On consciousness

Huaigu Wang
Huaigu Wang
Since 1995 till now, I have been following the kind mentor of BPI to start the journey on Buddhism....Read More

  Essay Writing of Buddhas’ Practice Incorporated  (Issue 13)

  On consciousness

  Instructor: Bennie Spirit
  Shi Wuguang

  Author: Shi Ziju(Wang Huaigu)
  April 25th, 2023

  Consciousness is one of the five skandhas, and its definition is: to inculcate to become consciousness . It can also be referred to inculcating to become a habit. When we are constantly exposed to certain feelings, thoughts or behaviors, these experiences leave traces in the consciousness, forming a natural and potential ability and tendency.

  It is also called non-functional action, which means that it is naturally known, naturally done, and naturally manifested, without any thought at all. Without repeated inculcation and practice, there is no consciousness ! Why do we define consciousness in this way? Because it is also known as upside-down, minutely subtle thinking, that is, the delusion of inculcation ; different inculcation to form different consciousness ; repeated inculcation , solidified into consciousness .

  Therefore, all thoughts and perceptions of beings are inculcated to become consciousness. If beings can transform their consciousness into wisdom, they can instantly transform their own destiny and the destiny of others.

  Key words: inculcate to become consciousness, non-functional action, naturally manifested , delusion of inculcation , transform their consciousness into wisdom

  Chapter 1: What is consciousness

  Consciousness is one of the five skandhas in the Buddhist doctrine, and it is also a human’s perceptional and cognitive ability. This essay will explore the definition of consciousness from a Buddhist perspective.
  In Buddhism, consciousness is regarded as the core of human cognitive ability and is an important factor in the ability of human beings to perceive and understand the world. So what exactly is consciousness?
  The most simple definition is: to inculcate to become consciousness. The concept of inculcating to become consciousness is a special concept in Buddhism. It refers to the accumulation of seeds or impressions that lead to the ability and experience of consciousness . Specifically, when we are constantly exposed to certain feelings, thoughts, or actions, these experiences leave traces in the consciousness, forming a natural and latent capacity and tendency to influence our cognition and behavior.
  Specifically, how does consciousness come into being? It is repeatedly recognized, repeatedly inculcated, repeatedly trained, and finally inculcated to become consciousness , which can also be called inculcated to become habits. For example, when we hear adults say that people should do this and that, then children will start to recognize, recognize food, recognize clothes, recognize play, and recognize fun.
  Another example is that everyone can write his own name without thinking and pondering, because he has been recognized, inculcated repeatedly, and has been trained repeatedly since he was a child. Therefore, consciousness is cultivated and repeatedly recognized. That is to say, when one is repeatedly inculcated and solidified, consciousness and habits are formed.
  Consciousness is sometimes called tainted consciousness , because it is formed through the inculcation of wrong insight. For example, some people do not eat pork, some people do not wear clothes, some people eat worms, some people eat the juice made from the whole toad, and some people eat live maggot cheese, forming all kinds of consciousness and habits.
  Consciousness, is also known as non-functional action, that is, without thinking, naturally knowing, naturally doing, naturally manifesting. That is, no matter what one encounters, he will be of non-functional action , can naturally know, naturally do, naturally manifesting, have no need to think about it at all.
  For example, as soon as you say what the tea tastes like, you don’t have to tell him, he will know. As soon as you say what the man looks like, the woman will know. As soon as it comes to eating, sleeping, wearing clothes, he will know. This is called consciousness .
  He doesn’t need to think, he doesn’t need to use a little bit of force, he knows, and he can even do it. For example, when he sees delicious food, his hand naturally reaches out and starts eating it. He didn’t think about how to bite it with his teeth, how hard to bite, how many bites to have taken , he has finished eating it. He has finished eating it without even thinking about it, and this is called consciousness, and it is also called non-functional action.
  Consciousness , also known as habit. Once this consciousness and habits have been inculcated, it is difficult for one to change. As the saying goes: the rivers and mountains are easy to change, but the nature of one is difficult to change, which is to say the solidity of consciousness and habits. Why do people always want to inculcate, want to inculcate what they think is good? It is also the role of consciousness.
  For example, we always like to eat what we like to eat and not to eat what we don’t like. In the end, it is very difficult to let go of what we like to eat. Why can’t we let go? Because of the generation of consciousness and habits. Where does the consciousness and habits come from? Repeatedly inculcated, contaminated, so, we call it being inculcated into consciousness. From whom is this inculcated? It can be inculcated from the parents, from the teachers, from the society,
  The likes and dislikes, sweet and sour, bitter and spicy, which originally did not exist, animatedly become the likes and dislikes, sweet and sour, bitter and spicy, and still firmly believe that it is really existent, in fact it does not exist originally . It is only the false thinking of one’s inculcation, that is, the inculcated consciousness . In other words, the consciousness is repeatedly inculcated.
  Therefore, we understand: What is consciousness ? It is inculcated to become consciousness. Without repeated inculcation, there is no consciousness !

  Chapter 2: Why is consciousness defined in this way?

  We already know the definition of consciousness . The following is the author’s explanation of why I define it as “to inculcate in order to become consciousness” from 5 aspects.

  1. Consciousness , also known as upside-down, minutely subtle thinking, is the false thinking of inculcation.

  As the Surangama Sutra says: “Moreover, if your pure, bright, clear, and unmoving state is permanent , then there should be no seeing, hearing, awareness, or knowing in your body. If it is genuinely pure and true, it should not contain habits or falseness. How does it happen, then, that having seen some unusual thing in the past, you eventually forget it over time, until neither memory nor forgetfulness of it remain; but then later, upon suddenly seeing that unusual thing again, you remember it clearly from before without forgetting a single detail? How can you keep track of the permeation that goes on in thought after thought in this pure, clear, and unmoving consciousness? … That’s why your seeing, hearing, awareness, and knowing are presently strung together by subtle habits, so that within the profound clarity, existence and nonexistence are both unreal. This is the fifth kind of upside-down, minutely subtle thinking.”
  It can be seen that this consciousness , also called the false thinking of inculcation and upside-down, minutely subtle thinking, is inculcated to become consciousness and naturally manifests.

  2. The inculcation view of the the Treatise on Achieving by Only Consciousness

  Let us take a look at the concept of inculcation in the Treatise on Achieving by Only Consciousness:
  The so-called “inculcation” refers to the action of the inculcating on the inculcated, so that the seeds in the inculcated grow and mature. In this regard, the inculcated , namely the person or objects to be inculcated must have four characteristics:
  First, the inculcated must be able to continue to exist as the same kind of thing, so that it can continue to receive inculcation and maintain the influence of inculcation.
  Second, the nature of the inculcated must be the no-remembering nature of non-good and non-evil, so that the inculcation of good and bad habits can be equally accepted and maintained. Otherwise, it may not be inculcated because its own characteristics are incompatible with the nature of the inculcating.
  Third, the inculcated must exist independently and it must not be solid and rigorous . Fourth, the inculcated must always be inseparable from the inculcating, that is, the inculcated must always coexist with the inculcating at the same time and in the same place, not separate from each other but not the same thing.

  Similarly, the inculcating must have four characteristics: first, the inculcating must be subject to have birth ,death and change , and it has change and it can have the effect of inculcating. Secondly, the inculcating must have a strong effect, so that it can act on the inculcated.
  Thirdly, the inculcating effect must be able to increase or decrease changingly. Fourthly, the inculcating must be inseparable from the inculcated and constantly arise.
  Therefore, in the Treatise on Achieving by Only Consciousness, inculcation emphasizes the characteristics of the inculcating and the inculcated, not a single one can be omitted , otherwise it is impossible to inculcate to become consciousness.

  3. The View of Inculcation in the Mahayana Initiation of Faith

  We have analyzed the meaning of inculcation in the the Treatise on Achieving by Only Consciousness, and now we will discuss the “inculcation view” of the Mahayana Initiation of Faith. The Mahayana Initiation of Faith believes that it is because of the inculcation of four things that stained things and pure things can arise without being cut off.
  These four things are: the pure thusness, ignorance which is the cause of all pollutions, the delusional mind called consciousness of karma, and the six dusts, which are false objects of consciousness.
  It is also mentioned that the effect of inculcation, just as the inculcation of clothes with spices makes clothes without fragrance smell good, so the pure thusness, which is not tainted originally, manifests itself as tainted because of the inculcation of ignorance; ignorance, which has no purifying effect originally, has a purifying effect because of the inculcation of the thusness.
  Therefore, Awakening Faith of Mahayana is centered on the mutual inculcation of thusness and ignorance, which explains the mechanism and basic principles of the reincarnation of sentient beings and the liberation of monasticism, and provides a theoretical explanation for the belief and practice of Buddhism, all of which are formed by the inculcation .
  From this, we can see that everything is inculcated to become consciousness, and everything is manifested by consciousness alone.

  4. Different inculcation forms different consciousnesses

  Different inculcation will form different consciousness. The Sutra of Manifesting Consciousness of Mahayana says: “There are good and bad karma, which are inculcated as seeds and act as manifestation of consciousness.” Different inculcation such as good karma and bad karma form different kinds of consciousnesses, which also proves the principle of inculcation to form consciousness.
  For example, when a person often indulges in vexations and bad karmas such as stinginess, covetousness, miserliness, anger or jealousy, these experiences will form seeds in his consciousness, and then will influence his thoughts and actions.
  These seeds will gradually deepen and accumulate, eventually forming a habitual tendency to reach non-functional action, which naturally and seriously affects his daily life, causing him to have numerous bad karma and obstacles.
  Another example is the Sutra of the Cause and Condition of Elder Lu Zhi, which mentions that Lu Chi, having developed the bad habit of being greedy and miserly in his past life, would occasionally make offerings to the field of blessings.
  Even though he became a billionaire in his lifetime, his bad habits of being greedy and miserly were still done and manifested naturally . Even when he was in the face of family members, such as old mother, wife, servants, etc., he was an iron cock who did not pull out a single hair, and it was as painful as cutting his own flesh of his body with a knife if one wanted him to give a little.
  Similarly, when a person regularly cultivates positive experiences of kindness, compassion, goodness, and wisdom, these experiences form seeds in his consciousness, which in turn influence his thoughts and actions. These seeds deepen and accumulate, eventually forming a habitual tendency to face kinds of life’s challenges and difficulties.
  For example, when Japanese entrepreneur Kazuo Inamori encountered something, he would automatically think about whether there was any selfishness, greed, hatred ,arrogance and doubt in it, and make sure it was purely altruistic, otherwise he would not do it. Therefore, he always naturally has a purely altruistic mind.
  Therefore, many things that seem impossible to succeed on the surface and which he has never experienced before, he can succeed as soon as he gets involved, such as the rising up of Great Japan Airways.
  This shows that different inculcation forms different consciousness, and the effects occur differently.

  5. Repeated inculcation, solidified into consciousness

  Everyone originally does not have this consciousness and that consciousness at the beginning, but is inculcated animatedly, that is, inculcated into consciousness. In other words, it is repeatedly inculcated and solidified, and then it forms consciousness . There are countless examples of this in life.
  For example, when we were in elementary school, after the teacher wrote the words on the blackboard, he would use the whip to repeatedly dot the words on the blackboard, and we would read them.
  And then, we also wrote, to write many lines, many pages and many times. In fact, every time we read was inculcated once, every time we wrote was also inculcated once, after being inculcated long , they will be solidified into consciousness in us.
  At this time, if someone brings out the word, we will know what it is. If the teacher asks us to write out the word, we can write it out. Even when we take the test, we can write the word skillfully. Therefore, no matter what it is, after repeated inculcation, it will be solidified, and eventually it will be inculcated to become consciousness .
  For example, there is originally no taste in the world, but the vibration of the molecules of the food itself . And when we eat it, we have a feeling, so we define it as a certain taste, such as sweet, sour, bitter, spicy and salty. This is also repeatedly inculcated, and finally solidified into consciousness .
  Why is it defined this way? That is because we have been handed down from our parents and teachers since we were children, and that is the definition they gave it. Or say you go to buy that thing, you ask someone what smell is that, so he told you what smell it is.
  Then, you are inculcated once, twice and three times, you are inculcated successfully, and finally are inculcated into consciousness, and it was solidified, and you think that thing really has that taste.
  In fact, you are deceived, because there is no such taste in the world, it is just the molecular vibration of different foods, it is only the illusory sensation of the taste buds of the human tongue.
  Then, we use this consciousness to deceive others and ourselves again and again, telling ourselves firmly that it is that taste, so how can we say it is tasteless? In fact, that is only inculcated into consciousness.
  On the other hand, what we think of as the beauty and the tasty food, illusion of suffering and happiness, illusion of gain and loss, these are all phenomena that appear with the consciousness. It is because the direction we inculcate will lead to things of the direction , and naturally there are these beautiful women , delicacies, gains, losses, sufferings, and pleasures.
  But don’t forget that this consciousness is established on the wonderful, bright, true heart and thusness and nature, and it relies on the self-nature to manifest these beautiful women and delicacies, illusions of suffering and happiness, illusions of gain and loss along with our consciousnesses.
  For example, if a child is just born, he does not feel so much when adults give him sweet or bitter food. He just feels it, but he doesn’t know what it is, and he doesn’t know how to define the taste. Later, adults gives him a kind of food that he has not eaten for a long time, he still can not determine it. However, after the adults gives him more inculcation, he knew what things are what taste.
  Even what adults like to eat, he can quickly accept in him; what adults do not like to eat, it is difficult to accept in him, and even he does not like it. That is the habit that he has developed from his mother’s inculcation in his womb and from the repeated inculcation afterwards. Therefore, we call it: repeated inculcated, inculcated to become consciousness, and solidified to become consciousness.

  Chapter 3: Conclusion

  In summary, we know that all thoughts and perceptions of sentient beings are inculcated to become consciousness. Being inculcated into consciousness emphasizes the experiential and plastic nature of consciousness , reminding people that they should choose positive inculcation, experience and behavior in their daily lives in order to cultivate healthy understanding and psychology, so that they can easily achieve their career.
  If sentient beings can transform their consciousness into wisdom through repeated practice of subtle observation, they can instantly change their own fate and the fate of others, and even achieve the supreme Buddha’s path, that is the great fortune of Buddhism, the great fortune of the world, the great fortune of sentient beings.


  1. The Mahayana Initiation of Faith, translated by Zhen Di, Liang, vol. 33 of the Dazheng Collection.
  2. The Surangama Sutra, translated by Bolamidi, Tang, Chapter 10, vol. 19 of Daizheng Collection .
  3. The Treatise on Achieving by Only Consciousness, translated by Xuanzang, Chapter 2, vol. 31 of Dazheng Collection.
  4.The Sutra of Manifesting Consciousness of Mahayana , translated by Dipoheluo ,Tang, Chapter 2, vol. 12 of Daizheng Colletion.
  5. The Sutra of the Cause and Condition of Elder Lu Zhi, loss of translator, vol. 14 of Dazhengzang .

Leave a review

More from the article

The relationship between hatred and disease

Essay Writing of Buddhas’ Practice Incorporated (Issue 17) The relationship between hatred and disease Instructor:Bennie Spirit ,Shi Wuguang Author: Wang HuaiguMarch 16th, 2024 Abstract The relationship between hatred and...

3 Types of Inborn Wisdoms

復次,佛子!如來智慧無處不至。何以故?無一眾生而不具有如來智慧,但以妄想顛倒執著而不證得;若離妄想,一切智、自然智、無礙智則得現前。 Furthermore, Heir of Buddha! The wisdoms of Buddhas can exist everywhere.Why? Everybody is born with Buddhas’ wisdom. They cannot attain it just because their...

The relationship between greed and disease

  Essay Writing of Buddhas’ Practice Incorporated  (Issue 16)  The relationship between greed and disease  Instructor:Bennie Spirit  Shi Wuguang  Author: Wang Huaigu  January 4, 2024   Abstract   The relationship between greed and disease is...

On Consciousness

  Essay Writing of Buddhas’ Practice Incorporated    On Consciousness   Supervisor: Director Wang Huaigu, Master Wuguang  Submitted by: Bhikkhuni Shi Yin Yi  June 23, 2023   Abstract  This study explores consciousness from a...