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Nirvikalpa-jñāna (T. rnam par mi rtog pa'i ye she; C. wu fenbie zhi) refers to non-conceptual wisdom or direct knowing. The term describes a key concept in the Yogacara school.
Dan Lusthaus writes:
- Yogācārins describe enlightenment as resulting from Overturning the Cognitive Basis (āśraya-parāvṛtti), i.e., overturning the conceptual projections and imaginings which act as the base of our cognitive actions. This overturning transforms the basic mode of cognition from consciousness (vi-jñāna, dis-cernment) into jñāna (direct knowing). The vi- prefix is equivalent to dis- in English - dis-criminate, dis-tinguish, dis-engage, dis-connect - meaning to bifurcate or separate from. Direct knowing was defined as non-conceptual (nirvikalpa-jñāna), i.e., devoid of interpretive overlay.
Alternate translations for this term are:
- Direct knowing (Lusthaus)
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- D’amato, Three Natures, Three Stages: An Interpretation of the Yogācāra Trisvabhāva-Theory.
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