A compendium of ways of knowing.
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.
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).
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.
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|Author:||Lodro, Akya Yongzin Yangchen Gawai|
|Publication:||The Tibet Journal|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2013|
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