, not merely with its
   appearance.

      Both deceptive and distorted cognitions may be conceptual or
   non-conceptual. In a conceptual cognition the object that appears
   or the object grasped in a metaphysical entity, namely a mental
   image or idea, such as that of a vase. Its implied object is the
   vase itself, an objective entity. Conceptual cognitions are
   deceptive inasmuch as they confuse an appearance with the actuality
   it implies, such as the mental image of a vase with an actual vase.
   If what would be the implied object of a conceptual cognition is
   non-existent, then it is not only deceptive, but distorted as well.
   An example is one in which the mental picture of a rabbit's horn is
   confused with an actual rabbit's horn, although there is no such
   thing. Although all conceptual cognitions are deceptive, not all
   are distorted. In fact, some of them, such as inferential
   understandings, are valid cognitions inasmuch as they are an
   initial non-fraudulent awareness of the object that appears to
   them. Thus because such a cognition correctly and freshly
   apprehends its object, the mental image of a vase, it is valid and
   in this respect not fraudulent. But because it confuses it with an
   actual vase, it is deceptive.

      In a non-conceptual valid bare perception directly apprehending
   a vase, for instance, the object that appears or is grasped is the
   vase itself, an objective entity. There is no implied object.
   However, when a near-sighted person looks at this vase, he sees a
   blurred object and thus has only non-conceptual seemingly bare
   perception. Relying on a defective sense organ, his perception is
   deceived because it confuses the object that seemingly appears to
   it, a blurred vase, with what is actually there, a vase. It is
   distorted as well because there is no such thing as an actual
   blurred vase. It is non-conceptual because it does not mix the
   blurred vase that seemingly appears to it with a mental image of
   one.

      There are seven types of seemingly bare perception, six
   conceptual and one non-conceptual.


Included are (1) those that are totally deceptive, (2) those of conventional truths, (3) those of valid inferential understandings, (4) those derived from such inferential understandings, (5) those of remembering something and (5) those of speculating about something. There is also (7) the type of seemingly bare perception that is blurred.

(1) Conceptual cognition that is totally deceptive is distorted as well. It is the conceptual seemingly bare perception of anything distorted, such as the idea that sound is permanent. Also included in this category are ordinary people's dreams and fantasies which confuse fiction with reality.

(2) Conceptual cognition of a conventional truth is not distorted. It is a correct apprehension of a metaphysical entity, such as the impermanence of sound or the idea of a vase. It is deceptive in that it mixes this metaphysical entity with an objective one, an actual impermanent sound or an actual vase. It thus superimposes a conventional truth onto an ultimate one.

(3) All inferential understandings are conceptual cognitions in which you know something obscure and not readily obvious by relying on a valid line of reasoning. They are deceptive because they confuse the object that appears to them with their implied object. For instance, you can validly know that sound is impermanent by relying on the reason: because it is a product of causes. You correctly reach this conclusion because the three factors of agreement, congruence and incongruence are satisfied. Being a product of causes is a property of sound, an exclusive characteristic of impermanent phenomena and never a quality of anything permanent. Your conceptual inference, then, has these three factors as the object that appears to it. Although it is valid, it is deceptive because it mixes this with its implied object, the correct conclusion that sound is impermanent. Thus when knowing the three validating factors you say you know the conclusion. A Buddha would not need to rely on such a conceptual cognition of an inferential understanding to know the impermanence of sound. When having a bare audial perception directly apprehending a sound, he would indirectly apprehend its impermanence without any use of logic.

Another example of this third type of conceptual cognition is knowing an effect and saying that you know its cause, such as feeling the warmth of the rays of the sun and knowing by inference that the sun is hot. Also included is giving the name of an effect to its cause, such as calling a Buddha a Compassionate one. In this case you are mixing the effect of being a Buddha, that one is compassionate, with its cause, that one is a Buddha. Another example is thinking of sound as being the product of causes, which also mixes an effect with its cause.

(4) Conceptual cognitions derived from inferential understandings are your subsequent cognitions of what you have already apprehended correctly through inference. An example is your conceptual knowledge that sound is impermanent, gained after inferring this from the three validating factors.

(5) A conceptual cognition of remembering something in the past mixes a mental image with the original event or object.

(6) one of speculating about something in the future, or about what might have been if things were different, confuses a plan or an idea with the actuality of the present moment. Thus all six of these types of conceptual cognition are deceptive since they mix the object that appears to them with their implied object.

(7) Anon-conceptual seemingly bare perception of a blurred object is also deceptive because what appears to it in actuality is not so.

(From the 'Pramanasamuccaya' by Dignaga,) 'As has been explained, the first six are conceptual seemingly bare perceptions, while the last, a blurred knowing of something, is a non-conceptual seemingly bare perception.' For a detailed explanation of the meaning of all these terms, you should refer to such texts as the 'Tsa-ma rig-gyan' (by His Holiness the First Dalai Lama). However it should be noted that non-conceptual seemingly bare perception, the type of knowing in which something not present seems clearly to be so and non-conceptual distorted cognition are all three mutually inclusive.

Conceptual cognition is the awareness of something by a conceptualising mind in which what is grasped is mixed with an idea based on either hearsay or first-hand experience.
   If you wish to specify something precisely so that it will not be
   confused with anything else, you would say that it is what is left
   over after you have excluded or eliminated everything it is not. A
   mango is not an orange, a peach, an apricot, a cantaloupe and so
   forth. These are all non-mangoes. When you exclude all the things
   that a mango is not, then what you are left with is the opposite of
   a non-mango, namely a mango itself. This is called the double
   negative of a mango and every permanent and impermanent phenomenon
   can be individually specified by its own double negative.

      An idea of a mango is the mental picture or image you have of
   one based on the exclusion of everything it is not and which you
   use for conceptually thinking about one. You can have a mental
   picture of a specific mango or of mangoes in general, and it can be
   of its shape, smell, taste and so forth. If you have actually seen
   or eaten one, then your idea of a mango is based on first-hand
   experience. If you have not, then you may have an idea based on
   hearsay or merely on the word 'mango' itself.

      Double negatives, mental images and all sorts of ideas are
   metaphysical entities. They are permanent phenomena incapable of
   producing any effect. Thinking about your mental picture of a mango
   may make you hungry, but your idea of the fruit cannot fill your
   stomach. When you have bare visual perception of a mango, you see
   merely the mango itself, an objective entity. When you have
   conceptual cognition of it with your mind, you mix this objective
   entity with your idea of it. This is why it is deceptive, because
   the object that appears to such a cognition--an idea--and its
   implied object--the mango itself-are mixed together or superimposed
   one on the other.

      Buddhas do not have conceptual cognition. Ideas or mental images
   do not exist in their mind-stream, although they are able to
   perceive such metaphysical entities cognised by others. When they
   were sentient beings an idea of a mango may have become existent in
   their mind stream occasioned by their first hearing about or eating
   one. While this idea was present it was permanent in the sense that
   it could not produce any effect. When they became Enlightened it
   disappeared and became totally nonexistent. Buddhas, then, know
   everything through bare perception, either directly or indirectly.


There are two types of conceptual cognition, those that conform to reality and those that do not.
   Conceptually thinking about a vase in terms of an idea of one is
   undistorted and conforms with reality. This is true also of your
   conceptual cognition of Identity-lessness arising From inference.
   Your mental image of the Identity-lessness of your conventional 'I'
   corresponds to its actual Identity-lessness. But your conceptual
   cognition of a rabbit's horn, a permanent sound or the permanent
   identity of your conventional 'I', on the other hand, is distorted
   in that it does not conform to reality.


There are many other ways of classifying conceptual cognitions. There are those that involve semantics and those that involve descriptions.
   (1) In a conceptual cognition involving semantics you know the
   definition of something and take it for that which is being
   defined. An example is thinking this object with a fat belly, an
   indented flat base and from which I can pour water is a vase or a
   pitcher. (2) In one involving descriptions you know a quality or
   characteristic of something and take it for that which has this
   quality, such as thinking this blue porcelain object is a vase or
   that thing over there holding a stick is a man.

      The conceptual cognition that mixes an actual vase with the idea
   of something having a fat belly, an indented flat base and from
   which water can be poured is one that involves both semantics and
   descriptions. This is because having a fat belly and so forth is
   both the definition and a qualitative description of a vase or a
   pitcher. But not all such cognitions involving descriptions
   necessarily involve semantics as well. An idea of a blue porcelain
   object can be applied when thinking conceptually about a vase, a
   bathtub or many such things and is not the definition of any of
   them.


There are conceptual cognitions that rely on labels, those that interpolate extra descriptive qualities and those that involve descriptive qualities that are not obvious.

(1) In conceptual cognitions that rely on labels you know something through its mental label. For instance, you know the four-legged animal with a great hump of flesh on its neck through the label 'brahmin bull' or your five aggregates through the label of your conventional 'I'. Thus when your stomach is empty you think 'I am hungry', mixing your idea of an 'I' with your aggregates of form, feeling and so forth.

(2) The Tibetan word for interpolation literally means tying a feather to a bamboo arrow. Thus in an interpolated conceptual cognition you tie or superimpose an idea of some extra descriptive quality onto an object that is not qualified by it. For instance you may think of sound as something permanent or your conventional 'I' as having a permanent identity. As these qualities do not apply to what you are ascribing them, such thoughts are conceptual distorted cognitions as well.

The opposite of interpolation is repudiation. With it you deny qualities of an object that pertain to it. Thus instead of thinking of sound as permanent, you would deny that it is impermanent. Interpolation and repudiation prevent you from cognising a middle path of the actuality of things.

(3) In a conceptual cognition involving a descriptive quality that is not obvious, you mix an object with one of its obscure attributes that you have not apprehended directly through bare perception. For instance, if there is a man hiding behind a house and you have not seen him, but someone tells you he is there, you come to know something that is not obvious when you look at the house. Likewise when you gain a conceptual understanding from inference that sound is impermanent or that your conventional 'I' lacks a permanent and substantially existing identity, you also know something that is not directly obvious to your bare perception. In such a conceptual cognition you mix an idea of an obscure quality, such as impermanence, with an object qualified by it, such as sound.

In addition there are the conceptual cognitions that arise from hearing, contemplating and meditating. Examples of these in turn are as follows. The first is your conceptual awareness of something in which you grasp at it merely with an idea, based on hearsay, of what it might mean. The second is your confident conceptual understanding of it gained from having contemplated or thought about its meaning. The third is the awareness you gain of it with your conceptualising mind when, having familiarised yourself thoroughly with its meaning as you have understood it through contemplation, you then focus on it with the force of the higher attainments of meditative concentration.
      Your Guru tells you about the Identitylessness of your
   conventional 'I'. Based merely on the teachings you have heard, you
   now have an idea of what this means based on hearsay. When
   conceptually you are aware of Identity-lessness in terms of such an
   idea alone, then you have the conceptual cognition of it that
   arises from hearing. This is also an example of presuming something
   true to be so for a correct reason, but without knowing why.

      When you have contemplated the meaning of what you have heard
   through the use of valid logical arguments such as inference, you
   will gain a confident conceptual or intellectual understanding of
   what Identitylessness means. You will then have the conceptual
   cognition of it that arises from contemplation.

      Through repeated inference you will gain a thorough familiarity
   with the meaning of Identitylessness. When you have achieved a
   state of mental quiescence and the higher attainments of meditative
   concentration, you can then focus your single-minded concentration
   in meditation on your fully confident and familiar conceptual
   understanding. This will then be the conceptual cognition of
   Identity-lessness that arises from meditation.

      If in addition to the collection of insight you have accumulated
   from such meditational practice as this, you have also built up a
   vast collection of merit from having done many virtuous deeds with
   pure motivation over a long period of time, you will then as a
   result achieve bare yogic perception. This comes about not
   mystically through a leap of faith, but simply through a process of
   cause and effect. Your single-minded concentration on your
   conceptual understanding that the conventional 'I' by which your
   five aggregates are validly known lacks a permanent substantially
   existing identity will then automatically become a bare yogic
   perception. Thus single-mindedly and non-conceptually you will
   directly apprehend your impermanent aggregates void of a
   conventional 'I' having such an identity and indirectly its
   Identity-lessness. With this achievement, you become an Arya, a
   Noble One.


9. Valid Ways of Knowing According to Other Systems

There have been various distorted conceptual cognitions regarding how many distinct valid ways of knowing there are. These discrepancies have arisen as follows. The Carvakas and Jains accept only one valid way of knowing something, namely through bare perception.
      In not accepting inferential understanding as valid, the
   Carvakas and Jains assert that you can only know things that are
   obvious. If you cannot directly see something or hear it and so
   forth, they say you cannot know it.


The Samkhyas assert that there are three valid ways: bare perception, inferential understanding and knowing something through verbal indication.
      When you understand what someone means by what he says or you
   learn something that is true by reading it in a text of scriptural
   authority or hearing it explained by someone trustworthy, you have
   known something by a verbal indication. The Sautrantikas classify
   such knowledge under inferential understanding, but the Samkhyas
   and many other non-Buddhist schools classify this as a separate
   valid means of knowing.

      Included in this category is not only the knowledge of what
   someone means when you hear him speaking in the next room, for
   instance, but also knowing that he is there. However, according to
   the Buddhist explanation of the Sautrantrikas, you can apprehend
   such knowledge indirectly when you have, bare audial perception of
   his voice.


The Nyayas and Vaisesikas accept four, adding to these three knowing something by analogy.
      You have never seen a zebra. You go to a zoo and someone points
   out a mule and says a zebra looks like that but has black and white
   stripes. Then later you actually see an animal that fits this
   description. When you identify it as a zebra, and thus correctly
   match an object with its name, you have known this through analogy.

      Through such means, then, you can come to know something you
   cannot perceive directly by thinking of it in terms of an analogy
   with something more obvious. Thus by the analogy of a hairy
   elephant you know what a mammoth is.


Some of the Mimarhsakas say there are definitely only six valid ways of knowing, adding to these four knowing something by implication and knowing the absence of something.
   The fat man Devadatta does not eat during the days Because
   Devadatta is fat and because people must eat I order to be fat and
   can do so during either the day or the night, you know by
   implication or disjunctive reasoning that Devadatta must eat at
   night. Another example is you know someone is in your two-room
   house, but y do not see him in the front room. By implication o
   process of elimination you know he must be in the back one.

      There are four types of absences: prior, disintegrated, mutually
   exclusive and absolute. The Mimar sakas say that there is a
   separate means of cognition for validly knowing such absences. For
   instance, when you see milk you can know of the prior absence of
   yoghurt in it, that is the yoghurt's not yet being in the milk
   before it has curdled. Later when you see the yoghurt you know of
   the disintegrated absence of the milk in it, for once it has
   curdled the milk is no longer there. When you know of the mutually
   exclusive absence of a horse in a bull, you see that a bull is not
   a horse and a horse could not be a bull for these two are mutually
   exclusive. When you see a rabbit's head and know of the absolute
   absence of a rabbit's horn on it, you know of the absence of
   something that does not exist. Although you might fantasise and see
   a mental image of a goat's horn on a rabbit's head, you cannot
   possibly imagine a rabbit's horn there, because there is no such
   thing.


However, the Caraka School of the Mimarhsakas say that the number of distinct valid ways of knowing is definitely eleven. To the above six they add knowing something by synthetic reasoning, non-perception, tradition, inclusion and coincidence.
      With valid inferential understanding you use analytic reasoning
   to infer the cause from an effect, for instance where there is
   smoke there must be fire. The reverse of this is to know something
   by synthetic reasoning, which is to deduce the effect from a cause.
   An example is where there is fire there must be smoke. With the
   former, then, you reason backwards from an effect to its cause;
   with the latter you reason forwards from a cause to its effect.

      If you do not perceive something when if it were there you
   would, then you know by non-perception that it is not there. For
   instance, you can know of the absence of horns on a rabbit's head
   by your non-perception of them, because if they were there you
   would surely see them. This is different from simply knowing the
   absolute absence of a rabbit's horns, where you know something
   because of the absence of an object. Here you know something
   because of the absence of a valid means of cognising it.

      When you know something by tradition, you believe something to
   be true because everyone else does. An example is knowing that a
   certain tree contains a spirit because all your ancestors and
   everyone in your community believe it does. Also you know by
   tradition to shake hands with your right hand, and to feed a cold
   and starve a fever.

      When you know something by inclusion, you know about the
   individuals included in a group by knowing about the group itself.
   An example is knowing that there are at least ten people in the
   classroom when you are sure there are fifty, or that a certain
   person is Japanese because you know he is a member of a Japanese
   delegation to a conference.

      If for no apparent reason you have an intuitional feeling that
   your mother will visit you today and she actually does, then you
   knew she was coming by coincidence. Although such cognitions do
   occur, they are unreliable and usually a form of wishful thinking.
   It is by coincidence that they are true, because more often than
   not, unless you have achieved the higher attainments of meditative
   concentration, your expectations or predictions are false.


From the point of view of this text, however, that of the Sautrantikas, it is certain that there are only two (distinct, valid ways of knowing), bare perception and inferential understanding.
      The reason there are only these two is because there are only
   two kinds of validly knowable or validly cognisable
   things--objective and metaphysical entities. These two are mutually
   inclusive terms for impermanent and permanent phenomena. The former
   are objects that are obvious and can be apprehended directly
   through bare perception. The latter are either obscure, such as the
   impermanence of sound, or extremely obscure, such as the fact that
   wealth is the result of generosity practised during previous lives.
   Such things cannot be apprehended directly through bare perception,
   although by Aryas they may be indirectly so perceived. Ordinary
   people know them through inference and thus it is necessary for
   there to be only two distinct valid ways of knowing. To
   differentiate more as separate methods is superfluous.


A valid way of knowing something, then, is defined as a fresh, non-fraudulent awareness of it. There are two kinds, bare perception and inferential understanding. Divided differently, there are valid ways of knowing that it either is or is not self-evident what something is. From the point of view of etymology, there are valid persons, speech and cognition.
      You may know something validly by relying on either valid
   persons, speech or cognition. A valid person is a Buddha. Valid
   speech is his teachings, such as those in the first turning of the
   wheel of Dharma concerning the Four Noble Truths and those in the
   second, the 'Prajnaparamita Sutras'. The Four Noble Truths are of
   suffering, its cause, its cessation and the path leading to this.
   The 'prajnaparamita Sutras' concern the hidden meaning of Voidness
   within the context of the widespread action teachings of the
   Enlightened Motive and also the stages and paths to Enlightenment.
   Reliance on such persons or speech will lead you to valid
   knowledge. You will attain this as well through the valid
   cognitions of bare perception and inferential understanding.

      These three types of knowledge are valid in the sense that they
   arise from valid sources. But since your cognition of what Buddha
   has said may be presumptive or inattentive, these are said to be
   valid only in an etymological sense and not in an actual one.


10. Inferential Understanding

Inferential understanding is the comprehension of something obscure through reliance on a valid line of reasoning. It is explained that there are three types: those based on (1) the actual powers of logic, (2) popular convention and (3) conviction.

(1) To know directly something obscure and not readily obvious, you must rely on the valid support of either logic, convention or conviction. For instance, when your neighbour is making a great deal of noise you may become annoyed and impatient because it is not obvious that sound is impermanent. However if you rely on the actual powers of logic you can prove to yourself that this noise will pass simply because it is manmade. To do so you must rely on the three factors of agreement, congruence and incongruence. This noise was made by a man; everything man-made must pass; and nothing man-made has endured forever. Therefore through this first type of inferential understanding you can be certain that this noise will also pass. With such valid knowledge you can then control your anger.

(2) just as Westerners have traditionally seen a 'man in the moon' when looking at its craters, Indians have seen a 'rabbit in the moon'. When in Sanskrit and Tibetan literature you read about 'that which has a rabbit', these words do not refer to their obvious, literal meaning. You know that such a literary allusion refers to the moon through an inferential understanding based on a popular convention. In Western literature you know that a man's best friend is his dog through a similar valid means. This is also the method by which you know what any word means when you hear it, for all words are popular conventions.

(3) There are certain things that are extremely obscure and only when you become a Buddha can you have bare perception of them. Before that you must rely on your conviction in the Buddhas' scriptural texts to know them at all. Since Buddhas are valid persons and what they have said is valid speech, you can infer that by relying on them you will have valid cognition. Thus through an inferential understanding based on conviction, you can be sure that prosperity is the result of previously practised generosity.

(1) Inferential understanding and (2) such an understanding as a valid means of knowing something are to be taken as mutually inclusive.
   Therefore all inferential understandings relying on correct lines
   of reasoning are valid.


11. Validly Knowing That It either Is or Is Not Self-evident What Something Is

If when validly cognising something validly knowable you are certain that you could not have grasped what this object is unless its meaning were established on it, then you have validly known that it is self-evident what this object is. If, however, you realise that you will have to resort to an additional valid cognition in order to be certain of this, then you have validly known that it is not self-evident what this object is.
   You see something red in the distance. It is self-evident that if
   it were not red you could not see it as red. However from where you
   are standing you cannot tell for certain whether it is a fire or a
   red cloth. In the words of the definition, it is not self-evident
   that if it were not a fire you could not see it as one. Therefore
   when you see this red object and realise that it is red, but you
   will need to have a closer look before you can be certain that it
   is a fire, then you have validly known that it is self-evident that
   this object is red, but not that it is a fire.

      Another example is seeing a tree at a distance. That it is a
   tree is self-evident, but not that it is an oak. Only when you come
   closer will this also become self-evident.


If it is a valid way of knowing that it is self-evident what something is, then it must be one of the following five, either (1) a valid bare perception of awareness of consciousness, (2) a valid bare yogic perception, or (3) a valid inferential understanding. or it must be a valid bare sensory perception either (4) of the manifestation of something's ability to produce an effect or (5) of something the meaning of which is totally familiar to you.

(1) When your faculty of awareness of consciousness has fresh valid bare perception of a state of consciousness, what it is aware of is self-evident to it. No further cognition is necessary. (2) The same is true of valid bare yogic perception cognising the Identitylessness of your conventional 'I'. If what was apprehended by such perception were not self-evident to it, you could not have apprehended it at all.

(3) With valid inferential understanding your each a correct conclusion horn a valid line of reasoning. Nothing further is required to know this conclusion, therefore it is self-evident what it is.

(4) When you have bare sensory perception of the manifestation of something's ability to produce an effect, such as a fire's consumption of fuel, you are directly perceiving what is happening. If it required another cognition to know what it was you were perceiving, then you could not say you were actually witnessing the manifestation of such an effect. You would riot know specifically what you were perceiving at all.

(5) If you have seen your friend's son every day and are totally familiar with him, then whenever you have valid bare sensory perception of him, even at a distance, it is self-evident that he is the son of your friend. If you are a master repairman, then whenever you see a broken appliance you know immediately what is wrong and how to repair it. Because of your complete familiarity, this is self-evident to you without the need of further cognition.

From the point of view of its etymology, there are three types of valid ways of knowing that it is not self-evident what something is. These are bare perception of something (1) for the first time in your life, (2) when your mind is distracted and (3) that is affected by a cause for deception.

(1) When you see an utpala lotus for the first time, it is self-evident that it is a blue flower, but not what specific. kind it is. To realise when you see this that you will need further information and cognition to identify it is this first type of knowing that something is not self-evident.

(2) The second type occurs, for instance, when someone says something to you while you are engrossed in thinking about something else. Aware that you have heard something, you realise that it will have to be repeated for it to become self-evident what has been said. Such valid cognition often occurs with inattentive perception.

(3) When you see a mirage of water in a desert and realise that you will need to have a closer look to be certain what you have seen, this is an example of knowing that something is not self-evident when your perception is affected by a cause for deception.

These last two types of cognition are valid in the sense that with them you realise that what you are perceiving is not self-evident. But because the cognitions themselves are inattentive or distorted, they are valid only in an etymological sense and not in an actual one.

There are further classifications such as a valid way of knowing that (1) what something appears to be is self-evident, but what it is in fact is not, (2) what something is in general is self-evident, but what it is specifically is not, and (3) it is riot self-evident whether anything has even appeared to you. Although such varieties have been explained, it is important to differentiate which are actually valid ways of knowing something and which are merely called valid.

(1) An example of this first type is seeing something red in the distance. What appears to your bare sensory perception, a red colour, if self-evidently red, but that this is in fact a fire is not self-evident.

(2) The second is seeing a tree in the distance. What it is in general, a tree, is self-evident. To know specifically that it is an oak, you will have to go closer.

(3) You see a man on a hill out of the corner of your eye. Unsure if you actually have seen a man, you realise you will have to look at the hill more carefully to be certain. This is an example of the third type. Another one is seeing someone and, wondering if you have ever seen him before, realising that you will need to have another look to be sure.

These first two are actual valid ways of knowing something. But knowing that it is not self-evident whether anything has even appeared to you is only called valid. In actuality it is inattentive or may even be distorted.

In general, knowing that it is not self-evident what something is a valid knowing of something, but specific instances of it may not necessarily be considered a valid way of knowing. Detailed precision is needed here.

Thus you may invalidly know something, such as a mirage, but validly realise you will have to look at it again to be certain what it is. This is valid from the point of view of correctly knowing that something is not self-evident. But because it is based on a distorted cognition, this cannot actually be considered valid.

12. Objects of Cognition

There are four types of objects that can be known: (1) those that appear, (2) those that are grasped, (3) implied and (4) conclusively known objects. Objects that appear to one of your types of consciousness are mutually inclusive with those that are grasped. Except for such (sensory cognitions) as the false feeling of hair falling, which does not depend on an external object, all cognitions have an object that appears to them.
      In general, cognitions may be divided into sensory and mental.
   Each of these include valid and invalid cognitions, correct
   apprehensions and distortions. Sensory cognitions are never
   conceptual. They may be either valid bare perceptions or
   subsequent, inattentive or distorted ones. When they are distorted,
   such as those of a person with cataract who has the false feeling
   of hair falling over his eyes, there is no actual object that
   appears or is grasped by his sensory consciousness. There only
   seems to be one. This is because there is no external object as
   hair actually falling over his eyes.

      All other types of sensory, as well as every mental cognition,
   have an object that appears to them. What appears to a
   non-distorted sensory cognition and to a non-conceptual mental one
   is an objective entity, such as a vase. The object that appears to
   a conceptual mental cognition is a metaphysical entity, such as a
   mental image or an idea of a vase. These, then, are the objects
   that are grasped by the consciousness of that cognition.


Implied objects are an exclusive phenomenon of conceptual cognition. Every such cognition that conforms to reality has one.
      The object that appears to a conceptual cognition, then, is a
   mental image such as an idea of a vase. The implied object is what
   this is a mental picture of, in this case an actual objective vase.
   Conceptual cognitions that do not conform to reality, such as one
   of a rabbit's horn, are distorted. Although an image of such a horn
   is the object that appears to such mental consciousness, there is
   no implied object since in fact there is no such thing as a
   rabbit's horn.


A conclusively known object is what is known at and as the conclusion of a valid way of knowing. All such ways of knowing and all persons with such valid knowledge have this type of object.
      To the valid bare perception of a vase, the object that appears
   is an actual objective vase. This is directly apprehended and is
   the object conclusively known. Although the vase continues to be
   the object the appears to subsequent bare perception, it can no
   longer be considered conclusively or validly known. It still
   appears to inattentive perception as well, but it is no longer
   self-evident what it is because your mind is distracted. Whether or
   i of you realise it is not self-evident is another matter
   altogether. In none of these cases, however, is there an implied
   object because bare perception, whether valid, subsequent or
   inattentive, is always non-conceptual.

      In the valid bare yogic perception which directly apprehends
   your five aggregates, known in terms of a conventional 'I' void of
   a permanent identity, and indirectly apprehends its
   Identity-lessness, your five aggregates so qualified are the object
   that appears, while Identity-lessness is not such an object.
   However, the aggregates so qualified and Identitylessness are both
   objects that are conclusively known. In subsequent yogic perception
   they are no longer conclusively or validly known, but are still
   correctly apprehended.

      In the non-conceptual distorted perception of a blue snow
   mountain, there only seems to be an object that appears to your
   visual consciousness. But because there is no such thing as a blue
   snow mountain, there is no actual object that appears. There is no
   implied object either and nothing is conclusively known. Such
   cognition has arisen without direct reliance on an external
   material object or objective condition. It is distorted because
   there is a fault in its manner of grasping at an object, as well as
   deceptive because it is mistaken with respect to what seems to
   appear to it.

      When you see an object and conclude it is a vase because it has
   a fat belly, a flat indented base and can be used to pour water,
   the first instance of such knowledge is a valid inferential
   understanding based on popular convention and also a conceptual
   cognition based on semantics. What appears to such a conceptual
   cognition is the mental picture or label of a vase, and this is
   what is directly apprehended. The vase itself is the implied object
   and is apprehended only indirectly. As a result of this inference
   what you conclusively know is the vase itself. You have known it
   through the label 'vase', but it is not this label that you
   conclusively know. Such valid cognition must be considered
   deceptive, however, because what appears to it is mixed with an
   implied object. In subsequent moments of such inferential
   understanding, the actual vase will no longer be conclusively known
   and the cognition will no longer be valid since it is not fresh.
   Everything else about it as described above will remain the same.

      Although the object that appears to a conceptual cognition must
   be a metaphysical entity, it is not always the case that the
   implied object must be an objective one. For instance, in the valid
   inferential understanding of an empty space, a mental image of an
   empty space appears and is directly apprehended. The actual empty
   space, itself a metaphysical entity, is the implied object
   indirectly apprehended and conclusively known. Such cognition is
   still deceptive for the same reason as the one of the vase.

      In the distorted conceptual cognition of a blue snow mountain,
   the mental picture of such a mountain appears to your mental
   consciousness. A blue snow mountain would be the implied object if
   such a thing existed, but since it does not, there is no such
   object and nothing is conclusively known. Such cognition is both
   distorted and deceptive because it is mistaken in regard to both
   its implied object and what appears to it respectively.

      Thus objects may be conclusively known only by a valid way of
   knowing or by someone who has such valid knowledge. Nothing is
   conclusively known by subsequent, inattentive or distorted
   cognition, presumption or indecisive wavering.


Thus although the implied object of a conceptual cognition is apparently known by it, it is not the object that appears to it. Likewise, although the object that appears may be something you are 'implicitly' and compulsively attracted to, it is not the implied object.
      This is playing on two different usages of the Tibetan words
   'nang' and 'then'. An object that appears is a 'nang-yuil'; to be
   apparently known is 'nang'. An implied object is a 'zhen-yul'; an
   object of compulsive ('implicit') attraction is a 'zhen-sa'. In
   Tibetan, as in most languages, many words have several meanings and
   usages, some of which may seem contradictory. Therefore it is
   important to differentiate what a word actually means in its
   context from its etymological meaning.


13. The Conditions for Cognition to Arise

There are three conditions for bare sensory perception (to arise). These are known as the objective, main and immediate conditions.
      What causes you in general to have the cognitions you do is your
   previous karma. As the result of your past actions you experience
   things in the present. These three types of conditions are what
   help bring about the cognitions caused by your karma.


In the bare sensory perception grasping a form, the objective condition is that thing which presents an aspect of itself (to be the object of this cognition). In this case what is being defined is the form itself.
      Thus the objective condition for the bare sensory perception of
   a vase is the vase itself. In the distorted sensory perception of a
   person with cataract seeing hair falling over his eyes, there is no
   objective condition because there is no hair falling as an external
   object. Such distorted perception arises from other conditions
   independent of an objective one.


That which generates such a bare sensory perception by its own power is known as its main condition. Such a condition may be either an unspecialised or a specialised one. An example of the former is the cognitive power of the mind and of the latter, that of the eyes.
      In a general sense the cognitive power of the mind can be the
   main condition for any bare mental or sensory perception grasping
   any kind of object, a form, a sound and so forth. Thus it is
   unspecialised. On the other hand, the cognitive power of the eyes
   is a specialised main condition since it serves as such only for a
   bare visual perception. Any specific bare perception, however, has
   only one main condition for its arising. A specific visual one
   relies on the specialised main condition of the cognitive power of
   the eyes and a specific mental one on the unspecialised main
   condition of the cognitive power of the mind.


That which generates the clear awareness of such a bare sensory perception is the third type of condition, (the immediate one). In this case it might be the mental cognition (grasping this same form) that immediately preceded it.
      When you have sensory cognition of a vase, the first instance is
   your bare perception of it, an initial valid way of knowing. The
   next moments are subsequent cognitions and the last is inattentive.
   This sequence is followed immediately by non-conceptual mental
   cognition grasping this form, which also has initial valid,
   subsequent and inattentive moments. Immediately following this
   sequence you may go on to have conceptual mental cognition of the
   vase, or you may revert to non-conceptual bare visual perception of
   it once more. In such a case the mental cognition of the vase
   immediately preceding your return to bare visual perception of it
   is the immediate condition for this sensory perception.

      For specific moments within a certain sequence of sensory and
   mental perception of one object, however, each moment of cognition
   is the immediate condition for what follows it. The initial moment
   of the first bare sensory perception of this object, before which
   you were cognising something completely different, does not
   necessarily arise dependent on an immediate condition. However
   generally speaking, there is a continuity of clear awareness for
   your cognitions no matter what their object is.


As for such things as bare sensory perceptions grasping sounds and so forth, (their conditions are to be understood) in a similar fashion.

From the Cittamatra point of view, the main and immediate conditions (of bare sensory perception) are explained in almost the same way (as from that of the Svatrantrikas). However these two systems dialer in that they have separate ways of accepting whether there is an actual objective condition or only a nominal one.
      Using skilful means Buddha taught many different systems of
   theories, each giving a progressively more refined level of
   explanation concerning the mind and other topics. In the
   Savtrantika one, Buddha explained that there were substantially
   existing external objects and thus all bare sensory perceptions
   have an actual objective condition for their arousal. However from
   the Cittamatra point of view Buddha explained that in the sense
   that nothing can exist independently of being cognised or
   cognisable, there actually are no external objects as such.

      From the Savtrantika point of view, cognitions arise from their
   potential which has been planted in your mind-stream in the form of
   karmic instincts or seeds. According to the Cittamatra explanation,
   such instincts are planted specifically in your foundation
   consciousness (alayavi-jnana), which is another type of primary
   consciousness that each sentient being possesses. These instincts,
   however, are not only for the conscious portion of your
   cognitions--that is their primary consciousness, secondary mental
   attitudes and elements and awareness of consciousness--but also for
   their objects. This is because, in a certain sense, objects of
   cognition cannot exist separate from your cognition of them.
   Therefore according to this theory, the objective condition of a
   cognition is only nominal because it does not exist as an external
   object. The object of a cognition, then, does not precede or cause
   your cognition of it, as the Savtrantikas would explain, but rather
   the two occur simultaneously.

      These explanations concerning external objects, foundation
   consciousness and the nominal existence of objective conditions are
   further refined in the Madhyamika theories of the Svatantrikas and
   prasangikas.


Gyan K'an-po has explained that there are three ways of accepting how bare mental perception arises in this context: (1) from the second moment on, bare sensory perception becomes bare mental, (2) bare sensory and mental perception arise in waves one after the other and (3) these two alternate. However this (threefold division) is not accepted in the present explanation. Bare mental perception may be considered to arise only at the end of a stream of continuity of bare sensory perception.
      Thus in this work, which is considered accurate today, only the
   second of the three explanations of the Indian Abbot Gyan K'an-po
   is accepted. After an initial moment of valid bare sensory
   perception, it is not the case that each subsequent moment is bare
   mental perception. Nor does one moment of each follow the other in
   rapid succession. Instead you first have a stream of continuity of
   bare sensory perception in which the first moment is a valid
   knowing, the second and what follows is subsequent cognition and
   the final is inattentive. Only after this last moment of sensory
   cognition does a wave of bare mental perception arise, also having
   initial valid, subsequent and inattentive moments. Bare mental
   perception, however, is something extremely obscure, of which only
   a Buddha has complete knowledge.


The difference between conceptual and non-conceptual cognition maybe understood roughly from what has been explained previously. Sensory cognitions and bare perceptions (that is sensory, mental, those of awareness of consciousness and yogic) may only be non-conceptual. on the other hand mental cogni-tions may be either conceptual or non-conceptual.

14. Primary Consciousness and Secondary Mental Attitudes and Elements

There are primary consciousnesses and secondary mental attitudes and elements.
      In any cognition there are always these two kinds of conscious
   phenomena, which share live timings in common. They have a common
   (1) object, (2) reliance, (3) aspect, (4) time and (5) immediate
   source.

      In a bare visual perception of a blue vase you have both primary
   visual consciousness and such secondary mental attitudes and
   elements as recognition, feeling and so forth. (1) These all take
   the blue vase as their common object. They arise from the same
   objective condition. (2) They share a common main condition as
   well, for they all rely on the cognitive power of your eyes. (3)
   They take on the same aspect of the object that appears. (4) They
   occur at the same time, although to be more precise they are not
   exactly simultaneous. And (5) they arise from the same immediate
   source, namely the potential for this cognition in your
   mind-stream.

      When you place a clear piece of glass over a blue cloth, the
   glass takes on the same blue aspect as the cloth. If placed on a
   yellow cloth it would take on a yellow aspect, although the glass
   itself is neither blue nor yellow. A conscious phenomenon is like a
   clear piece of glass. Although it has no physical qualities of its
   own, it takes on whatever aspect of an object that appears to it.
   In any specific moment of cognition, then, both the primary
   consciousness and all its attendant secondary mental attitudes and
   elements take on the same aspect of the object that appears.

      Two things are said to have a single immediate source if they
   share a common, immediately preceding fundamental cause. The
   fundamental cause of a pot is the clay from which it is made. The
   light of two bulbs in a fixture are of one immediate source, since
   they both light up simultaneously when you switch on the
   electricity. Similarly, the primary consciousness and secondary
   mental attitudes and elements of a cognition all 'light up'
   simultaneously when their common potential is activated. According
   to the Cittamatra explanation, the object of the cognition as well
   shares this same immediate source.

      Although the primary consciousness and secondary mental
   attitudes and elements of a cognition share these five things in
   common, they are not identical, for their double negatives are
   different. The same is true with respect to the Cittamatra
   explanation of a conscious phenomenon and its object. Although
   consciousness and its object share a single immediate source, a
   seed of karmic instinct planted in your foundation consciousness,
   and in this res pect are non-dual, this does not mean they are
   identical. This is because 'subject' and 'object' have different
   double negatives. Thus when you exclude everything that is not the
   subject and everything that is not the object, you are left with
   two different things.


Primary consciousness, the mind and consciousness are all mutually inclusive terms for the same thing. There are six types, from visual consciousness to that of the mind.
      With primary consciousness you are aware simply of the
   fundamental data of anything that can be validly cognised. The six
   types accepted by the Sautrantikas are visual, audial, olfactory,
   gustatory, tactile and mental. The Enlightened Motive of Bodhicitta
   is also a primary consciousness having as its object the attainment
   of Buddhahood for the sake of all sentient beings. It is classified
   as a type of primary mental consciousness.

      In some of the Cittamatra explanations, Buddha taught eight
   types of consciousness, adding foundation and delusion
   consciousness to these six. The former cognises all objects roughly
   and, as that in which seeds of karmic instinct are planted, is the
   foundation for all cognitions. It is neither a primary
   consciousness nor a secondary mental attitude or element, and was
   unspecified by Buddha to he either virtuous or non-virtuous. The
   latter is what in delusion cognises thee former as being permanent
   and substantially existent from its own individual stance.


There are fifty-one secondary mental attitudes and elements, namely the five ever-functioning and the five discriminating elements, and the eleven general virtuous, the six root defiled, the twenty branch defiled and the four changeable attitudes.
   With a secondary mental attitude or element you are aware of
   distinctions and qualities in an object, the fundamental data of
   which you cognise with a primary consciousness. There are a great
   number of such attitudes and elements which have been condensed
   into various lists. This particular enumeration of fifty-one
   derives from the 'Abhidharmasamuccaya' by Asanga. Among the many
   items not specifically mentioned here is karma, which is defined as
   the secondary mental element bringing about virtuous and
   non-virtuous actions as well as the results of these actions.

      Feeling, recognition, mental impulse, decisive attention and
   contact make five. Because these always function in accompaniment
   with every instance of principal or primary consciousness, they are
   known as the five ever-functioning secondary mental elements.

      Feeling is the experience of happiness, unhappiness or
   indifference in response to pleasurable, painful or neutral contact
   with an object of cognition. It is how you experience the ripening
   of your virtuous, non-virtuous or unspecified karma. Feelings may
   be either disturbing or undisturbing depending on whether you are
   attached to your contaminated aggregates or have gained bare yogic
   perception of Identity-lessness.

      Recognition is what grasps the significance of an object that
   appears to either a conceptual or a non-conceptual cognition and
   identifies or labels it with either a conventional name or a
   meaning. Mental impulse is what moves the attention of your primary
   consciousness towards a potential object of cognition in accordance
   with your karmic instincts. Decisive attention makes the specific
   choice as to what you will cognise, accepting and rejecting
   alternatives. Contact is what connects to primary consciousness the
   secondary mental attitudes and elements and awareness of
   consciousness, as well as objects of cognition and the cognitive
   powers of the senses or the mind. It may be either pleasurable,
   painful or neutral depending on your previous karma.

      Every moment of cognition is accompanied by these five. Thus
   whenever you know something, a mental impulse has moved your
   attention towards it and decisive attention has made the specific
   choice to cognise it. You have had pleasurable, painful or neutral
   contact with it and experienced this with a feeling of either
   happiness, unhappiness or indifference. And with recognition you
   have grasped the significance of what you have experienced.
   Moreover you are aware of all this through awareness of
   consciousness, which is what actually experiences these feelings
   and so forth, allowing you afterwards to remember them.


Intention, fervent regard, mindfulness, fixation and the wisdom of discriminating awareness make five. Because these make individual discriminations with respect to a specific object you have cognised they are known as the five discriminating secondary mental elements.
      Intention is the wish to have a specific thing as the object of
   your cognition. Fervent regard is firmly cherishing such an object
   and wishing to preserve it. Mindfulness or memory keeps you from
   forgetting a specific object with which you are familiar. It refers
   to the conscious activity of remembering or being continually
   mindful of something, not the passive storage of impressions.
   Fixation is the placing of your attention on a specific object of
   cognition for any length of time.

      When perfected it becomes single-minded concentration. The
   wisdom of discriminating awareness analyses a particular object,
   discriminating between what is to be accepted or rejected and which
   actions are to be practised or avoided. When perfected it becomes
   the wisdom of understanding Identitylessness and Voidness, thus
   accepting the actual way in which all things exist and rejecting
   false distorted notions of true independent identities and
   existence. The wisdom of discriminating awareness is often referred
   to as common sense intelligence.


Respectful belief, a sense of propriety and self-respect, a sense of decency and consideration, the three roots of virtue--detachment, imperturbability and open-mindedness--enthusiastic perseverance, flexibility of mind, care and awareness, clear-minded tranquility and sympathy (are the eleven general virtuous secondary mental attitudes). Each of these is virtuous from any point of view in that each is an opponent (force for a non-virtuous state of mind), shares the five things in common, plus a single set of fundamental data (with a virtuous state) and so forth.
   Respectful belief is the positive attitude you have towards objects
   that are virtuous and worthy of respect. Depending on whether it is
   motivated by no apparent reason, an emotionally unstable state of
   mind or sound reasons well understood, it is known as uncritical
   faith, longing faith or conviction.

      A sense of propriety and self-respect is your concern for the
   consequences of your actions on yourself. A sense of decency and
   consideration is your concern for such consequences on others.

      Detachment is the attitude of not clinging to objects of
   cognition, being neither covetous nor possessive. With
   imperturbability you never become angry with any human being. With
   open-mindedness you are never unwilling to learn. As the roots of
   all virtue they are the absence of the three poisons, namely
   longing desire, fearful and angered repulsion and
   closed-mindedness.

      With enthusiastic perseverance you exert great effort in
   performing virtuous actions and take pleasure in so doing.
   Flexibility of mind is the power to control and use your mind in
   any virtuous manner you wish. When perfected in mental quiescence
   meditation, it results in a feeling of physical ecstasy and
   exhilarating mental bliss.

      With care and awareness, conscientiousness, discretion or
   prudence, you feel concern and take care about your own virtues.
   Clear-minded tranquility is a state of mind temporarily free from
   mental dullness and mental agitation. With sympathy, you feel great
   concern for the welfare of others.

      Any of these eleven is an opponent force for combating a
   non-virtuous state of mind. Moreover each of then and a virtuous
   state of mind share a common object, reliance, aspect, time and
   immediate source, as well as a single set of fundamental data. Two
   things are said to share a single set of fundamental data if, when
   perceived in the same cognition, they cannot be perceived
   separately. Just as milk mixed with water cannot be seen as too
   different things when seen mixed, so you cannot separate out
   detachment, for example, from a virtuous state of mind and perceive
   them as two distinct things in one specific cognition, such as the
   virtuous one of viewing a woman with detachment.


Longing desire, general fearful and angered repulsion, pride and arrogance, ignorance, deluded indecisive wavering and the speculative defilements are the six root defiled secondary mental attitudes. These are the main things that bring your mind-stream to a state of moral and mental defilement.
      Longing desire is regarding something impure and contaminated as
   being worthwhile and attractive. General fearful and angered
   repulsion is the generation of violence Or agitation with respect
   to any object of cognition, animate or inanimate. When such anger
   is directed specifically towards another human being, this is
   called simply fearful and angered repulsion. With pride and
   arrogance you feel you are unique and special, better than everyone
   else.

      Ignorance is the attitude of being unaware of Identity-lessness
   and Voidness, the actual way in which all things exist. It is the
   root of continuing rebirth with suffering in samsara. Included
   under this defilement is closed-mindedness, the foolish attitude of
   stubbornly closing yourself off from learning something new and
   potentially threatening.

      With defiled indecisive wavering you fluctuate between two
   conclusions concerning the object of your cognition and are either
   inclined towards the incorrect conclusion or evenly balanced
   between the two. Thus in a state of nervous indecision concerning
   an object of virtue, you either head towards distortion and
   non-virtue or are left in a state of paralysis of the mind, unable
   to decide or do anything.

      A moral and mental defilement is defined as any secondary mental
   attitude that when developed brings about suffering and uneasiness
   either to yourself or others. These first five root ones are known
   as the five non-speculative defilements. Their distorted
   theoretical bases are the five speculative defilements.

      The first is to regard that which changes as being your concrete
   ego-identity. This is your mistaken view of who it is you think you
   are. Your five aggregate physical and mental faculties are
   constantly changing. However with this speculative defilement you
   single out certain aspects of your aggregates and identify them
   with your conventional 'I' which you imagine exists as something
   permanent and substantial. Looking at yourself from the view-point
   of this 'I', you regard what you identify with as being your
   concrete ego-identity. Thus you view everything as truly existing
   in terms of 'me' and 'mine'.

      The second speculative defilement is to regard your ego-identity
   from an extreme point of view. Grasping at your supposedly concrete
   egoidentity, you either cling to it as something permanent or,
   close-mindedly and defensively, deny it completely.

      The third is to believe that the indulgence of your ego-identity
   will lead to Liberation from suffering. Grasping at that which
   changes as being your concrete ego-identity and feeling that this
   is the type of person you will always be, you believe that if you
   act according to this personality you will attain Liberation. For
   instance, with the first speculative defilement you identify
   yourself as someone young and strong. With the second you feel that
   this is the way you will always be. With the third, then, you would
   feel that if you could always keep yourself physically fit and
   looking young and attractive, you will solve all your problems and
   never be unhappy.

      The fourth speculative defilement is to hold the mistaken view
   that improper discipline and vowed conduct will lead to Liberation
   from suffering. With such defilement, you would stand on one foot
   all day or sleep on a bed of nails and regard it as a true path to
   Liberation.

      The last is to hold distorted views. This is to believe that
   that which is always true and is always the case is never true and
   never the case. Such distorted views would be, for instance, to
   deny the law of cause and effect, to believe that there is no such
   thing as Liberation from suffering and so forth.

      These, then, are the root defilements, the main things that
   delude your mind and bring you suffering.


Aggressiveness, resentment, concealment of non-virtue, annoyance, jealousy, miserliness, concealment of shortcomings, pretentiousness, haughty disapproval, merciless cruelty, shamelessness, inconsideration, foggy-mindedness, mental agitation, disrespect, laziness, recklessness, forgetfulness, inattentiveness, and mental wandering make twenty. As these are secondary developments that grow and spread from the root mural and mental defilements, they are called branch defilements.
   Aggressiveness is strong anger approaching violence. With
   resentment you stubbornly hold a grudge and seek revenge.
   Concealment of non-virtue is the devious attitude of attempting to
   hide from others the fact that you have committed a specific black
   karmic-action. Annoyance is the residue of a strong feeling of
   anger expressing itself in your use of harsh and abusive language.

      With jealousy you cannot bear to see or hear about the good
   qualities of others. With miserliness you always want your
   possessions to to last and increase. Concealment of shortcomings is
   the ambitious attitude trying to gain advantage by hiding your
   faults from others. With pretentiousness, you claim to possess
   qualities and abilities you do not have.

      Haughty disapproval is an attitude of depreciation deriving from
   feelings of superiority. With it you are filled with
   self-importance, always criticising and finding fault with
   everything you meet. Merciless cruelty is a total lack of feeling
   or consideration for others. It causes you to treat others as if
   they were inanimate objects, often with great maliciousness. With
   shamelessness you are unconcerned about the consequences of your
   actions on yourself. With inconsideration you are similarly
   unconcerned about the consequences to others.

      Foggy-mindedness is a state of mind in which your body feels
   weak and your mind works slowly. You are overcome with sluggishness
   and do not wish to do anything. With mental agitation your mind,
   compelled by attachment or longing desire, loses its hold on an
   object of cognition and is drawn uncontrollably to another one,
   either virtuous or non-virtuous. Disrespect is your disinclination
   to virtue, often based on laziness. Laziness is the attraction you
   have to relatively easy and generally non-virtuous activities.

      With recklessness, negligence, carelessness or indiscretion you
   do not guard your actions to see whether they are virtuous or
   non-virtuous. It is the opposite of care and awareness.
   Forgetfulness prevents you from remembering what you once knew.
   With inattentiveness you intentionally seek mental distractions and
   spend your time daydreaming. Mental wandering is an attitude of
   restlessness motivated by any of the three poisons of longing
   desire, fearful and angered repulsion or closed-mindedness. With
   this your mind is never steady, but always flitting from one object
   to the next.

      As all these attitudes derive from the six root moral and mental
   defilements, they are known as branch defilements.


Sleep, regret, general and analytic discernment are the four changeable secondary mental attitudes. They are so called because they change to become virtuous, non-virtuous or un-specified in accordance with your motivation.
      Sleep is a state of total sensory darkness in which your five
   types of sensory consciousness cease to function, "leaving you only
   with mental cognition. Depending on your state of mind when falling
   asleep, such cognition will be virtuous, non-virtuous or what has
   been unspecified by Buddha to be either.

      Regret is an attitude preventing mental bliss or satisfaction.
   Feeling badly about non-virtuous deeds you have committed in the
   past is virtuous. On the other hand to feel this way about your
   virtuous acts is non-virtuous since it prevents you from enjoying
   their fruits.

      With general discernment you seek a rough understanding of an
   object of cognition with little analysis of particulars. With
   analytic discernment you seek a more precise understanding of it.
   How these secondary mental attitudes are classified depends on
   whether the object you choose to understand is virtuous and so
   forth.

      Thus every cognition you have entails secondary mental attitudes
   and elements. Some are always present, neither beneficial nor
   detrimental. Some are virtuous, others are not. By learning to
   discern which attitudes accompany your perceptions, inferences and
   so forth, you can make all your cognitions virtuous as well as
   valid.


15. Other Buddhist Theories and Conclusion

According to the explanations of the Sautrantika division of the Madhyamika-Svatantrikas, the Madhyamika-Prasangikas and the Vaibhasikas, there are only three types of bare perception: sensory, mental and yogic. They do not accept that there is such a thing as the bare perception of awareness of consciousness. However, according to the Sautrantikas, Cittamatrins and the Yogacara division of the Madhyamika-Svatantrikas, there are all four types of these.
      The purpose of Buddha's teaching many different theories, such
   as those concerning the mind and how it knows things, is to help
   lead sentient beings to Enlightenment. Although such explanations
   may seem contradictory at first, upon deeper contemplation it
   becomes evident that they are not. First Buddha teaches a very
   rough, general description of how the mind works. When you have
   understood this much, then you are ready to comprehend further
   refinements and more precise descriptions. If you wish to define
   something specifically and exactly, you use a double negative--it
   is what is left over after you have excluded everything it is not.
   The more precise an explanation of the mind, then, the more you
   know what it is not. The more you know what it is not, the finer
   your understanding of what it is. Therefore it is important to
   train yourself through the graded explanations of Buddha's
   different schools of theories, from the Hinayana ones of the
   Vaibhasikas and Sautrantikas through the Mahayana ones culminating
   in the Madhyamika-Prasangikas, in order to attain Enlightenment for
   the sake of benefiting all sentient beings.

      One of the major points upon which further refinements are given
   is awareness of consciousness--how it is that you experience what
   you do and later can remember it. A more precise understanding of
   the actual way in which all things exist leads to a finer
   appreciation of what it means for something to be an external
   object, or something in the past. Thus there are further
   discussions of objective conditions for bare perception, what is
   subsequent cognition, what are the natures of objective and
   metaphysical entities, what is appearance, reality, deceptive
   cognition, ultimate and relative truths, direct and indirect
   apprehensions, and so forth. Another topic discussed is how karmic
   seeds of instinct for future cognition are transmitted from
   lifetime to lifetime. In this context foundation consciousness, the
   mind-stream and the process of mental labelling are examined
   further. A finer understanding of Identity-lessness leads to
   further refinements concerning bare yogic perception, who has it
   and at what stage of development.

      By following a path of learning how the mind works validly, you
   can come to understand how the omniscient mind of a Buddha knows
   everything. By hearing this, contemplating and meditating upon it,
   you can develop such an omniscient mind yourself. Such training,
   then, is part of the pathway to Fnlightei ment.


Because I feared that this work might become too long and complicated, I have restricted myself merely to presenting some basic lists (of things involved in studying the ways of knowing). For further explanations and examples of what I have merely defined, please consult such general works as the 'Tsa-ma rig-gyan' (by His Holiness the First Dalai Lama).

16. Epilogue

In order to help those of fine intelligence to differentiate and discriminate the hair-splitting differences between what should be accepted and rejected, this compendium of ways of knowing has heels composed by someone called Lozang. By the virtue of the effort made in this work may the eyes of all beings be opened to see what is correct or defective. By following to its conclusion this excellent and unmistaken path, may everyone quickly attain the Omniscience of Buddhahood.

This work, 'Blo-rigs-kyi sdom-tsig blang-dor gsal-ba'i me-long' by A-kya Yongs-'dzin dByangs-can dga'-ba'i blo-gros (late eighteenth century) has been translated by Sherpa Tulku, Khamlung Tulku, Alexander Berzin and Jonathan Landaw following an oral explanation given by Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey. Assistance has been gratefully received from Serkong Tsanzhab Rinpoche, Doboom Tulku and Alan Wallace.
COPYRIGHT 2013 Library of Tibetan Works and Archives
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2013 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Lodro, Akya Yongzin Yangchen Gawai
Publication:The Tibet Journal
Article Type:Essay
Date:Mar 22, 2013
Words:19782
Previous Article:Urine analysis in Tibetan medicine.
Next Article:Adfer Rashid Shah. (2012). "Restless Beings: Understanding Kashmiri Youth in Sociological Contour.".
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters