Buddhists talk about discontinuity

ordinary consciousness consists of the discrete cetas

and illusion

all is illusion and the external objects are nothing but the creations of our mind

  1. In Yogacara, are all moments discontinuous -- the idea that nothing is ever the same thing twice and no two times meet -- and an illusion?

  2. Does that mean that durations -- even-though consisting of impermanent events -- only seem to arise persist decay or cease? Why?

I can intuitively see a link between 1 and 2, and I am in effect asking about that. Put another way: is the flow of time we psychologically experience itself permanent?

  • just editing this now
    – user2512
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 13:06
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    I don't know Yogacara, and maybe it's already obvious to those who do, but just perhaps this question might be clearer with a reference -- i.e. quoting "Buddhist talk about discontinuity and illusion".
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 13:10
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    i believe the same point is carried across -- see the first question here
    – user2512
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 13:34
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    What Yogacara school you're talking about, Nagarjuna? Many later interpretations are incorrect interpretation of Nagarjuna: the Prasangika/ Candrakirti, Santideva; the Svatantrika/ Bhavyaviveka, Śāntarakṣita. If you can only read English texts, you are likely being poisoned Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 16:06
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    Yogacara is associated with Mahayana thus with Nagarjuna, as Mishu notes, In this case N's teachings are relevant.here. Assumption built into the question are a multiplicity of moments and the idea they have a duration. These make the questions tricky to answer directly. Or, they do for me anyway. . . .
    – user14119
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 11:27

2 Answers 2


Like Andrei says, this isn't something normally taken up by yogacara. Nevertheless, if you wanted to pull this system into the discussion, it would seem that yogacara argues in favor of continuity at least in respect to the unenlightened mind. One of the characteristics of the alaya vijnana is that it gives a false notion of consistency to the self and the thrice transformed objects of consciousness. Specifically in regards to mind consciousness, the cetas are superimposed by the alaya in a consistent way. I don't know of any instance where yogacara makes the argument that all consistency is vacated upon enlightenment, but it stands to reason that once the transformations are abandoned, each sense object and mental construct becomes fully discrete and not warped by residual mental seeds in the alaya.


The teaching that we should regard all phenomena as like an illusion is not exclusive to Yogachara. In fact, this teaching can be found extant in the canonical texts of all surviving Buddhist traditions including both the root texts of the Mahayana and Theravada.

I would suggest dropping this line of inquiry or at least treading very carefully as you seem quite confused about what is being taught by the differing traditions and their soteriological aims. The Yogachara tradition really does not enter into this specific question.

  • thank you for the concern, but i'm not sure what your point is. yogacara does talk consistently about illusion, arguably more than any other tradition. there's nothing especially confusing about buddhist scholasticism, only what to believe
    – user2512
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 1:59
  • what is your aim in such scholasticism? your moniker implies you are 'sorta' buddhist. what does this mean? it is a major fault for someone to teach emptiness doctrine to those whose minds are not ready for it and for very good reasons.
    – user13375
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 14:40
  • oh, i'm trying to work out what is a reasonable / rational belief, that's all. before -- i hope -- practicing [more].
    – user2512
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 14:42
  • have you taken refuge in the three jewels? do you work on the method aspect of the path? where are you getting your ideas from? i think a lot comes from western academics, no?
    – user13375
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 14:44

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