The Conscious Perceptive Mind is a Tool to Uncover the Truth, Not the Truth self

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This is one of the most well known teachings in Buddhism.

Ahead of the Buddha’s time to manifest entering nirvana, Ananda asked four questions to the Buddha, one of them is, “Who should be the one to lead the sangha after Bhagavan’s time?”
The Buddha replied, “The Buddhist precepts should be your leader.”
《金剛般若經疏論纂要》卷1:「則佛臨滅度。阿難請問四事。佛一一答。我滅度後。一依四念處住。二以戒為師。三默擯惡性比丘。四一切經初。皆云如是我聞一時佛在某處與某眾若干等。」(CBETA, T33, no. 1701, p. 155, c19-22)
Not any individual but the Buddhist precepts. As a person is a composition of five aggregates, our bodily, verbal and mental deeds are constantly ever changing according to the six sense-objects. In a way, we hardly know what will happen next. The Buddha wishes to pass down his ultimate unsurpassed wisdom that every individual innately possesses the same essence as that of His, so all sentient beings are primordially equal. The key point is that we do not know this fact about the Truth.

Most people do know about the Buddhist cultivation is a process of reduction instead of addition, which aims to lessen rather than deepen attachment to the desire-realm. Just like a rocket heading to the moon, it has to discard the heavy boosters one by one, in like manner, the Buddhist cultivation is to lessen our worldly attachment.

However, the most deep-rooted attachment within everyone is the idea about self-existing; we regard our conscious perceptive mind or the vijnana aggregates as the everlasting and unceasing mind. This concept is called the “misconceptions about the self,” and this is the cause of our unending transmigration. It is because we store the seeds of these misconceptions within the Alayavijnana, which is everlasting and indestructible, through it we could substantiate our unending cycles of births-and-deaths by uncontrollable karmic forces instead of our own will.

The conscious perceptive mind is a vital tool to uncover the Truth, but it lives only one life time. In terms of Buddhist cultivation, to eliminate the misconceptions about the self is the very basic for both Mahayana and Hinayana practitioners.


  1. The conscious mind is pivotal in Buddhist cultivation; it serves as a tool but not the final target. Because it is a worldly dependent arising dharma, as the Buddha stated, “All states of the consciousness arise depending on the conditions of the Manas (the seventh vijnana) and the mental object.” (Long Agama Sutra, volume 9). In Buddhism, we seek the eternity, not a dependent arising and ceasing dharma.

    Though the conscious mind exists only one lifetime, most of us, somehow, would consider it to be the everlasting eternity even after we passing away. This is inevitable caused by not knowing the truth of life. In terms of Buddhism, this concept is called the misconception about the self (self-view 我見).

    For the ones who are truly interested in Buddhist cultivation, this is the very basic knowledge for transcending the cyclic births and deaths by eliminating the misconception about the self.

    By definition, when one mistakes one of the five aggregates for the everlasting and indestructible self, such an understanding or view is called misconception about the self.

    The five aggregates are dependent arising dharmas, thus they are impermanent and illusory but each of them has various functions. It is natural that sentient beings would mistake them for the true self because of their daily functions. So let’s take a look at the functions of the five aggregates.

    The first aggregate is form-aggregate, which refers primarily to the five sense-roots. The five sense-roots are used to touch (or contact) the five sense-objects; thus the function of form-aggregate is to touch.

    Next, sensation-aggregate allows you to feel and experience the feelings of suffering, pleasure, or neither suffering nor pleasure. These feelings and perceptions are regarded as sensation-aggregate.

    What about the perception-aggregate? Perception means knowing, regardless of whether words and language have arisen. Next is formation-aggregate. Formation means decision. For example, when you have decided that something should be done in a particular way, you’ve made a decision, this is formation. Or when you have decided what to do next, such a mental act is formation as well.

    The last one is vijnana-aggregate, whose function is to discriminate. The function of vijnana is discrimination and differentiation, so vijnana-aggregate is able to discriminate the six sense-objects. Or we can say the function of vijnana-aggregate is to discriminate the six sense-objects.

    1. Thanks for your post a lot! You are really a Boddhisattva.