These Books Should Be the Basis of Consciousness Studies

I'm always trying to collect good books on consciousness, original consciousness.

Not the consciousness of ordinary mind, but original mind ... where awareness first comes from in an ontological sense.

Now in Hinduism, for this type of work you need to study Vedanta, and in particular the works of Master Shankara the sage. But not many of them are available in English.

In Christianity, you cannot find much and in Judaism neither. You can only find logical arguments leading to the same conclusions as reached by the Eastern experimentalists -- that God is beyond thought and no thought, is not a being or thing, is non-moving and free of all pollutions, etc.

Rarely do the Western religious professionals talk about how consciousness arises and that's because so few in these traditions reached a high state of the Tao or, if they achieved any high stage of attainment, had an opening, a cultural chance or opportunity to talk about it without fear of persecution.

Taoism and Shintoism and Zoroastrianism do not talk about this either, so we're left with very few books ... from the Zen school, Buddhism and the esoteric school. That's fine because these schools are typically the best at delineating fine differences and details on such topics. Vedanta would be a great addition to this, but we're lacking the translations that would be extremely useful.

Here's the books I recommend you pick up if you want to learn about this topic:

The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana - Asvaghosa (Columbia University Press)
Three Texts on Consciousness Only - a collection of texts from the Numata Institute
Fundamental Mind - Mi-pam-gya-tso
The Lankavatara Sutra - a new translation by Red Pine (Bill Porter)

typically, I tell people to start with The Awakening of Faith. That's the primer. To find out more about original mind, a new book I found -- Fundamental Mind -- is fabulous. To find tiny details on the skandha of consciousness, which is NOT original mind, Three Texts on Consciousness Only is what you must turn to. Lastly, when Zen masters broke through tot enlightenment, originally they would confirm their enlightenment by reading the Lankavatara Sutra, and later they switched to the Diamond Sutra.

The translations available by Suzuki and Goddard for the Lankavatara Sutra are good starts but not clear enough to help you make much headway, but Bill Porter has privately shown me a translation he's been working on for this sutra and when it comes out, that, too, should be studied. Expect it on

Original mind, fundamental mind, or Mind, is a very important topic that involves prajna transcendental wisdom. To really understand what it is -- from an intellectual level -- this is where you turn. This is what you awaken to upon enlightenment, so start here if you want to understand awakening to God, or as Easterners say, "to the Tao."


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