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Vijana (Sanskrit, "knowing") in Hinduism means knowledge that penetrates ritual and sacrifice and understands its meaning or significance. It is therefore the highest state of consciousness in which the meditator sees Brahman, not just in the condition of samadhi, but also in the whole of everything. This is described in the Vedanta as "seeing Brahman with open eyes."

In Buddhism (Pali, vinnana) this term designates the fifth of the five skandhas; perception, as it is contrasted with jnana ("understanding"). Its importance was enhanced in the Vijanavada (Yogscara) because it is the basis for the "storehouse consciousness" (alaya-vijana), which contains the seeds of all dharmas (constituents of manifestation). A.G.H.


Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 1022

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