Disclaimer: The translations are not official nor endorsed by 2OR, so please just treat it as a ‘fan-based’ translation. The Buddha-Dharma is profound. No matter how you convey it, it won’t be completely perfect. Because the Buddha-Dharma is an experience, it’s an awakening 【佛法深奥无比，怎么写，都不会是究竟圆满。佛法是一种悟】. Please enjoy, and I hope it serves as a good filler until the official English version comes out.
In the past, you have regularly heard Master mention the eighth consciousness and the ninth consciousness. In this chapter, Master will talk about the nine consciousnesses.
Buddha expounded about the nine consciousnesses. They are the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, thoughts, manas consciousness, Alaya consciousness and amala consciousness. The last three levels of consciousness are beyond the average conscious awareness. They are the multiple levels of consciousness that one develops when one encounters something. This was already expounded by the Bodhisattvas two thousand and five hundred years ago; their wisdom definitely came from Heaven. When you see something, your consciousness is stirred. When you hear something, when something says something to you, you would begin to think, “Is that true or false?” and your conscious thoughts develop.
When your nose smells something, “Hmm, this smells fragrant,” doesn’t that cause your conscious thoughts to develop? When your tongue tastes something, doesn’t that stimulate your conscious thinking? “This is spicy.” “This egg doesn’t take fresh.” Regarding your body, doesn’t any tactile sense stimulate your conscious thoughts? Blind people rely on their body to feel since they can’t see, so their tactile senses are very sensitive. In the past, there were stories of blind people where when they shake hands with you, they would know your personality, how old you are, and from the feel of the bones and skin on your hand, they could estimate how old you were. Thoughts refer to your conscious thoughts. The eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, thoughts are the six sensory faculties, which are the six consciousnesses.
Manas consciousness is the seventh consciousness. After a person develops a conscious thought, their mind would develop a kind of subconsciousness to distinguish it. It will categorise what level of consciousness the thought should be registered as. The manas consciousness is a non-fixed entity; it continues to fluctuate. It will categorise the conscious thought according to your subconscious reaction and determine whether to save it, react to it or gradually delete it. It is the subconscious level where all conscious thoughts are categorised.
The manas consciousness - the seventh level of consciousness, is the preliminary filter for the eighth level of consciousness, Alaya. Alaya consciousness is very deep within one’s subconscious mind. Basically, anything that enters into the eighth consciousness can’t be eliminated. Calling the manas consciousness as a preliminary filter is because it is where the differentiation of good and bad takes place. In laymen terms, the manas consciousness is like the inspector who checks whether what one encounters consciously is good or bad. In contrast, the Alaya consciousness is where it is judged. Because this subconscious processing revolves around the ego or self-attachment on whether something is good to them or bad to them, it means that one’s inherent nature and conscience has not been used.
Also, the seventh level of consciousness regularly changes to the sixth level of consciousness. The sixth level of consciousness is the most superficial level of one’s subconsciousness. When somebody tells you that this person is very bad, you then recognise that the person is bad, but this idea has not undergone any processing yet. It hasn’t been processed by the manas consciousness to differentiate whether it is true or not, good or bad; it means that the awareness isn’t pure. That’s why the seventh consciousness revolves around the ego.
The eighth consciousness belongs to the subconsciousness. When a thought is developed, the eighth consciousness is where it is judged. It is the store of consciousnesses where both wholesome and unwholesome consciousnesses are stored after being differentiated by the seventh consciousness. All consciousnesses that were developed and ceased are all stored together; that’s why anything that has entered into the Alaya consciousness can’t be removed. For example, many people say that they can’t forgive somebody even if people suggest they do so. “Even if you tell me to stop hating him, I can’t. He had caused me too much distress; I will never forgive him in this lifetime.” That’s because it has already entered into the deep Alaya consciousness.
The sixth consciousness relates to one’s feeling about something; that’s why it’s called the sixth sense. For example, you are looking to buy a new property, and you enter into a new house, and you find it very pleasing and comfortable. That feeling comes from your sixth sense. The sixth consciousness is controlled by Heaven. “I feel good when I’m with him.” “I don’t like being around him.” “I feel like today is not a good day to go out, so I won’t.” It all comes from your sixth sense. In the past records of China, there were some great men who, on that day, felt like not riding on that carriage and swapped to sit in a different carriage. As a result, the original carriage they were meant to sit in exploded. Somebody wanted to assassinate them, but that person avoided it. That’s why the sixth consciousness or sixth sense is controlled by Heaven.
Now we discuss the eighth sense. The eighth consciousness possesses ‘differentiation of forms’ – when you see something, you will develop bias and ‘differentiation of views’; when you see something, you will immediately differentiate whether it’s good or bad. It is where stereotypes are formed. “When I see him, I know he’s a good guy.” “When I see him, I know he’s a bad guy; I don’t want to have any contact with him.” People go through a process of self-verification, where one automatically differentiates an object according to oneself.
Alaya consciousness is a deep subconscious level, and anything that enters it will be difficult to remove. For example, one’s impression of others. “That person is hopeless. I don’t want to be friends with them.” That view was certainly developed from your eighth consciousness. No matter how well they do, you would argue that they are pretending and everything they do is fake. No matter how much they change their ways, you would say that they’re faking it. In laymen terms, you are looking at them through coloured spectacles. Even if they have changed, you won’t believe it. That’s because your thoughts have already entered into your eighth consciousness.