Dharma - Merit - Meditation - Nectar - Liberation - Emptiness - Process - Awakening


in Buddhadharma

The Thirty Verses
Conscious Life

translation of & commentary on
the Trimśikā-vijñapti
of Vasubandhu

by Wim van den Dungen

Contents  SiteMap of Philosophy SiteMap of Ancient Egyptian Sapience SiteMap

Translation of

the Trimśikā-vijñapti

of Vasubandhu

in English and French

with Commentary


"Phenomena all have three kinds of characteristics. First is the characteristic of mere conceptual grasping. Second is the characteristic of dependent origination. Third is the perfect characteristic of reality."
Samdhinirmocana Sūtra, chapter 4.

Short Biography of Vasubandhu
The Tri.mśikā-Kārikā-Vijñaptimātratā with Commentary

Sanskrit Text
Translations into English & French


Vasubandhu (ca. 316 - 396) started out as a zealous, brilliant, sharp & astute Lesser Vehicle practitioner (Sarvāstivāda) who, after beginning to doubt & critize the Vaiśesika tenets he perfectly mastered (Abhidharmakośa & Abhidharmakośabhāsyam), eventually converted to Yogācāra, part of the Great Vehicle. This happened thanks to his elder half-brother Asanga, a Mahāyāna scholar & mystic, and author of the famous Five Treatises of Maitreya : (1) the Mahāyāna-sūtrālamkāra (Ornament to the Scriptures of the Great Vehicle), (2) the Abhisamayālamkāra (The Ornament to the Realization), (3) the Madhyānta-vibhāga (Distinguishing the Middle from the Extremes), (4) the Dharma-dharmatā-vibhāga (Distinguishing Dharma and Dharmatā) and (5) the Ratna-gotra-vibhāga (Analysis of the Lineage of the [Three] Jewels).

Vasubandhu was a prolific writer, scholar & yogi who, together with his brother, systematized the Yogācāra School, the second branch of the Great Vehicle (next to Mādhyamika). Together with Asanga, he defined the Yogācāra system. Of importance for this school are :

the Samdhinirmocana Sūtra (ca. 2nd century) ;
the Śrîmālādevî-simhanāda Sūtra (3rd century) ;
the Yogācārabhūmi-śāstra (4th century).
the Lankāvatāra Sūtra (4th century).

While in his early days Vasubandhu had called the Yogācāra system difficult & heavy, in his mature years, he wrote The Thirty Verses, a succinct, elegant & condensed summary of the heart of the Yogācāra edifice. This is a remarkable text, often misunderstood as expounding ontological idealism, the idea the subject constitutes the object.

Specific studies mentioned in what follows are :

BY : Clearly, Th. : Buddhist Yoga, Shambhala - Boston, 1995.
BN : Brown, B.E. : The Buddha Nature, Motilal - Delhi, 2004.
BP : Lusthaus, D. : Buddhist Phenomenology, Routledge - New York, 2006.
BU : Waldron, W.S. : The Buddhist Unconscious, Routledge Curzon - London, 2006.
CD : Jiang, T. : Contexts and Dialogue, University of Hawai Press - Honolulu, 2006.
YI : Chatterjee, A.K. : The Yog
ācāra Idealism, Motilal - Benares, 2007.
LY : Shunei, T. : Living Yog
ācāra, Wisdom Publications - Boston, 2009.
LR : Wayman, A. & Wayman, H. : The Lion's Roar of Queen Shrî-M
ālā, Columbia University Press - New York, 1974.
LS : Suzuki, D.T. : The Lank
āvatāra Sûtra, Motilal - Delhi, 1999.
MO : Wood, Th.E. : Mind Only, Motilal - Benares, 2009.
ST : Buescher, H. : Sthiramati's Trimśikāvijñaptibhāsya, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften - Wien, 2007.
SW : Anacker, S. : Seven Works of Vasubandhu, Motilal - Delhi, 2013.


"If all thought (by means of categories) is taken away from empirical knowledge, no knowledge of any object remains (...)" - Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, B307.

"... observations, and even more so observation statements and statements of experimental results, are always interpretations of the facts observed ; that they are interpretations in the light of theories ..."
- Popper, 1968, p.107f.

"Experiences arise together with theoretical assumptions not before them, and an experience without theory is just as incomprehensible as is (allegedly) a theory without experience ..."
- Feyerabend, 1993, p.168.

The Lesser (Foundational) Vehicle represents the individual approach to the Buddhadharma. It focuses on purification of the stains. Historically, it did harbor elements leading to the Greater Vehicle, for when Arhathood (the ultimate state of liberation available to the Hīnayāna practitioner) is made real, other sentient beings remain outside the salvic aim, as if Lord Buddha would not have introduced the skillful means to assist all sentient beings ! Moreover, there was the question whether liberation was continuous, for some claimed the Arhat or Foe Destroyer could fall back. These and many other historical factors of lesser importance prompted the slow emergence of a new shoot, one including all sentient beings in its soteriology, the Mahāyāna, starting about a century BCE. In its incipience, salvic scope ("bodhicitta") was the main issue, but as this was directly associated with the activity of the Bodhisattva, later Mahāyāna primarily focused on the latter, in particular the realization of awakening, the state of a fully enlightened Buddha or Buddhahood.

The Great Vehicle was divided into two schools : the Mādhyamika and the Yogācāra. The first was founded by Nāgārjuna (second to third century CE) and focused on Middle Way philosophy ("Madhyamaka"), with "emptiness" ("śūnyatā") as its central concept. Emptiness is the absolute absence of substance or inherent existence ("essentia") in all what exists. This non-substantiveness is the case because of the dependent orgination defining the existence of all things. Nāgārjuna logically proved there are only "existentia", or phenomena ("samskrita"). The "noumenon" or ultimate (absolute) reality is merely the absence of inherent existence in all things ... This strict nominalism was revolutionary (not unlike the impact of Willem of Ockham and Emmanuel Kant in the West). Madhyamaka philosophy uncovered the strict nominalism implied by Lord Buddha's "anātman" doctrine. Indeed, the Hindu "ātman" implied a universal soul existing from its own side ("paramātman", "brahmātman"), not an existential subjectivity integrating the depth of subjectivity implied in the suffering, samsaric sentient being.  Buddha wants to address this suffering without introducing a supernatural ontological realm, but existentially & phenomenologically, without essences but only existences. Hence, the existential subject is central.

This concrete & existential approach to the predicament of humans is the way of the practice of yoga ("Yogācāra"). It complements the philosophical take of the Mādhyamika school. While the negative (non-affirmative) logic defining emptiness is accepted, the yogis introduced various positive theories, such as "knowing-only" ("vijñapti-mātra"), consciousness-only ("citta-mātra"), the three natures, the Buddha's bodies etc. During later centuries, Indian & Tibetan Buddhism focused on the Mādhyamika school as the main stream of the Mahāyāna, overlooking Yogācāra as an independent branch in its own right, while integrating its ideas & terminologies ... Indeed, without Yogācāra, Mahāyāna would not have reached its present all-comprehensive vantage point. While in India, early Yogācāra was predominantly epistemological, phenomenological & psychological, in China, the philosophy of mind in general and Yogācāra in particular turned ontological, promoting absolute idealism.

Yogācāra, the second of the two independent but complementary branches of the Mahāyāna, aims to systematically understand the experiences resulting from the practice ("ācāra") of Buddhist meditative practice ("yoga"). To deliver all sentient beings, i.e. end their suffering irreversibly, this understanding is crucial. On the basis of this right view, the path of right practice is entered, the mind turned, and the fruit of "nirvāna" attained.

Asanga & Vasubandhu systematized the foundational teachings of this so-called "Mind-Only" school. Eventually, these developed into a very systematized edifice of teachings, calling for logic, epistemology, psychology, phenomenology, ontology (metaphysics), and soteriology, thereby introducing new schemata & concepts. Extinct in India by the end of the first millennium, it travelled to China, Korea, Japan and Tibet. There it mingled with other elements like Zen, Tantra and Ati-Yoga. Yogācāra is and should be regarded as a Great Vehicle system of teachings in its own right. Together with, and not made dependent of, Madhyamaka, this Yoga School is crucial to understand the full scope of the Great Vehicle. Hence, the Tibetan approach, deeming it a lower tenet than the Middle Way School is rejected.

From the start, Yogācāra accepted the conclusions of the earlier Madhyamaka. The pivotal texts of the Mâdhamika school here are :

  • Nāgārjuna (2th CE) in Mūlamadhyamakakārikā (A Fundamental Treatise on the Middle Way) & Shūnyatāsaptatikārikānāma (The Seventy Stanzas on Emptiness) ;

  • Chandrakīrti (ca. 600 – 650) in Mādhyamakāvatāra (Entering the Middle Way) ;

  • Śāntideva (8th CE) in his Bodhicharyāvatāra (A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life) &

  • Tsongkhapa (1357 - 1419) in The Essence of Eloquence, The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment and The Ocean of Reasoning.

Nāgārjuna, the founder of the Middle Way School, finds the supposed presence of self-powered, fixed, self-subsisting substances leading to absurd conclusions. Dependent origination means one accepts dynamic continuity without establishing substantial identity. Yogācāra agrees. The Middle Way's prime focus is not on the practice of meditation, but on the dereification of concepts, ending substance-obsession, steering in-between the extremes of affirming & denying (the project of strict nominalism). Yogācāra offers a logical, epistemological, phenomenological & ontological  account of the crucial salvic role of the fifth aggregate, consciousness ("vijñāna"), precisely because of "yoga", the path from right view to the fruit, true peace. Yogācāra seems a philosophy, but is truly a practice for every moment (in this sense it resembles Ati-Yoga like Mahāmudrā).

Whereas the classical school of Yogācāra is represented by Maitreya, Asanga, Vasubandhu, Paramātha & Sthiramati, the later "new" school was initiated by Dharmapāla and Xuanzang (in China) and developed further in Tibet (Śāntaraksita & Atiśa), where Yogācāra evolved to incorporate Madhyamaka's self-emptiness and was itself integrated into Tantra. In late Yogācāra (5th - 8th century), when the Tathāgatagarbha doctrine was fully part of the edifice, absolute idealism appeared. From this point onward, Yogācāra was defined as an idealist view (Mind-Only or Consciousness-Only). After Śāntaraksita (725 - 788), who attempted a synthesis of Mādhyamika and Yogācāra, no further doctrinal developments happened and the school became extinct in India, but travelled to China & Japan, where it still continues (as "hossō" at Kōfukuji Temple in Nara).

In a certain sense, the much later Tibetan debates between Mādhyamika or "Rangtong" (self-emptiness) and Mahāmadhyamaka or "Shentong" (other-emptiness) reminds of the discussions between Indian Yogācāra and Mādhyamika, although differences pertain. In the non-partisan Rimé movement (initiated in the 19th century by the Nyingma Mipham, 1846 - 1912), the ultimate view in both schools is deemed the same, i.e. each path leading to the same ultimate state of abiding.

Consciousness ("
vijñāna") is the fifth aggregate ("skandha") next to matter ("rūpa), volition ("samskāra), feeling ("vedanā") & thinking ("samjñā"). "Mind" is the generic idea integrating volition ("samskāra), feeling ("vedanā"), thinking ("samjñā") & consciousness ("vijñāna"). This is the "nāmakāya" (mental body), organizing the transmigrating personality. The physical body ("rūpa) dies, the mental body ("nāmakāya") does not end with the end of the physical body (contrary to the claims of ontological materialism - cf. A Philosophy of the Mind and Its Brain, 2009).

Consciousness takes the activities of each of the other aggregates for its objects. These are its mental "dharmas" ("caittas"). Consciousness can also cognize its own activities. Consciousness
is a dynamical, multi-dimensional continuum of sensations & mentations, defined by what happens on the sensitive surfaces of the five senses and by what happens in the mind (other mentations).

In Abhidharmic tabulation, mentation (the activity of the discursive, conceptual, thinking consciousness or "mano-vijñāna") is a "sixth" sense-centered consciousness discriminating & cognizing physical objects. This thinking consciousness depends on non-sensuous mind-objects & the faculty of mind ("mano-dhātu) in the same way as the five sense-consciousnesses depend on their respective sense-objects and sense (these are the 18 "dhātus"). These "elements" are components of the stream of life. They are aggregate things, never separate elements, nor entities forming aggregations.

Six Senses
Six Sense-Objects
Six Consciousnesses
1.sense of vision 7.visible object 13.eye-consciousness
2.sense of audition 8.sound object 14.ear-consciousness
3.sense of smelling 9.smell object 15.nose-consciousness
4.sense of tasting 10.taste object 16.taste-consciousness
5.sense of touching 11.tangible object 17.touch-consciousness
6.the faculty of mind
12.mind-object 18.thinking consciousness

If one seeks to understand reality (ontology), one needs to understand consciousness and its act of cognition first. Take away consciousness and no cognitive act or knowledge are possible (Kant). Knower (self) & known (nature) have no meaning outside consciousness. This is obviously the case for mental objects, but also for sensate ones. Whatever is observed (as a conscious sensation) is always already an interpretation of perception (what happens at the sensitive areas of the senses). Experiences and the mental structures on which they co-depend rise together (Popper, Feyerabend). Conceptualizing, we never face nature as it ultimately is, but merely nature as it conventionally appears to us.

Epistemological idealism can not really be refuted. If one tries, one merely affirms it. To assert the object owes nothing to its being perceived (naive realism) implies we must know what the object was before being perceived, i.e. we must know something without knowing. This is self-refuting. Likewise, to assert the knowing subject owes nothing to the perceived object (naive idealism), implies we can actually know some real thing without an actual, extra-mental object present. This too is self-refuting. Indeed, for knowledge about objects to be possible, the concept of a "thing-in-itself" ("svalaksana") cannot be avoided. It must in some way be integrated into critical thinking, and this without reintroducing a self-sufficient ground outside knowledge. Consciousness stays with itself to delve into its own dynamical, ever-evolving continuum. The practice of "yoga" is a deep study of all possible states of consciousness.

Consciousness, mind, the capacity to cognize or know is not a passive registrar merely taking note of the "sense-data" the senses register (as naive realism would have it). On the contrary, it is an active agent, transforming what it receives (from the senses and from itself). This is affirmed by Western criticism (the so-called "theory-ladenness of observation") and as well by Yogācāra. Consciousness has its own structure, form, organization or content ("sākāra"). If contentless ("nirākāra"), then consciousness has no activity of its own, and what we observe is the "thing-in-itself" (when we observe, the object observed owes nothing to the fact of its being known by a subject of knowledge). Contemporary epistemology, on the basis of logic & perceptual psychology, rejects this. Yoga, with its specific perspective on absolute truth, does not.

If "sensation" is the actual conscious apperception (mental representation, labeling, naming, designation or "prajñāpati") of a sensuous object ("vișayas"), then this sensation is the product of (a) a sensuous perception by the senses ("indriyas") and (b) conceptual interpretation (mentation). Indeed, as neurophilosophy shows,
S(ensation) = P(erception) times I(nterpretation), with -nominally- I ≠ 1 (A Neurophilosophy of Sensation, 2003). Sensate objects appearing to the mind are already designated and so co-dependent on mental objects and on perception. Mental objects are obviously always part of the mind. But although naive realism cannot be rationally upheld, it cannot be the case that because we need an instrument to perceive an object (which has to be accepted), the object cannot exist from its own side without the instrument (which -in the case of consciousness itself- is unprovable). Both realism & idealism have a truth-core : idealism is correct in identifying the epistemological fact knowledge is impossible without an active, categorized knower and realism is correct in stating sensate knowledge to be knowledge must contain an extra-mental component.

So although, in accordance with the principles of criticism (
The Rules of the Game of True Knowing, 1999 & Clearings : On Critical Epistemology, 2006, Criticosynthesis, 2008), we must divide the act of cognition in knower & known, insofar as the moment of the actual act of cognition itself is at hand, such an act of cognition is impossible outside a given consciousness actually intending to know. The pre-conceptual intention to know comes logically first. This intention is non-conceptual. Once this intention to know engaged, subject & object rise as the bipolar unity of that which perceives ("darśanabhāga") and that which is perceived ("nimittabhāga"). Then the object is that within consciousness announcing itself with strong, natural tenacity as an obstrusion, as a constraint or resistance bringing about a sensation of arriving from without, as an object we must consider as if to exist from its own side (although we never can know for sure this is the case or not). Simultaneously, a definite stable sense of "knowing I" or "self" emerges.

Yogācāra is often called an example of idealism, meaning Mind-Only adheres to the view the objective world exists because of the mind (classical idealism). Before analyzing this, let us clarify the term "idealism". Idealism puts forward the idea, realism the real. Both possess a truth-core and are regulative ideas of reason (idealism of universal consensus among all involved sign-interpreters and realism of correspondence with an extra-mental reality). Together, they regulate the production of knowledge.

(1) classical idealism : only consciousness exists (idealist monism) and so consciousness is the foundation of the existence of objects (ontological idealism).

Criticism rejects this form of idealism. There are no valid reasons to suppose objective reality does not exist outside consciousness. We can never be sure this to be the case or not. Judgment about consciousness-independent reality has to be suspended.

(2) subjective idealism : the perceptual experiences of the knowing subject are the only epistemic validators for claims about the external world, in other words, there is no cognition of any reality existing independently of cognition. Cognitive states occur as part of a set of other cognitive states and within a cognitive system (cf. Searle, 1996). Subjective idealism includes epistemological idealism, affirming all we experience & know is mental (Boltzmann, Helmholtz & Hertz).

Subjective idealism cannot be avoided. Our experiences are always "our own", be they individual (First Person), shared (Second Person) or communal (Third Person). Sensate objects are co-dependent on the content of consciousness. Such epistemological idealism, found in Kant, neo-Kantianism and contemporary criticism, must embrace critical realism, i.e. the affirmation we must do nothing else but affirm objective objects are backed by the extra-mental. This brings it very close to transcendental idealism, a more systematized & epistemological version. Subjective idealism is especially helpful when analyzing -as in depth psychology- unwanted psychological states (such as afflictive emotions).

(3) transcendental idealism : by reflecting on itself, consciousness discovers the principles, norms & maxims ruling knowledge, i.e. rules defining how knowledge is possible and can advance (
The Rules of the Game of True Knowing, 1999 & Clearings : On Critical Epistemology, 2006). Knowledge or what a certain knower knows about a certain known, is also the result of a creative, constructive, content-producing activity from the side of the knowing subject. Consciousness is active, not merely a passive registrar but creative, constructive (cf. perspectivism). In terms of the epistemic status of objects, we must (as a norm) assume or act as if objects extra-mentally stimulate the sensitive areas of our senses, and this while we know it is impossible to step outside our cognitive apparatus and then directly experience if this is indeed the case or not. Attributing any causation between such a stimulating agent and the sensitive areas of our senses is also impossible, for this calls for the categorial scheme determining causation allegedly fired-up by these quasi-causal objective stimuli.

After centuries of descriptive criticism, we are left with a normative stance : if knowledge is to be possible, we must assume an external, extra-mental object exists and somehow persistently confronts the active subject of knowledge. Kantian transcendental idealism was still descriptive and aimed to define synthetic judgements a priori. Contemporary criticism is normative and no longer aims at eternalized knowledge, but merely at conventional, historical knowledge all involved sign-interpreters consider, for the time being, as valid.

"Critical epistemological idealism, as opposed to metaphysical idealism, need not insist on metaphysical or ontological implications, but merely claims that the cognizer shapes his/her experience to such an extent that s/he will never be able to extricate what s/he brings to an experience from what is other to the cognizer. Like can only know like, so what is truly other is essentially and decisively unknowable precisely because it is other, foreign, alien, inscrutable." - BP - p.5.

(2) objective idealism : the reality of every actual experience hic et nun, integrates & transcends the experienced object as well as the experiencing consciousness. While integration can be conceptually backed, transcendence not. The latter belongs to the non-conceptual, nondual mode of cognition. While indeed the fruit of the Buddhadharma, one cannot argue one's way into this prehension. It can only be part of meditative experience or a datum of the fully enlightened mind of a Buddha.

absolute (metaphysical) idealism : "leges cogitandi sunt leges essendi" : the laws of thinking are the laws of reality (cf. Spinoza). The ultimate understanding of the logical structure of the world is an understanding of the logic of the absolute mind. This structure of the absolute mind, or ultimate reality, can be known (cf. Hegel). Absolute idealists are ontological idealists & monists (classical idealists), for ultimately, the One Absolute Spirit lays the groundwork for Nature, making the extra-mental non-existent, by knowing the truth, the knower constitutes the known. Ultimate reality is in any case mind-dependent.

Absolute idealism transgresses the boundaries of conceptual knowledge. Its claims are made from an absolute vantage point. Such a position cannot be reasonably argued.

pluralistic (metaphysical) idealism : a plurality of individual consciousnesses together is the grounding substratum underlying the existence of the observed world. This makes possible the existence of the universe (cf. Leibniz). This is the substantialist (essentalist) format. Weaker forms are possible, integrating relativity, quantum & chaos. If conventional propositional statements of fact are required, we must affirm the possibility of extra-mental, exterior objects. This form of idealism may or may not embrace ontological idealism.

Xuangzang, turning Yogācāra into an absolute idealism, points out that (a) the existence or reality of self & nature cannot be ascertained independent of consciousness and (b) despite this, there might or might not be "dharmas" exterior to the mind. These are two strong points to be retained.

Discussion :

Critical epistemology
avoids describing what cannot be reasonably objectified (namely the extra-mental), and taking a normative stance, makes clear that if we want to rationally (logically) guarantee the possibility & development of knowledge, we must accept extra-mental exteriority. Moreover, this is what we are constantly doing anyway ! Ontological realism (like ontological realism) are merely methodological tools used in practical epistemology to solve concrete problems. As metaphysical positions they cannot be validated. Quite on the contrary, only the critical (demarcating) integration of both is a viable road to take. Realism suffers from repressing subjectivity and idealism suffers from lack of realism. Criticism understand "the real" and the "ideal" as regulative ideas only, not constituting knowledge but merely regulating it so it can expand.

As we cannot -to know any object- step outside the knower (assume an Archimedean vantage point overseeing all), it remains possible that all of our knowledge is merely a universal illusion. On this, the conceptual, thinking mind (
"mano-vijñāna") cannot reasonably decide. So the question whether exterior "dharmas" exist or not, cannot be answered ; all possible answers, belonging to the communicative activity of intersubjective sign-interpreters, are intra-mental. However, we must accept the theory-laden facts about objective state of affairs (put down in propositional statements) also possess a theory-independent face (are able to produce the letters of recommendation of reality-as-it-is), but we cannot possibly conceptually know for sure whether this is the case or not. The extra-mental is assumed to manifest via facts, and without the latter no knowledge is possible. But facts are not one-to-one representations of reality, but Janus-faced hybrids, turned towards our theoretical constructs, and, so must we assume, reality-as-it-is.

This is the neo-Kantian, critical version of transcendental idealism, retaining elements from subjective idealism (and epistemological idealism). We cannot affirm there is a quasi-causal relationship between the "Ding-an-sich" and the categorial scheme (as Kant did). Such description of the cognitive act is self-defeating. But we can do nothing else but affirm we must, for knowledge to be possible, accept the extra-mental to exists.

In general, classical idealists do not really grasp the importance of this and even Xuanzang (who claimed
there might or might not be "dharmas" exterior to the mind) writes : "On the basis of the manifold activities of inner consciousness that serve as conditions for one another, the cause and effect are differentiated. The postulation of external conditions is not of any use." (Ch'eng wei shih lun, 574).

Another facet of Yogācāra's originality lies in its introduction of two consciousnesses lying outside the realm of the ordinary thinking mind. Ordinary, nominal consciousness is not aware of these (they are subliminal) and only spiritual emancipation allows one to gain awareness here. This means Yogācāra introduced the subliminal (unconscious) mind nearly two millennia before Freud, Jung & Assagioli. A crucial difference pertains however : in Western depth-psychology, the unconscious cannot be made conscious, it largely stays subliminal. For Yogācāra, the structure of consciousness does not precludes the complete awakening of consciousness. On the contrary, the soteriology explicitly aims at total illumination of all of consciousness, and human suffering is understood precisely as the absence of this ...

"Human consciousness is by nature the processive advance to an ever more perfect self-consciousness in which it finally awakens to the plenitude of its identity with the
Âlaya-vijñāna. That the latter grounds and posits the phenomenological mind with seeds (bījas) of both ignorance and wisdom, specifies the mind's active self-emergence as the necessary opposition between the two. Only in the expansive illumination of wisdom, gradually dilating the restrictive vision of ignorance, does human consciousness attain the awareness of its own universality." - BN, pp.225-226.

To explain "karma" (touching morality and rebirth), as well as selfhood in the light of the interrupted nature of the ordinary mind (
"mano-vijñāna"), two other subliminal types of consciousnesses were added to the Abhidharmic sixfold : "manas" (the seventh) and "ālaya-vijñāna" (the eighth). How can "I" be responsible for my afflicted and afflicting deeds if "I" am merely a process ? How can the next tenant of this mindstream "I" call my own experience the consequences of what "I" do if this "I" does not exist as a self-powered entity ? And even more crucial, how can a process-self be conceptualized ?

Whereas the coarse, sense-centered thinking mind
("mano-vijñāna") appropriates the coarse, external objects of the five senses ("visayas"), directing the attention of sense organs toward their objects, and has a crude, unstable deliberative function, interrupted in certain states (like in dreamless sleep), "manas", the seventh consciousness, is an uninterrupted, subtle mind related to the view of the existence of self and deliberating all the time.

The delusion of a substantial self generated by this "manas" is due to an ignorance unique to it, namely the sense of being disconnected from anything else (independence). This "āvenikī avidyā" is the root-cause of all of our suffering. Being thus an uninterrupted continuum, "manas" is very resistant to being transformed. It knows no end and can only be "turned".

Whereas the thinking mind works with the senses cognizing their objects, "manas" attaches itself to, identifies with "ālaya-vijñāna" since beginningless times, regarding this root-consciousness as its inner self (i.e. identifying with it). In other words, "manas" clings to "ālaya-vijñāna", leading to the misidentification of the conscious dynamical continuum as a static substance, i.e. a subliminal continuum mistakenly cognized as a substratum or substantial identity (as in the Upaniśadic version of the "ātman"). At this point, the empirical, momentary "ego" of the thinking mind
("mano-vijñāna") is turned by "manas" into a solid, enduring identity, selfhood or identity, mistakingly grasped at as if disconnected from the rest, from the others. This mind then cherishes itself, considering "number one" as of first importance (and not as last). As long as this unique ignorance of "manas" has not been altered (by turning or revolutionize it - "aparāvritti"), "manas" is always "kleśā-manas", suffering mind.

In Sanskit, "ālaya" means "house", "storehouse" or "receptacle". This base-consciousness or root-consciousness ("mūla-vijñāna") is also called "ripening" or "retributive" consciousness ("vipāka-vijñāna"), for all content "deposited" there dynamically generates future effects. It does not depend on any specific object, and so it is the base, or foundation of the fifth aggregate, grounding the other seven consciousnesses. It does not deliberate or judge and so is morally neutral (accepts wholesome & unwholesome alike). The "ālaya-vijñāna" includes "manas" as one kind and "mano-vijñāna" as another kind. Because "ālaya-vijñāna" does not deliberate at all, it is not a "vijñāna" in the strict sense of the word, but as it is the base of the others, it is included as one.

like Western depth-psychology, Yogācāra is not interested in ceasing mental suffering happening in the thinking, empirical, coarse (ego) mind as the result of supposed unconscious processes (like repression causing complexes, neurosis or psychosis). Depth-psychology rose to eliminate the effect of disturbed relationships with the unconscious. The latter was a hypothetical construct invented to end this supposed effect. For Freud, sexuality in its most extended sense (as "libido sexualis") lay at the root of these disturbances. Psychoanalysis was intended to restore the natural position of the "ego", enhance its common sense when facing reality. Freud was a realist. For Jung, a vast storehouse of archetypes were called in to accommodate the process of individuation or optimal maturation of the ego. Jung tends towards idealism. For Assagioli, the root-cause of egoic suffering was the disrupted communication with the super-conscious "higher self". He was a transcendentalist. Each time, the ego (or thinking mind) remainded the focus of attention. The Buddadharma wants to eradicate suffering once and for all. Its "target" is not the well-being of the empirical ego only, but the total awakening of consciousness (the moment of "mahābodhi"). In other words, the goal is to make the totality of the unconscious permanently conscious ! The well-being of the ego is merely the outcome of this total illumination, for only this supreme state ends suffering irreversibly.

The cause of all possible suffering is ignorance, and according to the Yog
ācārins its manifestation assumes two forms : (a) the tenacious conviction the ego exists independently & autonomously ("ātmagrāha") and (b) the adherence to the false idea objects exists substantially ("dharmagrāha"). The first causes the vexing passions ("kleśāvarana"), associated with self-cherishing, the second is a barrier hindering ultimate knowledge ("jñeyāvarana"), and is based on the phenomenology of failing to perceive the mutual interdependence of all phenomena in their ultimate dependence on root-consciousness, superimposing the false imagination ("parikalpita") of substance, misapprehending dependent reality ("paratantra").

Fundamentally, these two causes of suffering, independent "self" (subject) and independent "nature" (object), originate in (a) intellectual or acquired self-grasping, i.e. the extrinsic impact of wrong views & teachings (about self & nature) infecting the conceptualizations of the thinking mind (
"mano-vijñāna") and (b) innate self-grasping, i.e. the instrinsic, "natural" or innate belief in the substantial reality of self and nature. The latter is the cardinal ignorance and rooted in "manas". It hinders the wisdom of egolessness ("nairātmya"), causing "manas" to attach itself to the "ālaya" as the substantial core of personal identity or personhood. Thanks to this "belief in self" ("ātmadristi"), there is a self-conceit ("ātmamāna") and self-love ("ātmasneha"), whereby "manas" considers itself as better as all others, causing a deep attachment to a unique selfhood. Given "manas" is the support ("āśraya") of the thinking mind and the five sensorial consciousnesses, its persistent misapprehension of the root of consciousness causes their own functions to falter too. Especially "ātmagrāha" dominates consciousness as a whole. So even if intellectual self-grasping ends, awakening is not the case. Moreover, because "manas" supports "mano-vijñāna", intellectual self-grasping is likely to return if innate self-grasping has not ended. So foremost, one needs to tackle innate self-grasping. Knowing how to end intellectual self-grasping is a preparatory exercise.

Yogācārins seek the fruit, Buddhahood. So epistemology, phenomenology & psychology serve soteriology, the direct recognition of the ultimate. Buddhist philosophy is fine. Its right view is based on excellent understanding (
"prajñā") ending the intellectual self-grasping of the thinking mind ("mano-vijñāna"), sustained by the subliminal identification ("manas"). The process of spiritual emancipation implies a steady advance from the thinking mind to full mind-capacity, in the process leaving not a single consciousness out. The crucial factor in this process being "manas". This needs to be transformed from impure & affliction-bound (ego-affirming) into pure & non-afflicted egolessness.

"Evolving out of and grounded upon it, the manas has a constant and spontaneous awareness of the
Âlaya-vijñāna. But instead of recognizing it as the unconditional reality, the universal absolute consciousness, the generic animating principle of all sentient beings, the manas appropriates it as the determinate center of its own, discrete self-identity (the ātman). It does so through the influence of an ignorance unique to it (āvenikī avidyā) and perpetually continuous (nityācarini) with it since beginningless time." - BN, p.215.

This commentary aims, on the basis of the Trimśikā, to understand Yogācāra in terms of its epistemology, phenomenology, psychology & soteriology. In this most remarkable text, Vasubandhu allows these various registers to play out.

epistemology : knowledge implies a knower and a known and these are always part of consciousness (epistemological idealism) ;
phenomenology : the study of and return to the momentary nature of the phenomenon of knowledge hic et nunc was a typical Abhidharmic preoccupation the
Yogācāra took over ;
psychology : the study of afflictive and non-afflictive states of mind is necessary to end afflictive obscurations (the first of the two cessations resulting from meditative practice) ;
soteriology : the
Yogācāra edifice serves the purpose of spiritual emancipation, nothing else. This is the "turning of the basis", allowing the practitioner to experience base-consciousness directly (i.e. unclouded by any reification by "manas"), eventually clearing all reifications, resulting in awakening, the end of suffering.

In my reading, the text retains a qualified transcendental idealism. The qualification was identified by Xuanzang when he wrote
there might or might not be "dharmas" exterior to the mind (Ch'eng wei shih lun, 88). Contemporary criticism contents we must think such objects exists. The texts clearly calls for a (subjective) epistemological idealism in matters psychological & soteriological. In the commentary, this is adjusted by integrating the principles, norms & maxims of contemporary critical philosophy (balancing transcendental idealism with transcendental realism or critical realism).

"Thus the key Yogācāra phrase vijñapti-mātra does not mean (as is often touted in scholarly literature) that 'consciousness alone exists', but rather that 'all our efforts to get beyond ourselves are nothing but projections of our consciousness'. Yogācārins treat the term vijñapti-mātra as an epistemic caution, not an ontological pronouncement. Having suspended the ontological query that leads to idealism or materialism, they instead are interested in uncovering why we generate and attach to such a position in the first place. Insofar as either position might lead to attachment, Yogācāra clearly and forthrightly rejects both of them." - BP, pp.5-6.

Trimśikā can be read without any reference to classical idealism (idealist monism & ontological idealism). Issues related to any possible ontological reading (like the manifestation of the objective world on the basis of subliminal seeds only) need therefore not be attended.


Some of the details of Vasubandhu's life can be found in biographies in Chinese & Tibetan. The earliest, complete account, the Biography of Master Vasubandhu, was compiled into Chinese by Paramārtha (499 - 569) when in China. The earliest Tibetan is that of Bu-ston (1290 - 1364). References are also found in the works of the Jonangpa Tāranātha (1575 - 1634) & other writers (Hsüan-tsang, Vāmana). A lot of myth too.

Vasubandhu (ca. 316 - 396) was born in Purusapura ("the City of Man", present-day Peshawar), in what was then the kingdom of Gāndhāra. No longer the heart of a great empire, it had become a border land in decline.  According to Paramārtha, his father was a Brāhmana of the Kauśika "gotra", a court priest. So no lack of Vedic culture there. Vasubandhu's mother was called "Viriñcī". The couple had a previous son, Asanga. According to Tāranātha, Vasubandhu was born one year after the latter became a Buddhist monk. In his youth, Vasubandhu received the Brahminical lore, in particular Nyāya and Vaiśesika, both "astika", orthodox schools of Hinduism. Nyāya is syllogistic logic. Vaiśesika an atomistic ontology. These influenced his logical thinking & style.

Upon entering the Buddhist Sarvāstivāda order, Vasubandhu did not change his name (it means "the kinsman of abundance"). At first, his mind was impressed by the comprehensiveness of the Vaibhāsika scholastic (doctrinical) system, the late phase of the Sarvāstivāda ("the theory of all exists"), Kasmiri Sarvāstivada orthodoxy. Starting around 150 CE, Sautrānika-Sarvāstivāda
("those who uphold the sūtras") began to criticize Vaibhāsika-Sarvāstivāda. They did not uphold the Mahāvibhāsa Śāstra, but rather the Buddhist sūtras.

At some point, Vasubandhu came into contact with these Sautrāntikas, who rediculed the elaborate scholastic constructions and posed pertinent questions about providing a coherent account of the Buddha's core teachings, namely impermance ("anitya"), dependent origination ("pratītya-samutpāda"), action ("karma") & and no(t)-self ("anātman"). He nevertheless went to Kashmir to study the Vaibhāsika in-depth. He stayed there for four years (342 - 346) and got doubly convinced the Vaibhāsika failed. After having to fake lunacy to be able to return home, he lived as an independent, and publically lectured about Vaibhāsika (brought together as the Abhidharmakośa). As it were "off the record", he wrote a commentary on this text, the Abhidharmakośabhāsyam, in fact a critique of Vaibhāsika dogmatics from a Sautrāntika perspective ! It became "the standard Abhidharma work for the unorthodox in India" - SW, p.18, my italics.

He travelled around, lectured and had, up to this time, little regard for Yogācāra, the branch of Mahāyāna of his brother Asanga. He told people he deemed the system so difficult & burdensome, it could only be carried by an elephant (Bu-ston). When challenged by his brother's students, he found the logic & practice of the Mahāyāna well-founded and regretted his former disregard for it. The story goes he wanted to cut-off his tongue ... Instead, he converted and preached the new faith. The brothers worked together. Asanga asked Vasubandhu to use his superior mental consciousness to advance the Mahāyāna. After entering the Great Vehicle, Vasubandhu read & wrote extensively, with prodigious output, writing new treatises every year. In fact, Asanga & Vasubandhu are regarded as the founders of the Yogācāra School, the second branch of the Mahāyāna. So vast was his output, that at some point some conjectured many Vasubandhu's must have existed. Recent scholarship makes this unlikely.

In 1922, Sylvain Lévi discovered a Sanskrit version of the Trimśikā in Nepal. It has thirty verses ("kārikās") and is an exposition of the fundamentals of the Yogācāra School, in other words : "... an integral and highly influential presentation of the essential thought of Yogācāra-Vijñānavāda presented in 30 stanzas." (ST, p.VII).

This treatise is so important in terms of its  authority, precision & succinctness, it became the  core of the Ch'eng wei shih lun, the Vijñaptimātratāsiddhi-śāstra, The Treatise on the Establishment of the Doctrine of Consciousness-Only, a major 7th century text of the Chinese traveller, scholar, translator & yogācārin  Hsüang-tsang (Xuanzang, 602 - 664). In this work, the tenets of this second Mahāyāna School matured into an ontological idealism. Placing the Trimśikā at the heart of this vast edifice of metaphysical idealism, points to the importance of these verses in the work of Vasubandhu. The earliest Chinese translation of the Trimśikā is the Chuan shih lun or Evolution of Consciousness of Parāmartha (499 -569).

 The Thirty Verses on Representation


Translation & Commentary

The Trimśikā (Thirty Verses) is extant in Sanskrit. It can be found in the Trimśikā-vijñapti-bhāsya (Commentary on Trimśikā-vijñapti) of Sthiramati (510 - 570).

Lévi who, in 1922, found this text in Nepal, was the first to edit the Trimśikā-vijñapti :

• Lévi, Sylvain : Vijñaptimātratāsiddhi : Deux Traités de Vasubandhu : Vi.mśatikā et Tri.mśikā, Librairie Ancienne Honoré Champion - Paris, 1925, pp.1-11.
• Lévi, Sylvain : Un système de philosophie bouddhique. Matériaux pour l'étude du système Vijñaptimātra, Librairie Ancienne Honoré Champion - Paris, 1932, p.175 : "Corrections au Texte Sanscrit".

These editions "no longer satify the contemporary philological requirements for a text to be considered reliable." (TS, p.2).

The critical edition (TS) of the text used here was published by Buescher, H. : Sthiramati's Trimśikāvijñaptibhāsya, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften - Wien, 2007 (the separate version of the Trimśikā can be found on pp.147-149). This Sanskrit text is the one reproduced and translated here.

Additional versions found are :

• Wood, Th.E. : Mind Only, Motilal - Benares, 2009, pp.49-56.

Lusthaus, D. : Buddhist Phenomenology, Routledge - New York, 2006, pp.275 -304.
Darie, N. : Thirty Verses in Sanskrit, English, Vietnamese and Chinese, 2015. (https://www.scribd.com/doc/234451161/Thirty-Verses-Vasubandhu-Sanskrit-English-Viet-Chinese).

Regarding possible variations, ST says : "In the present edition, these various inconsistencies have been silently homogenized : no anusvāra will occur in pausa, no gemination of consonants after r, no avagraha to interfere with ā-sandhi ; but avagrahas and doubled consonants will be found, where they should be placed, and sibilants will be emended according to common standards ..." (ST, p.15).


Basic Thesis

ātmadharmopacāro hi vividho ya.h pravartate ।
vijñānapari.nāme 'sau pari.nāma.h sa ca tridhā ॥ 1 ॥


The metaphors "self" and "nature", functioning in so many ways, take place in the transformation of consciousness ; this transformation is of three kinds :

VERSE 1 states "self" & "nature" to be both "upacāra". Emphasizing both are figurative & conceptual constructs, "upacāra" has been translated as "metaphorical expression", but may also mean "usage". Both self (subject) & entities (object) refer to an already mentally constructed phenomenon. Not to be taken as actual realities, they are something linguistic. They are names or generic ideas reflecting the complex functionalities for which they stand. They are images cast in words suggesting something else.

Although the object (the entity-of-fact) appears as part of or taking place in the ongoing dynamical transformations of consciousness ("parināma"), and therefore cannot be divorced from the cognitive system of the observer, one cannot properly conceptualize the term "object" without at least including the act of presuming, in every actual act of cognition, the actual existence of an extra-mental reality (critical realism in transcendental idealism). The fact, without such a presumption, one cannot coherently think the act of cognition itself, shows the limitations of valid conventional knowledge and its shared, collectively "hallucinated" world-view. Without it, facts are spurious phenomena and science a mere fabrication of mind ...

Such presumption of the extra-mental precludes classical idealism. It is not grounded in a discription of the cognitive act from outside (like a preset ontology), but -by way of transcendental analysis of the cognitive act itself- in the normative principles, norms & maxims necessary for this act to exist and proliferate.

The constituents of the aggregate of consciousness ("vijñāna") are various mentations ("vijñapti"), a single mind being a single stream of these cognitive acts. All of these mental acts are, in every moment, intimately connected with the activity of the other four aggregates (body, will, affect & thought). Every cognitive act calls for a knower (perceiving aspect, "darśanabhāga") and a known (perceived aspect, "nimittabhāga"), both merely "taking place" in the alterations or transformations ("parināma") of consciousness. The knower is a grasper ("grāhaka"), the known a grasped ("grāha").

Consciousness (the subject) is always consciousness-of (the object). Every mental phenomenon refers to a content or direction toward an object. This is the intentionality of consciousness (cf. Brentano), the idea consciousness somehow contains its content, the latter as it were being always manifesting "in" consciousness. All objects appearing as "part" of the mind does not imply no extra-mental objects exist. This point needs to be made again and again. Even if we accept extra-mental objects to stimulate the sensitive surfaces of our senses (and how to reasonably deny this ?), these perceptions are transformed (by neuronal recodation, thalamic projections & sensoric  association areas) into sensations of which a given knower is conscious and they "appear" to this and not to any other mind (first person experience). Hence, with the fundamental intentionality of consciousness no ontological idealism is predicated, merely the phenomenological primacy of consciousness ; what is "known" is always apprehended by a knower. Then, it can be shared with another (second person) and/or with a community of sign-interpreters (third person) by way of language (argumentation) & experiment (testing).

As the cognitive act is an activity of consciousness, the constituents of this act (self & nature) exist (must be logically identified & and proven functional) as part of the realm of mind. Consciousness is like a field in which all possible cognition takes place, a stream of continuous meaningful change, a mirror or polished surface faithfully reflecting back the objects appearing on it. Consciousness constitutes cognition, grounds itself. How can cognition exist outside consciousness ? In the parlance of contemporary philosophy of mind, this is the first person perspective of consciousness. This primacy however does not imply extra-mental objects, by the power of the evidence of facts, never appear in the field of consciousness. We must assume this to be so, but are never conceptually knowledgeable about this (cf. Criticosynthesis, 2008), except -so the Buddhadharma promises- when our mind turns and becomes the mind of a Buddha.

Consciousness has been likened to a field, a stream or a reflecting surface.

As a circular field, consciousness is given a range or extent, suggesting a cohesive gathering of mental events.  A circle has only a one single center : the empirical sense of self-hood, or ego, designated on the basis of the activities of the senses, volition, affect, thought & sentience itself. This ego (or monkey-mind) cherishes its own free will, promotes "number one" (self-cherishing) and is in every moment re-constituted by this reflex of centration of the conscious field to a single point. When ego does not yet recognize altriusm to be the fulfillment of egoism (cf. Levinas), it grasps at itself as solid, lasting & permanent (at least as far as the gross physical body goes) and cherishes this, making more suffering very likely. When educated & refined consciousness reflects upon itself, it discovers the principles, norms & maxims of its own possibility, extention & manifestation. The first principle of consciousness is its absolute primacy. All of our existence happens "in its field" ; this is the First Person Perspective ; the fact that in every moment of cognition, the knower rises simultaneously with the known and vice versa. This is the base or view of the Yog

As a stream, the process-nature of consciousness is underlined. Moment-by-moment, consciousness changes, but the sentient, cognizing impulse is carried-through. Change, becoming, impermanence ("anitya") are fundamental, while dynamical continuity lies in the ever-changing relationships, interdependencies & interpenetrations at work between all what exists (other-poweredness). Since beginningless time, this stream contains defilements ("āsravas"). By following the way ("mārga") of the Buddha, laying down appropriate mental disciplines & practices, attentuation, interruption & finally cessation of these impurities is realized. The purification of this defiled stream is called "the turning of the base" ("āśraya-parāvritti"), the path leading from the right view to the fruit of Buddhahood.

As a reflecting surface, the fundamental impartiality of consciousness is pointed out. At the base ("mūla-vijñāna"), consciousness does not interfere with any sensate or mental object appearing on its surface. It merely accepts & reflects. It exists in the eternity of the moment. The complete elimination of all adventitious elements is the two-fold cessation (of afflictive affects and mental delusions). Then and only then is "ālaya-vijñāna" the "Great Mirror cognition" ("Mahādarśa-jñāna") of a fully awakened Buddha ("Tathāgata"), the fruit.

Regarding the "ātman", two kinds of attachment is identified : one innate and another resulting from actual mental discrimination. The former is always present in the individual and does not depend on wrong intellectual views. The latter does not operate spontaneously, but depends on false teachings and mental activity. Innate self-grasping has a constant and continuous aspect, pertaining to the seventh consciousness (arising together with the eighth consciousness and grasping its mental image as the real -substantial- self). It also has a sometimes interrupted aspect pertaining to the sixth consciousness and the aggregates. Both seventh ("manas") and eighth consciousness ("ālaya-vijñāna") are constant and never interrupted until awakening is reached. Every moment of consciousness is thus a manifest "dharma" grounded in the continuous series of subliminal flux of base-consciousness.

VERSE 1 has often been interpreted as affirming metaphysical (ontological) idealism, the view of the subject as absolute mind, actually constituting (generating, creating, causing) the object, much like in the style of the Ancient Egyptian Gods & Goddesses, who out of the substance of their mind & speech constituted the material & immaterial world-order (cf. The Theology of Memphis, 2003).

The history of absolute idealism (and recently, absolute materialism) is one of unwarranted exclusion and this cannot be otherwise for both are extremes. Allowing ontology minimally (cf. Metaphysics, 2012), this commentary seeks epistemological, phenomenological & psychological insights assisting the practice of yoga. It embraces transcendental idealism, the undelving by self-reflection of the principles, norms & maxims making knowledge and its progress possible. In this it accepts the crucial importance of consciousness & information. It promotes critical realism, the normative rule we must assume facts (the known) possess an extra-mental factor other than consciousness, in casu perception-based sensations, the material operator. Is it possible for perception not to begin with a stimulating event outside the observer arousing definite action on the side of the sensitive areas of the five sense organs of the observer ? We are not able to explain how knowledge is possible if we do not assume this stimulating event to be extra-mental. But we cannot verify this. We must accept it for knowledge (and thus science and common sense) to be possible, and so we do.

But, remaining humble scientist devoid of unwarranted "hubris", we do not thereby stop realizing valid conceptual knowledge may well be a collective hallucination. We have no means to know this. Why ? Because one cannot step outside consciousness to observe what is outside or inside consciousness, for all possible vantage-points are always within the cognitive system of consciousness. This knowledge keeps all scientific endeavor within the bounds of elegant sincerity. Every extreme is thereby avoided, also that of ontological materialism, militant atheism and exacerbating mentalisms (promoted by fundamentalist religions) ...

VERSE 1 begins by introducing a basic duality close to what yogis need to properly understand, namely not to take object (fact, nature) and subject (theory, self) at face value. They are metaphors, and like all mentations, take place in the transformations of consciousness. So next to the co-dependent functionalities between nature and self, we are told this basic duality takes place in three transformations of consciousness, of which -in all sentient beings- two are unconscious.

VERSE 2 - 16

Abdhidharma of the Eight Consciousnesses

The Yogācāra Scheme of Eight Consciousnesses :

The Eight Consciousnesses Epistemology
Psychology Soteriology
consciousness (C) : cognitive awareness ("pravritti-vijñāna")
five sense-consciousnesses sensations
direct, outer
sensing C
thinking mind
coarse mentations
indirect, inner, formal, critical & creative thought
thinking C
empirical ego
intellectual self-grasping
unconscious cognitive processes
suffering mind
subtle mentations
afflictive C
innate self-grasping
universal, neutral receptacle - Great Completion uninterrupted
primordial C
nescience entrenchment

Together, the five sense-consciousnesses and the thinking mind constitute the set of all traditional Abhidarmic momentary processes of conscious cognitive awareness ("pravritti-vijñāna"). These six consciousnesses discern ("vijñapti") cognitive objects ("visaya"). But these states of consciousness, like all elements ("dharmas") "as they really are" ("yathābhūtam"), only last for a moment. All "dharmas" arise ("jāti"), abide ("sthiti") & vanish ("jarā-laksana"). All existing things are impermanent ("anitya"). So how to understand continuity within overall becoming, how to reason the laws of determination (like causality) needed to explain rebirth as taught by the Buddha, make sense of certain cessations in deep meditation, simply understand the conscious life of the self or the operations of Nature ?

Tackling these matters as part of daily yoga practice initiated the school of yoga practice. The problem with the Abhidharmic scheme is the fact conscious cognitive awareness can be interrupted, i.e. suddenly stop and then start again. By closing the eyelids during the waking state, eye-consciousness stops. During a coma, while fainting, in dreamless sleep and certain meditative states, the thinking mind is also temporarily suspended. Then it reappears. Where does it go when it exits and from where does it come when returning ? The Yogācārins sought to explain how merit ("punya") is possible, if not in this life, then no doubt in the next. They wanted to explain the path of yoga on the basis of the right view (of the Madhyamaka of Nāgārjuna). Of course, unlike materialism today, they do not reduce the aggregate of consciousness to the aggregate of form (matter). Consciousness is not viewed as caused, generated or produced by the brain. Consciousness interacts with the brain (form), just as it interacts with the other aggregates (of volition, affect, thought and itself). The Yogācārins want to explain the mentioned continuities on the basis of consciousness itself. This is not an anachronism, for even in our times, when materialists like Dawkins, Dennett and C° in vain try to raise materialism to the level of absolute truth, exceptional neurologists like Eccles (1994) and philosophers like Popper (1981) conjecture -as did Descartes before them- an interactive dualism between mind & brain (cf. A Philosophy of the Mind and Its Brain, 2009). Such interactionism is also envisaged in the Buddhadharma. It is the only view in harmony with rebirth (evidently, for materialists, the mind dies when the brain dies).

If the Buddha, who had no problem in eliminating unnecessary wrong Vedic views, had considered rebirth superfluous, the Buddhadharma would not have subscribed to it. Instead, it developed its own version of it, one quite distinct from the idea of reincarnation or "metempsychosis" (cf. Pythagoras). The Yoga School's eighth consciousness played a crucial role in the maturation of this. Especially Tibetan Buddhism refined the actual mechanism of rebirth.

During deep meditation, unconscious cognitive processes or latent tendencies were found, explaining how the moment-to-moment transfer occurs. Adding these deep layers completes the Abhidharma. Happening simultaneously with one another and with the sense-oriented thinking mind ("mano-vijñāna"), two unconscious aspects are identified, called suffering mind
("mānas") and root-mind ("ālaya-vijñāna"). These conceptualize the "awareness of unawareness" (BU, p.xi), i.e. the subliminal or unconscious mind. Both aspects are intimately connected and this uninterruptedly.

VERSE 2 - 4

Unconscious Store-Consciousness

vipāko mananākhyaś ca vijñaptir vișayasya ca ।
tatrālayākhya.m vijñāna.m vipāka.h sarvabījakam ॥ 2 ॥


maturation, mentation and the perception of sense-fields. Among them, maturation is that called "store-consciousness", it has all the seeds.

The dynamical features of the consciousness of sentient beings is a continuous process of three simultaneous and interdependent alterations or transformations of consciousness called : maturing consciousness ("vipāka-vijñāna"), mentation ("manas") & thinking mind ("mano-vijñāna").

Maturation refers to the heart of the soteriological concern : finding a mechanism to store, mature and deploy the results of actions of body ("k
āya-karman"), speech ("vāk-karman") & mind ("manas-karman"), i.e. the operations of karmic seeds ("bījā"). This maturation happens in storehouse-consciousness ("ālaya-vijñāna"). As a receptacle of all seeds, it keeps them and when ripe, deploys them as karmic consequences. As base-consciousness ("mūla-vijñāna"), it retains and deploys the seeds both influencing and influenced by the other seven consciousnesses.

Why the mental processes represented by storehouse-consciousness must be a distinct dimension of mind is argued on two grounds :

"... (1) the continuous, diachronic functions traditionally attributed to vijñāna cannot be fulfilled by the six modes of cognitive awareness ; and that (2) even such synchronic processes as immediate cognitive awareness itself are not fully tenable unless a form of mind such as the ālaya-vijñāna simultaneously underlies and supports them." -
BU, p.103.

So the present active processes of consciousness cannot comprise everything happening in the mind ("citta") at any given moment. All mental factors ("caitta") operating within the mind are (mental) "dharmas" and therefore momentary events arising in conjunction with consciousness. The core operation of the eighth consciousness, the first unconscious transformation of consciousness, is to continuously (ongoingly) transform the effects of these actual activities of the other seven consciousnesses into stored potential reactions or reactors (seeds) dynamically perpetuating (maturing) as specific possibilities or propensities of future becoming. This fundamental consciousness stores the seeds as the well-formed flow of a specific interdependent network of regenerating seeds, always reasserting new streams of specific cognitive fields or mental factors ("caittas"). Indifferent to white or black seeds (karmically neutral), storehouse-consciousness perdures from moment to moment. It memorizes the complete history of an individual mindstream, and has been defiled by wrong deeds from lifetimes without number. Morally neutral, it never forgets anything and, automatically, leaves not a single action without future reaction.

asa.mviditakopādisthā navijñaptikañ ca tat ।
sadā sparśamanaskāravitsa.mjñācetanānvitam ॥ 3 ॥


Its appropriations and perceptions are not discerned consciously, yet it is always associated with contact, mental attention, feeling, cognition and volition.

The Yogācārins address the situation of sentient beings entrapped by suffering. They see individual minds defiled by the wrong actions from countless lifetimes, causing massive deposit of seeds in base-consciousness, shaping a propensity field containing a specific karmic network of relationships. One may wonder how the propensities of this vast reservoir of negativity may be turned ...

Storehouse-consciousness is not a "consciousness" like the other seven. The latter are always discerning ("vijñapti"). The eighth consciousness is "asamvid ... vijñaptikam", beyond conscious discernment, i.e. unconscious, subliminal. It operates without the conscious, thinking mind (and its five sense-consciousnesses) being aware of this. But these activities are always associated with the other aggregates, implying all possible mental activities are stored in it : sense-activity, volitions, affects, thoughts and sentient self-reflection.

In base-consciousness, mental factors ("caittas") occur as a stream, but these mostly cognize what happens in the other seven consciousnesses, not the seeds. The grasping (appropriation) & perceptions of this base-consciousness is not discerned by the conscious mind ("mano-vijñāna").

Besides storing the seeds, "ālaya-vijñāna" deploys them while itself remaining, as long as ignorance ("avidya") persist, largely unaware of this. To cognize what happens in one's own base-consciousness is one of the specific aims of the Yogācārins. Unlike Western depth psychology, direct access to the unconscious was deemed possible and necessary. The enlightened mind directly witnesses base-consciousness. Meditation also allows to partially do this. But Bodhi-mind no longer identifies with the objects appearing in the mirror (no longer reifies them as existing from their own side), but cognizes them as process-based happenings "of what exists as it is". Bodhi-mind is the surface of the mirror itself.

upekșā vedanā tatrāniv.rtāvyāk.rtañ ca tat ।
tathā sparśādayas tac ca vartate srotasaughavat ॥ 4 ॥


There, sensation is equanimous, undefiled and morally indeterminate. The same for contact, etc. It continues like the current of a river.

Given the actions undertaken by the other seven consciousnesses, base-consciousness is indifferent to what kind of effect it stores in the form of potential seeds of becoming. In itself pure or not impeded, it just stores whatever the cause of the action, whatever aggregate is bringing it forth. Morally indeterminate, it does not judge what it stores, be it good or advantageous ("kusila") or bad ("akusila"). Both are stored. Although "ālaya-vijñāna" is produced by "karma", it does not itself produce it. The fruition of prior "karma" or "vipāka" is in itself karmically neutral (does not produce "karma"). It holds the karmic seeds, but is thereby not contaminated (just like objects appearing in a mirror do not alter its reflective surface).

"A previously recorded tape can now play back what was recorded before without at the same time re-recording any new material, i.e., making new recordings and registering new impressions. Hence, though playing something recorded previously, it is now 'non-recording'. Liberation would mean to erase the tape, i.e., put the ālaya-
vijñāna out of commission (vyavriti)." - BP, p. 327.

From instant to instant, like a current, the ongoing continuity of base-consciousness reshapes its own identity, never retaining a single one. In the image of The Awakening of Faith, base-consciousness is like a sea hit by wind creating waves on its surface. This activity of the wind is the ignorance of a mind moved by adventitious conditions (reifications of subject & object). These waves therefore obscure the true surface of the sea. When the winds stop, the original surface or original enlightenment of the base is revealed, "though it was always present" (BP, p.326).

Chinese interpretations are consistent with the doctrine of Buddha-nature ("tathāgatagarbha") joining Yogācāra later and associated with the Third Turning of the Wheel of Dharma. Buddha-nature is not part of the Trimśikā, while the Dharmakāya is mentioned. When nevertheless integrated, the original enlightenment
of "ālaya-vijñāna" is the true nature of the Nature Body of the Dharmakâya shared by all the Buddhas and present in every mindstream since always. This is the view of Buddha-nature or Tathāgatagarbha as a supramundane Buddha Within the consciousness of every sentient being. This enlightened true nature of the Nature Body of a Buddha is self-empty (Prāsangika), but inseparable from its countless supramundane enlightened properties since beginningless times (Mahāmadhyamaka), in other words, empty of anything other than that supramundane, uncontaminated existence. Believed to be present in the mindstream of every sentient being, this true nature is the "thusness" of a Buddha, his or her enlightened way of mere (spontaneous) existential existence, not to be confused with a static, self-powered & essential (ontic) personhood ("pudgala" or "ātman").


Unconscious Manas

tasya vyāv.rttir arhattve tad āśritya pravartate ।
tadālamba.m manonāma vijñāna.m mananātmakam ॥ 5 ॥


Its reversal takes place in the state of Arathood. Based on it, there functions, with it as object, the consciousness called "manas", which consists of mentation.

The reversal of "ālaya-vijñāna" occurs in the state of Arathood. The "turning around of the basis" or "revolution at the basis" ("āśraya-parāvritti") points to the radical cognitive & psychological change of awakening, removing the false ideations leading to substance-obsession (of subject & object). Is is an "undoing of the particular hold of latent impressions ("habit-energues") - thus it is the dis-evolvement of the store-consciousness, which is only a metaphor for these. This means that all colorations given by particular 'seeds', and all 'habit-energies', will be eliminated, and there's only an awareness of whatever the moment actually presents." - SW, p.189, note 2.

This radical turn of mind happens when Arathood is made real. We know Vasubandhu began his spiritual quest as a Lesser Vehicle practitioner. In this vehicle, the fruit is the state of Foe Destroyer or Arhat. Abhidharmic Philosophy is the intellectual flower of this Vehicle and considerably influenced both branches of the Mahāyāna.

Technically, liberation (personal "nirvāna") involves the breaking of a succession of "fetters" ("samyojana"), ten in number. These Ten Fetters represent the sum total of all subtle causes of personal suffering, i.e. of all emotional and person-based mental delusions. These foes generate hindrances to spiritual progress.

These Five Hindrances are the result of the persistent unmerited actions of body, speech and/or mind. These are :

(1) sensual desire ("kâmachanda) : presenting alluring sense objects causing craving instead of a clear reflection, this is compared with colored dyes in a pot of water, preventing one to one's face (its end is like a debtor paying his last dues) ;
(2) aversion or ill will ("vyâpâda") : thoughts against, censure, judgment, disliking and malice towards others, compared with boiling water (its end is like a sick person recovering from illness) ;
(3) sloth & torpor ("thînamiddha") : dullness, boredom and lack of energy, sluggishness, sleepiness, compared with water covered over with slimy moss and water plants (its end is like a prisoner getting out of prison) ;
(4) restlessness & worry ("uddhacca-kukkucca") : agitation and distracting thoughts inhibiting calmness, remorse, anxiety, compared with water shaken by the wind, trembling & forming ripples (its end is like a slave freed) ;
(5) doubt ("vicikicchâ") : absence of trust or confidence, lack of faith and unwise, virulent skepticism, compared with muddy water set in a darkened room (its end is like a desert traveller coming back home).

The hindrances point to what kind of practice is necessary to make the aspirant find the path. They define five types of wrong minds. Their presence brings to the fore what should be eliminated from the mindstream. If these wrong minds are cultivated or have become habitual, spiritual progress is impossible.

The Ten Fetters are the underlying tendencies in the mind acting as the root-cause of the Five Hindrances (to spiritual practice). In the
Mahāyāna, the Ten Fetters became Two Obstructions : afflictive emotions & habit-energy ("kleśāvarana") and of the knowable ("jñeyāvarana").

The Arhat is a Foe Destroyer, ending all personal suffering for all times. This is possible because a liberated mind no longer reifies the empirical ego, i.e. has fully realized the impermanence of the aggregates of illusion ("skandhas"), the selflessness (or emptiness) of person.

For Yog
ācārins this means "manas" has become free from any kind of essentialization or substance-obsession. Instead of focusing on the "I" and turning it into an hypostasis, the seventh consciousness functions to uninterruptedly equalize self with others. This implies "ālaya-vijñāna" is no longer taken as an object by "manas". It has ceased and been replaced by "ālaya-jñāna" or the living enlightened all-comprehensive wisdom of a Buddha, manifesting four qualities : permanence ("nitya"), steadfastness ("dhruva"), calmness ("shiva") and eternity ("shâshvata").

• Five Lower Fetters :

(1) separate selfhood, (2) sceptical doubt, (3) attachment to rules and rituals for their own sake, (4) sexual desire, (5) ill will ;

• Five Higher Fetters :

(6) desire for existence in the world of form, (7) desire for existence in the formless world, (8) conceit, (9) restlessness and (10) ignorance.

The stages of liberation are marked by the weakening and finally the eradication of these fetters. Liberated practitioners are identified according to the resultant degree of liberation achieved.

Prior to the supramundane insight or wisdom accompanying the stages of liberation or levels of personal enlightenment, one walks the "mundane path" (consisting of the Eight Jhânas). The "supramundane path" ("lokottaramârga") is the dedicated practice of the Eightfold Path.

Four stages mark this supramundane path :

the "stream-enterer" ("shrotâpanna") : has eradicated the first three fetters. He has only seven rebirths in the human or god realms before liberation ;
the "once-returner" ("sakridâgamin") : reborn once more, has weakened the fourth & fifth fetter ;
the "non-returner" ("anâgamin") : has broken all the first five fetters and is reborn in the god realm from where liberation is attained ;
the Arhat or "Worthy One" : has broken all ten fetters and won liberation in this life. In the Mahāyāna, the realization of Arhathood only overcomes the psychological obstructions ("kleśāvarana") and not the cognitive obstructions ("jñeyāvarana"). The Arhat has realized the self-emptiness of persons, but not the self-emptiness of phenomena.

Based on the eighth consciousness, the Yog
ācārins identify the functioning of a seventh consciousnesss taking the former as its object. It is characterized by a specific type of afflictive mentation. This seventh consciousness ("klista-manas"), the second transformation actively altering consciousness, suffers since beginningless time by being substance-obsessed with itself. It is attachment-consciousness ("ādāna-vijñāna"). This suffering, afflicted mind  ("klista-mānas") ignorantly takes the root-mind as its own object, grasps at it as a false idol existing from its own side, and reifies both the grasper (itself) & the grasped (its objects). If the root-mind is a mirror, then the suffering mind identifies with the objects reflected in this mirror. This "manas" (and here we read Lower Vehicle concerns) is the root of all substantialization of the self, the foundation of all suffering.

kleśaiś caturbhi.h sahita.m niv.rtāvyāk.rtai.h sadā ।
ātmad.rșțyātmamohātmamānātmasnehasa.mjñitai.h ॥ 6 ॥


It is always accompanied by four afflictions, defiled but morally indeterminate and known as the view of self, delusion of self, pride of self and love of self.

The seventh consciousness, or second unconscious transformation of consciousness, is defined by grasping at selfhood ("ātma-grāha"), and is always accompanied by four specific steps in the logic of substantial selfhood.

The view of self represents the actual false conceptual overlay or superposition involved : one grasps at oneself as existing independently & separately from the rest of the world. The view initiates the process of ignorance. Innate (unconscious), it is automatic and reinforced by (conscious) conventional education. Without this wrong view, there is no samsaric mind.

The delusion of self is the actual sense of independent & separate selfhood resulting from the view. This is the psychological experience of existing as a person  existing from its own side. This is delusional because, under critical analysis (Nāgārjuna), such a substantial self cannot be found.

The pride of self ensues from the delusion of self. Contrary to the delusion of self, which is a conscious but passive false ideation, pride of self is conscious and active. Here the ego thinks itself as unique and standing-out, and acts accordingly, causing reinforcing negative "karma". It considers its own volitions, affects, thoughts & reflections as of first importance and understands the other as a function of itself, something to be used & abused. It "owns" its objects and is convinced of its self-importance. Here a solipsism is at work. The other is a something, not a someone.

The love of self or self-cherishing is the culminating mental error of self-affirmation rooted in the wrong view & delusion of self. The needs of the self are attended before considering others, considered as radically different & alien. Self & others are not equalized, quite on the contrary, both are differentiated as much as possible, affirming the unique character of the self and the contexts with which it identifies (family, friends, nation, etc). This self is protected before anything else. The other becomes a subservient entity to be manipulated. Instrumental and strategic action prevails, and true (symmetrical) communication is absent.

For Vasubandhu, the wrong view of self is the root-error to be eradicated by the path. Ending this uninterrupted catastrophic activity of the seventh consciousness is the sole purpose of the extended analysis of mind. Indeed, on the basis of this, the samsaric mind affirms the substantial nature of others too. In this way, desubstantializing both self & others becomes the soteriologic aim, initiated by cutting-through the ignorance causing the wrong view of self.

yatrajas tanmayair anyai.h sparśādyaiś cārhato na tat ।
na nirodhasamāpattau mārge lokottare na ca ॥ 7 ॥


Wherever it arises, so do contact and the others. It does not exist in the Arhat, in the attainment of cessation, nor in the supramundane path.

"Manas" operates together with the other aggregates. The self-affirming nature of this afflictive consciousness touches the senses, the will, the emotions, our thoughts and all sentient activities. It permeates all conscious activity and identifies with base-consciousness.

This seventh consciousness is innate and non-conceptual. Its mentations are ante-rational, belonging to the earliest stages of the genesis of the cognitive system, namely the mythical, pre-rational & proto-rational cognitive modes.




1. Mythical
libidinal ego

 the irrational

2. Pre-rational
tribal ego


3. Proto-rational
imitative ego
concrete concept
barrier between ante-rationality and reason



4. Rational
formal ego
formal concept


5. Critical
formal self
transcendental concept
barrier between rationality and intuition



6. Creative
ontic own-self
creative concept


7. Transcendent

The Book of Lemmas, 2015 : Fundamentals of Epistemology and Ontology

All aggregates thus come under the spell of the false ideation ("ātma-grāha" & "dharma-grāha") of the seventh consciousness, attributing inherent existence to mere processes (of self & nature). Hence, the conscious, thinking mind identifies with the activities of the body and the mind. They all become "mine" and used to reinforce the sense of an enduring & separate selfhood. This sense contradicts the unavoidable end of the self, and so objects are appropriated to ease the self's fear of annihilation.

The seventh consciousness ends in three cases : when the afflictions end, when cessation is made real (of both substantial self and substantial nature) and when the mindstream has awakened.

"Manas", the afflicted mind, ceases with the extinction of the
"kleśāvarana", the final soteric moment of the Lower Vehicle practitioner or Arhat. It does not vanish, but only equalizes self with others, uninterruptedly !

The mind of suffering also ends with the attainment of cessation ("nirodha-samāpatti") involving the end of afflictive emotions (related to grasping at a self or
"ātma-grāha" ) and the cessation of deluded cognitions (related to grasping at nature or "dharma-grāha"). This "nirodha-samāpatti" is not the cessation of the conscious, thinking mind ("mano-vijñāna") or "āsamjñī-samāpatti", merely ending the generation of thoughts (cf. VERSE/VERSET 16). So "nirodha-samāpatti" refers to the end of all emotional afflictions & mental delusions (rooted in self-graping "manas"). Formless, it is beyond the worlds of desire & form.

The third case in which there is no afflictive activity of "manas" is beyond the formless realm ("ārūpya-dhātu") and so beyond the three worlds of desire, form & formless ("lokuttara"), supramundane. It points to breaking away from the samsaric cycle, i.e. to full awakening or Buddhahood.

With the end of the seventh consciousness is thus meant the cessation of its deluded activity, not the end of "manas" per se. When consciousness is completely purified (Buddhahood), "manas" is only busy equalizing self & others and so becomes the basis for (absolute) "bodhicitta", the self-empty mind of enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings.

VERSE 8 - 14

Conscious Mano-vijñāna & the 50 Caittas

The Trimśikā lists 50 mental factors ("caittas") associated with the thinking mind ("mano-vijñāna"). They are categorized as follows :

5 general or omnipresent factors : always persent in every cognitive act (the aggregates) ;
5 specific or object-contingent factors : only happen in specific cogitations ;
10 advantageous factors : causing positive (wholesome, advantageous, good) karmic results ;
6 primary afflictions : the roots of negative (unwholesome) karmic results ;
20 secondary afflictions : components of negative "karma" related to the thinking mind and stimulated by the primary afflictions ;
4 indeterminate factors : mental applications that may be conductive to good or bad karmic results (their karmic meaning does not depend on the "dharmas" themselves).

dvitīya.h pari.nāmo 'yam t.rtīya.h șa.dvidhasya ya ।
vișayasyopalabdhi.h sā kuśalākuśalādvayā ॥ 8 ॥


This is the second transformation. The third is the sixfold perception of the sense-field, which is wholesome, unwholesome or neither.

"Manas" was the second unconscious transformation of consciousness. "Mano-vijñāna" is the third conscious alteration or system of proces consciousnesses (of which some are conscious & some unconscious). This third transformation involves the actual conscious apperception of the sixfold objects : the five sense-consciousnesses and the cogitations of the thinking mind itself.

Whereas "ālaya-vijñāna" is not a product of negative "karma" (non-covered) and karmically neutral (non-recording), "manas" is associated with "kleśa" (is a defiled, covered "manas" or "klistamanas") and also karmically neutral (although producing negative "karma", the operations themselves are neutral).

conscious mind
karmically involved
sense-consciousnesses &
sense-oriented : the six objects
unconscious mind
karmically neutral
"manas" mind-oriented
"ālaya-vijñāna" receptacle of conscious activity
uncovered, non-recording

"Mano-vijñāna" is conscious and actual and so not karmically neutral, i.e. has the capacity to produce positive, negative or neutral karmic effects. It is wholly sense-oriented (whereas "manas" turns towards "ālaya-vijñāna" as its object). The fact the unconscious mind, contrary to the conscious, is karmically neutral is in tune with the Abhidharmic notion only actualities ("dharmas") produce "karma", whereas mere potentialities (the seeds taken as object by self-deluded "manas") are not "dharmas" and so cannot cause any kind of karmic effect, although they do cause retributive effects based on previous karma (inflicted by past conscious activities of body, speech & mind).


Translation of

the Trimśikā-vijñapti

of Vasubandhu

in English and French

with Commentary



Anacker, S. : Seven Works of Vasubandhu, Motilal - Delhi, 2013.

Aśvaghosa : The Awakening of Faith, Columbia University Press - New York, 2006.

Brown, B.E. : The Buddha Nature, Motilal - Delhi, 2004.

Buescher, H. : Sthiramati's Trimśikāvijñaptibhāsya, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften - Wien, 2007.

Chatterjee, A.K. : The Yogâcâra Idealism, Motilal - Benares, 2007.

Clearly, Th. : Buddhist Yoga, Shambhala - Boston, 1995.

Darie, N. : Thirty Verses in Sanskrit, English, Vietnamese and Chinese, 2015.

Hopkins, J. : Emptiness in the Mind-Only School of Buddhism, University of California Press - California, 2003.

Hopkins, J. : Absorption in No External World, Snow Lions - New York, 2005.

Jiang, T. : Contexts and Dialogue, University of Hawai Press - Honolulu, 2006.

Lévi, S. : Vijñaptimātratāsiddhi : Deux Traités de Vasubandhu : Vimśatikā et Trimśikā, Librairie Ancienne Honoré Champion - Paris, 1925, 1-11.

Lévi, S. : Un système de philosophie bouddhique. Matériaux pour l'étude du système Vijñaptimātra, Librairie Ancienne Honoré Champion - Paris, 1932, p.175 : "Corrections au Texte Sanscrit".

Lusthaus, D. : Buddhist Phenomenology, Routledge - New York, 2006.

Paul, D.Y. : Philosophy of Mind in Sixth-Century China, Stanford University Press - California, 1984.

Red Pine : The Lankavatara Sutra, Counterpoint - Berkeley, 2012.

Shunei, T. : Living Yogâcâra, Wisdom Publications - Boston, 2009.

Sutton, F.G. : Existence and Enlightenment in the Lankāvatāra-sūtra, State University of New York Press - New York, 1991.

Suzuki, D.T. : The Lankâvatâra Sûtra, Motilal - Delhi, 1999.

Waldron, W.S. : The Buddhist Unconscious, Routledge Curzon - London, 2006.

Wayman, A. & Wayman, H. : The Lion's Roar of Queen Shrî-Mâlâ, Columbia University Press - New York, 1974.

Wood, Th.E. : Mind Only, Motilal - Benares, 2009.

Hall, B.C. : "The Meaning of Vijñapti in Vasubandhu's Concept of Mind.", in The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, 1986, volume 9, number 1, pp.7-23.

ns r

© Wim van den Dungen, Brasschaat - 2017
philo@sofiatopia.org l Acknowledgments l SiteMap l

Mistakes are due to my own ignorance and not to the Buddhadharma.
May all who encounter the Dharma accumulate compassion & wisdom.
May sentient beings recognize their Buddha-nature and find true peace.


initiated : 15 III 2015 - last update : 22 IX 2016 - final version