In Buddhist philosophy, the concept of Alayavijnana plays a significant role in understanding various states of consciousness and the mind (Suzuki 1999, 176).

The ālaya-vijñāna, or the "All-encompassing foundation consciousness", (Berzin, 2013) forms the "base-consciousness" (mūla-vijñāna) or "causal consciousness" and it is said that the store-house consciousness accumulates all potential energy as seeds (bija) for the mental (nama) and physical (rupa) manifestation of one's existence (namarupa). It is the storehouse-consciousness which induces rebirth, causing the origination of a new existence.

According to various other schools of Indian spiritual teaching, Alayavijnana denotes a Cosmic Mind, which is the repository of all individual minds in a potential form. Strictly speaking, Alayavijnana should be considered as a cosmic soul or cosmic consciousness, which is the repository of all individual minds in a potential form (Sivananda 1999, Chap.2:84).

So, where does this mysterious 'store-house' store its seeds and karma? It stores them in the matter that you see before you such as the information being encoded in the spin of subatomic particles, DNA, RNA and so on.

The Buddhist Avatamsaka sutra states that the world is the product of One Mind and this existence has complete identity and interdependence -  all is mind, and all is matter (complete identity and interdependence).  The Avatamsaka teaches that there are four ways to view reality:

  1.  All things are seen as particular separate events;
  2.  All events are an expression of the absolute;
  3.  Events and essence interpenetrate;
  4.  All events interpenetrate.

This interpenetration is practically universal and is going on around you (inside, outside, culturally, historically, chemically, genetically) and you can find it on the macro and micro level where information is stored in DNA, RNA, and even coded into individual particles when information is passed along in the spin of subatomic particles and the information in the wave-functions which spread out to infinity in the particles that make up what you normally call your body. 

You are not one - you are many. You are not alone - you are immersed in life creation. You are both creator and creation. You interpenetrate on every conceivable level. For instance, only 1.5% of your DNA is vertebrate and much more (around 9%) is virus DNA. In fact, you are symbiotic on microbes on so many levels and viruses and bacteria are essential to your survival and have evolved in a symbiotic relationship for millions of years. 

When seeing the big picture the 'I' or 'self' only exists as a separate thing in your imagination, but rather there's a rising and falling 'mind' and 'matter.' Mind, being an attribute of matter (and visa-versa) just means a rising and falling of both according to causes and conditions. There was no birth, and likewise, there will be no death. Everyone is infinite and every atom she thinks of as her body is connected biologically, chemically, atomically (via the wave-functions, etc), historically to every other atom in the universe. Non-dualism and interpenetration is not just a metaphor?


  • Berzin, Alexander. "English Glossart of Buddhist Terms: 'All-encompassing Foundation Consciousness'". Berlin, Germany: The Berzin Archives. 
  • Chattopadhyaya Debiprasad and Mrinal Kanti Gangopadhyaya.1994. 
  • Carvaka/Lokayata: An Anthology of Source Materials and Some Recent Studies, India: South Asia Books.
  • Suzuki, D. T. 1999. Studies in the Lankavatara Sutra. Delhi: Motilal Banarasidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
  • Sivananda, Swami. 1999. Brahma Sutras. Rishikesh, India: The Divine Life Society.