154. Yogacara

Eko said to Bodhidharma, “My mind is not at peace, please pacify it” Bodhidharma replied, “Bring me your mind and I will pacify it”.

After a while Eko said, “I have looked everywhere for my mind and I cannot find it”.

Bodhidharma said, “There! I have pacified it”

Bodhidharma was very influenced by the Yogacara school and its eight ‘consciousnesses’.

Yogacara is often – unhelpfully – referred to as mind-only, or consciousness-only. We can’t hear ‘Mind’ or ‘Consciousness’ without thinking of the personal mind, and we can’t hear talk of a progression of consciousnesses without imagining a spiritual capitalism with a progressively greater spending power. For this reason, it is better to translate Yogacara as experience-only.

The first six consciousnesses correspond with our five senses, plus mind. The seventh is self, and the eighth is alaya consciousness, which is said to have two aspects – suchness and delusion.

That delusion comes about because the original wholeness of experience – Suchness – is appropriated to the self.

‘I’ am experiencing.

Once there is a perceiver, a self, there is then a mind and from that, a body, then differentiation into the five senses. Like part of the Antarctic ice cap breaking away, there is first the fundamental split from Suchness. Then all the little agonies.

Eko could not ‘find’ his mind, because his real experience was not sliced up.

If you imagine that Suchness is somewhere other than here, you will never find it.

It is like looking for the ground standing on the ground.