They interact with] the universally interactive, the particular states, the eleven wholesome; Two intermediate grade, eight major grade, greed, anger, and foolishness.’
The five consciousnesses are called mind-dharmas as are all of the eight consciousnesses. The five interact with thirty-one Dharmas Interactive with the Mind. Dharmas Interactive with the Mind arise from the mind, that is, from mind-dharmas. They are dependent upon mind-dharmas for their existence, and interact with them. They represent a finer, secondary level of distinction-making. The thirty-one are:
a) Five Universally Interactive: attention, contact, feeling, conceptualization, and deliberation;
b) Five Particular States: desire, resolution, recollection, concentration, and judgment;
c) Eleven Wholesome States: faith, vigor, shame, remorse, absence of greed, absence of anger, absence of foolishness, light ease, non-laxness, renunciation, and non-harming;
d) Two Intermediate-Grade Derivative Afflictions: lack of shame and lack of remorse;
e) Eight Major-Grade Derivative Afflictions: lack of faith, laziness, laxness, torpor, restlessness, distraction, improper knowledge, and forgetfulness.
To say that the first five consciousnesses interact with these dharmas means that when the first five consciousnesses are functioning, any of these dharmas may arise and influence them.
The above dharmas are listed in the One Hundred Dharmas under the second of the five categories: Dharmas Interactive with the Mind. The other categories of the One Hundred Dharmas are: Mind Dharmas, Form Dharmas, Dharmas not Interactive with the Mind, and Unconditioned Dharmas. (For further information on the One Hundred Dharmas, see Shastra on the Door to Understanding the Hundred Dharmas by Vasubandhu Bodhisattva with Commentary of Tripitaka Master Hua.)
‘The five consciousnesses are all supported by organs of pure form.’
There are five perceptual organs—eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body-which are the basis or support of the activities of the first five consciousnesses. Each organ has two portions. The first is the physical organ and its neural pathways, which belongs to the proximate perceived division of the eighth consciousness. The perceived division of the eighth consciousness is divided into two portions, the proximate and the distal. The proximate refers to the physical aspect of the six faculties, while the distal refers to the rest of the external world. In other words it is material; it is categorized as form and is distinguished from other, distal, forms, which are the objects of the organs' perception.
The second portion is the organ of pure form. The organ of pure form refers to the organ of pure mental substance within the physical organ. You don't smell with your physical nose organ but with the organ of pure form within the physical nose organ. Pure form refers to the state in which the Four Great Elements are in perfect equilibrium. Pure form is imperceptible except through the use of the Heavenly Eye.
‘That with nine preconditions and those with seven and eight are close neighbors.’
The five consciousnesses have seven, eight, or nine preconditions for their coming into being. The five are grouped together and are said to be "close neighbors" because their modes of functioning are very similar in distinction to the other--sixth, seventh, and eighth—consciousnesses. The number of causal preconditions necessary for the rise of the eight consciousnesses varies from nine to three among the eight consciousnesses. The nine preconditions are: space, light, faculty, state, attention, basis of discrimination, basis of defilement and purity, fundamental basis, and seeds as basis. The basis of discrimination refers to the sixth consciousness, the basis of defilement and purity to the seventh consciousness, while the fundamental basis and seeds as basis refer to the eighth consciousness.
All nine preconditions are necessary for the coming into being of eye-consciousness, and so the verse refers to eye-consciousness as "that with nine preconditions". Only eight (no light) are necessary for ear-consciousness. For nose-, tongue-, and body-consciousness, seven of the nine are required (no light and no space). All five consciousnesses have in common their reliance on the sixth, seventh, and eighth consciousnesses as preconditions for their manifestation.
To be continued
Question: If the Buddha nature is originally perfect and complete, then how does the single thought of ignorance arise?
Venerable Master: Well, if you had no ignorance, you wouldn't be here!