Re: Memory


Lucy <selene@...>
 

Hi KKT:

I was so intrigued by your question last night that I sent it to a
friend/mentor who's been studying yogacara for 30 years.
I hope nobody minds me posting my friend's reply here, I think it addresses
KKT's follow up question and may give a slightly different view of the
"Alaya consciousness" which is not too at odds with Abhidhamma.

-----------------------------------------------------

KKT:
If memory is a cetasika
and lasts a very brief instant
and then falls away then
how does << recollection >>
or << recognition >> work?

Suppose I meet Mr. X,
an image of X is a cetasika
making a mark in my 'mind'
but lasts only a fleeting moment.

The next time I meet Mr. X,
there is a << recollection >>
or a << recognition >> that
I've already known Mr. X,
that means the << old image >>
of X must be somewhere
in order to have a << comparison >>
between the new image and the old one.
----------------------------------------------------
My friend's answer:

The response depends upon how you accept that past and present moments
present themselves to consciousness. Ths is really the same as asking how
or where do karmic 'seeds' reside.
A cetasika (awareness of a deliberation of mano) does not occur in a
vacuum but draws from various sources occurring within the present moment
of consciousness. Therefore there must be within present c'ness the seeds
for past events to be recreated.

Seeds being a metaphor for the agglomeration of latent forces composed of
events clung to in the present which have occurred in the past.

'Memories' are simply instances of such seeds being reformed (re-collected)
into a present moment of c'ness and acknowledged (re-cognised)

Because each process is 'new' there is the possibility of error in one's
memory. .

----------------------------------------------

KKT (2):

If memory and kamma are
<< never lost >> then logically
they must be << stored up >>
somewhere ?

I know that this << somewhere >>
is out of question in Abhidhamma,
not like in Yogacara of Mahayana
where a Storehouse Consciousness
(Alayavijnana) was postulated.
-------------------------------------------

In my friend's (and other people's) interpretation, based on the original
works of Asanga and Vasubandhu, the "Storehouse Consciousness" is not a
static, unchanging "store" of past events (that would be more the
Sarvastivadin view). It is a dynamic, always changing, trail of
"latencies" - Note my friend talks of "seeds" being "re-formed", they arise
anew in a present moment based on present conditions and latent forces
created by past kamma / events. They're not picked up by consciousness from
anywhere else. Thus, the "memory" is never identical to the past event.
Best wishes
Lucy

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