Dharma Talks / The Eight Consciousnesses | Neuroscience Retreat

Sr Lăng Nghiêm

Sr Lang Nghiem talks about the 8 consciousnesses (from the Manifestation-only School), which comprise the consciousnesses of the eye, ear, nose, tongue, touch, mind, manas and store. These consciousnesses are always in flux and flowing with countless input and output happening at each and every moment. It is called ‘point instant manifestation’. As consciousness manifests in each instant, it gives the illusion of continuity.

The store consciousness is the totality of the seeds within it, it is not a container. The more often a seed is triggered, the stronger it becomes. With mindfulness, we can practice the four diligences which can then calm down or nourish positive seeds as they manifest. Mindfulness also enables us to slow down and touch ‘point instant manifestation’.

The Plum Village practice also teaches us to embrace indeterminate moments or neutral feelings, which are the majority of our feelings. These neutral feelings can then be transformed into something positive which is crucial for healing ourselves.

Sr Lang Ngheim also covers double grasping (grasping at consciousness as a self and secondly that there is an objective reality separate from our consciousness), and discusses the characteristics of our seventh consciousness, manas. Manas is the source of our vitality, but also creates our sense of a separate self and is pleasure seeking. It is the root of our discriminating mind, but also the basis of our non-discriminating mind. Part of our practice is to learn to recognize and regulate manas.

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