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Key Term amalavijñāna
Topic Variation immaculate consciousness
Hover Popup Choices amalavijñāna; ninth consciousness
Wylie Tibetan Transliteration dri ma med pa'i rnam shes
Romanized Sanskrit *amalavijñāna
Chinese Script 啊摩羅識; 無垢識
Chinese Pinyin amoluo shi; wugou shi
Japanese Transliteration amarashiki; mukushiki
English Standard immaculate consciousness
Term Type Noun
Source Language Sanskrit
Basic Meaning The ninth consciousness, the immaculate pure mind.
Has the Sense of According to East Asian Yogācāra, the absolute purity of mind of a buddha. While the Sanskrit term appears in Vasubandhu's Abidharmakośa and the accompanying Bhaṣya, the term as it is used in the sense of pure consciousness was first used in Chinese by Paramārtha and then expanded and changed by later Chinese Yogācāra writers. While Paramārtha associated it with thusness and used it to refer to a catalyst for enlightenment, it has come to refer to a ninth consciousness which only appears when the ālayavijñāna, the eighth consciousness, ceases. As such, it is pure, luminous, and permanent. Some writers, however, have equated it to the pure aspect of the ālayavijñāna, as well as with prakṛtiprabhāsvaracitta (the absolute purity of mind), tathāgatagarbha, and even emptiness.
Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism See page 33: In Sanskrit, “immaculate consciousness”; a ninth level of consciousness posited in certain strands of the Yogācāra school, especially that taught by the Indian translator and exegete Paramārtha . The amalavijñāna represents the intrusion of tathāgatagarbha (womb or embryo of buddhahood) thought into the eight-consciousnesses theory of the Yogācāra school. The amalavijñāna may have antecedents in the notion of immaculate gnosis (amalajñāna) in the Ratnagotravibhāga and is claimed to be first mentioned in Sthiramati’s school of Yogācāra, to which Paramārtha belonged. The term is not attested in Sanskrit materials, however, and may be of Chinese provenance.
Simplified English Usage Example: At the moment of enlightenment, the eighth consciousness ceases, replaced by the ninth, the immaculate consciousness of a buddha.