The Buddhist Unconscious: The ālaya-vijñāna in the context of Indian Buddhist thought

William S. Waldron
Publish Place: 
London and New York
Routledge Curzon
Publish Year: 
Ebook Information: 
Ven. Vinayasri, 2008
E-book Tag: 

This work focuses upon an explicit notion of unconscious mind formulated by the Yogācāra school of Indian Buddhism in a series of texts from the third to the fifth centuries CE. These texts describe and defend this "Buddhist" unconscious through a variety of exegetical and metapsychological arguments whose rationales are analyzed in terms of their historical and contemporary context. The work thus first presents the multivalent conception of consciousness (vijflana) within the early teachings of the Buddha, and then demonstrates how the Abhidharma emphasis upon momentary and conscious processes of mind was widely understood to make the continuity and mu[tidimensionality of consciousness problematic in several crucial ways. The Yogacara thinkers addressed these multiple problems with a new model of mind centered upon the Buddhist unconscious, whose meaning and purpose is now made accessible to Western readers for the first time.