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Buddhadharma : Summer 2006
summer 2006| 32 |buddhadharma flowing, like a river. Store consciousness is also sometimes called root consciousness (mulavijñana in Sanskrit) or sarvabijaka, which means “the totality of the seeds.” In Vietnamese, we call store consciousness tang. Tang means to keep and preserve. These different names hint at the three aspects of store con- sciousness. The first meaning is of a place, a “store,” where all kinds of seeds and information are kept. The second meaning is suggested by the Vietnamese name, because store consciousness doesn’t just take in all the information, it holds it and preserves it. The third meaning is suggested by bhavanga, the sense of processing and transforming. Store consciousness is like a museum. A museum can only be called a museum when there are things in it. When there is nothing in it, you can call it a building, but not a museum. The conservator is the one who is responsible for the museum. Her function is to keep the various objects preserved and not allow them to be stolen. But there must be things to be stored, things to be kept. Store consciousness refers to the storing and also to what is stored – that is, all the information from the past, from our ancestors, and all the information received from the other consciousnesses. In Buddhist tradition, this information is stored as bija, seeds. Suppose this morning you hear a certain chant for the first time. Your ear and the music come together and provoke the manifestation of the mental formation called touch, which causes store consciousness to vibrate. That information, a new seed, falls into the store continuum. Store consciousness has the capacity to receive the seed and store it in its heart. Store Gust 2003