UBC Theses and Dissertations
Relationship of the Ālaya-Vijñāna to theories of the unconscious in depth psychology Hollander, Francesca Jacoba
The álaya-vijñána has been the subject of much scholarly research and has frequently been described as a type of subliminal or unconscious level of mental processing. Although several attempts have been made to make a systematic comparison between the álaya-vijñána of Yogácára Vijñaptimátratá and the psychological unconscious in Depth psychology, there is a tradition of errors exemplified by articles exclusively from the psychoanalytic perspective that ignore the cognitive unconscious. While these comparisons reveal Freud's claim that there are unconscious mental processes is supported by recent work, there is, however, no need to identify concepts of the unconscious with psychoanalysis and part of the purpose of this paper is to separate the unconscious from its Freudian connection. This is not done in the spirit of dismissing or discrediting psychoanalytic theory, it is done in the interest of conceptual clarity. In chapter one I outline the psychoanalytic theory of the unconscious in Depth Psychology. In chapter two I discuss the cognitive unconscious and present empirical evidence from research studies done on unconscious mental processing which supports the claim that there are unconscious mental processes and that these unconscious mental processes are in no way related to Freudian theory of the unconscious. Chapter three compares the psychoanalytic unconscious with the cognitive unconscious on the basis of repression, recoverability of unconscious contents, inaccessibility, and the effect of unconscious influences. Chapter four and five briefly discusses the development of Yogácára Vijñáptimátratá, its founders, main texts, and key Concepts. Chapter six compares álaya-vijñána with the theories of the unconscious in the area of repression, recoverability of unconscious contents, inaccessibility and the effect of unconscious influences. Finally, chapter seven discusses the psychological transformation in álaya-vijñána theory.
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