The Mind and Its Subsequent States

By Ven. Dr. H. Ratanasara, Ph.D.
Director, Vidyalankara Postgraduate, 
Institute of Buddhist Studies, Sri Lanka

1) Mind in its sleeping stage,

2) Mind in its dreaming stage,

3) Mind in its waking stage.

The actual functions of the mind in its sleeping stage are difficult to account. Really, it is a subtle state whose movement is difficult to comprehend. The effect of a karma form of consciousness of an individual cannot be experienced or touched by the naked eye or the other forms of sense organs. The mind at its passive stage continues to function within the life of the embryonic child. Yet, we do not call it mind proper. It is true that this form of mind contains all its potentialities required for an active mind. Yet in this study we introduce this state of mind of the individual to be born as "passive consciousness." This passive form of consciousness awaits to perform its functions along with the other organs both sensory and aggregates until such time as the mother delivers the child.

Although it appears on the surface that the passive consciousness is a feeble and inactive tiny organ, its actual force, nature, and scope are very large. This may be compared to the sight of an iceberg in the ocean. The visible part of the iceberg is rather small, but its invisible part below the surface of the water is very much larger. In this context we wish to compare the visible upper part of the iceberg with the active consciousness and the invisible part below with the passive consciousness. In the course of discussion on the five aggregates, the term Vinnana is employed. According to this analysis the term Vinnana can easily and truly be translated as passive consciousness, because as long as the sense organs are unable to be active in the state of fetal development, this form of consciousness takes the form of a passive consciousness.

-To be continued


FLOWER ADORNMENT SUTRA PROLOGUE. A bilingual publication, which elucidates the first nine doors of the Hsien Shou's Ten Doors of Discrimination.