A Comparison Study of Vijñapti-mātra Buddhism and Bergson’s Unconsciousness: Centered on ‘the Directly Given’ and the Possibility of Experience

Hoyoung Ahn1,*   

1Dongguk University(Gyeongju)


The discussion of homogeneity and heterogeneity aroused by the consciousness of experiencing matter is itself a history of philosophy. This is in line with the problem of dualism, and the questions that are raised right now are concentrated as “How can we meet if matter and consciousness are so different, and how does it seem to make a lot of difference if not so different?” What makes the question raised more specifically is ‘the materiality of perception(or consciousness)’ or ‘the directly given’, and is a kind of problematic concepts that make this question meaningful.

What was revealed through the discussion is that the spectrum created by these concepts makes the similarity more pronounced than the difference between the ‘vijñãna(識)’ in the context of Vijñapti-mātra buddhism and the ‘consciousness’ in the context of Bergson. For example, we were able to confirm the similarity in the process of discussing how ‘experience’ is possible through ‘the materiality of perception(or consciousness)’ and ‘the directly given’ of ‘vijñãna’ and ‘consciousness’ raised by these two thoughts. It was also found that in the process, it was closely related to the alaya-vijñãna and the unconsciousness of Bergson.

The purpose of this discussion is to invigorate the space that has so far been defined as passive and inactive, from the fact that matter is as conceptual as consciousness and consciousness is as real as matter. Therefore, it is important to clarify the meaning of ‘the materiality of perception(or consciousness)’. Based on this, it will be possible to reveal the meaning of ‘the directly given’ along with the entire universe. Subsequently, explaining that the alaya-vijñãna of Vijñapti-mātra buddhism can be newly understood in addition to Bergson’s concept of unconsciousness shows that the possibility of experience and the source of existence can be discussed. As a result, our common sense that space is only passive and static will be overturned, and it will be revealed that the space as a whole is a space of creation, with a lively unconscious.

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