So I've been Reading a bit of the Buddhist's boogeyman Shankara and I admit I am maybe biased in writing this(I am open to any refutation of my view,but I have not seen any adequate logical refutation of such),but I'd like to see a buddhist refutation or answer of this following viewpoint of mine based on a reading of Shankara's writings:

the temporary momentary alaya vijnana in yogachara buddhism is the substratum of momentary impressions,desires and ideas wich give rise to the false perception of external objects in their system.ideas and impressions(vasana samskaras)give rise to the appearance of external objects,wich give rise to further ideas and impressions wich give rise to further objects of external perception.however how can this not be a infinite regress(the appearance of external objects give rise to impressions,impressions give rise to the appearance external objects)?if external objects' (even just initial in some starting point in the past,wich buddhism denies due to its adherance to pratityasamutpada)existance is altogether denied to possibly exist rather than the mere appearance of them,how can impressions and desires come about for such objects ''appearance''?

and if there is no permanent substratum to the mind wherein impressions and desires can leave a mark or effect,how can anything be cognized externally(i.e how can vasana samskaras be configured or accumulated(with out wich it cant exist)without a permanent substratum?

such latent impressions cannot exist in a fresh new substratum (i.e person )each moment,because neither desire would arise from the appearance of external objects nor the appearance of external objects from impressions' desire(and the Yogacarin must admit a certain illogical infinite regress even in the case of a assumed permanent substratum)?

a new subtratum cannot have any impressions nor appearance of external objects to give impressions because the substratum,in this case the Alaya vijnana has no connection with its 'causal' substratum due to kshanabhanga. if there were no permanent substratum there would literally be no experience or consciousness it seems based on the above.

only if a permanent substratum exists can such infinite regress of impression arising the appearance of external objects and vice versa even have any meaning(and even that is illogical as actual regressive infinites do not exist logically but I know that buddhism believes in infinite regression so I'm Granting you this.but such infinite regress would only 'make sence'within a permanent substratum).

I don't See how the Buddhist Doctrine of alayavijnana does not fail,and how only a permanent self can explain the infinite regress of ideas leading to (the appearance of) external objects and vice versa(wich itself is illogical in my opinion,but I am granting you guys' this for the sake of argument only).

if Kshanabhanga(wich is a Buddhist Tenet fundamental to buddhism) is Denied here,as some may Wish to do,and the substratums have a causal chain wich must be substantial;then how is this not a Permanent Self of the tirthikas for all intents and purposes?

buddhism denies this,and all of buddhism except Jonang would all fail if this were admitted,but if this were the case we have a permanent cognizing substantial 'self'/'person' through all the 3 times.

I don't see how the momentary alayavijnana is not a failure.

1 Answer 1


Shankara is Advaita Vedanta, a branch of Hindu philosophy inspired by Buddhism, so why are we talking about him? I guess you were reading his critics of Buddhism and this is what you ask?

Your confusion about "infinite regress" comes from your materialistic assumption that separate objects exist in and of themselves, without observers. But in reality, separation into objects is a feature of the observing mind.

The observing mind does not arise all at once but emerges gradually from impressions of interactions. These impressions and interactions are automatic and undifferentiated, they have to accumulate until the patterns in them become obvious enough so that individual objects can be delineated. The mind is nothing other than the sum total of these accumulated impressions giving rise to an ability to recognize.

It's not that nothing exists prior to the delineation, but whatever does exist is not delineated, so before delineation there are no separate objects to talk about. The boundaries between objects are arbitrary and are drawn by the observing mind. Different beings delineate different objects thereby creating their specific subjective realms. The desires beings have are for those subjectively delineated objects.

What you call substratum is nothing other than the cyclicaly dying and reemerging medium of living beings. They are the carriers or the bearers of the samsaric mind. This mind is partially taught to and partially reinvented by every newly born baby. No permanent self is necessary because beings take turns carrying the torch of the samsaric mind and passing it on down the line.

Alayavijnana is the sum total of information carrying forward by the diversity of media that the samsaric mind can draw upon as it recreates itself in the new generations of sentient beings.

  • this fails to adress any of my points.
    – johny man
    Mar 18, 2020 at 19:01
  • I made clear that I am talking about the appearance of objects,not objects themselves in OP,and infinite regress still applies to the fact that without samskaras,the rupabhedam of external object cannot come into being and vice versa,so we have a chicken and an egg problem,unless sometime in the infinite past there actually was a external object to give rise to the first samskara and then rupa-bhedams starting the process,but this is anathema to buddhism because of paticasamupada as all outlined in the OP.there was no starting point where original impressions could be made from actual objects.
    – johny man
    Mar 18, 2020 at 19:17
  • As I explained, it's not the objects that give rise to samskaras but the undifferentiated interaction. Objects only exist as appearances. Outside of appearance there are no objects, only the undifferentiated "stuff". This is why Yogacara is dubbed the Representation-Only teaching.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Mar 18, 2020 at 20:06
  • that doesn't refute anything I've said.its the APPEARANCE of objects that give rise to samskaras,wich is what I said in OP.you are attacking a strawman.
    – johny man
    Mar 18, 2020 at 20:34
  • No, no - appearances of objects EMERGE from Samskaras, not the other way around.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Mar 18, 2020 at 22:25

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