The necessity of meditation in Upaniṣadic turīya and Yogācāra amala vijñana

Authored by: Charu Thapliyal

Routledge Handbook on the Philosophy of Meditation

Print publication date:  May  2022
Online publication date:  May  2022

Print ISBN: 9780367647469
eBook ISBN: 9781003127253
Adobe ISBN:


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In this chapter, two distinct Indian philosophical traditions are compared – one Hindu, the other Buddhist – to support the conclusion that meditation is essential to both philosophies, as two separate but similar traditions that evidence the overall premise of this Handbook – that meditation is a valid element of philosophy. The chapter begins with a discussion of the four stages of consciousness depicted in the Hindu scripture, the Māṇdūkya Upaniṣad, culminating in the Turīya state and the nine levels of consciousness of the later Buddhist Yogācāra school culminating in the “amala-vijñana” state. Next, scriptural evidence is used to support an argument that knowledge of the true nature of the “Self”, as depicted in the Upaniṣadic tradition, begins by the Self and cannot be imparted at the ultimate level by any external source. As a limited self, one cannot adequately describe or demonstrate it. It can only be experienced, and the way to do this is to train the mind to become aware that you are conscious (consistent with the descriptions of both Upaniṣadic and Yogācārin (Yogācāra philosopher) ways of construing base consciousness) through the practice of meditation. In this way, this analysis supports the validity of the philosophy of meditation.

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