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Vijñāna (Skt., ‘knowing’).
1. In Hinduism, knowledge which penetrates ritual and sacrifice, and understands its meaning. It is therefore the highest state of consciousness in which the meditator sees Brahman, not just in the condition of samādhi, but in the whole of everything. In Vedānta, this is ‘seeing Brahman with open eyes’.

2. In Buddhism (Pāli, viññāna), the fifth of the five skandhas. As ‘perception’, it is contrasted with jñāna (‘understanding’). Its importance was enhanced in Vijñanavāda (Yogācāra), because it is the basis of the ‘storehouse consciousness’ (ālaya-vijñāna), which contains the seeds of all dharmas (constituents of manifestation).