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Vikalpa

Vikalpa (Skt., vi + klṛp, ‘variation’, ‘diversity’). In Buddhist philosophy, the imaginative tendency of unenlightened minds. The Pāli term vikappa is not used in a technical sense in the Tripiṭaka of the Sthaviravādins, but it is common in Mahāyāna philosophical works, particularly of the Yogācāra (Vijñānavāda) variety. The Abhisamayālaṅkāra considers both ‘subjectivity’ (grāhaka) and ‘objectivity’ (grāhya) to be the result of imagining (vikalpa). Vikalpa is said to come to an end in the enlightened state, when one comes to understand reality freed from all thought-construction. A common synonym for this state is ‘gnosis devoid of imagining’ (nirvikalpajñāna).

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