Notes Pages: Note D - CONSCIOUSNESS

This Companion Edition Modernised and Edited by Muriel Daw

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In order to understand The Voice of the Silence it is helpful to consider the views of ‘Mind’ and ‘Consciousness’ which originated in the Yogācāra School, and are still held by all Buddhist Esoteric Schools. Discernment of levels of Consciousness is essential to spiritual training.

The 8 Cognitions and 5 Wisdoms of the Yogācāra School


1-5: That which is cognised by the 5 Senses.

This awareness, by meditation, can be turned over into the Wisdom of Perfect Action. [Motivates action and non-action of Behaviour.]

6: That which is cognised by the intellectual card-indexing brain.

This awareness includes the sense cognitions, and compares them with memories. This is the Conscious Mind, to which belongs time. It is the ordinary, rational, relative mind which normally plans future action based on these cognitions. It knows something is making these plans and conceives Manas as the Ego.

This awareness, by meditation, can be turned over into the Wisdom of Profound Observation and  Discrimination. [Gives understanding of past, present & future, including world trends.]

7: That which is cognised by the ego-sense or will: Mind or Manas.

Manas has no being of its own; it is simply the union — a position between the ordinary individual view-point and the Universal Consciousness.

This awareness functions in two ways, outer and inner:

1] When turned outwards it is the seat of intellectual operations and emotions [all that forms the human personality]. It is then the consciousness of the brain, and may be termed the ego or individual ‘self.’  The Lower Mind.

2] When turned inwards it is the intuitive mind, or spiritual consciousness. It is then conscious of Ālaya, the wholeness, and may be termed the SELF, or the True Self which has the adamantine universal quality of Truth. The Higher Mind.

Manas in its outward aspect is, of course, invaluable for everyday living, and must be cherished and trained accordingly. However, in order to profit fully by the inner aspect which leads to enlightenment, we must remember that “The Self of Matter and the Self of Spirit can never meet.”

The great Zen teacher, Daisetz Suzuki, tells us:

Manas has no own-being, no body of its own nor marks by which it can be differentiated. It belongs to both sides.
Universal Mind is its cause and support, but it is evolved along with the notion of an ego and what belongs to it and upon which it reflects

This awareness is related to what Dr Carl Jung terms ‘the Personal Unconscious.’ When this is perfectly understood it can be turned over by meditation into the Wisdom of Equality. [When choosing falls away.]

8: That which is cognised by Ālaya.

This is the Fundamental Universal Consciousness, which is all-existent before, during and after manifestation, and to it sentient beings have access in meditation.

Ālaya means the “store-house,” implying that this consciousness is the reservoir preserving the potential psychic energy resulting from all ideas, memories, and desires. It holds all primordial forms, the archetypes, the seeds or germs of all things. It is also the fundamental cause of both samsāra and nirvana.

This awareness may relate to what Jung terms ‘The Unconscious.’ By meditation it can be turned over into the Wisdom of the Great Mirror. This reflects the Dharma-Realm Wisdom of the Centre:


The Centre is symbolised by crossed vajras.
It represents the warp and woof which every universe rests upon.
Wherever akasha prevails, consciousness pervades.
Wherever consciousness pervades, the Dharmakaya pervades.
In that state is enlightenment gained.

Three Crossed Vajras

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