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Three Texts on Consciousness Only (Bdk English Tripitaka Translation Series) Hardcover – May 31, 2006
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"Three Texts on Consciousness Only" is a commentary on the Indian Buddhist monk Vasubandhu's Triṃśikā-vijñaptimātratā (Thirty Verses on Consciousness Only) and gives an exposition of the Yogācāra (Mind-Only) school of Mahāyāna Buddhism. The Triṃśikā-vijñaptimātratā was composed in the 4th century CE and became one of the core texts for the Yogācāra school. This book is worthy of investigation, but only for the truly dedicated.
Before reading "Three Texts on Consciousness Only" I suggest reading "Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness" by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso (Link: [..]). In Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness, it is Stage 5, Emptiness-Of-Other (Shengtong Approach) that corresponds to the Yogacara Mind-Only school as explained in "Three Texts on Consciousness Only." In this way, a study of both texts will provide the seeker with a deep-dive into the heart of the Buddhist understanding of the nature of consciousness and the nature of reality.
Please consider that ultimately, it is our attainment of a direct experience of emptiness (sunyata) through the diligent practice of meditation that provides us with jnana's perception. One must put down the books and spend regular intervals of time in meditation to gain progress. However, we should also engage our intellect and always be the student.
The revered thirteenth-century Tibetan master Sakya Pandita once said, "Seek learning even if you were to die tomorrow."
Here is an excerpt from "Three Texts on Consciousness Only", Chapter 1: Demonstration of Consciousness Only. This will give you a taste of the depth and complexity of this work.
... the ultimate reality that is revealed by emptiness (sunyata)
and absence of self exists, does not exist, both exists and does not
exist, and neither exists nor does not exist. It demolishes the processes
of thought and language and is neither the same as dharmas,
nor different from them, etc. It is the true principle of dharmas,
hence it is called the "true nature of dharmas." It is called "space"
because it is free of all impediments. It is called "cessation resulting
from discrimination" because through the power of discrimination
it ends various impurities and one understands thoroughly.
Or, as a result of being revealed by the absence of conditions, it is
called "cessation resulting from the absence of conditions." Feelings
of pleasure and pain are removed, so it is called "immovable."
It is called "cessation of thought and feeling" (samjna-vedita-nirodha)
because thought and feeling are not active. These five unconditioned
dharmas are provisionally established on the basis of ultimate reality.
But "ultimate reality" itself is merely a provisionally granted name.
To refute the idea that it does not exist, it is said to exist.
To refute the idea that it does exist, it is said to be empty.
But it must not be thought to be empty and illusory, so it is
said to be real. Because this principle is not false or erroneous, it is
said to be the ultimate nature of everything. It is also called the
"ultimate nature of everything" because it is not the same as the
real, eternal dharma called "ultimate nature of everything" apart
from form, mind, etc., of other schools. Thus none of the above
unconditioned dharmas really exists.
Dharmas grasped by non-Buddhist schools and other schools
of Buddhism do not really exist apart from mind and mental
activities, because they are grasped in the same way that mind and
mental activities are grasped by mind itself. The apprehension
that grasps them does not have them as objects, because it grasps,
like the apprehension that takes as an object this same intellect.
Also, because mind and its activities arise in mutual dependence,
they do not really exist, just as magical illusions do not. In order to
refute the false attachment to a really existing realm exterior to
mind and its activities, we teach that there is nothing but
consciousness (vijñaptimātratā). But if one believes that consciousness
only really exists, this is no different from attachment to external
objects, and it remains attachment to dharmas.
This is one page from this 450 page book. Definitely not light reading, however from this one page you can perhaps obtain a glimpse of jnana's perception of the true nature of reality, dharmatā, suchness, thusness, or Tathatā.