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The Distinction Between Consciousness and Wisdom (ADN)
The Distinction Between Consciousness and Wisdom (ADN)
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In the text The Distinction Between Consiousness and Wisdom the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje distinguishes consciousness from wisdom on the basis of the yogachara view and his own practice experience. From the yogachara perspective, the eight consciousnesses are eight forms of confusion and the five wisdoms are their enlightened nature. Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche has said that understanding the distinction between consciousness and wisdom is important for mahamudra practice. MItra Karl Brunnholzl provides clear and engaging line-by-line commentary on this text, which begins by explaining that the fundamental difference between the mind of confused sentient beings and the mind of the Buddha is recognizing or not recognizing mind’s true nature. The text then presents and refutes the essential components of theories that posit substantial existence (arises from self; arises from something else; arises from self and other; arises without cause). Following this introduction, the text explains the eight consciousnesses as they are experienced by deluded mind. Mitra Karl’s teaching on these sections of the text (Talks 2 – 4) takes the form of a lively and wide ranging discussion with the students in attendance. The text together with Mitra Karl’s explanation provides a profound view of the eight consciousnesses, which is then further clarified in response to insightful questions from the audience. Mitra Karl’s broad ranging study and practice informs his answers resulting in a presentation that is highly educational even for students who have studied the eight consciousnesses in other contexts. In the final talk, Mitra Karl teaches the verses in the text that explain the wisdom nature of the conciousnesses. The distinction taught in this teaching is not simply of academic interest. This distinction is important to understand to inform our practice. This teaching is so rich with information and insight that practitioners will want to view it more than once.
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