"POM1: Presume that other minds can be perceived. Then, they shall be like external forms and have no real existence.

POM2: Presume that other minds can be perceived and still have real existence. This epistemic realism contradicts the idealist position held by the Yogācārins, insofar as there is one type of really-existed objects that can be directly given to one’s mind and this givenness is independent of one’s own mind.

POM3: Presume that other minds cannot be perceived. Then, the doctrine of consciousness- only also becomes untenable, because there is one type of objects that falls outside of the scope of one’s experience."

"Other minds are then perceived through the second-person perspective."

That is, when the Yogacarin communicates with other people, does he directly communicate with other minds? Or does he pretend to communicate with other minds, but in fact he knows that only his mind exists, and all other minds are just imaginations created by his mind Thank you.

  • Note the language being used. Self and Other. Your questions presuppose things which are not ultimately true. The presuppositions undergirding these questions do not stand up to logical analysis. They lead to absurd consequences. – Yeshe Tenley Apr 10 at 14:35
  • Should this school be perceived as metaphysical idealism or epistemological? – Arny Apr 10 at 14:44
  • I think you're trying to fit western philosophical definitions on to thesis' that don't easily fit them. What I'm saying comes from the Prasangika (Consequentialist) school and its criticism of Yogachara. If you wish to understand Yogachara/Cittamatra from that perspective I suggest reading chapter 6 of this: siddharthasintent.org/assets/pubs/MadhyamakavataraDJKR.pdf – Yeshe Tenley Apr 10 at 15:05

Didn't you already ask this?

"Or does he pretend to communicate with other minds, but in fact he knows that only his mind exists, and all other minds are just imaginations created by his mind"

Who's conceptual framework would that be done with?

What do you think minds are, things with an unchanging essence?

As I see it, key to understanding the 'mind-only' perspective is recognising all experiences have to be filtered through subjectivities, there is no truly objective, because no one experiences that, only consilience of experiences: like between different senses, & by comparing with others.

We each carry our own reality, but it's one where we constantly interact with the reality of others. A modern framing is 'peer to peer reality'.

  • Thank you. That is, this school is not metaphysical idealism? Is it about the perception of the same object here? For example: Two minds talk to each other about Paris, but one mind says that he likes this city, and the other mind tells him that he does not like this city because there are a lot of tourists, for example? – Arny Apr 10 at 12:44
  • @Arny: "One day Soshi was walking on the bank of a river with a friend. 'How delightfully the fishes are enjoying themselves in the water!' exclaimed Soshi. His friend spake to him thus: 'You are not a fish; how do you know that the fishes are enjoying themselves?' 'You are not myself', returned Soshi; 'how do you know that I do not know that the fishes are enjoying themselves?" -from The Book Of Tea – CriglCragl Apr 10 at 13:29
  • Thanks. That is, the Chinese and Indian schools of Yogacara are schools of impressions only? That is, two friends do not create Paris with their minds, but create the impression of Paris with their minds? – Arny Apr 10 at 13:44
  • 'Impressions only'.. As opposed to, substances? Essences? Identities? Transcendental unity? I feel like you have a set of square blocks you are determined to jam into round holes. It's like this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indra%27s_net Less self + world, than the surface, the interface between. That is the shift. Bundles of phenomena, grouped into salience landscapes, but all empty of inherent existence, all changing, relative, interdependent, mutually arising. – CriglCragl Apr 10 at 14:02
  • Thanks for the answer. But I cannot understand: Here's the situation: One Yogacarin talks to another Yogacharin about the river they are looking at. From the idealistic point of view of the Yogacara: A yogacarin must think that his mind has created another yogacarin with his own mind and a river? Or it should look like this: one mindstream talking to another mindtream about the stream of water and two mindstreams creates an impression of this stream of water in their mind? Thank you. – Arny Apr 10 at 14:39

"That is, when the Yogacarin communicates with other people, does he directly communicate with other minds?"

The Yogachara/Cittamatra is one of the higher tenet systems of Mahayana buddhism with the other being Madhyamaka. Both of these tenet systems attempt to explain the Buddha's teachings through the lens of the Two Truths: the conventional truth, and the ultimate truth. Your questions are confusing these two truths in a way that a Yogacarin would not agree to. That is, a Yogacarin would object to your questions as they rely upon western words and ideas that simply do not fit into the framework of the two truths and the tenet system of Cittamatra.

If a Yogacarin answered your question from the context of the conventional they would say they communicate with other people just like you do: talking and hearing, writing and reading, sign language and so on. From the context of the ultimate, a Yogacarin would ask why do you presume a 'self' and an 'other' where none so exist in the ultimate?

"Or does he pretend to communicate with other minds, but in fact he knows that only his mind exists, and all other minds are just imaginations created by his mind Thank you."

Again, in the context of the conventional the Yogacarin would say there is no "pretending" and this question is just presuming things they do not agree to. In the context of the ultimate, the Yogacarin would ask why do you presume a 'self' and 'other' and a 'his mind'?


It is more that we are lost in an inner vortex of feeling/perception which forms a kind of virtual and personal inner world. In Yogacara, this is called the seventh consciousness - mānas-vijñāna or the surface-level of mind: the superficiality of the mundane faculties of perception of which its counterparts are the previous six, but the actions derived from them all are rooted in the eighth consciousness, sometime called the storehouse consciousness. This latter consciousness is what gives shape and substance to the play of cause and effect.

When you say, 'does he pretend to communicate with other minds?' - Not quite, because he knows situationally that the feeling/perception of others is just an automative script. In many ways we are all reading from a conditioned script which Yogacara might call the alaya-consciousness where all the karmas are stored, or where all our predefined responses wait for the correct conditions to converge. We are all therefore already indulging in pretence.

In terms of social transactions and conversational dynamics, for an enlightened mind, there is a relearning of social interactions some of which never bother. They will prefer to stay on their own, resting in the company of whatever. It is the case that some people are quite adverse to the enlightenment experience; they don't like it at all and wish it had never happened. This happens for a few reasons but one of them is poor understanding.

For some, this relearning will involve the recognition of the ignorance of others, their reactive states of consciousnesses all with a view to blending-in. This blending-in might be because there remains a body that needs taking care of, so one might go to work. The other reason for learning to blend-in is via compassion. He sees the extent of suffering caused by investing time and energy into mere feeling-perception-based endeavours. Blending in means re-playing the roles that have now been relinquished, but re-playing them with greater awareness or situational wisdom.

So it is more a relearning to operate at a different level, but when I say level, I don't necessarily refer to any sort of hierarchical structure, but more the ordinariness of clear, bright and unhindered perception. There isn't a going North, East, South or West to realize that. It is a here-and-now occurrence soiled by the obscuration of feeling-perception or in yogacara terms, mānas-vijñāna.

  • Thank you, you are wise. But I don’t understand "he pretend to communicate with other minds? ' - Not quite " What does "Not quite" mean Is he pretending or not pretending? The question is when a Yogacarin communicates with another person, he believes that he is communicating with another mind or believes that he is communicating with imagining yourself in a different guise? – Arny Apr 10 at 13:20
  • He knows the minds of others as a process of interconnecting - almost accidental - phenomena rather than a definitive static entity. It is this situational awareness that knows from wide and deep - bright and unblemished in its wisdom-understanding. – NeuroMax Apr 10 at 14:00
  • If I understood correctly, when the Yogacharin communicates with your mind, he believes that your mind is a constantly changing stream of psychic factors. Ie your mind depends on the reasons and conditions and is not a static entity? – Arny Apr 10 at 14:13
  • He does not believe that there is a mind there. At best, he sees only a type of confusion, similar to a vortex of leaves that gathers at the corner of a building from a slight wind. – NeuroMax Apr 10 at 18:21

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