Yogacara

Yogacara yō˝gəkär´ə [key] [Skt.,=yoga practice], philosophical school of Mahayana Buddhism , also known as the Vijnanavada or Consciousness School. The founders of this school in India were Maitreya (270–350), his disciple Asanga (c.375–430), and Asanga's younger half-brother Vasubandhu (c.400–480), who was also the greatest systematizer of the Abhidharma type of Buddhist philosophy. The school held that consciousness ( vijnana ) is real, but its objects are constructions and unreal. The school's teachings are thus often characterized by the phrase consciousness-only ( citta-matra ) or representation-only ( vijnapti-matra ). The content of consciousness is produced not by independently existing objects but by the inner modifications of consciousness itself. A theory of eight kinds of consciousness was formed to explain how this process functions. The deepest level of consciousness is the store-consciousness ( alaya-vijnana ), which is both individual and universal and contains the seeds or traces of past actions, which are projected into manifestation through the defiled mind and the six sense-consciousnesses (the five physical senses plus mind or thought). The school was transmitted to China as the Fa-hsiang. It eventually syncretized with the Madhyamika school.

See D. T. Suzuki, Studies in the Lankavatara Sutra (1930) S. Radhakrishman and C. A. Moore, A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy (1957) A. K. Chatterjee, The Yogacara Idealism (1962) C. L. Tripathi, The Problem of Knowledge in Yogacara Buddhism (1972).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.