Triṃśikā Vijñaptimātratā

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Triṃśikā Vijñaptimātratā
translated by
Lapis Lazuli Texts

Taishō Tripiṭaka volume 31, number 1586. Translated originally by Xuanzang in 648 CE. This work is commonly called Thirty Verses on Consciousness Only, and is a core text of the Consciousness Only school of Buddhism, also called Yogācāra or Vijñānavāda. The thirty verses in this work were composed by Vasubandhu Bodhisattva in order to teach the subtle truth that all perceived phenomena are manifestations of consciousness.

  1. From the delusion of self and phenomena,
    Comes the conveyence of various manifestations;
    These are supported and transformed by consciousness,
    And there are only three of these which may transform.
  2. These are retribution, thought,
    And the perception of external objects.
    The first of these is the Ālaya Consciousness,
    Which is retribution as well as all the seeds.
  3. Its grasping, location, and knowing are imperceivable,
    And it is always associated with mental contact,
    Attention, sensation, conception, and thought;
    It is associated with neither pleasure nor pain.
  4. It is undefiled and morally indeterminate;
    Mental contact and the others are also like this.
    Its conveyence is like that of a flowing stream,
    And it is abandoned in the stage of the arhat.
  5. Next is the second which is able to transform,
    And this consciousness is called Manas.
    It is supported by the previous conveyence,
    And its character and nature are that of thought.
  6. It is always associated with the four vexations,
    Which are delusion of a self, perception of a self,
    Identity with a self, and love of a self,
    As well as mental contact and the others.
  7. It is defiled and morally indeterminate,
    And its location is bound to that of life.
    In arhats, in the Nirodha Samāpatti,
    And in the Supramundane Path, it does not exist.
  8. Next is the third which is able to transform,
    Which is distinguished into six different divisions;
    Its appearance and nature are perceiving external objects,
    And these may be good, bad, or indeterminate.
  9. It is associated with omnipresent mental activities,
    With the external objects, the good, the vexations,
    The secondary vexations, and the undetermined,
    And it is associated with all three feelings.
  10. Omnipresent mental activities are mental contact, etc.;
    Next are those with objects, which are desires,
    Determination, mindfulness, samādhi, wisdom, etc.,
    And the object of each of these is not the same.
  11. The good are faith, conscience, a sense of shame,
    The three roots such as desirelessness, etc.,
    And also vigor, peacefulness, vigilance,
    Equanimity, and harmlessness.
  12. The vexations are desire, hatred,
    Delusion, pride, doubt, and wrong views.
    The secondary vexations are anger,
    Hostility, obscuration, anger, jealousy, greed,
  13. Deceit, harmful flattery, arrogance,
    Lack of shame, lack of conscience,
    Acting upon agitations, torpor,
    A lack of faith, laziness,
  14. Negligence as well as forgetfulness,
    Distraction, and incorrect knowing.
    The undetermined are remorse, sleep,
    And both types of initial and sustained thought.
  15. With their basis in the root consciousness,
    The five consciousnesses manifest according to conditions;
    These manifestations may occur together or separately,
    Just as waves are formed upon the water.
  16. The thought consciousness always manifests
    Except for those born in the heavens of no-thought,
    For those in the two samādhis without thought,
    And for those in drowsiness or unconsciousness.
  17. These various consciousnesses are transformed
    As discrimination and that which is discriminated,
    And with this basis they are all empty;
    Thus they are all Consciousness Only.
  18. Through the consciousness of all seeds,
    There are such-and-such transformations,
    And from the power of this conveyence,
    This and that are produced by discrimination.
  19. Due to the habit energy of various actions,
    Along with the habit energy of dualistic grasping,
    Even when earlier retributions are exhausted,
    Still the renewed arising of retribution occurs.
  20. From this and that imagination,
    One imagines all kinds of objects;
    These pervasive imagined objects
    Are without actual self-nature.
  21. From the interdependent self-nature
    Comes discrimination arising from conditions;
    The perfection of the fruit comes from
    Always being apart from the former nature.
  22. Therefore in relation to the interdependent,
    It is neither different nor is it not different,
    Just like the nature of impermanence, etc.,
    And when one is not perceived, the other is.
  23. On the basis of the three kinds of self-nature
    Is established the threefold absence of self-nature;
    Thus the Buddha spoke with the hidden intent
    That all phenomena are without nature.
  24. The first is the naturelessness of characteristics,
    The next is the naturelessness of self-existence;
    The last is the detachment from the first,
    When the natures of self and phenomena are grasped.
  25. This is the ultimate truth of all phenomena,
    And it is also the same as True Suchness.
    Because its nature is eternally like this,
    It is the true nature of Consciousness Only.
  26. So long as one has not given rise to the consciousness
    Which seeks to abide in the nature of Consciousness Only,
    Then regarding the two types of grasping dispositions,
    He is still not yet able to subdue and extinguish them.
  27. Setting up and establishing even something small
    And saying this is the nature of Consciousness Only,
    Because there is still something which is grasped,
    It is not truly abiding in Consciousness Only.
  28. When regarding that which is conditioned,
    There is the wisdom of total non-appropriation,
    Then at that time one abides in Consciousness Only,
    Apart from the twofold grasping of appearances.
  29. Without grasping and not conceptualizing,
    This is the wisdom of the supramundane realm
    Which abandons the two types of coarseness
    And naturally attains transformation of the basis.
  30. This is itself the untainted realm,
    Inconceivable, good, and eternal,
    Peaceful and blissful, the body of liberation,
    And what the great Muni called the Dharma.

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