July 18, 2024
Yogacara (also known as Consciousness Only) is one of the two main branches of Mahayana (Great Vehicle) Buddhism (the other one is Madhyamaka (Middle Way)). The key feature of the Yogacara philosophy is consciousness-only which means there is nothing existing completely independent of all sentient beings' consciousnesses. Via the view of consciousness-only, the so-called hard problem of consciousness can be avoided. However, another difficult problem is unavoidable: how could the existence of the physical world and bodies be explained by consciousness? This problem has been systematically investigated in the Yogacara literatures in some way philosophically, especially under the concept of Alaya consciousness( also called storehouse consciousness or seed consciousnes). In this talk, we propose a mathematical framework based on process theory (also known as symmetric monoidal category theory) for modelling the Alaya consciousness. In particular, we demonstrate that the proposed model satisfies the six characteristics of seeds of Alaya consciousness which can be seen as a standard axiomatic characterisation of those seeds in Yogacara philosophy. This model paves a way for accounting for the phenomenon of physical laws from the aspect of consciousness.