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Thread: Readings on Yogacara ?

  1. #1

    Readings on Yogacara ?

    Hi. I am interested in reading on Yogacara teachings. I have laid off reading Dharma books for some time, having had a fill of ideas at one point. Now it feels like time to take another look. I am familiar with the general Yogacara view, and am not looking for an academic work, or anything steeped in symbolism, preferring something first hand, maybe from a practitioner.

    Any suggestions? Thanks Daizan
    大山

  2. #2
    I don't really know anything about yogacara but I wonder if back in the days of the 4th or 5th century in India the spiritual gurus were trying to make a transition from Hindu yoga to a Buddhism that incorporated yogic practice.



    Kind regards. /\
    _/_
    Rich

  3. #3
    Hi Rich. The history seems vague enough that it is easy to draw generalizations. The beginning of the school is attributed to two practitioners Vasubandhu and Asanga , at about that time.. maybe a bit later. According to tradition the teachings were not formulated at that time, but taught by the Buddha and kept in a subtle realm until retrieved by Asanga while in an absorption..... I think. but don't take it from me there has been plenty written about it that is available. The important thing is that it is the origin of the "Mind only" teachings of Zen... Alaya.. and so forth.

    I'm more interested in reading about a practitioner's experience of this schema as a yoga or practice. I've been looking around but would appreciate hearing from others.

    Gassho Daizan
    大山

  4. #4
    Hi Daizan,

    I do not know know any modern practitioners, especially in our little corner of the Buddhist world, who really practice "Yogacara" as such. It is something very influential generally in the Mahayana, and thus, in the Zen schools too. However, I do not know anyone very devoted to it.

    Perhaps this is where the Zen guys would offer you the advice to burn the philosophy books and hit the cushion. Forget Yogacara and just grab a yoghurt, keep it simple man.

    However, one interesting book is this by Thích Nhất Hạnh in which he tries (and largely succeeds I feel) in taking traditional views of Buddhist psychology such as the "Storehouse Consciousness" making them relevant and useful for modern times and people.

    http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-.../dp/1888375302

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-30-2014 at 03:49 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    Hello Daizan,

    first of all...what Jundo said

    BUT...I have an interesting book lying around which I don't need anymore. I have to find out how much sending it to Canada would cost (because if it costs more to send it then to buy it anew....sending it makes little sense).

    Here it is:

    http://www.amazon.com/Madhyamika-Yog...nagao+yogacara

    Please PM me, if you find it useful.

    All the best and Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  6. #6
    I was going to recommend the Nagao book, Hans, but it is more a scholarly treatment of Yogacara theory. Daizan seemed to want something from an actual practitioner.

    Also, as I recall, because it is a collection of essays by the scholar written independently on various themes, it is a very disorganized compilation focusing mostly on narrow issues about Yogacara.

    I am going to take a chance and recommend a book by its cover alone, never having read it. It may be about as close as one will get, being perhaps the only English book I have ever seen written by a Japanese Priest from the Hosso (Yogacara) Sect (one of the original Nara schools of Buddhism in Japan)! The amazon reviews are interesting.

    http://www.amazon.com/Living-Yogacar...words=yogacara

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-30-2014 at 08:00 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    Thank you Jundo and Hans. I'm going to go with Jundo's cover hunch. The amazon comments sound about right.

    It will be enjoyed with fresh yoghurt. Thank you.


    Gassho Daizan
    大山

  8. #8
    Hello Daizan,

    will you let us know how you get on - I'd be interested to understand how the underlying ideas generate practice.

    Following on from Jundo's recommendation I had a read through the reviews of the Prof Lusthaus book that is mentioned. The yogacara system seems to have many overlaps with modern construct psychology - in other words it has an epistemological basis rather than an ontological or metaphysical basis?

    I think I could fry my brains on this so going straight for the fresh yoghurt

    Gassho

    Willow

  9. #9
    Let me just emphasize that I in no way see any need for Zennies to study this.

    There are some nice aspects to it, such as the model that our actions plant Karmic seeds within us that we store, and which perfume our future actions ... hate making it more likely that we will hate in the future.

    There is also the very good teaching that this world, and how we experience it is much more mind created than we know, the mind processing data from the senses to make our virtual experience of the world, and dropping the divisions and judgments is very important.

    Beyond that, it is a extremely tangled and technical philosophical system that probably is not needed by most folks. Maybe a mental health professional like willow might find something more. Yogacara did "perfume" Zen's development, so some general familiarity with what it says and Mahayana history can be helpful, but there is no need to go deeply.

    One could do well to just read the Wiki listing before buying any book.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yogacara

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10
    I hope i didn't give the impression that this something other people should look into... Can"t speak for Treeleaf or what Zennies aught to read. That was not the idea. I'm was just looking for a book suggestion and brought it to my friends here..

    Gassho Daizan

    ....oy
    大山

  11. #11
    Hello,

    personally I find Hakeda's translation of "Awakening of Faith" (attributed to Ashvaghosa) very useful....as it covers, explains and integrates some key concepts (including Yogacara influences) that were absolutely vital for the development of most Zen schools. It is less philosophical and more practical oriented. But the most practical Is Zazen itself!

    Don't read too much

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    Hello,

    personally I find Hakeda's translation of "Awakening of Faith" (attributed to Ashvaghosa) very useful....as it covers, explains and integrates some key concepts (including Yogacara influences) that were absolutely vital for the development of most Zen schools. It is less philosophical and more practical oriented. But the most practical Is Zazen itself!

    Don't read too much

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Wanting to look again into the Yogacara teaching is, for me right now, kind of wonderful. I first learned to practice under Theravadin teachers and became familiar with the early sutras. I was drawn to the Mahayana through Madhyamaka teachings (via Tibetan Buddhism and other sources) Those teachings felt “right”. Beginning Zen (soen) practice in the early nineties I took to zazen (always a form of “just sitting”) very well, but did not hear the cittamatra teaching as they were presented, or as I found them. They just triggered antibodies... seeming very eternalistic ...etc etc. Those feelings, that prejudice, has been there as an issue for a long time, and recently it just lifted. Not sure why it is gone but it's gone, and it feels right to look again with an open heart and mind. It will be a real benefit. So... maybe some zennies (who are not involved in a formal course of study) should not study such things, and maybe some have good reasons and plenty of native intelligence to study, and to know when to. I don't know if that means not being a proper treeleaf student, but i think it is ok with being a Treeleaf friend.

    Gassho Daizan
    大山

  13. #13
    Daizan,

    I, for one, wish to hear about your experience. I have a friend whom I spoke to tonight who finds great pleasure and insight in hand sewing his own blue jeans. He can talk for hours about all the old Levis series, and small differences in stitching. Bores me silly, but listening to him ... well, when he talks about it, it sounds as wonderful and silly as anything in life.

    I guess I am saying that one person's "waste of effort" is another person's treasure trove.

    I do not recommend in depth Yogacara studies (or homemade jeans making) to most Zen folks, but then again, no reason those cannot be what one does between Zazen sitting ... and each is Zazen too when tasted as such. Yogacara studies may be just the right medicine for you. My comment was not particularly directed at you, but at others who might feel that they need to chase after this next shiny thing. Please don't be so sensitive and reactive to what you perceive was said.

    Let us know how it is going and what you find.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    I might read a little about this too. Based on the Wiki page, it reminds me a lot of Patticasummapada, but sort of on steroids.

    Gassho and thanks for the info everyone, Shomon
    Shōmon

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I was going to recommend the Nagao book, Hans, but it is more a scholarly treatment of Yogacara theory. Daizan seemed to want something from an actual practitioner.

    Also, as I recall, because it is a collection of essays by the scholar written independently on various themes, it is a very disorganized compilation focusing mostly on narrow issues about Yogacara.

    I am going to take a chance and recommend a book by its cover alone, never having read it. It may be about as close as one will get, being perhaps the only English book I have ever seen written by a Japanese Priest from the Hosso (Yogacara) Sect (one of the original Nara schools of Buddhism in Japan)! The amazon reviews are interesting.

    http://www.amazon.com/Living-Yogacar...words=yogacara

    Gassho, J
    I have got the Living Yogacara book and find it a useful intro

    Gassho

    Taikyo

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Daizan,

    I, for one, wish to hear about your experience. I have a friend whom I spoke to tonight who finds great pleasure and insight in hand sewing his own blue jeans. He can talk for hours about all the old Levis series, and small differences in stitching. Bores me silly, but listening to him ... well, when he talks about it, it sounds as wonderful and silly as anything in life.

    I guess I am saying that one person's "waste of effort" is another person's treasure trove.

    I do not recommend in depth Yogacara studies (or homemade jeans making) to most Zen folks, but then again, no reason those cannot be what one does between Zazen sitting ... and each is Zazen too when tasted as such. Yogacara studies may be just the right medicine for you. My comment was not particularly directed at you, but at others who might feel that they need to chase after this next shiny thing. Please don't be so sensitive and reactive to what you perceive was said.

    Let us know how it is going and what you find.

    Gassho, J
    Thank you, Jundo. I will pay attention to being sensitive and reactive to perceptions. ....and will post something about this reading.

    Gassho Daizan
    大山

  17. #17
    From the little I've read, looks like the yogacara folks refined the definitions of the 6 consciousness's and added 2 more. For me this is somewhat interesting but kind of a static view. Would be interested to learn how yogacara influenced Chinese Zen and how the Taoist energy description of reality which was the religion of that era played a role.

    Kind regards. /\
    _/_
    Rich

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