Mahayana BuddhismMahāyānaMahayana Buddhist
"Āgama" is the term used by those traditional Buddhist schools in India who employed Sanskrit for their basic canon. These correspond to the Nikāyas used by the Theravāda school. The surviving Āgamas in Chinese translation belong to at least two schools. Most of the Āgamas were never translated into the Tibetan canon, which according to Hirakawa, only contains a few translations of early sutras corresponding to the Nikāyas or Āgamas. However, these basic doctrines are contained in Tibetan translations of later works such as the Abhidharmakośa and the Yogācārabhūmi-Śāstra.


Śīlabhadra (Sanskrit; ) (529–645 ) was a Buddhist monk and philosopher. He is best known as being an abbot of Nālandā monastery in India, as being an expert on Yogācāra teachings, and for being the personal tutor of the Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang. Śīlabhadra was born in the Samataṭa kingdom, in the Brahmin caste, to the royal family there. As a young man he went westward to Nālandā, and was trained there by Dharmapāla of Nālandā, who also ordained him as a Buddhist monk. According to Xuanzang's account, Śīlabhadra gradually became famous for his learning even in foreign countries.


NālandāNalanda UniversityArchaeological Site of Nalanda ''Mahavihara'' (Nalanda University) at Nalanda, Bihar
Dharmapala. Dignaga, founder of Buddhist Logic. Nagarjuna, formaliser of the concept of Shunyata. Naropa, student of Tilopa and teacher of Marpa. Śāntarakṣita, founder of Yogācāra-Mādhyamika. Shilabhadra, the teacher of Xuanzang. Xuanzang, Chinese Buddhist traveller. Yijing, Chinese Buddhist traveller. Los Angeles County Museum of Art Folios from a Dharanisamgraha, circa 1075. Asia Society This Ashtasahasrika Prajnaparamita manuscript records, in Sanskrit and Tibetan, the history of the manuscript from its creation at the famous Nalanda monastery in India through its use in Tibet by the compiler of the first Tibetan canon of Buddhism, Buton.


KuījīJi (monk)Jion Daishi
Kuījī (632–682), also known as Ji, an exponent of Yogācāra, was a Chinese monk and a prominent disciple of Xuanzang. His posthumous name was Cí'ēn dàshī, The Great Teacher of Cien Monastery, after the Daci'en Temple or Great Monastery of Compassionate Grace, which was located in Chang'an, the main capital of the Tang Dynasty. The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda was built in Daci'en Temple in 652. According to biographies, he was sent to the imperial translation bureau headed by Xuanzang, from whom he later would learn Sanskrit, Abhidharma, and Yogācāra. Kuiji collaborated closely with Xuanzang on the Cheng weishi lun, a redacted translation of commentaries on Vasubandhu's Triṃśikā-vijñaptimātratā.

East Asian Yogācāra

Xuanzang upheld Dharmapala of Nalanda's commentary on this work as being the correct one, and provided his own explanations of these as well as other views in the Cheng Weishi Lun. This work was composed at the behest of Xuanzang's disciple Kuiji, and became a central representation of East Asian Yogācāra. Xuanzang also promoted devotional meditative practices toward Maitreya Bodhisattva. Xuanzang's disciple Kuiji wrote a number of important commentaries on the Yogācāra texts and further developed the influence of this doctrine in China, and was recognized by later adherents as the first true patriarch of the school.


Xianyang shengjiao lun, variously retranslated into Sanskrit as Āryadeśanāvikhyāpana, Āryapravacanabhāṣya, Prakaraṇāryaśāsanaśāstra, and Śāsanodbhāvana. A work strongly based on the Yogācārabhūmi. Only available in Xuanzang’s Chinese translation, but parallel Sanskrit passages can be found in the Yogācārabhūmi. Mahāyānasūtrālamkārakārikā, ("The Adornment of Mahayana sutras", Tib. theg-pa chen-po'i mdo-sde'i rgyan), which presents the Mahāyāna path from the Yogācāra perspective.

Chinese Buddhism

BuddhistChinese BuddhistBuddhism in China
Xuanzang's logic, as described by Kuiji, was often misunderstood by scholars of Chinese Buddhism because they lack the necessary background in Indian logic. Another important disciple was the Korean monk Woncheuk. Xuanzang's translations were especially important for the transmission of Indian texts related to the Yogācāra school. He translated central Yogācāra texts such as the Saṃdhinirmocana Sūtra and the Yogācārabhūmi Śāstra, as well as important texts such as the Mahāprajñāpāramitā Sūtra and the Bhaiṣajyaguruvaidūryaprabharāja Sūtra (Medicine Buddha Sūtra).

Buddhist meditation

Yogācārabhūmi-Śāstra (Treatise on the Stages of Yoga), a classic north Indian compendium on meditation used by the Indian Yogācāra school, remains influential in East Asian Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism. Buddhaghosa's Visuddhimagga ('The path of Purification'), used in Theravada Buddhism. Kamalashila's Bhāvanākrama ('Stages of meditation'), A late Indian Madhyamaka work, used in Tibetan Buddhism. Zhiyi's Great Concentration and Insight (Mohe Zhiguan) – used in the Chinese Tiantai school. Seventeen tantras – Major Tibetan Dzogchen texts. The Wangchuk Dorje's "Ocean of Definitive Meaning", major text on Tibetan Mahamudra meditation in the Kagyu school.


During the period of Late Mahāyāna, four major types of thought developed: Madhyamaka, Yogachara, Tathagatagarbha, and Buddhist logic as the last and most recent. In India, the two main philosophical schools of the Mahayana were the Madhyamaka and the later Yogachara. According to Dan Lusthaus, Madhyamaka and Yogachara have a great deal in common, and the commonality stems from early Buddhism. There were no great Indian teachers associated with tathagatagarbha thought.


Dharmapala of Nalanda. Santabhadra. Śāntarakṣita (725–788). Dharmottara (8th century). Prajñakaragupta. Samkarananda. Ratnākaraśānti (c.1000). Jñanasrimitra (975–1025). Ratnakīrti (11th century). Buddhist logic. Critical Buddhism. Chu, Junjie (2006). On Dignāga's theory of the object of cognition as presented in PS (V) 1, Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 29 (2), 211–254. Frauwallner, Erich, Dignāga, sein Werk und seine Entwicklung. (Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Süd- und Ostasiens 2:83–164, 1959).

Sandhinirmocana Sutra

Saṃdhinirmocana SūtraSaṃdhinirmocana-sūtraSamdhinirmocana sutra
The Ārya-saṃdhi-nirmocana-sūtra (Sanskrit; ; Gongpa Ngédrel) or Noble sūtra of the Explanation of the Profound Secrets is a Mahāyāna Buddhist text and the most important sutra of the Yogācāra school. It contains explanations of key Yogācāra concepts such as the basis-consciousness (ālaya-vijñāna), and the doctrine of cognition-only (vijñapti-mātra) and the "three natures" (trisvabhāva). Étienne Lamotte considered this sutra "the link between the Prajñaparamita literature and the Yogacara Vijñanavada school". This sūtra was translated from Sanskrit into Chinese four times, the most complete and reliable of which is typically considered to be that of Xuanzang.


AbhidhammadharmasSarvastivada Abhidharma
In addition to the Theravada and Sarvāstivādan abhidharma traditions, a third complete system of Abhidharma thought is elaborated in certain works of the Mahāyāna Yogācāra tradition, principally in the following commentaries: While this Yogācārin Abhidharma is based on the Sarvāstivādin system, it also incorporates aspects of other Abhidharma systems and present a complete Abhidharma in accordance with a Mahāyāna Yogācāra view that the mind (Vijñapti) alone is ultimately "real." Yogācārins developed an Abhidharma literature set within a Mahāyāna framework.


ParamārthaAbsoluteUltimate truth
Paramārtha (Sanskrit: परमार्थ Paramārtha; ) (499-569 CE) was an Indian monk from Ujjain in central India, who is best known for his prolific Chinese translations which include Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośa. Paramārtha is considered one of the greatest translators of sutras in Chinese Buddhism, along with Kumārajīva and Xuanzang. Paramārtha was born in 499 CE in the autonomous kingdom of Malwa in central India, at the end of the Gupta Dynasty. His given name was Kulanātha, meaning "savior of the family", and his parents were Brahmins belonging to the Bhāradvāja clan. His Buddhist name of Paramārtha means "the ultimate meaning," parama: uppermost, artha: meaning.

Āgama (Buddhism)

In Buddhism, the term āgama is used to refer to a collection of discourses (Sanskrit: sutra; Pali: sutta) of the early Buddhist schools, which were preserved primarily in Chinese translation, with substantial material also surviving in Prakrit/Sanskrit and lesser but still significant amounts surviving in Gāndhārī and in Tibetan translation. These sutras correspond to the first four Nikāyas (and parts of the fifth) of the Sutta-Pitaka of the Pali Canon, which are also occasionally called āgamas. In this sense, āgama is a synonym for one of the meanings of nikāya.

Buddhist texts

Buddhist scripturesBuddhist literatureBuddhist text
The Yogācārabhūmi-Śāstra (fourth century CE) is another very large treatise which focuses on yogic praxis and the doctrines of the Indian Yogacara school. Unlike the Da zhidu lun, it was studied and transmitted in both the East Asian Buddhist and the Tibetan Buddhist traditions. The works of Asanga, a great scholar and systematizer of the Yogacara, are also very influential in both traditions, including his magnum opus, the Mahāyāna-samgraha, and the Abhidharma-samuccaya (a compendium of Abhidharma thought that became the standard text for many Mahayana schools especially in Tibet).


Thirty Verses on Consciousness-onlyThe Thirty VersesTrimsika
A version in the original Sanskrit also survives. In India, the most influential commentary on the Triṃśikā was written by Sthiramati in the 6th century. According to Xuanzang, who studied the Triṃśikā at Nalanda in the 7th century under Śīlabhadra, there were 10 known prose commentaries on the text. These were by Sthiramati, Dharmapala of Nalanda, Nanda, Citrabhānu, Guṇamati, Jinamitra, Jñānamitra, Jñānacandra, Bandhuśrī, Śuddhacandra, and Jinaputra. Xuanzang initially intended to translate all of these, but on the advice of his students, especially Kuiji, Xuanzang instead chose to combine them into a single text that focused primarily on Dharmapala's commentary.


According to Prebish, "this episode corresponds well with one Sarvāstivādin tradition stating that Madhyantika (the Sanskrit counterpart of the Pali Majjhantika) converted the city of Kasmir, which seems to have close ties with Gandhara." A third tradition says that a community of Sarvāstivādin monks was established at Mathura by the patriarch Upagupta.

Tibetan Buddhism

Tibetan BuddhistTibetanTibetan Buddhists
Also of great importance are the "Five Treatises of Maitreya" including the influential Ratnagotravibhāga, a compendium of the tathāgatagarbha literature, and the Mahayanasutralankara, a text on the Mahayana path from the Yogacara perspective, which are often attributed to Asanga. Practiced focused texts such as the Yogācārabhūmi-Śāstra and Kamalaśīla's Bhāvanākrama are the major sources for meditation. While the Indian texts are often central, original material by key Tibetan scholars is also widely studied and collected into editions called sungbum. The commentaries and interpretations that are used to shed light on these texts differ according to tradition.

Cheng Weishi Lun

Ch' eng wei shih lunDoctrine of Consciousness-OnlyWeishi
Cheng Weishi Lun or Discourse on the Perfection of Consciousness-only, is a comprehensive discourse on the central teachings of Yogacara framed around Vasubandhu's seminal Yogacara work, Triṃśikā-vijñaptimātratā (Thirty Verses on Consciousness-only). It was written by the early Tang dynasty monk Xuanzang. It is sometimes referred to as Vijñaptimātratāsiddhi, its equivalent name in Sanskrit. When Xuanzang was studying Buddhism in India at Nālandā University, he discovered ten commentaries on Vasubandhu's Triṃśikā-vijñaptimātratā.

Bhūmi (Buddhism)

bhumibhūmifive paths
The Yogacara compendium of yogic praxis, the Yogācārabhūmi contains a subsection on the bodhisattva path (the Bodhisattvabhūmi), which lists six bhūmis: The bhūmis are often categorized with or merged into, the separate schema of the "five paths". The main ideas of this schema were inherited by Yogacara from the Sarvāstivāda Vaibhāṣika Abhidharma texts as well as Vasubadhu's Abhidharmakośakārikā (AKBh)''. This schema continues to be developed in Yogacara texts like Asanga's Mahāyānasaṃgraha (MS),'' where it is given a more Mahayanist explanation and becomes tied to the bodhisattva path and the bhūmis.

Dan Lusthaus

LusthausLusthaus, Dan
He contributed the contents of his catalogue of the major Yogācāra translations of Xuanzang to the DDB, as well as a number of other terms related to the Cheng Weishi Lun and Yogācārabhūmi-śāstra. * Members database at Daoist Web article listing alumni of various universities' Religion programs.


In Classical Sanskrit, the noun becomes thematic: . The word dharma derives from Proto-Indo-European root In Classical Sanskrit, and in the Vedic Sanskrit of the Atharvaveda, the stem is thematic: (Devanāgarī: धर्म). In Prakrit and Pāli, it is rendered dhamma. In some contemporary Indian languages and dialects it alternatively occurs as dharm.


Maitreya BuddhaMirokuMiroku Bosatsu
Numerous editors and followers of Hubbard claim that in the book's preface, specific physical characteristics said to be outlined—in unnamed Sanskrit sources—as properties of the coming Maitreya were properties with which Hubbard's appearance supposedly aligned. Samael Aun Weor (1917-77) – stated in The Aquarian Message that "the Maitreya Buddha Samael is the Kalki Avatar of the New Age." The Kalkian Avatar and Maitreya Buddha, he claimed, are the same "White Rider" of the Book of Revelation.


Vasubandhu (Sanskrit: वसुबन्धु; ; ) (fl. 4th to 5th century CE) was an influential Buddhist monk and scholar from Gandhara. He was a philosopher who wrote commentary on the Abhidharma, from the perspectives of the Sarvastivada and Sautrāntika schools. After his conversion to Mahayana Buddhism, along with his half-brother, Asanga, he was also one of the main founders of the Yogacara school. Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośakārikā ("Commentary on the Treasury of the Abhidharma") is widely used in Tibetan and East Asian Buddhism, as the major source for non-Mahayana Abhidharma philosophy.


The central text of the Yogācāra school, the Saṃdhinirmocana-sūtra, explains emptiness in terms of the three natures theory, stating that its purpose is to "establish the doctrine of the three-own-beings (trisvabhāva) in terms of their lack of own-nature (niḥsvabhāvatā)." According to Andrew Skilton, in Yogācāra, emptiness is the "absence of duality between perceiving subject (lit. "grasper", Skt: grāhaka, Tib: '' >. In Tiantai metaphysics, every event, function, or characteristic is the product of the interfusion of all others, the whole is in the particular and every particular event/function is also in every other particular.