You are on page 1of 83

Yogcra 2003

Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti



Lecture 2: 5
March 2003 Background of the arising of Yogcra
Lecture 3: 12
March 2003 Hnayna schools that contributed to the doctrine of Yogcra
Lecture 4: 19
March 2003 Idealistic doctrines of Drntika
Lecture 5: 26
March 2003 Bja theory of Sautrntika
Lecture 6: 2
April 2003 Bja theory of Sautrntika (II)
Lecture 7: 9
April 2003 The theory of prva-anu-dhtu
Lecture 8: 30
April 2003 The theory of laya-vijna
Lecture 9: 21
May 2003 The theory of laya-vijna
Lecture 10: 28
May 2003 The nature of laya-vijna
Lecture 11: 4
June 2003 Three aspects of laya-vijna and the theory of bja
Lecture 12: 11
June 2003

The important of sahabh relationship for the establishment of
Lecture 13: 18
June 2003 Vsan
Lecture 14: 25
June 2003 Vsan and bja
Lecture 15: 2
July 2003 Six characteristics of the bja
Lecture 16: 9
July 2003 Three levels of Truth in Yogcra
Lecture 17: 6
August 2003 Three svabhva
Lecture 18: 3
Sept 2003 Three svabhva
Lecture 19: 17
Sept 2003 Bhrnti-vijna as opposed to amala-vijna
Lecture 20: 24
Sept 2003 Vijaptimtrat
Lecture 21: 1
Oct 2003 Yukti logical proof
Lecture 22: 8
Oct 2003 Epistemological Idealism
Lecture 23: 22
Oct 2003 Pratyaksa and Anumna
Lecture 24: 23
Oct 2003 Theory of Pratyaksa of Sautrntika and Vaibhika

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Lecture 2: 5
March 2003

Background of the arising of Yogcra

Yogcra originated from about 3
or early 4
century AD. Asaga and Maitreya (ntha) are so-called
founders. Scholars are not sure whether this Maitreya refers to the Maitreya in the Buddhist legend.
According to tradition, Asaga got the teachings of Yogcra from the Maitreya Buddha in meditation,
and then he preached.

This tradition is clearly given in the Chinese tradition. For instance, there is one stra called
*ryadean-vikhypana-stra by Asaga. It says In the past, I heard the teachings
of the Yogcra-bhmi from Meitreya, the Bhagavat, who is to become the Buddha in the future
This is a tradition, or in a way it really does not matter whether Maitreya was a real historical figure.
What is important is, there is an early part of Yogcra philosophy which is said to have been
transmitted by a certain people called Maitreya. This is a belief of a people. The idea of receiving
teachings from the Buddha in meditation is really a very early one.

There is another stra that is translated around the 2
century AD. That stra is translated by a certain
Central Asian monk called Lokakema. The earliest Chinese translation can be traced to about 2

century AD. At that time, there was a Mahyna Stra. This Stra is restored as *Pratyutpanna-
buddha-sammukhvasthit-stra. The idea is, when in meditation, the Buddha can be appeared in front
in the very present moment. The stra says, when you do meditation, concentrate your mind, you can
see the Buddha. Also you can ask questions from the Buddha.

There is another text, about the early 3
century AD, [] * Revata-pariprcch-stra
[conjectured by Professor]. In this stra, a certain Arhat went up to Tusita and met Maitreya Buddha,
and he asked question from Meitreya Buddha. This is to show that this idea of meeting Buddha in
meditation. Even more specifically, meeting Maitreya in Tusita has been around in the very early period.

So we can therefore think of the historical origin of Yogcra in this way that most slightly, Asaga in
his meditation, he has various problems in his mind. He wanted to solve doctrinal problems, and he
practiced Yogcras tradition. He practiced meditation and with particular those problems in his mind.
He got certain solutions and inspirations. He interpreted these as the teaching from Maitreya. That is
reasonable to think like this.

The background of Asaga time
Asaga was from the Northern India. Tradition says that his brother was Vasubandhu (author of AKB,
and also later on he wrote Yogcra treatises.) Tradition says that, at first, Vasubandhu belonged to
rvakayna (so-called Hnayna). In fact he started as Sarvstivdin. He was attracted by the teaching
of Sautrntika. So he cited the interpretation and explanation of the Sautrntika whenever he discussed
a controversy between the Sarvstivda and Sautrntika. Later on we can see slowly he changed and
became Mahynist. Tradition says that his conversion was due to his brother.

In Northern India, there was already a tradition of Yogcra. We can call it rvaka-yogcra. It is
important to realize that, at a beginning, Yogcra was not Mahynist. Yogcra was a movement of
meditators (Yogcrin-s).

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
In the Mahvibhs (Great commentary on Jnaprasthna), this book was completed around early 2

century AD. There were many valuable data. In this book already, we were told there was movement of
meditator called Yogcrin. We know, therefore there was a movement of rvaka-Yogcra. In fact
they emphasized the ability of the mind to transform things. They also spoke of the illusory nature of
external thing. For instance, different people look at a woman can have a different kind of perception.
There is a very definite quotation which explains the attitude of the rvaka-Yogcra who were
recorded in the early 2
century AD. So the Mahyna-Yogcrin formally evolved out of this, or in
another word, constituted part of the sources of the Yogcra.

The origin of Mahyna is a very complex. We cannot think of a particular single line of development.
Certainly this rvaka-yogcra is one of the important sources, because they emphasize the
meditational experience.

We learnt from the tradition that there was in fact a vihra in Northern India called Revata-vihra. We
are told by Xuan Zang that in this vihra, they propagated the practice of rvaka-yogcra. [Revata,
from the early Theravda Buddhism, was a meditator].

One more fact, by this time, already the Praj-pramit stra was quite prevalent. The so-called
Hnaynists were struggling to answer many questions made by the early Mahynists, particularly the
concept of nyat (sarvam nyam). That is certainly contradictory to the Sarvstivda school which
says everything has a svabhva. Even when a thing has become past (atta) or angata, still a svabhva
exists as a dravya (substance). The only thing is that, it doesnt have activity. But it doesnt mean that it
become past, and become no more; in future, it has not yet existed. Surely that kind of doctrine is
contradictory to the doctrine of nyat. So the rvakayna had to face the challenge.

Asaga was brought up in that kind of background. He would have learnt various sources from the
Yogcra teaching who based their teaching on meditation. When you meditate, you realize that what
you experienced in meditation seems to be more real than what is said to be reality in the waking state.
When in the deep meditation, we experience things which are very real to us. To us, they are more real
than the external thing. So these meditators have a certain traditional teachings which must have been
around in Northern India during Asaga time. So couple with the fact that, at that time, there was a
Mahyna teaching to say, everything is empty. So doctrinally, there was a clash. Asaga was
exposed to early tradition. He was faced with these problems.

In this background, Asaga tried to solve these doctrinal problems resulting from the contradiction
between the teachings of the rvaka tradition on the one hand, and the teaching of sarvam nyam on
the other. So we could imagine that Asaga practicing the rvaka-yogcra as if in the meditation, and
tried to find out the answer to this contradiction. Actually he solved some problems in the meditation
according to tradition from Maitreya. We know that, in this early stra, there was a tradition of
possibility of meeting the Maitreya. So he got the inspiration, and he attributed to Maitreya. That is one
possibility of looking at the traditional account of the origin of Yogcra.

Then we could divide into two parts. One part was teaching that were inherited by Asaga, from various
sources. But all these various sources seem to attribute this teaching to Maitreya, and he himself, having
received this teaching, tried to systematize them and interpret them. So his own interpreted tradition
was sometimes different from what he actually inherited from diverse sources.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Two, the systematization and interpretation by Asaga himself. The fundamental portion called mla-
bhmi of the Yogcra-bhmi stra represents the inherited teaching by Asaga. The very portion that
Asaga received is from Maitreya.

In this background, one feature is the dissatisfaction with the Mahyna teaching at that time that
everything is empty. Therefore we can expect that in this early Yogcra, one major theme is that the
early teaching before 3
century AD, we have praj-pramit stra, which preached the doctrine of
sarvam nyam. That teaching is not satisfactory. That teaching was neyrtha. And the teachings of this
period inherited and synthesized by Asaga are ntrtha.

Philosophical speaking, early Yogcra is a kind of epistemological Idealism. Really speaking, there are
two types of Idealism
1. Epistemological Idealism
2. Metaphysical Idealism

As the name suggests in the first form, it emphasizes the epistemology. In the second form, it
emphasizes the ontology. In the first form, there is an emphasis that in the knowledge process, the mind
can only grasp the psychic content. In other words, our knowledge is derived from not exactly from the
so-called external object, but from the representation in the mind. This is opposed to Realism. Realism
says that independent of the mind, external reality exists and we know reality as it is in the material
form. Epistemological Idealism emphasizes that actually we know the external reality only through the
psychic content via mental content (/ representation in the mind).

This type of position does not deny the external thing do not exist, and does not assert that the only
reality is the mind. It emphasizes about the knowledge process. How we know thing? We know thing
through the mental content. It says that all the objects that we perceived are not apart from the
mind. However the intrinsic nature (i.e. svabhva) which is the basis of this object (dharma) exists

The view that the external object we perceived are not apart from the mind. We only know the object
through the mind. But there is an intrinsic nature of this thing, which is beyond words, and this intrinsic
nature exists as a plurality or separately. In another words, it doesnt try to reduce everything that we
perceived outside to a single monistic mind. It doesnt go further to say external things dont exist.

So we can say that this is not proper vijaptimtrat philosophy. It doesnt go to that extent to say that
everything is merely vijapti (here it means vijna). It just say that, whatever that we can know is
necessarily linked up with the mental content. But those things that we know, the objects/ dharmas
outside are derived from intrinsic nature, this intrinsic nature is separate in themselves.

But when come to metaphysical Idealism, it says nothing exists apart from the mind. This mind is the
absolute reality. Here certainly, it denies the separate existence of intrinsic nature of outside. They are
all so-called external objects merely a projection of a single mind. What exists in reality is only the
mind. This is called metaphysical Idealism. We could say that epistemological Idealism represents the
early Yogcra; and metaphysical Idealism, the later Yogcra.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Therefore we can say later Yogcra is the elaboration on early Yogcra. Any form of Idealism
whether early or late would be opposed to what is Realism. We think table is so real, in fact they
really are not as they appear to us. This is the position of Idealism in general.

If we want to find the early Yogcra doctrine, go to the works of Asaga. After Asaga, Vasubandhu
and others elaborated further. And we come to a doctrine that is a kind of logical development of the
earlier form (early Yogcra). In the later Yogcra, there is a proper vijaptimtrat philosophy. So
we have understood the background of the arising of Yogcra.

To summarize, we have said that Yogcra originated partly form the early Yogcrin-s called rvaka-
yogcra. This tradition was inherited by Asaga. This tradition was prevalent in Northern India. It was
a tradition of meditation. They emphasized the meditational experience. It emphasized that the reality
so-called experience in meditation is more real than the so-called external reality. However, it was
essentially rvaka-yna. But at that time, we have praj-pramit tradition that was well-established
starting from the 1
century BC., or 1
century AD. That tradition preached that everything is empty. So
there was a contradiction. Asaga practicing rvaka-Yogcra was faced with some kind of
contradiction between these two traditions (1). Everything is empty; (2). Not everything is empty,
svabhva exists. He wanted to solve this doctrinal contradiction, and while practicing the Yogcra, that
was focused on the practice of visualizing the Maitreya, he found certain answers. So he ascribed this
teaching to Maitreya. Additionally all the teachings at that time came from different sources, ascribed
from Maitreta, were put together as teachings derived from Maitreya.

Yogcra was divided into two parts:- One part are those inherited from tradition ascribed to Maitreya.
The other part consists of those teachings which were systematized and elaborated by Asaga.

Yogcra emerged in the background of rvakayna. So rvakayna, the so-called Hnayna school
contributed to the Yogcra teachings also.


There was a group of Buddhists called Drntika. It was a movement of popular preacher, who was at
the same time, interested very much in meditation. They utilized all kinds of popular means to preach.
Dhammapada and other texts were derived from this tradition.

They had a lot of ideas which we could say Idealistic. They emphasized even the unreal thing, non-
existent object can serve as an object of perception. They say that when we perceived something, that
something may be real, existent, or non-existent. This is in contrast to the Sarvstivda position.

For Sarvstivda, whatever that we perceive is real, existent. For example, we can perceive individual
because there are 5 skandha-s. So the individual is an idea that is super-imposed on the real. The unreal
is based on the real. So what is conceptualized can also be perceived. But there is an underlying basis of
the real. That is the Sarvstivda tradition.

Drntika hold the view that even the unreal thing can give rise to perception. Think about it. If you
have a teaching that even an unreal thing can be perceived, that comes very close to Idealism. Most
probably, they were encouraged by their meditational experience I can imagine unicorn, unicorn is
something that doesnt exist. But I can imagine that, it means I have a conscious of that; or I can
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
imagine a tortoise hair, or rabbit horn. Isnt that unreal? Doesnt it prove that even unreal thing can
cause consciousness? What is the answer of Sarvstivda? They say, when you have a perception in
your mind, for instance, rabbit with horn, what happen is that, you have experience of perception of the
horn, and the perception of the rabbit. You have put them together. So the consciousness/ awareness of
the rabbit with horn, really is the super-imposition on the real. But without horn and rabbit, there is no
imagination. This is their approach.

At that time, there were certain Buddhists, particularly Drntika, already had the doctrine, even non-
existent object can serve the object of perception, and this pave the way for the arising of Yogcra.

We shall be looking at others so-called Hnayna schools that contributed to the doctrine of Yogcra.


Lecture 3: 12
March 2003

Hnayna schools that contributed to the doctrine of Yogcra

The early phase of Yogcra is more probably described as an epistemological Idealism. In other words,
it is a teaching which says that we dont know external reality directly, but only through the
representation in the mind, or through the psychic contents. In the epistemological Idealism, there is no
definite explicit denial that external things do not exist. Professor remarked in that sense, Sautrntika
for that matter, even in the earlier phase of Buddhism could be described as a kind of epistemological

In the later phase of Yogcra, they really have gone further and asserted the idea of cittamtra
nothing exists apart from the mind. The mind is the only absolute reality. Then they come to
metaphysical idealism.

Yogcra developed from what is called rvaka-yogcra. At the beginning, the word Yogcra did
not refer to Mahyna. It refers to a movement of practitioners who emphasize meditation and stress the
supremacy of the mind, the validity of the meditational experience. These people existed in North India,
and it was the background in which Asaga had this training. He was so-called Hnaynist. He started
as Sarvstivda, and got interested in meditation. He practiced rvaka-yogcra. In fact, more specific
than that, there was a temple called Revata-vihra in Northern India, which is said to have courses on
rvaka-yogcra. In addition to that, at that time, Mahyna was existed since the first century A.D,
and there was a teaching of nyat (emptiness). Asaga was confronted with a contradiction, on the
one hand, there was this Mahyna teaching that everything was empty; and on the other hand, the
tradition to which he had been exposed, said that dharmas are real. He tried to resolve these doctrinal
problems. One could speculate that he probably tries to achieve it through meditation, then he wanted to
practice Yogcra. In the meditational experience, he seems to have got some inspiration and insight.
Also at that time, there was already this new form of teaching emerging as Yogcra attributed to
different sources, finally, collectively attributed to a person called Maitreya. All these put together, we
have a type of Yogcra doctrine which was preached by Asaga which we traced to the teacher
Maitreya. It is very difficult to determine whether Maitreya is existed or not. Maitreya seems to be a
family name. Tradition described all these early teachings to Maitreya. So we can talk about the early
Yogcra that was the teaching ascribed to Maitreya, but actually perhaps from different sources, plus
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
the interpretation by Asaga. Subsequent to that, there was a development called the later phase of

Some people also included Vasubandhu as crya-s of early phase of Yogcra. Asaga lived in about
century AD or the early 5
century AD. Scholars argued there are more than one Vasubandhu. At
least they said one Vasubandhu was the author of AKB (the so-called Hnaynist Vasubandhu), another
Vasubandhu who was the brother of Asaga who was Mahynist.

There was a group of Buddhists called Drntika [from drstnta]. Drstnta means simile. Most of
them were interested in meditation, and they also interested in preaching. They believed that the
message of the Buddha must be spread to the masses. In that process, they did not hesitate to use
drstnta (similes), etc.

The early Yogcrin very likely was one section of Drntika. Drntika was not the name of the
school. It was a movement which emphasized that the teaching of the Buddha must be spread to the
masses, and they were well known for using drstnta.

Sautrntika evolves from Drntika. Yogcra partly comes from Sautrntika. There was no a single
source to say that Yogcra directly comes from Sautrntika. But certainly it was one of the major

It would be good to understand some doctrines of the so-called Hnayna schools. They continue to
flourish even after the arising of Mahyna. The teaching of Asaga probably represented some amount
of synthesis between the so-called Hnayna doctrine and the emerging Mahyna doctrine. In
Yogcra, they have their way to understand what is meant by nyat, what is the middle way? For
them, they criticized that the early Buddhists did not understand them, even the early Mahynists who
say everything is empty, is extreme. In that process, they came up and offered their own version of
middle way and nyat.

The background and the evolution of Yogcra
Yogcra doctrine, due to certain ideas, certain crya-s, certain inter-action, certain reaction, etc., thus
we have a Mahyna. The second phase also, in term of the Buddhas teaching, it is prattya-
samutpanna. The Mahyna doctrine is conditioned by the early teachings.

Sources from Hnayna schools that contributed towards the Yogcra
1. Sarvstivda.
It has a doctrine of svabhva, and smarthya/ akti. Every dharma a very unique factor of existence
that has a specific characteristic has two aspects: 1. svabhva (intrinsic nature/ self nature); 2.
smarthya (activity). They believed that if you dont understand like this, there are many problems
cannot be solved. For instance, karma produces effect. Karma is hetu; effect is vipka, or phala. But we
also know that, according to Buddhist teaching, a karma does not immediately give rise to effect, it
takes some times, what happen even after one moment. A past thing is not real, how come the past
karma gave rise to certain situation? How can a non-existent thing have causal efficacy? Thus we cant
explain that. They felt that is the correct understanding. Time was just the illusion of the world.
Dharma has always been there. Even to say, always, we have already imposed the idea of time. The
underlying essence is very important for Sarvstivda. In the perception process, whatever that is unreal
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
is based on the real. If you can perceive something, there must be an underlying substratum / reality
which forms the basis of imagination. The idea of underlying basis has a very powerful influence that
came to influence the development of Buddhist thoughts even in Mahyna.

2. Pudgalavdin.
They are Vtsputrya, Smitya, etc. There were a lot of Buddhists who were worried about the
problems of continuity in Buddhism. The Buddha has taught everything is anitya, the Buddha also
taught that whenever there is karma, there is vipka. Buddhism has also shown that there is this
sasric process. At the same time, with the teaching of anityat, nairtmya, how can you explain this
thing who does karma, who ripe the effect, who goes around in samsra, etc.? That is why, later
Buddhists explained in term of svabhva. One group of Buddhists proposed the idea of pudgala. This
pudgala is ineffable. Ultimately we cant talk about its nature, in a necessary relation with the 5
skandha-s. So pudgala is a dynamic reality. When you have 5 skandha-s, put the 5 skandha-s, we dont
just get the mechanical sums of 5 skandha-s. the result is something more than 5 skandha-s. That
something more is pudgala. Mahyna later on talked about the reality as ineffable. Even one can argue
that nirvn is also ineffable.

Once they have accepted the idea of pudgala, they can solve many problems, for instance, pudgala that
retains the memory, pudgala goes around in the samsra, pudgala that does karma and ripes the vipka,
etc. They themselves emphasized the idea of pudgala is not the same as tman. They dont mean that is
a kind of permanent soul, less still an absolute that is destined by divine source. This idea of pudgala is
especially important for Yogcra, for there is a doctrine called laya-vijna (store consciousness), it
is consciousness that is more fundamental than the six consciousnesses.

The six form of consciousnesses arise on the basis of this consciousness I have my own laya-
vijna, you have your own laya-vijna, our consciousness is linked with the universal mind.
Example, like a water, there are islands A,B,C, etc. Individual has its own consciousness. But
underneath is all linked together. So we can talked about collective laya-vijna. The idea of laya-
vijna is that, the very fundamental consciousness on the basis of which this so-called visual
consciousness, etc arises. It is that fundamental consciousness which all karma efficacies are stored as
bja-s. It is like a stream, or torrent that goes around in samsra. Your laya-vijna carries your karma
seeds, each is stream, or torrent goes around in samsra. Think of it, the idea of laya-vijna is like an
individual person which has some relative reality that seems to be at least in part influenced from the

3. Sakrntivda
According to Vasumitra, Sakrntivda represents the early phase of Sautrntika. This school says,
there are two types of five skandha-s. first, there are five skandha-s in a flux. They are momentary.
These five skandha-s never transmigrate because every moment, they are different. Second, there is
another set of five skandha-s which is more fundamental than the empirical five skandha-s which forms
the basis of these empirical five skandha-s. That fundamental five skandha-s transmigrate in samsra.
The so-called empirical self of five skandha-s is like the activity that manifests. Ultimately this idea can
be traced back to Sarvstivda.

4. Sautrntika
A lot of doctrines of Sautrntika contributed to the Yogcras doctrine. What are these doctrines?

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
1. Meditation:- the so-called rvaka-yogcra most slightly was one sub-division within
Drntika. They emphasized on meditational experience.

2. Theory of bja and vsan.

3. The concept of seventh consciousness which is more fundamental than, and forms the basis for the
6 consciousnesses.

4. Theory of Indirect Perception.

5. Doctrine that unreal things can serve as object of perception.

They have a doctrine that unreal things can serve as an object of perception. When you perceive
something, that something may be real or unreal. But for Sarvstivda, whatever that we can perceive
must be real, though they say they perceive pudgala which is not real, but it is based on the 5 skandha-s
which are real.

In the MVS, it says Drntika asserts that the object of perception is unreal. [In AKB, there is an
argument, the object of perception may be real, may be unreal.] The object of perception (lambana-
pratyaya) is unreal.

MVS (288b).

Translation:- The Drntika says it is like the case of a good-looking woman will variously
adorn entering into an assembly. On seeing her, some give rise to respect; some give rise to
craving; some give rise to hatred; some give rise to jealousy; some give rise to disgust; some give
rise to compassion; some give rise to equanimity. It should be understood that herein: a son seeing
her give rise to respect, those who are indulgent in sensuality give rise to craving, those who
harbour enmity give rise to hatred; those who share the same husband, i.e., with her, give rise to
jealousy; those who practice the auci-bhvan give rise to disgust; those who are vtarga (rsi-s
who are free from attachment) give rise to compassion; thinking thus: O this beautiful appearance
will soon be destroyed by impermanence; those who are Arhat-s give rise to indifference. From
this one should know that visaya (object of perception) are not a real entity.

This is a description of epistemological idealism. We know something through the way that things
represented in the mind. The same woman, when the son sees her, he gave rise to respect; when Arhat-s
see her, gives rise to indifference.

The object that is presented is understood through the mind. This doctrine does not deny the external
reality. It doesnt say that woman is not there, but as an object of perception, it is unreal.

Conclusion says that object of perception is not real, without going into metaphysical question as to
whether there is substratum of this object of perception. What is perceived is something that arises in
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
the mind, this arises differently according to whether you are rsi-s, arhat-s, etc. From this, there is no
need to have a real thing for one to perceive, or give rise to awareness.

Lecture 4: 19
March 2003

Idealistic doctrines of Drntika

Yogcra did not derive solely from the Sautrntika. There are different sources. Sautrntika is one of
the major sources. [See the last lecture.]

Another movement called Drntika (illustrator, allegory master). This is referred to a group of
Buddhist monks who were skillful in popular preaching. They used similes, stories, etc., they were also
meditators. They based themselves on the stra-s. They were called Stra-dhara.

There is a quotation from MVS in the last lecture which says that the external data is represented to the
perceiver in different ways. The conclusion is that the external objects are not real. What we see cannot
be separated from the mental contents. This idea came from Sautrntika, and eventually can be traced to

Yogcra means the practice of Yoga. Yoga is generally understood as meditation. But it really means
much more than that. Yoga means not just meditation, it means also the system of spiritual practice.
There are certain groups of Buddhist masters who emphasize meditation. They emphasize in practice.
Thus they are called Yogcra, and who are most probably among the Drntika, though they are not
confined apparently to Drntika or to any groups for that matter, they have already this notion of
epistemological Idealism.

Sautrntika evolves from Drntika. To understand the idealistic doctrine of Sautrntika, we should
have some idea of those of Drntika. We have to depend basically on MVS (Great Commentary by
Sarvstivdin-s in Kmir). Here we also see the doctrine of Drntika. There are few examples of
their Idealistic doctrines. They are not yet idealistic in the Mahyna sense. They never assert that the
external reality does not exist. But what they assert is that the external reality as we can understand as
perceptible to us, is dependent on the mind. It is not apart from the mind. That is called epistemological
Idealism it is there, we can infer. For example, if I see a monk in yellow robe, how do I know that
monk exist? Because I see a monk there. How do I know I see a monk? Are you really seeing monk or
dreaming? There are many questions that can be asked. In the dream also, we think we are seeing things,
but when we wake up, we are not. How can I be so sure that now I am not dreaming?

For the standpoint of Sautrntika, when I see something, I can infer that something exist, because that
something is the sense datum, the information that I received. But I would not have the information that
is contained in that sensation unless there is something outside that causes that sensation. Therefore,
through a process of inference, we know external reality exists. Sautrntika has a doctrine of
bahiranumeyavda (inferability of the external). We have representation or information in the mind
about something outside, so we can infer that there must be something that causes the information. So it
is through the process of anumna (inference).

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
From this description, we can see for that matter, Drntika-s are not Idealists in the later Mahynic
sense. They are called Representational Realism. Before we talk about the idealistic tendency we
must remember that they are not Idealists in the full-fledged sense. They are not subjective Idealism.
They believed in objective reality outside.

Controversy of rpyadhtu
In Buddhism there is an argument as to whether you can have an existence that is without rpa
(corporeal). In the rpyadhtu, some (Sarvstivdin) think that definitely there is no material
substance in rpyadhtu. It exists only mentally. Where other Buddhists say rpyadhtu, the term
doesnt refer to an existence where there is totally no matter. There is some kind of subtle matter. It
doesnt mean that really there is absolutely no rpa. There is a controversy here.

Nirodha sampatti and asaj-sampatti.
There is this kind of meditational attainment called nirodha sampatti and asamj-sampatti. There is
a type of meditational attainment in which there is no thought, the thinking process has stopped
completely. We can get into it by discarding the samj and vedan. It is said that an rya, when they
are over-burdened by their thoughts and their emotions, they consciously and willingly get into
nirodha-sampatti just for a rest. Others who are not Buddhists, they get into a similar type of
meditation called asamj-sampatti, where there is no samj, but by a wrong notion taking that kind
of state when there is no thought is moksa itself. Thinking like that, they entered into it. In that sense, it
is a hindrance.

In the case of Buddhist rya, they entered into nirodha-sampatti consciously, for a particular purpose,
that is to say for contemporary resting the mind. This kind of meditational experience where there is
absolutely no mental activity.

Now this raises many questions? How can a person in a state where there is absolutely no mental
activity? Is it possible? If a person is in that state, what is the difference between that person and death
person? After that meditation, what happen if once come out of it, for a long time there is no mentation,
where does suddenly a citta come from?

It is in this controversy asserted by Buddhist tradition, as to whether really you can have a sattva (being)
who are completely without thought. MVS says like this:-

1. There is no sentient being who is without rpa; there
is also no sampatti (meditation) without citta.

So the doctrine is very clear that all the sentient beings in the 3 dhtu-s are in possession of both the
citta and the rpa. From this statement, they are not subjective Idealistic. They dont think that only the
mind exists. Clearly they say both mind and rpa exist. In spite of that, we can see many other doctrines
which definitely has exhibited their idealistic tendency.

2. , (MVS, 96) Apart from cetan, there is no vipka-hetu ; apart from
vedan, there is no vipka-phala.

Vipka-hetu is karma in a broad sense, whatever that can contribute to a retribution.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
According to Sarvstivda, karma is not just mental. Karma is also physical. There is a concept called
avijapti-rpa. Sautrntika as well as Drntika say what is called vipka-hetu is from cetan. It is
like what the Buddha says cetan is kamma. So the emphasis is the mental aspect of it. It is only
cetan. This doctrine is opposed to Sarvstivda.

Vipka-phala in our experience, normally vipka includes all the things that give rise to experience,
whether is desirable or not desirable. These people are saying, there is no vipka-phala except vedan.
Again vedan is mental. This is a clear doctrine which is idealistic, which subsumes both karma and
retribution within the mental domain.

3. (MVS, 587) Bodily, vocal and mental karma are non other than cetan.

It means karma is cetan. It is emphasizing the mental aspect of karmic action.

4. , (MVS, 593) All karma-s are transformable, even the
nantarya-karma also are transformable.

5. (MVS, 228) asadlambana vijnam perception of unreal or non-existent object.

There is a controversy as to whether we can actually see something that is non-existent. The
Sarvstivdins position is that, whatever you can perceive, must be real. For Drntika, even things
that are not real can be an object of perception. It means what we perceive may or may not exist. In
another words, we can perceive things that are non-existent. So what we normally think, or take for
granted to be so real outside because of perception, actually may or may not exist even. This is certainly
idealistic. Given this kind of doctrine, it is not difficult to have the emergence of Yogcra doctrine of

6. (MVS, 288) samyoga-vastu (object of attachment) is unreal.

Samyoga-vastu means ssrava-dharma (Impure-dharma, even rpa, etc.) We get attached to a person or
a thing, we think that they are real, something real outside. So because of that attachment, for instance,
rga arises. So we think that because of that vastu outside is real, it causes arising of our klea-s.

For Drntika, these samyoga-vastu are not real. Defilements ultimately is an internal process. There
is no need to have a real outside. lambana is not real, they are only a mental representation.

7. () (MVS, 379b) mrga-satya comprises amatha and vipayan.

When they talked about mrga-satya, it comprises amatha and vipayan. So this is a clear doctrine
which emphasizes inner meditational experience, that is a path.

From these quotations, we can see Drntika is the forerunner of Sautrntika, already had a doctrine
of idealistic tendency in nature which emphasizes the mind, meditation and inner experience.

Therefore we can understand how they have helped to pave the way for the emergence of Yogcra

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti

Lecture 5: 26
March 2003

Bja theory of Sautrntika

It is from the school of Drntika, we have Sautrntika, and it is from the Sautrntika, there is
Yogcra. To understand the emergence of Yogcras thoughts, we should go back to Drntika.
Hence here is another example of the important of Abhidharmas thought.

According to some scholars, Drntika and Sautrntika refer to the same group of people. But that
theory doesnt seem to be acceptable. At the beginning, these two schools are not the same. At first,
there was Drntika, and slowly it evolves into the Sautrntika.

In the period of MVS (completed by 150 AD), the thoughts of various schools are quoted in MVS. We
find the name of Drntika, not the Sautrntika. It means Sautrntika came into existence after the
compilation of MVS. Likewise, there is no mention of Ngrjuna in MVS also. We believe that
Sautrntika evolves from Drntika. Sautrntika became very prominent in the process of challenging
the bhidharmika-s.

Drantika has several doctrines which are idealistic [read the last lecture], they emphasized the
supremacy of mind.

Sautrntika-s too contribute tremendously to the emergence of Yogcra, particularly with regard to
several doctrines. The first is bja theory, the second is laya-vijna (= sarva-bjaka-vijna).

Outline of the theory as developed in Yogcra
Yogcra says, there is a stream of consciousness that flows around in samsra. It is called laya-
vijna. Inside the laya-vijna, there are all kinds of karmic seeds from beginning-less time. This so-
called seeds are potential energy. So laya-vijna is neither different from the seed nor identical with
the seed. This flow consists of karma bja. This bja in the form of potential energy can be understood
as conditioning forces. Everything is explained in term of bja. Karma doctrine is explained in term of
bja. For example, how we have a phenomena experience? They say it is all from the bja-s. It is a
very central doctrine of Yogcra. Another name of laya-vijna is sarva-bjaka-vijna (Vijna
comprising all seeds).

Bja theory of Sautrntika
This bja theory is at first derived from the observation of the external world. In a way, we can see how
Drntika could have contributed to it. Drntika-s are the people who established Buddhist doctrine
on the basis of Drstnta-s. That is in a way is very consistent with the Buddhas attitude of empiricism.
Drntika and Sautrntika are the people who based themselves on the stra-s. They followed that
tradition of emphasizing the visible examples and the actual experience. They say, when you see a
growth of a plant, in the process from seed and finally to a fruit, there is a whole process of
transformation (santati-parinma). Santati (=samtti) consists of sprout, stem, leaves, flowers and fruits.
From this example, they say they can explain the whole process of karma.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti



Phala viesa

First thing, there is no need to assume the past thing must be there for it to be able to give fruit at some
final point. All you have is only pratyupanna (present) moment. That present moment, the previous
akti is passed on to the next moment in a series. The potential energy is stored in the present moment.
Then it passes on to the next moment. So there is a santati (= samtti). And because every moment is
different, therefore, there is parinma (here it simply means change). At a specific point, it gives fruit
(phala). Hence this explains the whole process. Does the fruit come directly from the seed? Answer: No,
because the seed doesnt even last one moment. The moment you put into the soil, it became to decay
from moment to moment.

In this theory, few things are to be noted:- (this is in nutshell the bja theory )
1. Phala does not come or is not produced by bja directly.
2. It is produced from a santati-parinma.
3. However, this santati would not be projected without the seed.

[Read the handout explanation of bja, parinma, viesa, santati, etc]

But if one wants to trace the origin of this theory, we can say that the germ of it already is found in
Drntikas doctrine.

Sautrntika comes from Drntika. We dont know exactly when that happens. When they were still
Drntika-s as they seen in the MVS, they were still Sarvstivdin-s. But when they became
Sautrntika, they changed and became Vibhajyavdin-s. Sarvstivda was a very broad community.
They consist of bhidharmika-s, individual crya-s, Drntika-s, etc.; but they were united by the
doctrine that past, present and future dharma-s are existent. But they may differ in many ways.
Drntika-s were very radical, this is how they changed over to another camp called Vibhajyavdin.
We dont know when that happens.

According to Chinese sources, their mla-crya-s (original masters or founder) called Kumralta (late
AD). He is said to be one of the 4 suns in the universe. Four suns are Ngrjuna, Aryadeva,
Avaghoa and Kumralta. It must be during this period that the Drntika evolves finally in the
distinct manner into the Sautrntika, and they changed their standpoint, and became Vibhajyavdin-s.

Thinking this clue, we want to know whether we can see any trace of bja idea in Kumralta doctrine.
Fortunately there is a work which is ascribed to him that is still extant, called Strlamkra (=
Drstntapankti). According to Chinese tradition, it is by Avaghoa. There is a theory by some French
scholars, saying that one of them first composed it, then later was revised by another person. Or
probably Avaghoa composed it, then was revised by Kumralta, ot another way round also. Whether
it was by Kumralta or by Avaghoa, we can say both of them were Drntika-s.

It is important to see this work whether there is any doctrine that resembles the bja theory. According
to Chinese tradition, Kumralta was a mla-crya. We were told by the chief disciple of Xuan Zang,
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Kwei-chi (). The followers of this master came to be known as Drntika because this master
composed Drstntapankti. In this work, he employed drstnta extensively.

[Read the Introduction of the Chinese version of Dharmapada, KL. Dhammajoti]

About a century ago, a manuscript was discovered in Sanskrit. The colophon in that manuscript says
that it was by Kumralta. So we know this work that existed in Chinese actually is the same as

We have seen some kinds of description of bja theory in the Strlankra,. That is to say, karma came
to be described in term of bja (seed), a seed that is sprouting, and developing into a plant, finally to a
fruit (phala).

Now I would like to give a drstnta in order to make its meaning clear. Just as the seed of a
crop, as a result of coming together of various conditions (pratyaya-s) give rise to the sprout.
However in reality this seed does not produce the sprout. By virtue of the fact the seed ceases,
there is the growth of the sprout; because the seed ceases, hence there is no fault (dosa) of
eternalism. By virtue of the fact that there is a growth of the sprout, there is no annihilism.

Historically speaking, this bja theory was started by Drntika even at the stage before they changed
to Sautrntika. It was at the time of Kumralta.

Another sources which is around the same period, we see this theory in Mla-madhyamaka-krika by
Ngrjuna (in chapter 17, verses 7 - 10), the gist of the bja theory:-

Just as the series comprising ankura-di (sprout, etc) proceeds from the bja; from this, the fruit
is produced. Apart from the seed, there is no series; from the seed, there is a series. From the series,
there is a fruit. Therefore, a phala which is preceded by a seed (bja-prvam phalam) is neither
interrupted nor eternal.
In the same way, from the [initial] citta, the mental dharmas proceed in a series. From this
series, there is a fruit; apart from the citta, there is no series. From the citta, the series proceed;
from the series, there is a fruit. Therefore, the phala which is preceded by karma is neither
interrupted nor eternal.


Lecture 6: 2
April 2003

Bja theory of Sautrntika (II)

Bja theory, most slightly, could be traced to the Buddhas teaching. In the A.N.III,33, the idea is that,
tanh is described as bja; karma is described as khetta (field). When the tanh is not destroyed, like it
is sown in the fertile field, there will be karma. A karma that is alobhajam or alobhapakatam, it is like a
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
bja that is not destroyed (akhadambjam). But those not born of alobha, etc., they are like the bja that
had been destroyed. It is like the akuala mla which is uprooted (ucchinn-mla). So the idea of mla is
like a root. The mla is a potentiality. So this is also the idea of bja. Definitely in those cases, the word
of bja is mentioned.

Some of the characteristics of Drntika:-
1. They are illustrator;
2. They are meditators;
3. They are stra-dhara-s.

Their bja theory can be traced back to stra-s. They based themselves on the Buddhas teaching. The
Buddha himself has compared to karma like a bja. So they are those who uphold the authority of the
Buddhas stra-s. Thats why, they came up with the theory of bja.

How do Sautrntika-s explain the bja? First thing, it is a real entity (dravya). They are just a
potentiality. Bja is just a name. When one asks them, in the continuation of a being (samtti), all bja-s
are stored up, what is the relationship between samtati and bja? Their answer is bja-s are neither
identical with samtti nor completely different. Samtti is nothing but potentiality, or rather is derived
from the potentiality only. The next moment of existence comes from the potential of the earlier
moment, and a being continues because of the potentiality. They are not a dravya. Therefore we cant
say that they are the same thing or they are the different things.

The idea of neither-nor relationship is also taken over by Yogcra. Another two names for laya-
vijna is sarvabjaka-vijana and vipka-vijna. Sarvabjaka-vijna is a vijna that comprises all
seeds. The flows are the seeds that are flowing. These seeds are not dravya. They are distinct forces,
thus we cannot say they are exactly the same nor different from samtti. Beings consist of nma-rpa.

Prva-anudhtu doctrine
In the time of Vasubandhu and Saghabhadra, there was a great Sautrntika master called (sthavira)
rilta. He has a theory of prva-anudhtu. In brief, this doctrine is actually the name of bja doctrine.
According to Samghabhadra, he says once I have refuted the doctrine of bja, I have also refuted all
other doctrines. Those doctrines include prva-anudhtu, aviprana (doctrine of Smitya).
Apparently at that time, there are various theories which essentially agree with bja theory. To
1. Bja is just a potentiality;
2. It implies something very subtle, latent, not manifested;
3. It signifies cause efficacy. The bja is a cause, from bja to phala;
4. It is continuous. It is accumulated from what preceded. Bja is something that is come from the
past. Past samskra-s are all stored in the form of energy, we called them bja, either kuala or
akuala bja-s.

The word prva-anudhtu expresses all these significations.
1. Prva means it is something that has been karmically accumulated from before.
2. Anu means following, continuously. It has a sense of subtlety. The word paramnu, though
there is grammatically differences, but doctrinally, the Sarvstivda as well as Sautrntika
explain paramnu as parama+anu (extremely subtle, smallest). Anu though not exactly the
same as anu, but they take it to mean subtlety.
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
3. Dhtu means a source; the idea of root. The Buddha has said that someone whose karma-s
which is born of alobha is like ones whose karmic seed is totally cut from the mla (ucchinn-
mla). The root is the source. The source means that from which thing arises. It is a cause.

In the AKB, they explain 18 dhtu-s. In this context, the word dhtu is also explained as gotra. What
is meant by gotra? Gotra means species. In the sense, there are 18 specific types of elements in the
universe. Example, kara (a mine) can produce minerals. It is a source. Dhtu in a sense of gotra
signifies the source of arising or the source of all dharma-s. It is a causal efficacy that give rise to
anything. Thats why, bja is also called dhtu, and hence in riltas version, he uses the word prva-
anudhtu. He says that prva-anudhtu , i.e. bja is ineffable. But all we can say is that it represents
the hetu-pratyayat (the fact of causality). Causal efficacy is that within the 6 yatana-s.

In summary: prva-anudhtu is wherein all the karmic forces are subsumed. If one asks about the real
nature, it is really ineffable. All we can say is that it is hetu-pratyayat within or represented by 6
yatana-s, i.e. mind and body. Hetu-pratyayat represented by the fact that in the continuity of these 6
yatana-s (psycho-physical complex), that is to say these samtti, one previous moment is the cause for
the next moment. Within that, there is a causal efficacy for one to continue to exist into the next
moment. That hetu-pratyayat is prva-anudhtu. It is prva, because it comes from beginning-less
time. And it is latent, potential, hence is called anu, it follows along. And it is causal efficient. Hence is
called dhtu. This is a doctrine of prva-anudhtu. It is just another name for bja theory. The word
dhtu signifies causal efficacy, just like bja.

When Sautrntika-s are asked in the AKB, what is the bja? For Sautrntika-s, they dont mean a real
dravya. It is just a concept to give to potentiality or potential energy. The concept is referred to what?
Their answer given by Sthavira is that the bja or the prva-anudhtu are 6 yatana-s, having the causal
efficacy. Sautrntika answer in AKB:-

(AKB (C) p.22c)
But what should we understand by seeds [ask the Sarvstivdins?]
By seeds we understand nmarpa (iii.30), that is, the complex of the five skandha-s,
capable of generating a result, either immediately or mediately, by means of the parinma-viesa
of its series. The series is the samskra-s of the past, the present and the future, in relation to
causality, that constitutes an uninterrupted series. The parinma, or the evolution of the series, is
the modification of this series: the fact this series arises differently from itself at each moment.
The viesa, or culmination point of this evolution, is the moment of this series that
possesses the capacity of immediately producing a result.

This is the explanation of the prvcrya-s respected by Vasubandhu.
The idea is basically the same, nmarpa is psycho-physical complex. It is that energy within the
human being. It is not a real thing. It is just a name to say that in the nma-rpa, there is this causal
efficacy. If there were no such efficacy, then all karma-s would be lost. Then we cant continue into the
next moment, or from one life to another life, because there is a samtti (continuation). In that
continuation, there is a karma force which is called bja or prva-anudhtu. In this theory, it does away
with the need of sarvstitvas idea.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Aviprana doctrine
This is in brief the bja theory of Sautrntika. Another name is aviprana doctrine. When you have
done karma, there is a force or vsan, that force is never lost. That karmic force is not destroyed until
the vipka. It is like a deed, when you borrow money from another person, how can he return his money?
It is the deed itself that guarantees the payment.

It is not exactly the same in everyway as the formulation of bja theory of Sautrntika. But from the
point of view of Saghabhadra, the essential feature are about the same, that is causal efficacy, latency,
continuous, accumulating from beginningless time, and goes on until the vipka is produced. So
Samghabhadra says once he has refuted the theory of bja, he has refuted all other theories.

Vasubandhu representing the prva-crya. They are the Sautrntika masters. They seem to be
Yogcrin, the earlier movement of Yogcra. They explained bja as nma-rpa. This is similar to
what rilta says, that is prva-anudhtu is six yatana-s. These two are basically the same.

They differed in one idea. rilta says if you talk about the basis of vsan (perfuming), the idea of
perfuming is conditioning. Perfuming is actually a karmic force, whatever we do, that is deposited in
our mind, a conditioning force, when that conditioning force is strong enough, it becomes a definite
force, that definite force is called bja. Likewise we accumulated so many bja-s from our karma-s.

Where does this perfuming take place? What is the basis of conditioning?

According to this, there are various theories.
1. One theory says it is in the citta-santati, that is within the mental series, that perfumes in the
2. According to Sthavira, he says it is six yatana-s. it is the basis on which the perfuming takes
3. Prvcrya-s say nma and rpa mutually are basis of condition for each other, or mutually
perfume each other. That is to say, they mutually seed to each other.

In Buddhism, the body-mind cannot be separated. In AKB, when beings are born in rpyadhtu, where
there is no rpa. But when they reborn in kmadhtu or in rpadhtu, where does the rpa comes from?
It must have come from citta. Conversely, when someone is in nirodha-sampatti, where there is no
citta-caitta. But the person (i.e. rpa) without nma, when a person comes our from nirodha-sampatti,
where does the thought comes from? The conclusion is that, the potential energy of the mental aspect
can be subsumed into the physical aspect, and these two are mutually perfuming. Therefore they are
mutually seed to each other.

According to Sautrntikas bja theory, the bja-s continue until a vipka is produced: This is
also implies a theory of the mutual perfuming of nma and rpa.

AKB (C) p.25c:
In the two sampatti-s, the citta is interrupted for a long time. How, upon coming out of this
sampatti, can a new citta be born from a citta destroyed for a long times?
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
The Vaibhika-s find no difficulty in this: past dharma-s exist (v.25) consequently the citta
previous to this sampatti, the citta in sampatti (sampatticitta) or the citta of entry into the
sampatti is the similar and immediate cause (samanantarapratyaya, ii.62) of the citta after the
sampatti or the citta-of-leaving (vyut-thnacitta; TD 27, p. )
[The Sautrntika-s reason as follow:] When a person is born in rpyadhtu, rpa or matter is
cut off for a long time (iii.81b): if this person is then reborn in kmadhtu or in rpadhtu, his
new rpa does not proceed from the series of rpa previously interrupted for a long time, but
rather, from the citta. In the same way, the citta of leaving the sampatti does not have for its
cause the citta previous to the sampatti: it is born from a body possessing organs. This is why
the Ancient Masters said, Two dharma-s are the seed one of the other: these two dharma-s are a
citta and a body possessing organs.

Lecture 7: 9
April 2003

The theory of prva-anu-dhtu

Bja in brief
Bja theory is basically a karma theory of Sautrntika. The important concept is santati-parinma-
viesa. it is a transformation of the series, at the specific point, at which karma is ripe, in a sense that
conditions assemble, then the fruit is given. Otherwise the whole series will keep on going. It doesnt
mean a static thing going. It means, at every present moment, you have bja of all kinds. This bja is not
a real entity. It is just a concept of karmic force. Thus, there is a problem when you say bja is just a
concept (prajapti). They are against the Sarvstivdas way of ontologizing entity. How can a thing
which is not real has the causal efficacy? On the one hand, bja is a karmic force which has causal
efficacy, on the other hand, it is not a real thing, but simply a concept. Here there is a problem. Finally
Sautrntika has to say bja-s are neither completely identical with samtti nor different from samtti.

Vsan in brief
What is the basis of vsan (perfuming, trace)? It means bja must be stored somewhere. Really vsan
is just a bja. This perfuming comes to be potent karmically efficacious as a continue forces. Then one
asks a question the basis, what are these bja-s form? There are several theories:-
1. Perfuming unto the citta-caitta santati
2. 6 yatana. It means the whole being. So those conditioning forces operate or perfuming on the whole
being. But really, though it is 6 yatana, it stress on the citta.
3. Nma-rpa are mutually bja-s. This theory is hold by prvcrya. This theory say that the potential
forces for the mental domain comes from the physical aspect. Physical force can come from mental.
[read the last lecture rpyadhtu and nirodha-sampatti]. According to vykhy, prvcrya-s are
the Yogcra masters. At this stage, they are not Mahynists. They are Sautrntika.
4. Perfuming on the subtle citta. This theory is hold by Mahsaghika. The basis for perfuming is the
suksma-citta for the arising of the other mind. It is not the mano-vijna. This theory also would have
contributed to the Mahyna idealistic doctrine.

According to the 6 yatanas theory, the basis for the perfuming are the 6 yatana. This theory is
proposed by (Sthavira) rlta. In a way this theory does differ very much from the third one. But in
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
rltas explanation, he explains 6 yatana, i.e. eye, etc., constitute the basis for perfuming. So he has a
very important doctrinal term called prvnudhtu. The idea of dhtu is connected with the idea of bja.
In fact, in AKB, where it is explained that there are 4 mahbhta-s. These 4 are always together. So a
question is asked, supposing I have a solid thing, earth element is a predominant one. But it doesnt
mean the other three are not there. So a question is asked, in what form do the other three exist? The
answer is the potential form.

So in that context, the word is bjatah they exist as seed or potential. In this kind of explanation,
the idea of bja is explained as mahbhta. Dhtu is explained like a mine in a sense of source of
arising. Anu has a sense of going along. These bja-s are carried along from the previous moment
prva. So prva-anu-dhtu means you have entity which is a force, which is a potential energy, that
potential energy goes on throughout sasra, as a stream from moment to moment.

So rlta says, six yatana re-arise from moment to moment. So the causal ability of six yatana-s of
a being to re-arise from moment to moment, that causal ability is called prva-anu-dhtu. Finally he
says it is ineffable (avaktavya, anabhilapya). What you can say is that efficacy within six yatana-s
which enable six yatana-s to renew itself to continue. In another words, all the karmic forces, memory,
etc., are subsumed in prva-anu-dhtu. From this, you have continue existence, or experience of the
whole world. This theory comes very close to the Yogcras theory of laya-vijna.

(Look at the sheet) The (prva) anudhtu doctrine of Sthavira rlta

1. Anudhtu has the character of hetu-pratyaya and samanantara-pratyaya. But unlike in Sarvstivda,
the samanantara-pratyaya is not confined to citta-caitta, it refers to any anteriorily born dharma which
is immediately continued by the posteriorily born dharma. (Ny. 441c : )

Explanation Anudhtu is something which has the characteristic of being hetu-pratyaya, this is a
potential energy, causal forces. Everything [including physical and mental] comes from prva-anu-

Samanantara-pratyaya, literally means completely without gap, it means equal and immediate
condition. Prefix sam also means equal, it expresses the idea of same-ness. There is a
homogeneity. That is a kind of pratyaya that obtains in a homogeneous causal series. For example,
kuala thought gives rise to kuala thought.

C1 C2 C3

C1 (preceding one) is the samanantara-pratyaya for C2 (succeeding one)
C2 is the nisyanda (outflowing) of C1.

Contrast with vipka-hetu
Vipka-hetu cannot be samanantara, because vipka-hetu is a karma, it must be either kuala or
akuala. But vipka is neutral. It is avyakrta; whereas karma is always either kuala or akuala.
Therefore cause is kuala or akuala; and the result is neutral. They are not the same. So they are
not samanantara.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Samanantara-pratyaya is certainly obtained in the mind. There is a controversy as to whether we
can talk about samanantara-pratyaya with regard to non-mental thing. According to Sthavira, he
holds that, in fact, every dharma (mental and physical) is born of samanantara-pratyaya.

The idea of hetu-pratyaya is to emphasize that it is a causal force. The idea of samanantara-
pratyaya is to emphasize the idea that it is uninterrupted going on from moment to moment. So the
previous moment being the cause or condition for the next moment.

2. Sthavra denies the sahabh-hetu, and proposes the anudhtu as the necessary anterior-hetu for the
arising of any dharma.

Explanation According to Sarvstivda, there are two types of causality 1. Prvaja (anteriorily
arisen); 2. sahajta (simultaneously arisen).

For prvaja, it is first the cause, and later the effect. Example, karma as a cause, later we get the
effect. Sarvstivda says there is another type of causality also, that is sahajta, cause and effect
exist together. Example, tripod. The very existence of one state depends on the other two. They are
mutual cause-effect. They are simultaneous. For them, it is not necessarily the first type. You can
have also cause and effect arising and existing at the same time. That concept is called sahabh-hetu.

rlta denies sahabh-hetu thoroughly. According to Sautrntika, they say dharma-mtra
nothing but dharma. So they explained that we experience flashes of dharma. Those dharma-s are
explained in one moment as cause, another moment as effect. They are all dharma-s. They are not
simultaneous, because there is only one moment. In his doctrine, everything must be subsumed
within that present moment. That present moment would be cause for the next moment.

3. Anudhtu signifies that a citta is perfumed (bhvita) to possess many dhtu-s, which include
kuala, akuala, as well as ansrava dhtu-s; these mental as well as material dhtu-s simultaneously
continue as an uninterrupted series.

Explanation: the word dhtu like bja, it has many many dhtu-s. This dhtu can be kuala, akuala,
ansrava, etc. All these potential energy are stored inside the 6 yatana-s. these mental as well
material dhtu-s simultaneously continue as an uninterrupted series.

4. Anuaya serves as both the raya and visaya of vijna.

Explanation: For any vijna, for instance caksur-vijna, you need caksu and rpa. In this case,
caksu and rpa are pratyaya-s for caksur-vijna.

According to sahabh-hetu of Sarvstivda, they say that these three exist at the same time.

According to Sautrntika, it is not possible. Because caksu and rpa belong to the previous moment
at the moment when caksur-vijna arises. So the caksu is the raya (basis) of indriya. Rpa is the
visaya. For Sarvstivda, visaya is something outside there; caksu also is something outside the mind.
When these two things are present, the caksur-vijna arises. But in Sautrntika, given by rlta,
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
both these two actually are prva-anu-dhtu. Everything comes from the same source. That source is
the mind. Therefore this teaching leads to Idealism.

5. Anuaya is the anudhtu of klea. It is different from the klea which is manifested (paryavasthna)
it has the nature of a cause and constantly follows on latently.

Explanation: Klea is actualization; anuaya is a potentiality. There is a big controversy as to
whether you can make distinction or not. For Sarvstivda, these words are used interchangeably.
For Sautrntika, definitely they made distinction kleas in the anuaya form and klea in the
paryavasthna form. Anuaya in the potential form, that is called prva-anu-dhtu. This correspond
to the potential form of klea. The scope of prva-anu-dhtu is much broader. It is the source of
everything. It is not just the source of klea, it is also the source of kuala.

6. The abandoning (prahna) of klea is the destruction of the anudhtu of klea. As a result, the
anudhtu qua hetu does not induce a subsequent anudhtu.

Explanation: What is meant by klea-prahna? It means bja is destroyed, that bja is prva-anu-
dhtu. Normally our senses will go on from moment to moment. Unless you destroy a subtle
potential forms, there wouldnt have a actual one. When we say we have destroyed a particular klea,
i.e. rga, we have to destroy the root. In their theory, they say you destroy prva-anu-dhtu. When
you destroy this, since there is no seed-state or no potential form, then you cannot give rise to the
next one. It doesnt continue.

7. The anudhtu having the character of hetu is capable of effecting fruition on a subsequent birth,
having as it does the function of a vipka-hetu. In this case, this six yatana-s perfumed by karma/klea
is called the anudhtu, which serves to induce the subsequently arisen six yatana-s.

Explanation: This is talking about the cosmology. It is not just the explanation of karma. It means the
whole being going round and round the samsra. It is the prva-anu-dhtu. So when your prva-
anu-dhtu is still not destroyed, you give rise to the next jti (birth) constantly. This is meant by
vipka-phala. [vi-pac(to cook), mean to mature, to ripe]. So every moment you have a new fruit.
The whole of 6 yatana-s is being perfumed by the new forces. We accumulate new bja-s.

Lecture 8: 30
April 2003

The theory of laya-vijna

There is a stanza quoted in *Mahyna-samgraha by Asaga. There is a theory of laya-vijna, theory
of bja, theory of perfuming, and all the major ideas of Yogcra are found in this stanza.

In the earlier text of Yogcra, they talked about only seven consciousnesses [6 + 1], not the eight.
Later on, the scheme of Yogcra is elaborated into 8 consciousnesses. Sometimes there are nine.
: From visual consciousness mental consciousness
: manas
: laya-vijna
: amala-vijna
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti

In the earlier text, they talked about seven consciousnesses, i.e. six normal consciousnesses + one more
fundamental, more subtler, forming the basis of these six. These seventh consciousness is called by
different names.

In Mahyna-samgraha, it is called laya-vijna. Other names are given: dna-vijna, mla-
vijna. laya is a store house, where all the karmic forces in the form of bja, a potential energy, are
stored. Everything arises from the laya-vijna. dna is from d to take, to grasp. Thus the word
is translated as grasping consciousness or sustaining consciousness. Because it is this consciousness that
sustains all the indriya-s. They argued that this subtle and fundamental consciousness must be there, for
instance in the state of nirodha-sampatti, where there is no mental activity, then we would die if there
isnt any subtle consciousness. They developed that there is a subtle consciousness which is subtler than
the first six consciousnesses. Later on, they elaborated on this scheme and talked about eight
consciousnesses. The seventh one is called manas. Manas is no more synonymous with vijna and

According to the schools of earlier stages, like Theravda, Sarvstivda, and Abhidharma schools, that
is before the Mahyna, citta, manas and vijna are synonyms. When we looked at different
functional aspects, we use different names. Citta refers to a mind that has always been [in the future
period]; vijna refers to the mind that is active, that arises; manas refers to the same mind that has
already arisen, that has became past, and forms the supporting basis for the arising of the next moment
of consciousness.

In the Yogcra, these three are no more the same. Manas is that consciousness that grasps the laya-
vijna as if it is a real tma. The fact why we cannot experience nairtmya is because of manas. We
have tmagraha because of the function of manas. The laya-vijna is the grand basis of everything.

In some schools, they talked about the ninth. Even the laya-vijna is not an absolute entity. It is the
absolute that is agitated. Example, when the water is agitated, there is a wave. There is an activity. That
is the laya-vijna when the mind is agitated. So when there is no wind, there is no wave, but the mass
of water exists. That original state of mind is pure, thus is called amala. The whole idea of Yogcra is
to train ourselves in such a way we realize the so-called external phenomena, world is nothing, but the
mind. When we realized this, our consciousness is transformed. This is compared to the ceasing of
activity. So we realize the ultimate essence of mind that is called amala-vijana. Sometimes it is called
pariuddha-citta. The idea is that ultimately the real nature of mind is pure. Compare this to Theravda
in A.N.I.10, pabhassaram cittam the mind is transparent, pure. The idea of the original radiant
nature of mind is found in Vibhajyavda lineage. The idea that the original nature of mind is
pabhassaram is actually a common idea of Vibhajyavda lineage. Vibhajyavda lineage is opposed to
Sarvstivda lineage.

Historically facts: the Sangha was split into Mahsghika and Sthaviravda. From Sthaviravda,
further split into Sarvstivda and Vibhajyavda. Theravda comes in Vibhajyavda. According to the
Northern sources, vibhajya has to do with the debate on time, that only the present is real. In the
Theravda texts, there is this idea the citta is originally by nature shining forth, radiant
(pabhassaram); ta ca kho gantukehi upakkilesehi upakkilittham that which is defiled by
adventitious kilesa-s. The defilements are considered as something not originally part of the mind, it
comes from outside. Therefore we should abandon, then the original nature of mind will shine forth.
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti

Within the Vibhajyavda, there are some divisions. For instance, Mahsghika also is within the fold
of Vibhajyavda. They also talked about the idea of original pure nature of mind. In fact, we see that
when Yogcra developed the idea of laya-vijna, they must get justification. They quoted the name
of few schools.

Sources of their teaching found in *Karmasiddhiprakaraa
One text called *Karmasiddhiprakarana, by Vasubandhu. It tells about the sources of the teaching. In
that context, they mentioned several schools.

One is the Tmraparya (lit. copper palm) or Tmrathiya (lit. a kind of robe which is copper/ reddish
in color). Theravda is known in the Northern India, not as Theravda at such. Theravda, in Sanskrit
form is Sthaviravda. Within Sthaviravda, Theravda is considered as only one branch. Tmraparya
is known to Northern India. In this text, Tmraparya mentions the bhavanga-vijna ().
Bhavanga theory, in its major functions, is to explain karma. Though in earlier texts, we find vina-
sota, but they dont speculate at such. For the first time, the bhavanga idea occurs in the Patthna-
pakarana. Apparently that is only the canonical reference. Later on, in Abhidharma texts, bhavanga
becomes a familiar term. So the idea of bhavanga, historically was formulated later in Theravda
Buddhism. Thus the significance of anga according to Northern explanation, anga has the idea of
causal efficacy. Our existence (bhava) is sustained by this bhavanga. Bhavanga is therefore a neutral
state of the mind. It continues in samsra. Definitely we cannot say bhavanga is the same as laya-

The last moment that we die, our consciousness enter into the unconscious state. That is bhavanga. So it
is in this bhavanga, in the moment of cuti, that the karma is stored; when the consciousness enter into a
new womb, that is called patisandhi, at that time, all the karmic forces from the earlier life is passed on.
So there is a continuation of this. Therefore this is an attempt to explain the continuation or preservation
of karmic efficacy.

As far as that point is concerned, it is very similar to the idea of laya-vijna. laya-vijna is a
concept to account for the continuation of karma. The only thing, they say, they talked about bja. The
forces is said to be bja, they stored in the stream that goes on in samsra.

The mind that is active is called vthi-citta in Theravda tradition. The mind that is not active is the
bhavanga. Bhavanga represents the passive state of the mind, that is in the neutral state. Buddhaghosa
says the mind in passive state, bhavanga or vthimutta. The mind when active is vthi-citta. The state of
bhavanga/ vthimutta is referred to as the natural condition of mind, pakati-citta, which is pabhassara.

In Dhammapadatthakath, - pakatimano hi bhavanga-cittam tam appaduttham the natural mind
is the bhavanga-citta [that is also called vthimutta (free from the mental process)] that one is not
corrupted (pure). Buddhaghosa associating bhavanga as a pure state of the mind. Here we can see a
very similar idea with amala-vijna.

In the same text, other teaching of Vibhajyavdin lineage is quoted. That is the Mahsghika. It
comes under the broad lineage of Vibhajyavda. They also say only the present is real. Normally we
think that Mahsghika and Theravda are so different. The idea of the Buddhalogy is very developed
in Mahsghika, but historically, they came from the same lineage. Therefore in the midst of all these
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
differences, one find underneath that are common. For instance, Pa-Chao, a Chinese scholar, he made
the comparative study of the Pli and other schools. Then he found that, of all the other schools, the
basis structure of Mahsghika, in many ways are similar to Theravda.

So this idea of citta that is pabhassara is one of the strong doctrinal point of Mahsghika. They have
inspired by the Buddha teaching in A.N. They have a doctrine called mla-vijna. They say mla-
vijna is a suksma-citta (subtle mind) that is the basis for the arising of six consciousnesses. The
Karmasiddhiprakarana quotes mla-vijna as another source.

In the other text of Yogcra like Sandhi-nirmocana Stra, they say that six consciousnesses evolve
from the mla-vijna. That mla-vijna is an laya-vijna.

Another school quoted in this text as one of the sources for their laya-vijna idea is Mahsaka.
When the MVS mentions Vibhajyavda, whom they referred to? So Vibhajyavdin in MVS is referred to
Mahsaka. They have the teaching that there are three types of skandha-s.
1. Ksanika-skandha : the skandha that last only one moment.
2. Ekajanmvadhi-skandha : the skandha that stays/ endures one life.
3. samsrika-skandha :

The first two cannot go beyond one life. The third one, samsrika-skandha, the skandha that lasting
throughout samsra. Here we see a similar idea that bhavanga that is doesnt stop when one dies. The
only thing is that they dont say skandha, they talked about citta. Here in Mahsaka, they talked about
skandha that goes throughout samsra until the person gains nirvna.

The idea of laya-vijna is like a kind of pudgala. laya-vijna is like a person in which all the
karmic force is stored. But the emphasis is on the vijna aspect, not the rpa aspect.

Read the stanza quoted in Mahyna-samgraha. [next lesson]

Lecture 9: 21
May 2003

The theory of laya-vijna

This text Abhidharma-mahyna-stra says in connection with laya-vijna.
uktam hi bhagavatbhidharmastre
andikliko dhtuh sarvadharmasamrayah
tasmin sati gatih sarv nirvndhigamopi ca
Lit. For it has been said by the Bhagav in the Abhidharma-stra, [it (laya-vijna) is] the
dhtu from beginningless time, which is the complete basis of all dharmas. That being (existing)
the totality of destiny comes to be; and also the attainment of nirvna.

The purpose of writing a treatise Vijaptimtrat-siddhi

tma-dharma-upacrah hi yah vividhah pravartate vijna-parinmosau
lit. That manifold metaphorical designation of tma and dharma operate, this one is vijna-
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti

In the world, we have problems because of tma-graha and dharma-graha. The whole text starts by
stating the purpose of writing the treatise. This shows that Yogcrin-s were practitioners. They were
not interested in pure philosophy. It looks like that they were very philosophical, that is because, when
they began to analyze, they become very philosophical. But their ultimate purpose is very soteriology.

At the beginning, the purpose of writing treatise is to help us to understand that we have attachment to
tma and dharma. And two are realized, both are nyat.

tma-graha realizes pudgala-nyat / pudgala-nairtmya. This is called klea-varana.
Dharma-graha realizes dharma-nyat / dharma-nairtmya. This is called jeya-varana.

Why are we in samsra? Because we have hindrances. To summarize, there are basically two
hindrances. One is hindrance with regard to klea, according to them, even by removing all of klea-s,
we cannot be liberated. We can be an Arhat. But for them, Arhat is not the same as Buddha-hood. To be
a complete Buddha, we have to break the other type of hindrance called jeya-varana.

Buddha has overcome both type of hindrances. For Arhat-s though they have overcome klea-s, but the
praj is not perfected. To overcome this, one has to realize the so-called pudgala or tma is not real.
By doing that, one breaks the tma-graha. To overcome the dharma-graha, one has to further realize
that even the dharma, skandha-s are unreal, the skandha which the bhidharmika-s called as real
dharma, for Yogcrin-s also, dharmas are nya.

The tma and dharma are just idea. They are upacra (figurative speech). They are just metaphorical
expression / designation.


Vsan means habitual energy. Due to the perfuming of imagination (vikalpa), we imagine there is
tma, dharma, etc. We have these kinds of ideas. The ideas are conditioning forces. They are stored in
the form of bja-s. Whenever we see a person, we think that person is so real. We have all these
problems from beginningless time, there is conditioning forces, this is called vsan.

All these take place in the process of the transformation of laya-vijna. laya-vijna arises due to
this different type of conditioning forces (vsan).

What is meant by parima?
It is threefold.
1. Vipka refers to laya-vijna
2. manana (lit. thinking), refers to manas-vijna.
3. Vijapti (= vijna) refers to six types of consciousnesses.

First, all these metaphorical expression that we attached to operate in us is actually coming from
consciousness. They are evolved because of the type of habitual energy/ conditioning forces that had
been in us from beginningless time. It evolves and becomes threefold.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Why laya-vijna is called vipka?
One of the name of laya-vijna is vipka-vijna. Because each persons laya-vijna, in each case
is the vipka from their own karma. For example, I exist because of my laya-vijna. This is the
effect aspect.

So as laya-vijna evolves, basically diversifies into three aspects. One is the laya-vijna itself. The
second is the manas-vijna. The third is six consciousnesses.

In another word, when our consciousness arises, first thing is, we have that total basis (i.e. laya-
vijna). Another aspect is manas. The concept of 7
consciousness came a bit little later. In the
historical development of laya-vijna theory, first we see six ordinary consciousnesses plus the basis.
Later on they sub-divided and added in manas. At that time, manas is given a special function. Manas
attaches itself to the laya-vijna as if a soul. Because of our conditioning forces, we cannot help
grasping it as if it is the tman. That is why we are not liberated. Thus we cant experience nairtmya
(anatta). That function of consciousness is called manas. Later on, it is given the place of 7


(taken from Vijaptimtrat-siddhi by Sthiramati)
The layavijna
(Storehouse consciousness)

we have briefly explained the names of the three kinds of consciousness, but have not yet dwelt in
detail upon their characteristics. The first kind, the consciousness that is retribution (vipka) is
called the laya-vijna (i.e., the eighth consciousness). Now what are the characteristics of this

The stanzas say:
The first is the laya-vijna (i.e., storehouse or repository consciousness).

It is also called vipka-vijna (retributive consciousness) and sarvabjaka-vijna (the
consciousness that carries within it all bja-s or seeds).
[It brings to fruition all seeds (effects of good and evil deeds).]

It is impossible to comprehend completely
(1) What it holds and receives (updi),
(2) Its place or locality (sthana), and
(3) Its power of perception and discrimination (vijapti). It is at all times associated with five
mental attributes (caitta-s), namely mental contact (spara), attention (manaskra),
sensation (vedan), conception (samj) and volition (cetan).

But it is always associated only with the sensation of indifference (upeksa).

Threefold characteristics
1. laya-vijna is called vipka-vijna. It is the effect (phala) aspect.
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
2. laya-vijna is called sarvabjaka-vijna. It is the cause (hetu) aspect. It comprises all the
seeds. All the karmic-bja-s are stored inside. laya-vijna is nothing but actually the totality
of all seeds.
3. Intrinsic-nature aspect. It means it is neither identical with nor different from the bja-s.

To summarize, there are three things we cant pin-point at it,
1. First laya-vijna is very subtle;
2. Locality
3. The way the perception takes place as laya-vijna arises bifurcating into the subject and
object. Vijna refers to the mind that is operating/ arises. The mind cannot arise by itself. It
arises with caitta-s. When the mind arises, five caitta-s are always together with laya-vijna,
that are mental contact (spara), attention (manaskra), sensation (vedan), conception (samj)
and volition (cetan).

Lecture 10: 28
May 2003

The nature of laya-vijna

Dhtu means causal-efficacy. It is a theory of Vibhajyavda lineage, that is to say, a theory that is built
on the standpoint that only the present exists. laya-vijna is existing at all times only in the series of
present (eternal present). From moment to moment, all the preceding moment of causal-efficacy is
subsumed within laya-vijna.

Simultaneous relationship
Their relationship is a simultaneous one. It is a potential force that is continuing in the mind due to all
karmic conditionings. For example, as I see that thing in a certain way at certain time, my habitual
tendency to see in that way is reinforced. That is a simultaneous relationship.

laya-vijna is a mental event. In Abhidharma, vijna always signify the mind that is arising. This is
in contrast with citta. When the citta arises, we have laya-vijna. Really laya-vijna is only a
relative reality. When we look at three level of truth, we would see that it relegated to the domain of the
relative. This is the domain of prattya-samutpda. laya-vijna is where prattya-samutpda operates,
i.e., the phenomena world. laya-vijna is like the agitated wave. Absolute reality is that calmed down
water, i.e. pure, peaceful, absolute, that is the pariuddha-citta. laya-vijna is a phenomena that is
agitated aspect of it. It is not pure (klista). The mind contains all kinds of seeds. When one becomes
enlightened, there is no agitation. So the laya-vijna ceases at that time.

When the mind arises, it hasnt arisen by itself. It arises together with caitta-s. What are the
accompanied mental factors? There are five. It is at all times associated with five mental attributes
(caitta-s), namely mental contact (spara), attention (manaskra), sensation (vedan), conception
(samj) and volition (cetan).

When we look at these five, these are the very five that we find in the stra-s. In a way, it signifies that
Yogcra actually based themselves on the stra. [For Sarvstivda, there are ten] From their
standpoint of view, they are very faithful to the Buddhas teaching.
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti

Why it is always associated only with the sensation of indifference (upeka).

Why it is always associated only with the sensation of indifference? Because laya-vijna is the
fundamental consciousness (mla-vijna). It is from this that there are other consciousnesses. So when
we come to vedan, according to Stra and Abhidharma, there are three type of vedan, i.e. pleasurable,
un-pleasurable, and neutral. It is said that at all time, laya-vijna is neutral, because it is a
fundamental, it is in a subtle state. The idea of neutral state signifies that it is a subtle feeling; but on top
of it, we get happy or dejected. Therefore, that which always connected with vijna, it has got to be a
neutral type.

Theravdas notion of bhavaga

From their point of view, they knew that the teaching of bhavanga in Theravda is similar to their
teaching of laya-vijna. Bhavanga represents the mind in a neutral state. When we die, the cuti-citta
and the next moment, the patisandhi-citta. They are actually bhavanga in a different mode. The
bhavanga that is entered into a womb is the bhavanga in the mode of patisandhi. Where is the karma at
that time? Karma is stored in the bhavanga.

Therefore, in the bhavanga concept, few things are similar. One is that signifies the subtle neutral
continuous state of mind; that sustains you as a being in samsra. That is also the concept of laya-

(taken from Vijaptimtrat-siddhi by Sthiramati)
It belongs to the non-defiled-non-defined moral species.

The same is true in the case of mental contact (spara) and so forth.

It is perpetually manifesting itself like a torrent.

And is renounced (i.e., it ceases to be called the laya) in the state of Arhatship (the state of the
saint who enters Nirvna).

Non-defiled-non-defined moral species

In term of moral species, there are kuala, akuala and avykrta. Avykrta in northern tradition is
further divided into nivrta and anivrta.

Nivrta (block, hinder) obstructive to spiritual progress, e.g. satkyadrsti.
Anivrta not obstructive to spiritual progress, e.g. table, etc.

According to their system, any drsti is akuala. Satkyadrsti is not classified under nivrta-avykrta. For
example, if I have satkyadrsti, my soul is real. Because of believing in the soul, you want to purify the
soul. You are not harming others. Another example, if I give dna, my soul will go to heaven, etc. So
according to their conception, satkyadrsti is not akuala. It comes under nivrta-avykrta and anivrta-
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti

laya-vijna is to be classified under anivrta-avykrta. laya-vijna are the seeds. Seeds themselves
are neutral. laya-vijna goes on in samsra, like vijna-srota. laya-vijna ceases when one gains

(taken from Vijaptimtrat-siddhi by Sthiramati)

1. Laksana-s (nature) of the laya-vijna

1. laya

The treatise says:
The first consciousness [laya-vijna] capable of transformation and manifestation is, in the
Mahyna and Hnayna teachings alike, termed the laya-vijna or the laya consciousness.

The name of this consciousness has three meanings:
1. It is actively laya, storehouse, because it plays the active part of storing up the bja-s (seeds)
which, being stored, are passively laya.
2. It is passively laya in the sense that it is perfumed by the defiling dharmas of samklea.
[These dharmas create in it the bja-s which make of it a storehouse and store themselves in it].
3. it is the object of attachment. Manas attaches itself to it as to its tman.

In other words: The laya-vijna and the defiling dharmas of samklea are the cause of one
another; Sentient beings hold on to the laya-vijna and imagine that it is their inner Self.

The present treatise defines, by the word laya, the specific nature (svalaksana) of the eighth
consciousness. This consciousness has the characteristics of being both cause and effect: its self-
nature (svalaksana) is to concentrate on these two characteristics and to depend on them.

The self-nature of this consciousness admits of many variations according to the three stages of
spiritual progress. The name of laya is appropriate for this consciousness only when it is in the
first stage which is characterized by its being grasped by Manas as the inner Self. It is generally,
and incorrectly, designated by this name [and not by the other names of vipka and sarvabjaka]
precisely because of this and also because of its serious fault in storing up all the defiling elements
which are the bja-s.

laya-vijna has three aspects:-
1. Active aspect, that is the idea of store-house.
2. Passive aspect, in the sense it is being perfumed (vsita, bhvita).
3. Object of attachment. Manas attaches itself to laya-vijna as to its tman. According to their
system, the reasons why we dont experience nairtmya is because of the manas. Therefore
laya-vijna becomes the object of attachment. laya-vijna stores all the bja-s.

laya-vijna is to be known by three names:-
1. laya-vijna itself:- Svalaksana aspect.
2. Sarvabjaka-vijna :- cause aspect.
3. Vipka-vijna :- effect aspect.
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Lecture 11: 4
June 2003

Three aspects of laya-vijna and the theory of bja

(taken from Vijaptimtrat-siddhi by Sthiramati)

1. Laksana-s (nature) of the laya-vijna

1. laya

The treatise says:
The first consciousness [laya-vijna] capable of transformation and manifestation is, in the
Mahyna and Hnayna teachings alike, termed the laya-vijna or the laya consciousness.

The name of this consciousness has three meanings:
4. It is actively laya, storehouse, because it plays the active part of storing up the bja-s (seeds)
which, being stored, are passively laya.
5. It is passively laya in the sense that it is perfumed by the defiling dharmas of samklea.
[These dharmas create in it the bja-s which make of it a storehouse and store themselves in it].
6. it is the object of attachment. Manas attaches itself to it as to its tman.

In other words: The laya-vijna and the defiling dharmas of samklea are the cause of one
another; Sentient beings hold on to the laya-vijna and imagine that it is their inner Self.

The present treatise defines, by the word laya, the specific nature (svalaksana) of the eighth
consciousness. This consciousness has the characteristics of being both cause and effect: its self-
nature (svalaksana) is to concentrate on these two characteristics and to depend on them.

The self-nature of this consciousness admits of many variations according to the three stages of
spiritual progress. The name of laya is appropriate for this consciousness only when it is in the
first stage which is characterized by its being grasped by Manas as the inner Self. It is generally,
and incorrectly, designated by this name [and not by the other names of vipka and sarvabjaka]
precisely because of this and also because of its serious fault in storing up all the defiling elements
which are the bja-s.

1. Vipka

Considered as effect, the eighth consciousness is called vipka. It is the vipkaphala, the fruit of
retribution of good or bad deeds which draw or direct the individual concerned into a certain
sphere of existence, into a certain destiny, and into a certain womb (dhtu, gati, yoni) for
reincarnation. Apart from this consciousness, there is no vital principle nor any dharma such
as the immortal skandha of the Mahsaka-s which can form a perpetual series and be truly
and pre-eminently vipkaphala.

By the term vipka, the author indicates all the ways in which the eighth consciousness becomes
the fruit (phala) of past actions, etc. The fruit of this consciousness assumes many forms and is of
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
many kinds according to the different stages of spiritual life. We must distinguish these different
stages: the eighth consciousness of the Buddha is not vipka, but it is vipka in all other sentient
beings. It is also the only dharma which is really vipka, none of the other consciousnesses being
entitled to that name. Furthermore, this name is extensively used to cover four of the five stages of
spiritual progress. For this reason, the eighth consciousness is designated generally by the term

1. Sarvabjaka
Considered as cause, the eighth consciousness is called sarvabjaka or the seed consciousness,
which means that it is endowed or furnished with all the bja-s (seeds or germs). It is capable
of holding firmly and retaining the bja-s of all dharma-s, without allowing them to be lost. Apart
from this consciousness, no other dharma is capable of retaining the bja-s of all things.

By using this term, the author has the intention of indicating all the ways in which the eighth
consciousness is cause. It is a cause in many ways; but to it alone belongs that causality which is
the carrying or retention of bja-s, a capacity which is shared by none of the other consciousness.
Hence it can generally be defined as sarvabjaka.

These are, in general, only three ways of considering the eighth consciousness as effect and as
cause, although this consciousness has a great variety of aspects.

Three aspects of laya-vijna

laya-vijna is called (1) vipka-vijna because it is the effect of all the good and bad (moral and
immoral) seeds. All the karmic acts that we have done, as a result of which we have our consciousness
called laya-vijna. So from that aspect, it is an effect, and hence is called vipka. It is also called (2)
sarvabjaka-vijna, that is in the cause aspect. Because it comprises the whole of karmic seeds. We
have also the (3) svalaksana aspect, the aspect of its own intrinsic nature. It is the store of all seeds. It is
neither different nor identical with all the seeds.

1. The term laya-vijna has the narrowest scope, because it is confined to the state of prthagjana.
2. The other term vipka-vijna has the broadest scope, because it goes on, as the most
fundamental fact, in the continuous samsra. Therefore it applies to all states, whether we are
prthagjana, ravaka, arhat, pacceka-buddha, except the Buddha. According to their system, the
moment before one becomes the Buddha, that is called vajra-upama state when all defilements
are fully overcome, the vipka aspect of the Buddhas consciousness is no more. The
consciousness, just one moment before one becomes the Buddha, that is not called vipka.

Arguments as to whether laya-vijna in the aspect of vipka must be real

One argument that this laya-vijna in the aspect of vipka must be real. The question is asked
What is it that is continuous in samsra?

We cannot say six consciousnesses are constant. Five skandha-s cannot transmigrate. But we know
there is one school called Mahsaka, they say samsrika-skandha [ - all along, completely].
According to Yogcra, even this samsrika-skandha refers to laya-vijna.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Sometimes six consciousnesses are interrupted. When one in the nirodha-sampatti, our consciousness
is suspended. In the acittaka, what continue when there is no consciousness in the normal sense? The
argument is, there is still the subtle laya-vijna that continues. Likewise when one dies, ones
consciousness enter into the next body, the laya-vijna flows on. Thus they argued that laya-vijna
must be real.

Some people say jvitendriya, there is vital principle in some Abhidharma-schools. It is that which
makes one a force, that make one alive. But even then, when one dies, this is no more.

Another one called nikya-sabhgat. There is a force that make all human being alike. Likewise
animals, etc. But when one dies, these are relinquished. There is no dharma that continues except this
entity called vipka-vijna. That is laya-vijna.

From these arguments, they tried to establish that laya-vijna as the vipka is actually throughout the
samsra, except for the moment just before one becomes the Buddha.

1. Next aspect is sarvabjaka-vijna. Because it is the laya store of all seeds.

Theory of bja

(taken from demonstration of Consciousness Only, p. 48)

1. The seeds

Now we must specify what is meant by all seeds. What are the dharmas that are called seeds?
They are different energies in the fundamental consciousness that immediately engender their own
fruit or results. These seeds are neither the same as, nor different from, the fundamental
consciousness and their fruit, because the principle must be so regarding substance and function,
and cause and effect. Although they are neither identical with, nor different from, [the eighth
consciousness,] they really exist, because a fictional dharma is as if nonexistent and cannot be a
causal condition. [Sthiramati says that] being neither identical with nor different from all dharmas,
they must be only conventionally and not actually real, like pots, etc. But if this were so, then
ultimate reality (tathat) must also exist only conventionally, and to concede that would mean that
there would be no real ultimate truth. However, the seeds are only existent from the point of view
of conventional, worldly truth; they are not the same as ultimate reality.

Even though the seeds are supported on the substance of the eighth consciousness, they are
nothing but the seen part of this consciousness. [As Dharmapla] says, this is because the seeing
part always takes them as its objects. Because there is no distinction in substance between impure
seeds and consciousness as retribution, the seeds are morally indeterminate, but their causes and
results are good, bad, etc., and they are therefore said to be good, bad, etc. Since the pure
seeds are not included in the nature of consciousness as retribution, and since their causes and
results are categorized as good, then they are said to be only good. But if this is so, why does the
Vinicayasagraha [section of the Yogcrabhmi stra] say that all twenty-two faculties
(indriya) have seeds of retribution and are all born of retribution? Even though they are called
retribution, they are not indeterminate. They are called seeds of retribution because they are
supported by the consciousness that is retribution. Different kinds of consciousness support each
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
other, such as visual consciousness, etc. Also, pure seeds get the name retribution [or
maturation] because they mature and evolve through the power of perfuming, but they are not
retribution categorized as indeterminate by nature.

Examine these two things?
1. Whether bja-s are real or not real?
2. What is the moral species of bja-s? Are they kuala, akuala or avykrta?

Bja-s are potentialities (of good and bad) found in the laya-vijna. laya-vijna is also called mla-

Bja-s are of the nature of avykrta (morally non-defined) as potentialities. They themselves are non-
defined. But when they manifest (samudcra) in the phenomena universe, as it manifests, it can
manifest into different types. In another word, the manifested aspect can be kuala, akuala. As
potentialities, we cannot say they are kuala or akuala. It is also in this sense that we can see, therefore,
bja and laya-vijna are neither identical nor different. laya-vijna is simply that comprises all the
seeds. And the seeds are avykrta. laya-vijna is also avykrta, but yet they are not fully the same.
Because seeds are potentialities that individuated; laya-vijna is a whole flow and what is more,
although the bja-s are avykrta, as potentiality, when they manifest, they can manifest into kuala,
akuala, avykrta. Whereas laya-vijna is always avykrta. So there are differences and similarities.
Thus bja-s and laya-vijana are neither totally identical with nor different.

Bja is comparable with kritra (function, activity); laya-vijna is comparable with svabhva
(intrinsic nature).

In Sarvstivdas Abhidharma, the conclusion is that, if one asks what is the relationship between the
activity of a thing, the answer is they are neither identical with nor different.

The text itself uses those words, i.e. activity, substance. laya-vijna is the substance, that thing itself
from which activity arises. Activity last only one moment, whereas laya-vijana goes on as a flow.
Therefore one could argue this kind of theory can be traced back to Abhidharma.

In the Sarvstivdas system, activity is that which manifest out. For instance, akti. A real dharma has
efficacy. The efficacy is specific to it. For instance, eye sees, the function of seeing belong to eye. The
Sarvstivda would say, the function of seeing is not really kritra. It can be called akti, vypra, etc.,
but not kritra.

Kritra also in a way is similar to all the other type of akti (force, efficacy). It is manifested.

Bja is a potentiality (different energies). It is not manifested yet. So there is some differences also.

The worldly example, from mango seed, it gets mango. It directly and immediately engender its own
fruit. Bja is a specific potency. Some crya-s say differently. Some say bja has to be gained from
beginningless time. Some say bja-s are new thing that are acquired as a continuing force whenever we
have experience, for instance, craving, if we keep on craving something, that conditioning force of
craving become very strong. So strong that it becomes very specific. At that time, we say that it had
been perfumed (vsan, bhvita) as the bja.
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti

In term of moral species, they are non-defined. As potentiality, we cant say because it has not
manifested yet.

Are bja-s real or not?

If we say bja-s are real, there are problems. There are bja of various types, i.e. good and bad seeds.
The real thing cannot mix together. If we think in term of potentiality, then we dont have that problem,
potentiality can be of anything. But the point is, if they are not real, how can they give rise to
manifestation? How can there be causal-efficacy?

Sautrntika say, bja-s are not real. They are prajapti (notion, expression). Precisely because bja-s are
not real thing, they can avoid many conceptual problems. If one thinking of a real thing, each having a
specific nature, that is to say, good one must be good one forever, then there are problems.

Saghabhadra asked them a question bja is not real, but yet saying that bja-s are karmic force. For
Sautrntika, they talked about santati (series, continuation). When we performed a karma, the potential
force stays. Immediately it lasts only one moment. They talked about series from moment to moment.
Finally there come to a point called santati-parinma-viesa. Example, the moment we put the seed in
the ground, it begins to deteriorate. We cant say that mango seed directly give rise to the fruit. It is the
whole series that gives rise to the fruit. Finally at the specific point when conditions are assembled, then
the fruit is projected. What produces the fruit? They will say it is not the bja that produce the fruit, but
the whole series.

In their system, bja-s give rise to manifestation (samudcra). The theory is, as it manifests, at that
very time, it perfumes back. In modern word, it leaves behind the conditioning force (imprint) on you.
For example, you crave for something, that craving process reinforces the craving at that very same
time. So these process, bja manifesting into the actuality, actuality at the same time, perfume (vsan,
bhvita) your laya-vijna. This process takes place simultaneously.

Simultaneous relationship
This relationship in Abhidharma is called sahabh relationship. Cause-effect exist together. According
to Sarvstivda, there are two types of causality.
1. First we have cause, then the effect.
2. cause and effect co-exist. Ex. Citta and caitta always arise together. Citta is the cause of caitta;
caitta is the cause of citta, in as much as the arising of one depends on the others. They give the
example of bundle of straws. The very existence of one depends on the others. They are
mutually cause as well as effect.

When laya-vijna arises, it arises in such a way, it bifurcates into two aspects:-
1. darana-bhga (perceiving aspect);
2. Nimitta-bhga (perceived aspect).

For this theory to be tenable, the object and subject must be simultaneous. If somebody can prove that
the object exist before the consciousness, then it is no more Idealism or vijaptimtrat. For this system,
it is extremely important that when I see something, the object and the seeing must be simultaneous.
Otherwise I cant claim what I see is the same as my mind.
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti

The idea of simultaneous relationship is extremely important for Yogcra. Thats why, they change
their standpoint. Sautrntika is their predecessor. Sautrntika strike very hard to deny there is such a
thing called simultaneous causality. When Yogcra took over, the idea of bja, laya, they found that
on the other hand, exactly to the opposite, the whole system cannot work conceptually, unless you have
simultaneous causality.

Here the fruit is the manifestation and your consciousness. Hence the laya-vijana and the effect are
neither different nor identical. They must be simultaneous only. Bja and the manifestation must be
simultaneous. Otherwise the system of consciousness-only (vijapti-mtra) cannot be established.

According to Yogcrabhmi-stra, what are bja-s? When we analyze the samskra, we cannot find a
bja inside. All we see are dharma-s at all time. At some state, this dharma function like cause, the many
moments later, it functions like the effect. All we see only the dharma in the different state/ capacity/
aspect. This is consistent with their standpoint of Vibhajyavdin. What is real? Real is present, that is
dharma having activity, sometimes function as cause, sometimes function as effect. This dharma,
samskra is neither totally identical with not different from bja-s.

Lecture 12: 11
June 2003

The important of sahabh relationship for the establishment of

Nature of laya-vijna
bja (function)
Actualized dharma (effect; samudcra)

Earlier lessons, we have seen the relationship of laya-vijna in relation to the bja-s and to the
dharma (actualized dharma; samudcra). Bja-s mean potentialities, karmic forces inside the laya-
vijna. From the point of view of manifestation of dharma, only the present exists. That idea was
derived from Sautrntika. Their relationship is neither-nor. Likewise think of a dharma manifested, they
are neither identical nor different from laya-vijna.

Then the statement is made, if this is so, by virtue of the nature of cause and effect, these seeds are
neither the same as, nor different from the fundamental consciousness and their fruit, because the
principle must be so regarding substance and function, and cause and effect.

Background of Early and Later Yogcra

We are studying the system called vijapti-mtra, that is, what we experience outside is not real, it is
only the mind. From the Early Yogcra up to the period of Vasubandhu, when we look at their works,
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
we do not need to understand their system in the ontological manner, that is to say something must exist
as a substance. Though generally, Yogcra has started to recognize the asti system. Consciousness
exists as a base. If I know something, I may not be sure of reality of something that I know, but I am
sure that I am knowing something. My consciousness knows something. It depends on us how to
interpret it, does it mean that ultimately we are talking about absolute existence called the self-
consciousness or not, or purely locate at it from the point of view of knowledge or epistemology.
Putting aside what is absolute, all what I am saying is that, from my experience, that fact of my
consciousness knowing is a real thing. So when you say there is this fact of consciousness is real, others
are not real, then it is subjected to interpretation.

In the Later Yogcra period, various crya-s interpreted it differently. Finally they have a very
definite ontological entity in Yogcra.

Examine the nature of substance and function

For Sarvstivda, dharma has two aspects.
1. Svabhva (substance);
2. Kritra, kriy (function).
For them, their substance is an ontology. From substance, there is an activity. The principle of
substance-function must be such that function cannot be apart from substance. What is the substance? A
substance would not be a real fact unless it has the function. Sarvstivda would argue how do we know
the nirvna is real? That is because it has activity. That activity is not space-time activity. For example,
a Yogi meditates, he can experience calm, peaceful. That means he has the effect on the consciousness.
Therefore nirvna too has the function. If nirvna is not real, how come people aspire for nirvna !

To say that something is real, something that has the function, there are many dharma-s which cannot
be proved, like vedan, etc. How do they prove the reality? They say, from the laksana, we see the
laksya (that which is characterized). So the laksya is the svabhva. From the external, we see the
internal; from the phenomenal, we see the noumena. This is how they argue the reality of dharma.

Yogcra system is derived from Abhidharma. Professor Karunadasa says one cant properly
understand even the Theravda Abhidhamma without understanding the Sarvstivda Abhidharma.

Already in Sarvstivdas Abhidharma, this idea, function and substance are neither identical with nor
different has been taught. This is inherited by Yogcra.

Nature of cause-effect

Even in the domain of cause- effect, cause and effect are neither totally identical with nor different.

These two substance-function and cause-effect are the most important point of vijapti-mtra.

Sahabh relationship
Yogcra took over the sahabh relationship. One argument is that, in the perceptual process, the
Buddha says, when the eyes (caksu) see rpa, it gives rise to visual-consciousness. The Buddha is never
a metaphysician.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Now the Sarvstivda argue, of you say first, there are eyes and rpa, then next the visual-
consciousness; you are saying when visual-consciousness arises, the eyes and rpa are no more. When
they are no more, they are unreal things. So how can any unreal entity become the pratyaya for caksu-
vijna. It is impossible.

When you have cause and effect, something to give rise to another thing, that something must be real.
Example, karma. Vipka-hetu is my akuala or kuala citta. I am going to have vipka-phala later.
They cant be at the same time. But later on, says 10 years later, my vipka-phala arises. What happens
at that time to that earlier cause? The question is, if it is no more, a fruit comes from the blank. This is
their argument.

When Sarvstivda says, it is past, it means within relative to its own time frame-work. It has become
past, but it is still there. According to Sarvstivda, relative to the time-frame work to the effect, it has
become present. But though it is past, it is still there (asti). That is the principle of causality.

For sahabh relationship, the principle is, cause and effect must be the same. Real pratyaya give rise to
existing (sat).

Sautrntika solve the problems by santati-parinma-viesa.

What is meant by vijapti-mtrat

When I see something, all I see is the manifestation of my mind. Can that things be different in time
period from my mind? The answer is cannot. It must be simultaneous with the mind. The other thing
is, when I see something, the object and subject are identical. That is the essence of vijapti-mtra. If I
want to identify the subject and object, perceiver and perceived, then these two must be simultaneous.
In each moment, the substance and the function, and cause and effect must be simultaneous. Then they
can establish vijapti-mtrat. They are very consistent with their philosophy.

There are these two levels to establish vijpti-mtrat?

Level I:- bja-s in laya-vijna gives rise to dharma. From my consciousness, potentiality called bja is
manifested the phenomenal. That phenomenal is just the projection from the mind.

Level II:- laya-vijpti gives rise to two aspects:-
1. Darana-bhga (perceiving aspect) grahaka (subject)
2. Nimitta-bhga (perceived aspect) grahya (object)

According to this system, when our laya-vijna evolves, it bifurcates itself to two portions:- darana-
bhga and nimitta-bhga. Example:- dream. You see everything happening as if everything happens
outside you. Really it is all in our mind.

Various other theories

The later crya-s in the commentary, they have different theories. One argument is this, when
consciousness evolves into the subject and object, some crya-s say the fact that I know I am
perceiving, that fact must also be there. In logic, we have
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
1. Pramna the mean of cognition. Through my eye, I see something. (subject aspect)
2. prameya Object aspect. Example:- rpa. I see a form. If there is no result of that, then as if
I have not seen anything. Example given in the commentary, if I want to measure something,
first thing, I must have a ruler (pramna), then I begin to measure it. What is measured is a
table. But if I just measure without taking the measurement, as if I have not measured it.
3. Pramna-phala the consciousness which is the substance, which knows that I have seen.

According to some crya-s, besides these two, there is
III. Samvitti-bhga :- This is the laya-vijna. For me to know the fact that everything is vijapti-
mtra, even that consciousness must be there.

Some crya-s like Dharmapla, he adds-
IV. Sva-samvitti-bhga (self-witnessing aspect)

The argument is, first thing how do I know I am seeing myself. The fact of I am seeing is the witness.
How do I know I am knowing it? There must be something knows that I am knowing. There is
something more fundamental. But the problems would be, this will go into infinite.

Example, jti is that force that give rise to dharma. Whenever any dharma that is arisen in me, there is a
force called jti. In the universe, there must be a force that is responsible for coming out of any dharma.
Jti itself is also another dharma. What give rise to jti? There must be another dharma called jti-jti.
Jti-jti is called anu-laksana (secondary characteristic).

Sthiramati says, both seeing aspect and seen aspect are parikalpita (imagination). Even the laya-
vijna is a relative reality. For Dharmapla, all these three aspects (first three) have relative reality
(paratantra). What we think of as pudgala, tman, all those are parikalpita.

To summarize:
For these to be able to prove the vijapti-mtrat, then one must say the seeing and seen aspect must be
simultaneous. They are neither identical with nor totally different with each other. In another word,
whenever there is object, it means at the same time, there is consciousness. That is meant by vijapti-
mtrat. This is the sahabh relationship. So the notion of simultaneous causality has become central
important for Yogcra.

1. What is the relationship between laya-vijna, bja and the manifested dharma? Shows the
important of its relationship for the establishment of the theory of vijpti-mtra?
2. Illustrate the important of sahabh relationship for the establishment of vijaptimtrat?

Lecture 13: 18
June 2003


The word vsan refers to bja. Vsan is in causative form from vas to dwell, to stay cause
something to stay, to perfume, for instance, bad smell perfumes into a cloth that originally without any
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti

Bja is neither identical with nor different from laya-vijna. It has the relative real.

Bja-s are formed by the process of vsan. All the potency energies are stored, and when conditions
are arrived, there are various manifestation. The causal process is a simultaneous one. At the same time,
it perfumes back on the mind. Bja-s obviously in the process can be strengthened continuously, good or
bad in our experience.

There are three major theories about bja-s. Where do the bja-s come from?

The first theory is by Chandrapla (7
A.D.) All bja-s are by nature innate (prakrti). From
beginningless time, bja-s are always been there, there is no new bja. Perfuming may strengthen the
bja only. The process of perfuming cannot create bja. Bja has already been there. One argument is
that, if you have new bja, in fact it gives problems to the theory of causation. For instance, defilements
or good virtue for that matter, what is the corresponding bja? This particular effect correspond to this
particular cause. If you have a new bja, then the question would ask, when you have effect, does the
effect correspond to the original bja. Then there is a confusion.

The second theory is by Nanda and rsena. All bja-s are derived from perfuming from beginningless

What is the differences between these two:-
For the first one, bja-s are always been there. There is a process of vsan. That process strengthen the
bja only. It does not amount to the creation of new bja. For the second theory, all bja-s are perfumed.
This has been the case from the beginningless time. What is the bja? Bja is equated with vsan. So,
to get a bja, whether you say is from beginningless time, it must always be the product of vsan

The third theory is by Dharmapla. Some bja-s are innate; some are newly formed from perfuming.

Krik 19 of Avijptimtrat-siddhi

Samsra and the Three vsan-s

Although internal consciousness exists, how, in the absence of external pratyaya-s, is one to
explain the uninterrupted succession of births and deaths of sentient beings?

The Stanza says:
karmano vsan grha-dvaya-vsanay saha
ksne prvavipke nyadvipkam janayanti tat

owing to the habit-energy (bja-s or vsan) of various previous deeds, together with
the habit-energy of the two apprehensions (grha), as previous retribution (karma of
previous existences) is exhausted, succeeding retribution (maturing in subsequent
existences) is produced.

The Treatise says:
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti

1. Three explanations of the Stanza

1. First Explanation

1. Habit-energy (vsan) of various previous deeds (karmano vsan):

Various deeds refer to those deeds which are meritorious (punya), unmeritorious (apunya), and
non-changing (nijya). What is involved here are good but impure deeds (ssrava) and bad
deeds proceeding from volition (cetankarman).

The term deed also designates the associates (parivra) of deeds that is to say, the five
skandha-s simultaneous with them because, with the deeds, these associates create or
complete the fruit of retribution.

Although the deed perishes immediately after having come to birth and one may not therefore
admit that it is capable, by itself, of creating the fruit, nevertheless, this deed impresses (dadhti)
on the Mlavijna, the potentials or bja-s which will produce their own fruit. These potentials
receive the name of habit-energy or perfuming energy (vsan). They are in fact the vapours,
the energy, the emanation of the deed; and they are produced by the perfuming or impregnating
influence of the act (karma).

The habit-energy doctrine (vsan) is opposed to (1) the theory which conceives a past act as
productive of the present fruit (Sarvstivdin); and (2) the theory which states that the act
produces its fruit at the moment when it is accomplished (lokyatika-s).

These potentials constitute a continuing series right up to the moment when they are ripe (viesa).
At that moment, the final potential creates the fruit.

This shows that, in much the same way, the deed is the supreme adhipati-pratyaya, or
contributory condition, of the production of the fruit of retribution, whether general or particular;
[not the hetupratyaya, the condition qu cause,] because the fruit, non-defined (avykrta), is not
of the nature of the deed; because it is not immediately engendered by the deed.

2. Together with the Habit-energy of the two apprehensions (grha-s):

This refers to the two apprehensions or grha-s, i.e., concepts, conception as pudgala-s or as
dharmas. These include the apprehension of nimitta and darana, nman, rpa, citta and caittas,
mla and vipka that is to say, the apprehension of, or adherence to, the conceived division
(grhya that which is apprehended, object of consciousness) and the conceiving division
(grhaka, that which apprehends, subject of consciousness).

By the vsan (habit energy) of the two grha-s (apprehensions) are meant the potentials
impressed on the mlavijna by the two grha-s and those which are capable of immediately
engendering the same two grha-s. [The meaning of vsan is therefore double: the potential
proceeding from the two grha-s and the potential producing the two grha-s].

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
This vsan is the hetupratyaya, the causal condition, of the future citta (the fruit of retribution)
and its associates (: in reality, the five skandha-s).

The phrase together with is to show that the bja-s derived from the deeds (karmabja-s), or
distant pratyaya, and those derived from the two grha-s, or immediate pratyaya-s, help each
other to produce the future fruit of retribution, i.e., rebirth.

The power of deeds to bring about rebirth is very manifest; that is why Vasubandhu mentions
various previous deeds in the first place.

3. Previous retribution and succeeding retribution:

The expression previous retribution refers to the fruit of retribution for deeds in former
existences [which fruit must ripen in a certain existence and which, in reality, always includes
the retribution of many acts]. The expression succeeding retribution refers to the fruit of
retribution for deeds which must ripen in subsequent existences [because the same act brings
about retribution in many existences]. As the former is exhausted, the latter is produced.

The bja-s derived from the grha-s undoubtedly produce fruits ad infinitum, fruits of nisyanda
or efflux; but the habit-energy (vsan) derived from deeds exhausts itself by producing its fruit
which is the fruit of vipka or retribution. In fact, the fruit of retribution is not of the same nature
as its cause; it is difficult to produce, because it is brought about in another existence. The fruit
of efflux, on the contrary, is of the same nature as its cause; it is easy to produce.

By reason of the maturity of the bja-s of both categories which produce a future existence, when
the enjoyment of the fruit of previous retribution is exhausted, a subsequent retributory fruit is

Consequently the wheel of samsra, the revolving cycle of birth and death, turns round and
round without end. Why, then, is it necessary to suppose the existence of external pratyaya to
explain the continuity of existences?

The meaning of the stanza is therefore as follows:

The wheel of samsra turns by virtue of deeds and the two grha-s; there is nothing here that is
separable from consciousness (citta-caitta), because the cause and the effect are, in their essential
nature, citta-caitta.

2. Second Explanation

The continuous procession of births and deaths (samsra) is due to the operation of various
vsan-s in other words, the bja-s. Vsan-s are of three different kinds:

1. Ming-yen vsan, the perfuming energy created by names and concepts. By this are meant
the immediate bja-s of each of the conditioned dharma-s (samskrta-s).
Names and concepts are of two kinds:
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
(1) That which expresses the meaning and makes it known to others; a certain kind of
vocal sound that is capable of indicating the meaning.
(2) That which reveals or causes the object to be present, that is, the citta-caitta which
perceive the object.

The bja-s which, by reason of these two kinds of names and concepts, are imprinted on the
mlavijna (nimittabhga), are the causal condition (hetupratyaya) of each of the
conditioned dharma-s.

2. Vsan of tman-adhesion (tmagraha): the bja-s which proceed from the false concept of
I-and-mine. tman-adhesion is of two kinds:
(1) Innate tman-adhesion [belonging to the sixth and seventh consciousness], which is to
be cut off by the path of meditation and self-cultivation (bhvanheya).
(2) tman-adhesion of discrimination or speculation (vikalpita), [belonging to the sixth
consciousness], which is abandoned or cut off by the path of insight into Transcendent
Truth (daranaheya).

The bja-s created and perfumed by these two tman-adhesions have as a result the
distinction between the self and the non-self in relation to sentient beings, etc.

3. Vsan of Bhavnga : The bja-s which proceed from deeds, karmabja-s, which bring about
retribution in the three dhtu-s. Bhavnga is of two kinds:
(1) Impure-good deeds which produce agreeable fruits.
(2) Bad deeds which produce disagreeable fruits.

The bja-s created and perfumed by these two bhavnga-s have as a result the contrast
between the fruits of retribution, i.e., between good and bad destinies.

Explanation of the stanza 19.

We are in samsra, because of karma. Karma in the sense of vsan. They divide vsan into three
types. The fact that we are attached, we get troubles, we go round in samsra, does that fact imply that
the existence of external thing?

For Mahyna, the word vastu is for karma. Still this vastu that we attached to, all is the projection of
the mind. What is the conclusion? Ultimately the cause for the trouble is the internal one.

We are in samsra because of vsan (1) Vsan of karma; and (2) vsan of the two grha-s.

Karma means meritorious (punya), demeritorious (apunya) and nijya (It means the karma of
rpadhtu and rpyadhtu cannot be changed. It is fixed. Because the mind is very concentrated. The
mind is wholesome.) In the case of kmadhtu, what we do, we can change the karma. For example, if
we do bad, we can repent, to change the status of bad karma.

Samsra is due to the vsan of karma or bja. But in what sense? It is not in the sense that the bja
directly gives rise to the vipka. It is momentary. Vipka can take a long time. That cetan produces a
force into the laya-vijna, that become the bja. That bja is a akti. That akti is passed on in the
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
series from moment to moment. It may take a long time. For example, a rambutan seed. The ability to
produce rambutan fruit is in the seed. Though that seed is decaying, at the same time, it is passing on
that potential energy in the whole plant, finally to flower, then the fruit. This potential receives the
name vsan.

This doctrine opposed to the Sarvstivda. According to Sarvstivda, if I have a karma, lets say
cetan, that cetan may be momentary, and became past, but is not disappeared. It is still there. It is in
the past mode. Finally ten years later, the same cetan that gives rise to vipka though it has past.

Bja theory is a Vibhajyavda theory, in a sense that bja theory which explains on the basis only the
present is real. Though the bja is momentary, but the series goes on from moment to moment. The
potency is passed on. It goes on and on, and finally at the particular point where the conditions are
arrived for the arising of vipka. That specific point is called viesa.

Vsan is also opposed to the theory of Lokyatika-s. They have the theory that karma produces a fruit
at the moment when it is accomplished. This is not the Buddhist idea.


Karma is a bja, or vsan, or as a force. When we say karma produces vipka, according to Yogcra
system, karma is not hetu-pratyaya. It is adhipati-pratyaya. Adhipati-pratyaya means generic
contribution [Lit. adhipati means dominant, chief]. But it does not mean what is seem to mean. That
sense of chief is conveyed by hetu-pratyaya. For instance, rambutan fruits. What is the hetu-pratyaya?
It is the rambutan seed. What is the adhipati-pratyaya? It comprises so many things water, sunlight,
etc., contribute in a general way. Even according to Sarvstivda, all dharmas in the universe at that
time which are not obstructive to the arising of that fruit are also considered as adhipati-pratyaya.

Contribution can be either positive or negative in a sense of non-obstruction. A non-obstruction is also a
contribution in a negative way.

According to their system, karma is not a main cause. It is only the adhipati-pratyaya.

In that process, starting from bja, it goes on in the series, finally we get a fruit. So you cant say the
karma is the direct cause of the fruit. Therefore it is considered only the adhipati-pratyaya.

Lecture 14: 25
June 2003

Vsan and bja

Relationships between vsan and bja
We have seen bja means vsan. Another term is akti (force). Bja also is explained as akti. What are
the relationships between these terms? First they refer to the same thing. The second point is, akti is a
very general term. akti means the force / potency. Therefore bja is a kind of akti. Bja means much
more than that. Bja is a very definite force and it gives a very definite special of dharma. In another
word, bja itself is really an avykrta, but it can produce kuala and akuala vipka. The production is a
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
very specific. If a bja is supposed to produce a kuala, it cannot be suddenly a bja that produce

Vsan though it is said to be synonyms with bja, it shows the process or leaving behind the trace or
influence, it is the influential force. It signifies the formation of bja from the actual dharma
(samudcra) [samudcra is like paryavasthna; bja is like anuaya]. The word vsan signifies
the process of actual positing its influence / force in the laya-vijna, so producing the bja. According
to the different theories of bja, some (Chandrapla) bja-s are said to be innate (prakrti-stha) [abiding
in its natural position]. Those bja-s are really not vsan. From the beginningless time, we have all
kind of bja-s, good, bad and neutral. Bja-s are potential forces, thus, it is avykrta. Once it becomes
actual, we can specifically say it is kuala or akuala. Bja-s are capable of manifesting kuala or
akuala dharma-s.

Other says bja (Nanda and rsena) are all perfumed. For this theory, there would definitely equate
vsan with bja, because there is no such thing called bja is not due to perfuming. The very definition
of bja is something that is derived from perfuming. It is a conditioning force, a habitual force. Bja is
formed by vsan. Thus for this theory, bja would be exactly equal to vsan.

For the earlier theory, everything is bja. So in a way, we cannot say bja-s are vsan. What is the
function of vsan for the earlier theory? It says bja-s are all innate. For them, function of bja-s is to
intensify the innate bja-s. So the bja-s can be actualized.

For Dharmapla and others (followed by Chinese school), bja-s are both innate and new. First there
must be innate bja-s. Without these bja-s, how can we have ansrava-bja-s. Without the ansrava-
bja, how can we gain insight into the Truth. First we are prthagjana, we practice, then we come to a
point called darana-mrga. At this point, we become rya. We gain insight into the four Noble Truth.
Darana-mrga last only fifteen moments. Then come to bhvan-mrga. While we are prthagjana,
there is no ansrava-dharma. All thing (citta and caitta) pertain to us are ssrava (ssrava can be
kuala also), when we enter the point of darana-mrga, we become a totally new lineage (gotrabh),
we produce ansrava. The question, how can we suddenly produce ansrava citta and ansrava caitta.
Where does it come from? One theory is that, from the beginningless time, there have been these
ansrava bja-s. Ansrava-bja-s at this time have become sufficiently intensified and give rise to

According to others in MVS, there is no need to assume the ansrava. While we are having ssrava
thought, we have ruta-vsan, that is we read the stra-s, we listen to the dharma-desan, there is
perfuming in the very definite potentialities. That potentiality is called ansrava-bja. So ansrava-
bja come from perfuming, not innate. Then they say, how come ssrava can perfume something to
become ansrava. Now they explained, if there is no ansrava bja-s, is like the whole totality
disconnected lineage (vamsa), so there is no continuity. So we cant say from ssrava, we jump into
ansrava. So they have to explain that it is due to ssrava-bja.

Dharmapla says, first there must be seeds which may be called ssrava and ansrava seeds. From the
innate state, seeds, there is samudcra (manifestation). And that manifestation deposits that habitual
energy in the bja-s. This process must be simultaneous and mutually cause-effect. This is the cause
(hetu) for the dharma, at the same time, the dharma is an experience that conditions our mind, deposits
the habitual tendencies / potential force in us, called bja. At that very time, it perfumes back the laya.
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
So we have in the next moment, there are these seeds. For example, we have mind of craving, so we
have the series of mind of craving. So according to this theory, first we must have innate seeds to start
with. The innate state would manifest when it is strong enough, when conditions are ripe into actual
dharma, that actual dharma again perfumes the mind and leaves the trace called vsan, that trace is the
bja. In that sense, new bja-s are vsan. And the function of vsan on the innate bja, is only of the
strengthening and intensify, and it can create new bja-s also.

Three types of vsan

2. Second Explanation

The continuous procession of births and deaths (samsra) is due to the operation of various
vsan-s in other words, the bja-s. Vsan-s are of three different kinds:

4. Ming-yen vsan (nma, abhilpa, vyavahra), the perfuming energy created by
names and concepts. By this are meant the immediate bja-s of each of the conditioned
dharma-s (samskrta-s).
Names and concepts are of two kinds:
(1) That which expresses the meaning and makes it known to others; a certain kind of
vocal sound that is capable of indicating the meaning.
(2) That which reveals or causes the object to be present, that is, the citta-caitta which
perceive the object.

The bja-s which, by reason of these two kinds of names and concepts, are imprinted on the
mlavijna (nimittabhga), are the causal condition (hetupratyaya) of each of the
conditioned dharma-s.

The idea is the word and concept. The word and concept is the conditioning forces in our mind. We
think of something, we say something, the word we use is actually the concept also. The manifestation
as experience actually comes from this ming-yen vsan. Form the beginningless time, our
consciousness called laya-vijna, we have all kinds of concepts. These concepts are influencing us to
experience reality in a certain ways. That is how we experience the external world due to the influence
of concept in our mind. This type of conceptualization are continuing forces. They give rise to various

Actually in such process, because of the conceptualizing tendencies, the whole problems of samsra is
the problems of perceptual error, we see things up-side-down. We have concepts. In this process, we
have various types of potential patterns, called bja-s. These potential energies are very specific, and the
manifested dharma-s are very specific also, like experience, concepts, etc.

5. Vsan of tman-adhesion (tmagraha): the bja-s which proceed from the false concept of
I-and-mine. tman-adhesion is of two kinds:
(1) Innate tman-adhesion [belonging to the sixth and seventh consciousness], which is to
be cut off by the path of meditation and self-cultivation (bhvanheya).
(2) tman-adhesion of discrimination or speculation (vikalpita), [belonging to the sixth
consciousness], which is abandoned or cut off by the path of insight into Transcendent
Truth (daranaheya).
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti

The bja-s created and perfumed by these two tman-adhesions have as a result the
distinction between the self and the non-self in relation to sentient beings, etc.

What is the differences between (1) and (2).
The second type is the pure conceptual error, we think that there is tman. It is an error of drsti. So to
correct that, if we have daranaheya, one of the 3 samyojana-s, satkyadrsti is abandoned. Because it is
of the nature of conceptual purely in the sense of wrong view.

The first type is the stubborn innate tmagraha, we have to repeatedly practice to remove it.

6. Vsan of Bhavnga : The bja-s which proceed from deeds, karmabja-s, which bring about
retribution in the three dhtu-s. Bhavnga is of two kinds:
(1) Impure-good deeds which produce agreeable fruits.
(2) Bad deeds which produce disagreeable fruits.

The bja-s created and perfumed by these two bhavnga-s have as a result the contrast
between the fruits of retribution, i.e., between good and bad destinies.

Characteristics of bja-s
What qualify a dharma to be a bja? What are the main characteristics of bja-s? There are 6
1. Ksanika (momentary)
First condition is that, bja-s must be momentary, because what is permanent would not change, what
cannot be changed cannot be influenced.

2. Bja-s are simultaneous with their phala (actualized dharma)
A bija of this dharma is the one which has a very specific connection. For example, a bja that is going
to manifest craving, is from very specific experience. It cant be derived from experience of kindness,
etc. So there must be a very specific direct connection, that connection in Yogcra must be a
simultaneous one.

Perfuming takes place in the present moment. The conclusion is that, bja and dharma-s, for the bja to
be perfumed by the dharma, or actual experience that can leave the trace on laya-vijna, these two
must be simultaneous. This is to prove their vijpti-mtrat.

It is said that in Mahyna-Abhidharma-stra, it talks about sahabh-hetu (Simultaneous-causality).
The same text also teaches the doctrine of laya-vijna.

Lecture 15: 2
July 2003

Six characteristics of the bja

In brief, mental dharmas are bja-s. Even then there are different types of mental dharmas. Bja is a
potential force and that can manifest into an actual experience.
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti

There are six characteristics:-

1. The bja-s are momentary (ksanika) only those dharmas can be bja-s which perish
immediately they are born and which possess a superior power of activity. This excludes the
eternal dharma-s which, being changeless and immutable, are incapable of generative action.

For dharma to be a bja, there must be momentary. Bja must go through different stages of
development, it becomes strengthened. When we have experience, that experience reinforce that
tendency, finally it becomes strong enough, it gives rise to manifestation. If a dharma is permanent,
there is no possibility of change

2. The bja-s are simultaneous with their fruit. Only that dharma is a bja which is simultaneously
and actually connected with its fruit (that is, with the actual dharma which it engenders). This
excludes those dharmas which are anterior to their fruits and those which are not related with their

Simultaneous with its fruit (actual dharma). Dharmas means all kinds of things in the universe. The
process of manifestation and the process of perfuming is simultaneous. If they are not simultaneous,
dharmas and bja-s are not connected. So there wouldnt have theory of vijptimtrat, because, one
can say that there is something that is independent of the mind, either first or later. Another point, it is at
the present moment, that there is an activity, not past nor future. They are Vibhajyavdins. For them,
any manifestation must take place at the present moment. Therefore fruit (actual dharma) and seeds
exist in the present moment simultaneously.

For the sake of argument, bja previous to mental dharma or after dharma; even if that should be
possible, still there is another difficulty, because they are not related. Therefore, this condition ensures
that the cause and effect are related.

For example, heretics would say Mahevara as a cause can manifest anything. According to Buddhism,
everything comes from its own seed, like everything comes from its own karma. A karmic force is very
specific. There must be a very specific relationship.

For the sake of argument that the previous or not connected one, for instance, vara, as he likes, he can
manifest anything. So you can called mah-bja (or pradhna-bja), or whatever you can call it. If so, it
would deduce to non-Buddhist theory.

The bja and the actual dharma, being of different nature, can coexist without contradicting each
other: in a certain person there coexist the actual dharma and the energy which engenders it. On
the contrary, bja-s of the same nature cannot coexist, because they contradict one another; these
similar bja-s engender one another in a series.

Here is a notion of co-existing, the cause and effect exist at the same time. This is possible only if the
cause and the effect are of different nature. In another word, dharma-s are dharma-s; bja-s are bja-s.
They are distinct. So two distinct things can co-exist. Two things which are similar cannot co-exist
because all mix together. Then we can think of a case of similar entities continue in a series. As far as
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
the bja-s are concerned, we can say sabhga-nisyanda relationship. That means, similar cause give rise
to a outflow/ emanation of itself in a series.

In the case simultaneous, if there is a karma, karma bja is either kuala or akuala. What is the nature
of vipka? Its nature is avykrta. So they are not of the same species.

When the bja engenders the actual dharma, the cause is simultaneous with the fruit. When the
bja engenders a bja which is similar to it, the cause is anterior to the fruit. But we attribute
causal activity only to present things, not to future things (not yet born) and past things (already
destroyed) which have no specific nature (svabhava, reality). Hence the name of bja is reserved
for that bja which engenders the actual dharma, not for that which leads to the production of a
bja similar to itself.

Hence the bja is simultaneous to its fruit.

This is to show their standpoint of Vibhajyavdin. For Vibhajyavdin, only present dharma-s are real.
When we say manifestation, activity, we can only talk about it at the present moment.

Though Yogcra talks about six types of causes, actually the sahabh-hetu is the main one. If they
cant establish sahabh-hetu, they cant establish any other types of causality. Why is that so? On the
one hand, they are saying, karma can become past, after sometimes, still it can give rise to vipka.
Therefore if vipka is arisen now, is vartamna (present), the hetu is atta. Though they accept this,
but professor has analyzed that, even this also cannot be established without the sahabh relationship.

For Sarvstivda, first thing, a dharma is a hetu gives rise to a phala. When you say, phala means
there is an activity or efficacy. It is in fact because a past karma is efficacious in producing a vipka that
we say past karma is real. Why thing has become past is real? Because otherwise, how can we account
for the fact that it can be productive, some thing that is productive of a result must be real. In another
word, what is the criteria of reality? Something real is something that has activity or causal efficacy.
That is intrinsic aspect of a real dharma. Dharma is always a cause, either actually or potentially.

Vibhajyavdin also have to say what is real, a real thing is something that has efficacy, productive.
Since past thing and future thing cannot exist, what is productive must be at the present moment.

For the system of vijptimtrat, the first premise, the two cannot be separated; the second premise,
the efficacy must be at the present moment. Adding these two premises together, it must mean that the
only valid cause-effect relationship is a simultaneous one.

Yogcra admit, there are two types of causality. They are 1. Simultaneous one; 2. Sabhga-
nisyanda. In another place, it says more extremely, only the simultaneous one is a real causality. There
is no other causality other than the simultaneous one.

Sabhga-nisyanda is a continuation of dharma itself. It is not really dharma A produces dharma B,
but in the simultaneous one, cause as distinct dharma and effect (dharma) as a distinct dharma. To show
the contrast between these two causality, if I have a kuala dharma, I give rise to avykrta-vipka.
Surely these two are not the same. Vipka is one thing; cetan as karma is another thing. But in the case
of sabhga-nisyanda, it is that citta itself continues. So in a way, it is not a real causality.
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti

3. The bja-s form a continuous series they must, for a long period of time, continue in a
homogeneous and uninterrupted series until the final stage, i.e., until the moment when the Holy
Path is attained which will counteract and thwart them.

Think of bja as anuaya continues, even if it gives effect, is till would not be destroyed, until you have
ansrava-jna that counteract. For instance, if I become Srotapanna, then I have the jna into four
Noble truth, at that time, my satkyadrstI, etc., would be overcome.

Why must bja form a series? For it to have vipka, there must be a continuation for a long time
continues in a homogeneous. In that continuation, there is a progressive series. That is precisely is
called bja. That is karmic force that pass on.

This definition rules out the doctrine that the first seven consciousnesses (pravrttivijna-s) are
bja-s. They are not, because they are variable and discontinuous, and are not associated with bja-

The only consciousness that continues even when one in bhvan, get into nirodha-sampatti where
there is no samj and vedan, out of eight, only laya-vijna (mla-vijna) continues. Other seven
consciousnesses, they are called prevrtti-vijna. That condition of continuity is obtained only in the
case of laya-vijna. Certainly not in the six consciousnesses, even the manas-vijna is not fully

This definition shows that similar bja-s engender one another in succession.

In the sense we are talking about a real causality. It takes place only in the present moment, cause-effect
must be simultaneous. Bja-s are continuing all the times.

4. The bja-s must belong to a definite moral species they must possess the capacity to
engender actual dharma-s, good, bad, non-defined: this capacity is determined by the cause of the
bja-s, i.e., the actual dharma-s, good, bad, non-defined, which have perfumed and created them.

This definition rules out the Sarvstivdin doctrine that a cause of a certain species (good, etc.)
can engender, qu similar cause, a fruit of another species.

Moral nature is determined (viniyata). There are two types of bja-s, one is external, i.e., bja-s of grain
or rambutan, these are not real; another one is internal, it is the force inside. Anyway, even when look
at example of outside bja, rambutan bja gives rise to rambutan. There is a definite nature for it to be a
bja. So there is a definiteness in its moral nature. Bja-s are the potential forces. Actually as
potentialities, they are not defined; but on the other hand, though they are not defined in the state of
potentiality, the moral nature of the bja is determined by the dharma, which its going to manifest, and it
must be definite.

5. The bja-s depend on a group of conditions to realize their capacity to produce an actual
dharma, the bja-s require a concourse of conditions.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
This definition rules out the cause called spontaneity admitted by certain Tirthika-s, i.e., the
cause which engenders its fruit spontaneously without depending on any conditions. [It also rules
out the causes called Brahm, etc.] It also condemns the advocates of the existence of a past and a
future for which conditions are always present.

This definition shows that, since the conditions are not always present, the bja does not produce
its fruit at all times and all at once.

They never say that bja as the only hetu can produce everything. For bja to manifest, there must be
other pratyaya-s also. Precisely, we can say pratyaya-smagyapeksa (dependent on assemblage of

6. The bja-s lead to their own fruit each bja leads to the production of its own fruit: a bja
of mind (citta) leads to the manifestation of mind, a bja of rpa, to the production of rpa.

This definition rules out the theory held by the Tirthika-s of a unique cause engendering all fruits.
It rules out the theory of the Sarvstivdins, etc., according to which citta and rpa are
reciprocally condition qu cause (hetupratyaya). [We admit that they are reciprocally condition
qu contributory agent (adhipatipratyaya).] (Kuei Chi)

The fourth characteristic is more concerned with only the moral species. The sixth characteristic is the
specific type. For example, a bja of a citta type produces citta; a bja of a rpa type produce only rpa.
So they cant allow bja which is the potential force for the manifestation of citta can suddenly for some
reasons manifest a rpa. Each projects its own svaphala, in a sense that a dharma that correspond to it

These six characteristics belong only to the powers or potentialities of the Mlavijna or the
laya-vijna. Only these potentialities are actual bja-s. As regards the external grains, grains of
rice, wheat, etc., they are only the manifestation of consciousness by reason of the potentialities
(or bja-s) of consciousness. They are only conventionally called bja-s: they are not real bja-s.

The only vijna that can be qualified as bja is laya-vijna. It is a complete continuous, momentary,
it is not one unity thing that transform (like parinma of Skhya). Each and every bja is specific.

The external world is a manifestation of what we called common bja. Just like in Sarvstivda theory
of karma, it is the result of collective karma. The experience of the external world is due to the
collective contribution of the same type of bja. Their bja theory is very comprehensive, they account
for everything, including our consciousness, indriya, even the external world, i.e. mountain, river, etc.

Lecture 16: 9
July 2003

Three levels of Truth in Yogcra

3 levels of truth correspond to 3 levels of cognition. Whether what we cognize or understand exist or
doesnt exist, is real or not real, those are the fundamental questions. To understand this, first is to
understand the notion of two levels of truth in Mdhyamika.
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti

Two levels of truth in Mdhyamika

Mdhyamika is a Mahyna school preceded to Yogcra. It emerged in between first century BC to
first century AD. At that time, there appeared a large work of literature called Prajpramit stra-s.
The main theme of Prajpramit stra is prajpramit, but really it is dealing with nyat.
According to this emerging new Mahynists, they are trying to make distinction between praj and
prajpramit. The word praj (p. pa) occurs earlier. So pa in Theravda Buddhism is in its
highest sense, the supreme insight into reality. So when we get pa, we get liberation. So from that
point of view, pa is the goal of Buddhism. Some argue, removal of defilement is the goal of
Buddhism. It depends on how we look at it. It is more correctly to say, ultimate goal of Buddhism is
duhkha-nirodha. But then to be free from duhkha, we must remove defilements; to remove defilements,
we must have pa.

As Buddhism develops, among the Buddhists, there were certain groups known as bhidharmika-s,
they were eventually became a great scholar, commentator, debater, logician, and they wrote
commentaries, argued and debated with each other. At the beginning, they were no interested in being a
scholar. People are studying Abhidharma is not for the sake of scholarship. They wanted to understand
the Buddhas teaching in a systematic manner, for example, what are the real implication of the
Buddhas teaching,etc. Understanding is only a beginning, we must practice also, that is definitely the
emphasis of removal of defilement also. This kind of emphasis, as we can see persisted throughout time.
bhidharmika-s at least, many of them were still concerned with practice and realization. But among
them, some sections, as if they were got stuck, they forgot the original mission when they began to
write commentaries, argued and debated. They became more and more like scholars. So we can call
them close-door philosopher. They were writing books to counteract others. So they forgot about the
practice and certainly the spirit of Buddhism, particularly from the point of view of karuna for
emerging Mahynists. So Mahynists arose, partly in reaction to this section of Buddhists. And this
section of Buddhists were called Hnaynists later on. As this was developing, then the Buddhists
particularly the Mahynists emphasized more and more the differences between the Arhat and the

The term Hnayna even for the Mahynists was not applied to all those who are not Mahynists,
only to those who are selfish, those close-door philosopher. Even among bhidharmika-s, many of
them still continue to be concerned with practice and realization also. So we cant say that those who
study Abhidharma, they are just scholars.

Difference between the Arhat and the Buddha
The difference between the Arhat and the Buddha is the difference in term of wisdom/ insight. In fact
that difference already was emphasized even in the pli sutta-s.

Arhat can still has ignorance, but his ignorance has nothing to do with defilements. We have
defilements because of our ignorance. If we can see things truly as they are impermanent, un-
satisfactoriness, then we would not be attached to them; what we would realize is, everything is
completely conditioned, the arising and falling is dependent on the conditions, and therefore, to that
extent, everything is empty. So with this realization, there will be complete peace in our mind. So this
kind of ignorance has to do with defilements.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Two types of ignorance:-
1. Klista (defiled) ignorance;
2. Aklista (non-defiled) ignorance.

Early we talked about ignorance in a sense of the defilement, defilement par excel lance. Thus we are
not liberated.

Praj is the opposite of defilement. Slowly there emerged the idea that there is a type of ignorance
called non-defiled ignorance. Before this term came to be used in a very specific sense in the
Abhidharma tradition, we have already seen that the early Buddhist already began to realize and
emphasize the difference between the wisdom of the Buddha and the arhat. For instance, in some
places, the Arhat Sariputra says, O Bhagavat, your mind surpasses in wisdom that of Buddha-s of the
past, present and future. The Buddha replied, O! Dont be so bold, have you really understood face to
face the wisdom of the Tathgata of the past, present and future. Even I, in front of you, you dont fully
understood the depth of my wisdom. How can you talk about the purity of the mind of the past, present
and future Buddha-s? (paraphrasing a little bit)

This kind of statement shows that in the nikya Buddhism, it is at least hinted the there is a difference
between the wisdom of the Buddha and his disciple. Sariputra was the best in wisdom in early
Buddhism. Starting from the very early time, already the Buddhists noticed and emphasized the
difference in term of wisdom of the Buddha and of Arhat. As far as the liberation (free from defilement)
is concerned, two are the same. But Arhat still has non-defiled type of ignorance (A type of ignorance
that has nothing to do with defilement).

Slowly the emerging Mahynists began to articulate this difference in wisdom between the Arhat and
the Buddha. Finally they came to the very definite position that the praj of Arhat is not a perfected
praj. Prajpramit means the perfection of praj (wisdom that is perfected). This is the wisdom
of the Buddha.

In Yogcra, it is stated very explicitly that the rvaka (i.e. Arhat) can overcome klea-varana, not
the jeya-varana.

There are two types of hindrances:-
1. Klea-varana, this has to do with defilement. He realizes the pudgala-nairtmya (= pudgala-
2. Jeya-varana, this has to do with knowledge. He realizes the dharma-nairtmya (= dharma-

When these two are realized, then one gets praj-pramit.

As Mahyna Buddhism was emerged in around the first century BC to first century AD, there was an
emphasis on prajpramit, the goal of Buddhism is the Buddha-hood, not the Arhat-hood. Because
wisdom of Arhat is inferior, not perfected. And that we can see the idea of prajpramit is connected
with nyat. To have prajpramit, ultimately when come to Yogcra, you must realize both types
of emptiness. One must realize sarvam nyam (all is empty). All means not just the Self, it means all
dharmas, even 5 skandha-s are empty. In Prajpramit hrdaya stra, it starts with 5 skandha-s are
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
empty (). For Hnayna, the dharmas are real. But for Mahyna, even dharmas are empty.
This is the standpoint of early phase of Mahyna Buddhism, that everything is empty.

Professors view
But according to Professor, that kind of teaching that everything is empty is not necessarily
Mahynists. Even the Buddha has taught everything is anatta. They are using different terms to
emphasize the different ways. But they must be given the credit. According to professor, there is
nothing superior as far as the teaching of empty is concerned. As far as the spiritual is concerned, if
you realize that there is no pudgala, there is no tma, how can you have attachment to dharma? For
example, tma (self) and tmya (i.e. dharma, what pertains to the Self). What is the difference? Other
than the tma, there are dharmas. What the Mahynists were saying is that, the so-called Hnaynist
can realize the realization of tma, but they cannot realize that what pertains to tma are not real, or
empty. That claim is very illogical and not fair. Because if there is no self, how can there be anything
that belongs to the self? Example, illustration of the frame of reference. Without the frame of reference,
the whole of it collapses. It is like when tma is realized to be empty, and what pertains to tma, i.e.
dharma, must be empty also. So the Mahynists distinction is illogical. Venerable Yin Shun has made
this point very clearly.

According to the emerging Mahynists, they felt that there is a difference between the wisdom of the
Buddha and the Arhat. They tried to understand Arhat realization of emptiness is not perfect. Why is
that, that is because they do not practice karuna. They cant perfect their praja. they still have this kind
of ignorance (i.e. aklista ignorance).

The main theme of prajpramit is emptiness. Therefore how to perfect the wisdom? That is, the
only way to realize that everything is empty, including not only the self, but what pertains to the self (i.e.

Emptiness itself is also empty
Not everything is empty, it is said that emptiness itself is also empty. When we say everything is empty,
what does it mean? If we use the word emptiness, it can give wrong connotation. We think of a
vacuum. According to Ngrjuna, emptiness is full of everything. When you realize emptiness, you
realize everything is possible.
: , .

Emptiness therefore doesnt mean vacuum. Some people use the word devoidness (devoid of
something). It is also not a good term. A is devoid of B, B is devoid of A, what about A and B
themselves. When we say everything is empty, we dont mean everything is empty, but that
emptiness itself is not empty. Example, this room is empty of chairs, but the room is there. That kind of
emptiness is emptiness of relativity. That is not the real emptiness in the sense of a real nyat.
Therefore, even the emptiness itself is empty. When we use the word emptiness, it is only a concept.
Dont think of it as a real thing as an absolute reality. So because it is just a concept, it is itself relative.
Therefore it too is empty. Everything is due to prattya-samutpanna. Ngrjuna says what he talks
about nyat is the same as prattya-samutpanna. (See Chapter 24).

When the Mdhyamika talks about the emptiness, they mean emptiness in the absolute thorough sense.
There is not even a slightest thing that remains not empty.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Emptiness is empty of svabhva
The word emptiness can suggest a kind of nihilism. But that is not intended by the Buddha, and by
Mahynists. Emptiness is empty of svabhva (essence). Everything has no essence. Svabhva of
Abhidharma is not the same as tma. When Buddhists say everything is empty, what it means is that
everything has no essence at such because everything is dependently originated.
Everything is empty because everything has no essence; everything has no essence, because
empty is dependently arisen (prattya-samutpanna).

This is the gist of doctrine of emptiness. To say everything is empty is to say everything is prattya-
samutpanna. [if everything is not empty, there is no possibility of change and development. Everything
is fixed.]

Two truths
This is not the denial of any teaching of the Buddha, not even the denial of the external reality. To
express that, they talked about two levels of truth. Ngrjuna says, the teaching of all the Buddha-s is
based on two truths:-
1. Samvrti-satya (relative truth) [vr to cover. To conceal]
2. Paramrtha-satya (absolute truth).

Samvrti is not the original term at the beginning. It seems to have come from man. Through a
linguistic process or metamorphosis in some stages. Some how it came to be in the form of mu.

Samvrti means what is operated together, like the conventional truth. At the relative truth, everything
can be said to exist in dependently arisen. At the highest level of truth, Buddha would declare
everything is empty. Emptiness itself is empty. In this way the apparent contradiction is solved. If we
look at thing in this way, we are looking at thing in middle way, that is to avoid astitva and nstitva.

Therefore the way of unyat is a middle way. When come to Yogcra, they proposed three levels of
truth in contrast to two levels of truths.


Lecture 17: 6
August 2003

Three svabhva

In the Mdhyamika school, when everything is nya, it really means everything is nya. There is
nothing left that is not nya. For Yogcra, it is not everything is nya, but nyat itself is not nya.
What is their middle way? To say that everything exists is one extreme; to say that everything does not
exist is another extreme. There is no so-called thing exists or does not exist. Any phenomena is
simply a dependently originated (prattya-samutpanna).

In the early phase of Mahyna stra Prajpramit-stra, the theme nyat is found everywhere
sarvam nyam (everything is empty). In the second phase of Mahyna Buddhism (around 3

century AD), Mahynists began to react to that. They say everything is empty is not satisfactory, it
might lead to annihilation. So they proposed a new way of looking at thing. All this so-called idealistic
doctrine is also connected with their practice, particularly meditation. In the meditation, the experience
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
in meditation is more real than the person in a normal state of consciousness or experiences as reality.
What is real for them is consciousness. But whether we take this as an ontological view or
epistemological view is a matter of interpretation. What is emphasized is, there is nothing exist, but
consciousness. This emphasis is connected with their meditational practice. The very word Yogcra
tells us to practice Yoga, i.e., meditation. At this stage, they began to re-interpret to the earlier
declaration in the Prajpramit stra that everything is empty. They offered a different notion of

Svabhva in Abhidharma means intrinsic nature/ self nature. Example, rpa is a dharma, because rpa
has a particular intrinsic nature that is different from the other type of dharma in term of its nature. Each
real dharma has a svabhva. In the Abhidharma phase (i.e. Sarvstivda) they emphasized the notion of
svabhva. Every real constituent of reality has a svabhva. This svabhva persists throughout time.
Svabhva also changes, but changing in such a way that its remain is overall integrity. Anything that
exists in space and time is subject to change except unconditioned, i.e. nirvna. Svabhva is not a nitya,
but though bhidharmika-s dont say they are nitya, they say, sarvad asti (It exists throughout time)
whether a dharma is in a past mode, a present mode and a future mode, it always exists.

The first phase of Mahyna (prajpramit stra) is partly reacted to the idea of svabhva. It is an
attempt to correct this wrong tendency. Thats why, Mahyna movement should not be looked at, at
least from the beginning, as a unorthodox movement. Therefore they emphasized the idea of nyat.
Ngrjuna explains the nyat that is because everything is prattya-samutpanna, because everything
has no svabhva, it is the reaction to the bhidharmikas notion of svabhva.

In the second phase of Mahyna (3
century AD, Yogcra period), again, some Buddhists felt that
nyat itself is not satisfactory. It is going to another extreme. bhidharmika say everything has
svabhva, that is, considered as one extreme; Mdhyamika notion of nyat everything has no
svabhva is also considered as another extreme.

The second phase Mahynists come out with a new proposition in term of 3 svabhva, not only that,
correspond to these 3 svabhva, there are 3 absence of svabhva. Their middle way is some are
empty; some are not empty. What is meant by that things are not empty? That is subject to
interpretation. For example, you want to endowed with the ontological status to say not empty means
something exist as an absolute, or you want to look at it in the epistemological way. It is precisely
because of this that the later phase of Mahynist, they speak of different interpretations. Some stick to
early phase of Mahyna to avoid metaphysic ontological interpretation. The later phase talked about
the nature within, the pure nature of the Buddha, that something truly absolute in an ontological sense.
That in a way is a deviation from the early phase of Yogcra.

How to understand Some are empty; some are not empty

To begin with, we study what is meant by 3 svabhva. 3 svabhva can also be understood as 3 ways of
understanding phenomena, or 3 levels of perception.
1. Parikalpita (ppp) imagined nature. The thing that is imagined. This represents the lowest level
of perception. Example, in darkness, I see a rope. But I dont see properly, I imagined there is a
snake. The snake is absolutely imaginary. The imagined thing which is non-existent at all. Thats
why, imagined thing can be removed. This represents the wrong way of looking at thing.
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
2. Paratantra other-dependent / relative. This represents the phenomena dimension / existence.
This is the dimension in which we operate, where everything is dependently originated. This is the
domain of our experience.
3. Parinispanna (ppp) lit. achieved, accompanied, the real nature, i.e. absolute.
It is the realization
that there is no snake there, but a rope. That is not enough, the knowledge that in fact it is not a
snake, but a rope, a rope is made up of different components. This represents the jna. It doesnt
refer to an absolute in the sense of something outside there or beyond. This represents the true way
of looking at thing.

At the level of phenomena experience, we realize our mistake, we remove the wrong way of looking at
thing. Then we come to the right way of looking at thing. That is parinispanna, achieved. We come
to that stage of correct way of looking at thing by overcoming the wrong way of looking at thing.
Parinispanna is also described as yathbhta-jna.

What is imagined? The tman and dharma. There are things which are imagined. They are not real.
More fundamentally, what is imagined is duality
(1) Grhaka (subject), perceiver, grasper.
(2) Grhya (object), perceived

In the gist, what is imagined is duality. The duality is emphasized throughout does not at all exists. This
is called vijapti-mtra. Vijapti-mtra means there is no duality. What we see, as vijna arises, it
arises always with object as if object is outside, then there is perceived grhya, and the consciousness
is that we see grhaka. They give an example dream. This externality, subject and object are
imagined by us. This way of explaining thing does not deny the externality. The so-called external
things that we know are known through our mind. We know only images in our mind. Already starting
from Sautrntika, they say like this. Sautrntika are realists. The very thing that external thing exists,
atoms exist. At the same time, they know all the knowledge about this so-called external thing actually
are not a direct one, it via the images in our mind. Yogcra developed it further and say, if this is the
case, we cannot talk about the external reality at all. We can only talked about what we know in our
mind. Everything is vijapti (lit. making of the mind). Vijapti is a causative verb. It is synonymous
with vijna. But it seems to connect the idea of making the consciousness. Everything is the making of
consciousness. When we understand from the view point of three levels of truth, is a better perspective
than the two levels of truth preached by the early Buddhists.

The relationship between paratantra and parinipanna, ex: dharma and dharmat

The important thing in paratantra, this is the domain where our consciousness operate. At this level, if
we removed what is imagined, then we come to the state of mind that seeing thing truly as they are, that
is parinispanna. We can see therefore the relationship between paratantra and parinispanna. They are
neither identical nor different. That again support the view that in this kind of exposition, there is no
necessary implication of ontological view.

Works written by Asaga and Vasubandhu, there is no ontological entity. Their relationship is said to
be one is dharma, other is dharmat [lit. the nature of dharma] (= tathat). For instance, impermanence
and unsatisfactoriness are the nature of dharma. They are not the same as impermanent things

The word absolute does not necessarily mean that we have to understand in an ontological manner.
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
themselves, nor are they different from impermanent things. If they are impermanent things themselves,
then the nature of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness would also be impermanent. But if impermanence
is completely different from the impermanent things themselves, then impermanent things themselves
would not be impermanence. Therefore the conclusion is that, impermanence and impermanent things
are neither completely different nor identical. Likewise the relationship between dharma and dharmat.

For the Mdhyamika, dharmat is emptiness in a sense that like impermanent things are impermanence,
like all conditioned are empty and nya. But we dont say that impermanence itself is not permanent.
For Yogcra, the emptiness itself, the universal characteristic of emptiness of thing, that emptiness is
not empty.

Parinispanna are revealed by true nyat. Various synonyms tathat, bhtatathat, tattva,
parinispanna, paramrtham, dharmat, nyat.

In the whole of Madhyamaka, nyat is also nya. In Yogcra, what is revealed by those which are
nya, the nature revealed by thing which are nya is called nyat. nyat itself is not nya. Here
we can take it to emphasize the fact of experience or perception of reality. The consciousness that
perceives is real. For them to negate everything is empty is going too far. What they say is, things do
not have certain natures. Then we say they are devoid of nature. For instance, dharma-s do not have the
nature of permanent. Dharma-s are empty of permanent. Dharmas do not have the nature of satisfaction.
But we cant say everything is empty, because the ultimate fact of consciousness is not empty.

The definition of the three svabhva

20. because of such and such imagination, such and such things are imagined, [i.e., conceived by
the imagination]. What is conceived by this imagination (parikalpitasvabhva) has no nature of
its own.

This stanza refers to first level of truth (parikalpita) which is totally imagined.

21. The self-nature which results from dependence on others (paratantra) consists of discrimination
produced by causes and conditions. The difference between the nature of Ultimate reality
(parinispanna) and the nature of dependence on others (paratantra) is that the former is
eternally free from the parikalpita-nature (conception by the imagination) of the latter, that is,
the paratantra (dependence on others for manifestation).

Paratantra-svabhva, on the other hand, is a vikalpa which is produced by prattya-s. Because in
paratantra also, there is an experience of subject and object. Example, I see a snake (there are subject
and object). But what they want to say, they divide parinispanna into pure and impure. The paratantra
involves the subject and object which is an impure aspect of our consciousness. When the
consciousness is purified by removing imagined, we come to the pure aspect, that pure aspect is the
same as parinispanna. When the stanza says, describe paratantra as vikalpa, it refers to the impure
aspect of parinispanna.

Parinispanna is the freedom from the parikalpita of the paratantra. On top of it, we removed the
imagined thing, we come to the pure state of consciousness, see things truly as they are. That is called
parinispanna. Your consciousness is achieved. It is something that result when you have removed
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
that imagination. It is not something outside somewhere. It doesnt give any ontological commitment as
far as the basis of philosophy is concerned.

22. Thus, the nature of Ultimate reality and the nature of dependence on others are neither different
nor non-different, just as impermanence is neither different nor non-different from impermanent
dharmas. One does not perceive the nature of dependence on others (paratantra) as long as one
has not perceived that of Ultimate reality (parinispanna).

If we dont come to the level to see the duality as imagination, then we dont understand the dependent
relationship. But to come to that realization also, first we must come to the higher level. Therefore the
two things cannot be separated. It is like saying, in commentary, it tells us, the relation between
samvrti-satya and paramrtha-satya. We cant come to paramrtha without going through samvrti-
satya. At the same time, if we cannot come to the level of paramrtha-satya, we dont understand that
at the normal level, things are only at the relative level. So two things are closely related.

So according to Yogcra, their notion of emptiness is some are empty, some are not empty.
Emptiness itself is not empty.

Quotation from Madhynta-vibhaga by Asaga

Madhynta-vibhanga is the early phase of Mahyna stra. As the title suggest, it is an analysis of
middle way and extreme. It tells is what is their middle way and what are the extremes.
Abhta-parikalposti dvayam tatra no vidyate |
nyat vidyate tv atra tasym api sa vidyate |

lit. The unreal imagination exists, the duality therein is not found. But nyat exists, herein, in
it [nyat] also, it [abhtaparikalpa] exists.

Explanation: nyat actually is an absolute reality. That absolute reality is not empty. It exists. It is on
the basis of absolute reality that there is imagination. If there is no pure-consciousness, there is nothing
(that is to say, how can we have the relative consciousness that operates as subject and object). Ex:-
phenomena things are impermanent. The impermanent is a reality. Things are empty of duality. But that
ultimate nature of emptiness exists.

Another quotation
Wherein that which does not exist, that, on that account, one truly sees it as nya. Further that
which having its remain, that being real in existent, one truly knows it exist here. In this way, the
characteristic of emptiness (nyatlaksanam) comes to be revealed non topsy-turvy.

For example, this class is empty of Christian. It doesnt mean that this class is empty. What remains is
not empty. This is the position of Yogcra.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Lecture 18: 3
Sept 2003

Three svabhva

Yogcra [1
century AD] proposes their notion of middle way and their own notion of emptiness.
They distinguished themselves from Mdhyamika. Yogcras middle way is that some are empty;
some are not empty. To say that some are empty and some are not empty, only then it is a middle way.

Yogcras doctrine of 3 svabhva is a reaction to the Mdhyamika doctrine.

3 svabhva
1. Parikalpita (ppp)
2. Paratantra
3. Parinispanna (ppp)

Parikalpita and parinispanna are in the ppp form. It implies some actions of our past. It means that here,
we are talking about existence, non-existence in epistemological manner. So if one says that Yogcras
Buddhism is idealism, one must say it is an epistemological type of Buddhism, not the metaphysical
type. But there is a room for interpretation. From this basis text, we can see that we have to emphasize
that essentially, Yogcra is an epistemological doctrine.

Parikalpita means what is imagined. Who imagine? Consciousness imagines what is not there is
imagined there.

Yogcra not deny external reality at such. How we know that exist? All we know that exist, i.e. reality
as experienced, is nothing but projection of consciousness. In other words, the notion is that nothing
exist outside consciousness, all the data we know about reality come from our mind. That doctrine
actually, in one particular important aspect is not very different from even abhidharma doctrine. It is
true that bhidharmika-s are really talking about ontology. In other words, something exist, whether I
see it or not, it exists independent of our consciousness. In abhidharma, there is a very important
principle that you cant have consciousness without an object. Consciousness is that which cognizes
(vijntti vijna). it implies conscious of something. So consciousness is always linked up with the
object of consciousness. Yogcra in a way is developed on this point.

The other more important influence come from the Drntika and Sautrntika. They were first who
asserted that we dont have what is called Direct perception. All that we know is indirect, all that we
know comes from images in our mind. So all these combine together, we see the emergence of the
Yogcra. Another source is the meditational experience. When we realized that so-called external
reality must be the same as what we experienced in meditation. In meditation, we experience many
things. They are so real to us. But when we come out of meditation, we realized that it is all from our
mind. In the very early stage in the history of Buddhism, there are certain Mahyna text,
*Pratyutpanna-buddha-sammukhvasthit-stra, which talk about the seeing of the Buddha in
meditation. This text says, if we concentrate in meditation, think of the Buddha, then we really see the
Buddha. Not only that we see, we ask question in the meditation. It is so real that meditator became
confused, whether we are seeing the Buddha or they are all just in our mind. That kind of idea also
again occurred in Samdhi-nirmocana-stra. It says, Bodhisattva asks the Buddha, what I have seen in
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
meditation, isnt that I am seeing something outside my mind, or isnt that I am seeing my mind. The
Buddha replies, Surely it is the mind seeing the mind. That shows that Bodhisattva are also confused.
The reason why they are confused is that precisely it is so real to them. From this, they realize that
actually it is not only in the meditational experience; in ordinary experience, it is also like that.
According to some scholars, Yogcra has an important source from this kind of meditational
experience. When this kind of conviction is reinforced by different sources, viz., bhidharmika,
Sautrntika, Drntika, theory of Indirect perception, etc., all these combine together, finally we have
emergence of Yogcra.

Parinispanna means perfected/ achieved. How do we achieved that? We achieved by paratantra.
Paratantra occupies the pivotal position. Thats why, Yogcra says we cannot deny paratantra. If we
deny this, we dont have the basis of our experience, nor the basis for liberation. We are in the domain
of prattya-samutpanna. They also never able deny the Buddhas teaching of prattya-samutpda.

Nsti, asti; anya, nya

If we analyzed 3 svabhva in term of asti, nsti; or anya, nya.
1. Parikalpita nsti (empty). It does not exist. Because it is imagined, like an example given by
Dignga, probably the first one giving the example, in darkness, we see a rope, we think it is a
snake. There is no snake-ness. Snake-ness is purely imagined. That does not exist. Therefore it is
2. Paratantra asti (anya). It is a fact of experience. Example, magical show. Surely in magical
show, they are imagined/illusion. But the fact of the magical show is there. Then we cannot deny.
Though it exists, but relative/dependent. So we may say it exists but relatively.
3. Parinispanna In our domain of experience, if we remove our imagination, this is what is meant
by ppp [we have to work on it, nothing is changed, what is changed is in a way we look at it.] If we
remove imagination, w come to the achieved truth. So this is asti and not empty. This exist [truly].
In our way of understanding, it does not mean in an ontological sense. They talked about Tathat
[(such-ness, reality), what you experienced as a reality]. nyat is an another synonym. When we
say Tathat exist or nyat, we must not think of that as something in an ontological sense outside
the Tathat as an object. Though they speak like that, the whole context isnt very clear. So we
have to read it carefully. What is meant is that, when we remove the imagination, we see reality
truly. That is called Tathat. In particular, it means we see there is no division between subject and
object. In that sense, it is called nyat also. It is empty of duality. nyat is that fact revealed by
showing what is empty. What is empty is that dvaya. This is in brief the doctrine of 3 svabhva.

Another thing, when analyzed like this, we can see what Yogcra is trying to say for instance , exist,
not exist; empty, non-empty just in this 2 fold manner is not good enough. Even what exist can be
divided into relative existence and absolute existence. So what is implied is that, according to them,
their way of analyzing reality is superior. To make such distinction between relatively existence and
absolutely existence. So to see like this is their middle way.

In this whole theory, they stressed that we cant say paratantra is not exist. Mdhyamika would say that
at relative level, everything is empty. Yogcra stressed that we cant say like that, because parisuddhi
and samklea (process of purification and defilement) are based on our phenomena existence. Without
this, how can we talk about the whole phenomena of defilement, how can we remove the defilement,
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti

According to Yogcra, we cant just understand the truth / reality properly by the two fold distinction
into simply samvrti-satya and paramrtha-satya. To understand fully, we have to look at it in term of 3

Paratantra is a svabhva of parikalpita. Supposing, example of snake and rope. Without the rope, there
wouldnt be the imagination of the snake. Without the rope, we couldnt understand a rope is made up
of hemp, etc. So paratantra firstly, in this way, a svabhva of parikalpita. Secondly, paratantra
conforms to parikalpita, because paratantra is a phenomena experience, but phenomena experience
actually does not arise by itself. The consciousness that operates here due to the way we imagined.
When consciousness arises, we imagine into subject-object. So in that sense, the arising of paratantra
actually conforms to parikalpita. This, according to Yogcra, is our way our consciousness operates. It
always operate at the wrong way. Thats why, it is called bhrnti-vijna (erroneous consciousness).

Supports from Praj-pramit stra

Yogcra is trying to say they have a better explanation. They dont reject the earlier Mahyna stra,
i.e., Praj-pramit stra. They re-interpret it. When we look at Praj-pramit stra, we see
statements like these:-
1. All are empty
2. Phenomena are illusory
3. Intrinsic nature is pure/ translucent.

For example, mind is pure. This statement pabhassaram cittam is found in AN. It is also found in
Chinese text. Mdhyamika accepted this. But they interpreted differently. What is meant by this pure,
simply is that it is not empty. Some schools later on it means everybody has the potential to become
the Buddha. What they are trying to say that, in Praj-pramit stra, such statements are found. The
emphasis is that, the phenomena or dharma-s are illusory. They talked about the intrinsic nature is pure.
What they say, if understand in this way, then we conform (anuloma) with the Praj-pramit

All are empty conforms to the level of parikalpita. Phenomena are illusory conforms to the level of
paratantra. Intrinsic nature is pure conforms to the level of parinispanna. For them, it means absolute
reality is real. But for Mdhyamika, Ngrjuna says clearly nyat itself is also nya. For Yogcra,
nyat is not the concept of non-empty. nyat is that fact of the real state of thing/ reality, wherein,
there is no subject-object. In other words, it is empty of dvaya (duality).

For Yogcra, such statements found in Praj-pramit stra support their doctrine of 3 svabhva.

Quotation from Madhynta-vibhaga by Asaga

In Madhynta-vibhga-stra [by Asaga], the very title suggests that, there is a distinction between
madhya and anta (extreme) what is extreme and what is the middle way.

Verse 1:-
abhtaparikalposti dvayan tatra na vidyate
nyat vidyate tv atra tasym api sa vidyate ||
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Lit. The imagination of the unreal (imaginator) [=abhta-parikalpa] exists; The duality therein
is not found. However nyat definitely exist herein, in it [nyat] also, that [abhta-
parikalpa] exists.

Commentary says, in the imagination of subject and object (or in the phenomena experience), that fact
of imagination exists (i.e., magical show). atra means subject-object. I see something outside
means that duality is not real. But what does not exist is superimposed on the basis of something that
exist. nyat exists in phenomena of thing, or noumena exists in the phenomena; phenomena exists in
the noumena.

In this stanza, it states very clearly what exist? What does not exist? To summarize, phenomena
existence exists, i.e., paratantra exists. What does not exist is dvayam. So emptiness as parinispanna,
that fact exists in the domain of imagination. In emptiness also, the imagination exists. Because the
imagination is based on the reality. What does not exist is based on what exists. So there is room for
interpretation. [It is like saying pudgala does not exist; but pudgala is based on 5 skandha-s. 5 skandha-
s exist.]

The way to conform to the prattya-samutpda teaching is to see that wherein something does not
exist, you see truly it does not exist; wherein, having removed what does not exist, something remained
and something exist, you must see truly that exist. Example, this room is empty of student, what is
empty is student; but the room itself exists. What is remained is based on something real. Or if there is
no rope, how can we imagined there is a snake. Ultimately the so-called nothing but hemps, etc., put

Verse 2
Na nyam npi cnyam tasmt sarvam vidhyate
sattvd asattvt sattvc ca madhyam pratipac ca s
lit. Not empty, not non-empty. Therefore all [dharma-s] is explained. Because of existence;
because of non-existence; and because of existence. This is the middle way.

This is in sharp contrast to Mdhyamika. Mdhyamika would say, sarvam nyam. For Yogcra, all
dharma-s are not empty and are also not non-empty. In other words, some are empty; some are not

Commentary says,
1. Because of existence (sattvt), two things exist abhta-parikalpa exists and nyat exists. The
fact of phenomena existence is truly not an absolute reality. It is not exactly the way we experience it,
but we cant say it is not there. Absolute truth exists.

2. Asattvt because of non-existence (i.e., duality) of subject and object.

3. Sattvt ca and, because of existence, that is, in the abhta-parikalpa, there is nyat; in the
nyat, there is abhta-parikalpa. Stcherbatsky would put it, in the phenomena, there is noumena; in
the noumena, there is phenomena.

When we understand thing in this way, this is called Madhyam pratipat.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Lecture 19: 17
Sept 2003

Bhrnti-vijna as opposed to amala-vijna

Verse 1.3 of Madhynta-vibhga-stra

artha-sattvtma-vijapti-pratibhsam prajyate vijnam,
nsti csyrthas tad-abhvt tad apy asat.
Lit. Consciousness is arisen appearing as artha, sattva, tma and vijapti; and its object does
not exist. Because of its non-existent, that (i.e., consciousness) too is unreal.

Consciousness cannot arise by itself. It arises with corresponding objects and understanding also.
Whenever vijna is born, 4 things arise.
1. Artha: particularly in this context, means external object. Other meanings include what is good,
what is righteous, purpose, benefits, thing, meaning, etc.
2. Sattva: sentient being.
3. tma: Self
4. Vijapti: causative of j. [lit. making known], cognition, perception, apprehension, this
apprehension refer to 6 consciousnesses.

Distinction made between lambana and visaya: lambana is a mental object of consciousness, giving
rise to consciousness. lambana is that what makes consciousness arise. Example, when my eyes
seeing an object, I have visual-consciousness. Visaya is an external object. In this system, all these
eye, object and visual consciousness are within laya-vijna. Eye, objects are manifested from

Another important point, when they say no lambana exist outside consciousness, when consciousness
arise, it must arise with an object. This part is very Abhidharmic. Abhidharma recognizes that particular
object as real. For Abhidharma, vijna is that which cognizes the object.

According to Yogcra, consciousness in unreal because consciousness is a manifestation of bja. Our
stream of consciousness is such that all the time we are conditioned to think like that. What is the
conditioning force? Conditioning force is name and concept. That habit has been from beginningless
time. This is the way our mind thinks. The way we perceived thing is conditioned by name and concept.
These are forces called bja-s.

To realize nothing exist except our mind, first, we must establish the reality of the mind. Though it does
not exist in absolute reality, but it has the relative existence, i.e., at the level of paratantra. Once they
have established this fact, then they can talk about liberation and defilement. How do we liberate from
that habit? First, we must realize the object does not exist; next, even the so-called consciousness that
apprehend the object too does not exist. To realize that, you must start from consciousness.
Consciousness must be a fact that recognize. When the so-called object does not exist, the so-called
subject also does not exist. Because you cant have vijna without object. These two come from the

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
And in that sense, because laya-vijna always appear like this, it is called bhrnti-vijna (erroneous
consciousness). As opposed to these parisuddha-vijna, visuddha-vijna, amala-vijna (various
other terms are used), where there is no imagination of subject and object.

There is a commentary called The absence of 3 svabhva. The author of this book, some say by
Asaga; some say by Vasubandhu. There is no definite conclusion of the books author. It tells us the
spiritual progress and realizing the fact of vijapti-mtrat. It starts from the understanding that object
does not exist.

First, by means of the only one existent bhrnti-vijna, the external object is removed. Next, the
amala-vijna (pure consciousness) removes the bhrnti-vijna, [arriving ultimately at] the only
one pure consciousness.

This ninth one, not as an absolute reality additionally to it, but as a term.
It says, starting from the existent one that is, where we are now, how we experience things, we
experience things outside. I realize outside object does not exist. How I realize it? I realize with my
consciousness, that is the imperfect one, called bhrnti-vijna. we have to work hard and realize it.
The external object does not exist, only vijna exists. That vijna is the vijna that has no object and
subject. Even the so-called subject must be removed. Finally we can only talk about the pure
consciousness. Even that is a term, because we cant use language anymore. We called consciousness as
pure, pure in the sense that it transcend words and concepts. Finally, there remained only pure
consciousness. Now they say, you cant use words and concept anymore. You come to the intrinsic
nature that is beyond words.

Verse 1.4 of Madhynta-vibhga-stra

abhtaparikalpatvam siddham asya bhavaty atah
na tath sarvath bhvt tat-ksayn muktir isyate |
Lit. Its nature of super-imposition (imagination, construction, discrimination) of the unreal,
therefore comes to be established. For, it is not such [as it appears], nor is it in every where non-
existent on account of its extinction, liberation is acknowledge (/conceded).

What we have discussed earlier, the so-called reality is actually an imagination from our consciousness.
However, reality is not just as it is, even our senses. We cant depend on senses. It does not exist as it is.
Because we are imagining something outside like this. We are also not saying that outside phenomena
is not existent in every sense.

Mukti comes from the removal of klea-s. Klea-s arise because of our wrong way of looking at things
(avidy). So you cant even establish mukti if you cant establish klea-s. You cant establish klea-s,
you cant establish bhrnti-vijna. Therefore the fact of bhrnti-vijna must exist. The concept of
mukti as it is accepted in Buddhist system can be justified. This is the way we explain things in
Buddhism. We cant say everything not exist and empty.

Thus the fact that there is bhrnti-vijna exist must be accepted as relative existence. Without saying
that this exist, you cant even proceed to establish samsra and nirvna. if you say everything is nya,
it is one extreme; if you say everything has svabhva, it is another extreme. So their middle way is to
see that relative existent is there, our bhrnti-vijna must be said to be asti, though in relative sense.
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Lecture 20: 24
Sept 2003


How they prove this vijaptimtrat?
Vijapti means expression. In the context of Yogcra tradition, vijapti is synonymous with vijna.
Therefore vijaptimtrat means vijnamtra. Another term is cittamtra. By the term vijapti, they
want to show that it is a making of consciousness. Everything comes from consciousness. If everything
is a making of consciousness, then there is nothing more than consciousness. So in this system, they
dont deny the external reality. Their standpoint Nothing exists apart from consciousness. That is
because, that we know it exists, they only be known through our consciousness. They are objects
outside. But these objects are really projection of our consciousness.

Now the question is, whether it is ontology or epistemology? In other words, whether has to do with the
theory of perception or has to do with the theory of what exist outside there. When we say nothing
exists outside consciousness, we can mean that the whole universe is nothing, but the mind. If one
asserts like that, one is talking about ontology. That means, one is discussing about what exists in the
universe. But when one says nothing exists in the universe outside the mind, because all we know it
exists is from our mind, so we are establishing it through the theory of perception. That is theory of

It is a tricky question to decide whether this system talks about ontology or epistemology. But professor
would prefer to look at it as basically a epistemological theory. They are trying to tell us the process of
perception. We see outside things, i.e. person, mountains, etc., all because of the habitual forces. We see
things as if they are outside. Example, dream. These are habitual forces, forces of names and concepts.
We experience things the way we do now, that is because of habitual forces. In brief, the habitual
conditioning of names and concepts from beginningless times.

How they prove it?
Yogcra follows the Abhidharma tradition. They used two basis methods:- 1. gma (scriptural
authority); 2. Yukti (logical reasoning).

How they prove that nothing exists apart from consciousness. They are not really say that everything is
created by the mind in the ontological sense. They are saying that what we know is not only through the
mind, it is the making of the mind. To that extent, they are not deny external reality at such. The so-
called external reality is just the projection of the mind.

Stanza 17 of Vijaptimtrat-siddhi
vikalpo yad vikalpyate
tena tannsti
tenedam sarvam vijaptimtram |

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Lit: This transformation of consciousness is the imagination (super-imposition, discrimination);
whatever that is super-imposed by that [vikalpa], that one does not exist. Therefore, all this is
nothing but consciousness.

Stanza says, as consciousness arises, this process of arising is actually the construction / super-
imposition. So consciousness arises in such a way that it super-imposed the Self, this, that, etc. Vikalpa
is the transformation. Vikalpa (constructor) is the subject; vikalpyate (constructed) is the object.

In the whole of the process of perception, where there are subject and object, really it is consciousness
that imagines something. Subject and object both are unreal. Therefore everything is nothing but

They proceed to prove it. 3 commentaries are given on this stanza, by crya Dharmapla, Nanda and
Sthiramati. (Read the handout)

1. Dharmapla commentary

Vijna is parinma. It manifests in two aspects:-
1. Darana-bhga (subject);
2. Nimitta-bhga (object).

These two divisions are evolution from the same consciousness. The nature of our consciousness is that,
when as it evolves, it manifests itself into two aspects:-
1. One is experienced as so-called subject;
2. One is experienced as so-called object.
It is our consciousness seeing the consciousness.

2. Nandas commentary [Read the handout]

Proofs of Vijaptimtrat

They quote several stra-s.
1. Daabhmika cittamtram idam yad idam traidhtukam (lit. This is only mind, that is, what
pertains to 3 dhtus, i.e., samsra)

2. Samdhinirmocana-stra (extant only in Chinese and Tibetan) [samdhi nir - muc = to untie the
knot (what is profound, Implicit)] vijna-pratibhsa-mtram.

3. Lankvatra - citta-vyatirikta

4. Vimakakrti-nirdea-stra Sentient beings become pure or impure in accordance with the mind.

The Bodhisattva who has endowed with fourfold knowledge (jna) will, following their enlightenment,
penetrate the truth of Vijaptimtrat and of the absolute non-existence of real objects (visaya).

(1). Viruddha-vijna-nimitta-jna lit. knowledge of the cause of the opposed consciousness.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
A Bodhisattva may have this knowledge that in facts different type of sentient beings can experience
the same phenomena in different ways. According to Buddhists, we experience thing according to our
karma. We have a collective karma which is called manusya-karma. Beings need food, etc. But for
preta, they cannot experience food. According to their karma, their karma is such that when they eat
food, become charcoal. Likewise water, preta-s experience water as pus.

It is this teaching that, because of different karma, the same so-called reality is experienced in opposed
ways. It must mean that the so-called reality, though is so real to us, surely is not real after all. When
Bodhisattva has a knowledge like this, he can understand everything is vijaptimtra.

(2) anlambana-vijna-pratyaksopalabdhi-jna lit. knowledge of the direct-perception of
consciousness having no object.

This is what Drntika and Sautrntika arguing about in the Abhidharmic period. Sarvstivda says
whatever produces consciousness in you must be real. You cant have something that is unreal that can
produce consciousness. For example, if someone sees a snake, where there is only the rope. If there
were no rope, he wouldnt have seen the snake. Snake is unreal. Our mind imagines that. First, the
imagination is based on something real, i.e., rope. Like that Sarvstivda says whatever he can perceive
must have the real basis; if something that is totally unreal, it is impossible to perceive.

Sautrntika says, there are many things which are totally non-existent. Yet we can perceive. For
example, dream, imagination, something that are past, future, etc. These are unreal things we can
imagine. That shows there are consciousness which have unreal objects. When Bodhisattva realizes that,
he can have conscious of things which are totally unreal. All the other things also are unreal I know
you through the image in my mind. I cant know you directly.

(3) anabhisamskrviparta (tva)-jna lit. knowledge which understands exactly without effort.

This refers to the fact that, we, prthagjana, when perceive thing, if really they appear to us, it means we
perceive thing truly. If so, we would be liberated. But we are not liberated. We are called fools. We
dont see thing properly what appeared to us. We perceive thing as if they are permanent, happiness, etc.
It means we can have true knowledge (aviparta) without effort (anabhisamskra).We can be
enlightened without any effort. The problem is precisely we are not enlightened, because we never able
even one day see things truly as they are.

(4) trividha-jnnuvartaka-jna lit. knowledge that operates in accordance with the 3-fold

The way we see things can be dependent on 3 types of knowledge. One is, when the Bodhisattva has
attained certain spiritual attainment, when come to the 8
stage of [10 bhmi-s], he is able to see
phenomena as he likes. This shows Bodhisattva has attained mastery of mind. He is capable of
changing and transforming things at will.

This bring to the question of the status of what we called reality. If things are real eternality as they are,
how can we change that? It shows that magic is real, means that things are not really as they are as we

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Next, adhimoksa/ adhimukti. It is a strong resolution of the mind. For example, do meditation on
green, you have nimitta of that. After that you expand it, when you progress, you will be able to see
anything as real. Form their point of view, this kind of phenomena that meditator using adhimukti
(strong resolution) he can experience just that particular way he wants, the way that he does meditation.
That shows that external reality is not it objective to us.

Finally, when advanced Bodhisattva became enlightenment, the way of perceiving thing is totally
different. Our way of perceiving thing is always discriminative (vikalpa). When a person enlightened,
he realizes where there is no subject and object. He is one with everything. An enlightened mind
experiences things in totality. If so, it means that the type of experience that we, prthagjana have cannot
be so real. We experience them as if they are discriminated.

Bodhisattva has these fourfold knowledge would realize everything is nothing but making of
consciousness. In this way, they quote various stra-s. These are quotations taken from Mahyna.
These are gama proofs.

Lecture 21: 1
Oct 2003

Yukti Logical proof

Why is it that everything is vijaptimtrat (consciousness-only)? They prove by reasoning

(2) Reasoning
1. Each of the five commonly acknowledged consciousness (the eye-consciousness, etc.), about
which we are all in full agreement, inasmuch as it is one of the Five, like the other four, does not
directly perceive any object distinct from itself.

2. The other commonly acknowledged consciousness, the sixth, i.e., manovijna,
because it is a consciousness, like the Five, does not directly perceive dharmas distinct from
itself either.

They talked about commonly acknowledged (prasiddha) consciousness. They talked about 5
consciousnesses and mental consciousness. Example, visual consciousness. When we see something,
we do not see directly. None of the 5 consciousnesses take the object directly. You have immediate
object (nimittabhga), it is a direct object. Visual object comes from the remote object.

Visual consciousness
Immediate object
Direct object in the mind
External rpa
(remote object)

For example, you have visual consciousness, when we see an object (rpa), according to their
standpoint, we do not see the rpa directly. What happen is that, the rpa serves as the object which
gives this image of the mind that is the direct object. Really the knowledge is derived from immediate
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
object. This immediate object is in our mind. According to them, we never see the external object

Sautrntika has a similar theory of Indirect perception. According to them, whatever we know,
whatever knowledge we have is derived from the image in the mind. Thus the perception is Indirect.
Sautrntika would not go so far to say that nothing exists apart from the mind. We know the external
object through the indirect image. But because there is a corresponding image for our knowledge, it
means there must be an external object. Otherwise where does the image come from? So in this way,
they have the theory of Inferability of the external object (bahiranumeyavda).

According to Theravda, we actually see the object outside. One moment of thought is equal to 17
moments of the object. So the rpa ksana lasts longer. There is enough time for the whole process.
They proposed the theory of Direct perception. Smitya school say we actually see the object outside.
Rpa last much longer. Therefore external thing can be directly perceived.

Sarvstivda also proposed the Direct perception. When we examine more carefully, we see that their
perception is not as direct as they think. Because in Sarvstivda, they have the kra (mode of
activity), the way it appears in the mind. For them, to know the object, we have to go through via the
mechanism called kra. How is it operating in the mind? The way of operating in the mind is kra. If
I see a human being, then I have the kra of human being. There is a mode of activity in our mind. So
I understand directly that external object exists. For Sarvstivda, their understanding is simultaneous
(sahjata) at the very time, when there is rpa; at that very time, there is phala. The three things co-
exist. In Sarvstivda model cause and effect are simultaneous. The cause is caksu and rpa; the
effect is caksur-vijna. Sarvstivda and Sautrntika are realists. Yogcras are idealists. But still
Sarvstivda and Sautrntika also differ, because Sautrntika says what we know is always Indirect and
that knowledge comes in the second moment.

Sarvstivda say what we know is direct. The kra directly correspond to the object right now we
are knowing the object, and right now there is kra operative in the same moment. Still, it requires
kra. In a sense, it is not entirely direct like in the case of Theravda and Smitya.

These are the differences between the different theories of perception. Anyway, whatever it is, we can
say, except for Theravda and Smitya, everybody says the real object of knowledge is actually
Indirect One.

3. The immediate object of the six consciousnesses is not distinct from these consciousnesses,
because it is one of their two bhga-s (i.e., the nimittabhga), just as the perceiving division (i.e.,
the daranabhga) is not distinct from consciousness since it is consciousness in its essential

If this is true for visual consciousness, then it must be true for all the 5 consciousnesses. Then they
(Yogcra) extent it and say, mental consciousness is a type of consciousness, it must be the way
consciousness operates. Therefore, even the 6 consciousnesses operate like that.

For Yogcra, our experience of the so-called external world is inside the mind. Everything comes from
the mind. Consciousness is the subject (darana-bhga). What they are saying is that, subject and
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
object both are two parts of consciousness. The nature of consciousness is such that whenever
consciousness arises, it arises in such a way that there is a division into subject and object.

To support their belief, they say, you (bhidharmika-s) have to agree that there can never be so-called
consciousness without an object. That is precisely they call lambana-pratyaya. That point is agreed
upon by everybody. But what conclusion can be drawn from this, that of course depend on their beliefs.
For Realists would say lambana-pratyaya is something by virtue of which the consciousness can arise,
it means that something must be there. Otherwise, pratyaya would be unreal. Nothing unreal can be
called pratyaya.

Yogcra argue also, they say otherwise. They also agree that there is a causal efficacy of that thing
called lambana, but that so-called thing also comes from our mind.

4. The immediate object of consciousness, because it is an object, like the associated mental
activities, is definitely not separable from citta and caitta-s.

Arguments and philosophical reasoning to prove this Doctrine of Vijaptimtra are numerous.
We should therefore believe deeply in and accept it.

Conclusion: Logical reasoning and the Scriptures combined

The tman and dharma-s arte non-existent; Tathat (the void or emptiness) and consciousness
are not inexistent. tman and dharma-s lie outside the category of existence; Tathat and
consciousness like outside the category of non-existence. We have, therefore, in this doctrine, the
Middle Way.

That is what Lord Maitreya says in two stanzas of the Madhynta-vibhga:
The mind that falsely discriminates exists; the duality (tman and dharma-s) which manifests
itself in it is absolutely non-existent; in this false discrimination is Emptiness only (Tathat); in
Emptiness (nyat), too, there is this false discrimination. I therefore say that all dharmas are
neither empty nor non-empty. There is existence of false discrimination, non-existence of the
duality of tman and dharma-s, existence of Emptiness in false discrimination, and existence of
false discrimination in Emptiness, that is the Middle way.


What is asti and nsti? Two things are asti.
1. nyat (=tathat = parinispanna-svabhva). Asti is paramrthatah.
2. Parikalpa (=paratantra-svabhva = laya-vijna). Asti is samvrtitah.

Nsti dravya (subject, object).

When we understand like this, this is called middle way.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
They have proved enough that everything is nothing, but consciousness. We saw that, it is their
sectarian standpoint.

What follows is, outsiders raise various objections. (Read the handouts).

One of the main answers of Yogcra is that, they have to resort to the idea of the dream. In the dream,
we can dream of hundred students are listening to you, or see the same table. The idea of determiner of
inanimate thing in term of space and time, you can dream of going to the city and see your friend, and
all these things can happen in dream. So there is no obstruction to the idea that inanimate thing must be
fixed in time and space for the common experience of many beings.

To answer the question like this, if everything is consciousness-only, how come we all see the same
thing. We should see different things. The answer is, they have to appeal to the Buddhas teaching.
Supposing hungry ghosts see the same water as pus. Human beings experience water as water.

All these to show that the mere-consciousness doesnt contradict to this kind of phenomena.

Lecture 22: 8
Oct 2003

Epistemological Idealism

Ontology means a study of what exists in the universe. There are two main branches of philosophy:- (1)
Ontology (or metaphysic) a study of substance or existents in the universe. (2) Epistemology a
study of the theory of knowledge.

Professor has been emphasizing that Yogcra is a type of epistemological Idealism. In other words
how can we say that there is no external consciousness apart from the mind, it is all argued from the
point of view of how we perceive things. We perceive thing in a certain way because of our habitual
forces in our mind. That kind of habitual patterns or forces from beginningless time. According to
Yogcra, we always think of something outside external. This is just the habitual way of perceiving
thing. Therefore, Yogcra is a kind of epistemological Idealism. It doesnt necessary argue, lets say if
there is no mind, whether there is substance outside there or not. But though they say like that, still to
some ancient masters, we can argue about the implication to what they say. If we say this school
maintains that there is nothing exists apart from the mind, to some, it would mean it is a commitment to
say that only mental thing exists, not outside thing. Though we are epistemologically arriving at it in a
certain manner, that is a different matter. That would be the kind of conclusion that one can draw from
it. There are different types of conclusion. Thats why, there is an argument as regard to the nature of
Idealism in Yogcra.

One consideration can be made by some scholars in this school. There is a thing called lambana-
pratyaya. This idea of lambana-pratyaya is in fact was taught in the Abhidharma period, even before
Yogcra. There are four types of pratyaya. Pratyaya means supporting condition, it brings about the
occurrence of a certain event. So in the growth of a tree, from a seed into a fruit, we need pratyaya for it
to grow. Because even if we have the seed, if no water, no sun-shine, etc., the seed will wither. Those
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
supporting conditions are called pratyaya. The seed is called hetu. This is one distinction. At the
beginning, before bhidharmikas have the theory of 6 hetu-s, there was a teaching of 4 pratyaya-s.
These four pratyaya-s seem to be a more ancient teaching. These four pratyaya-s are supposed to
include all types of causal situations. But later on, Sarvstivda introduce the theory of six hetu-s. At
that time, they made distinction between what is hetu and what is pratyaya. The main distinction is
whatever primary is hetu; whatever secondary is pratyaya. Within the context of 4 pratyaya-s, their
function is also as hetu. The term pratyaya must be hetu also. Because it includes all kinds of
causal situation.

Four pratyaya-s:- (Read: The Sarvstivda Abhidharma)
1. Adhipati-pratyaya anything that contribute in some way whether directly or indirectly; positively
or negatively.
2. Samanantara-pratyaya represents the causality that obtains in the mental domain. So in the
mental series, for C2 to arise, C1 serves as a condition, that supports the arising of C2. There is the
similarity. Though C1 is past, it still can act as a supporting condition by giving way to the arising
of the next dharma in a series.

C1 C2 C3
3. Hetu-pratyaya - pratyaya as hetu, as a chief one.
4. lambana-pratyaya It means an lambana that can function as a pratyaya. The Buddha has said
in a perceptual situation, you have eye, you have rpa, then you have eye-consciousness. For eye-
consciousness to arise, there are two pratyaya-s:- caksu is the araya; rpa is lambana. Without
rpa, eye consciousness cannot arise. In that sense, even an object that is served as condition, that is
called lambana-pratyaya. This idea is accepted in the Yogca. These doctrinal scheme of 4
pratyaya-s was a very ancient one.

For Realists, like Sarvstivda and Sautrntika, they will argue, because an external object must be
there for one to know something, surely external object exists.

Sautrntika actually argue that, what we see is not directly the object. Because seeing something outside
there, by the time I know there is something there, actually that something is no more there. Because
everything lasts one ksana.

Sarvam asti theory says it is no more there only in term of activity. It is not active, but that substance,
intrinsic nature is remained.

Sautrntika argue when I see something, by the time I know that thing, actually is already in the second
moment. Why? First, there must be cause, then second the effect. There must be a time sequence.
Everything lasts only one moment. That is called Indirect Perception. This theory paves the way for the
Yogcra doctrine. Yogcra goes further and say nothing exists except the mind. Because all that we
know is from the mind. Our knowledge is completely derived from mental content. But although we
never know anything directly, what we know in fact is only from the image of that thing. Still the fact
that I have that image means there must be corresponding object outside that giving an image. That
theory is called bahyarthnumeyavda (The theory of Inferability of external object). So Sautrntika is
a realists, but they arrived at a conclusion by Inference (anumana), because they accept they know
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
something from the image of that thing. The image must come from something outside. Therefore that
something outside must exist.

Whatever we know is from the image of the mind. It is not that thing directly. Both Sautrntika and
Yogcra argue on this point.

Difference between Yogcra and Sautrntika

Yogcra speaks of two types of lambana:-
1. Immediate lambana
2. Remote lambana

When I see a thing that they occur in may mind. Sautrntika say precisely of the remote thing outside. I
infer, therefore, that so-called remote thing exists. Yogcra say, our knowledge is derived from
immediate pratyaya (within our mind). It does not mean there must be outside object because this is a
manifestation from my mind. The mind manifests into two aspects:
1. Darana-bhga
2. Nimitta-bhga

Both come from consciousness. This is a kind of transformation from consciousness. So there is no a
thing called something outside there. This is the view of Vijnavda. In this way they established

The whole argument is from epistemology from the way we know thing. Thats why, it is called
epistemological Idealism.

Some scholars say, Yogcra is not Idealistic, because their system accept lambana-pratyaya. Then
they accept something outside there. Professor says that kind of understanding is the Sautrntikas
understanding. Yogcra says all we know about existence is from the mind. That knowledge is
actually part of the mind.

The fact that Yogcra accepts the doctrine of lambana-pratyaya, that in itself does not prove that they
are not idealistic. Two terms are used in Buddhist epistemology:-
1. Skra-vijnavdin
2. Nirkra-vijnavdin

Skra-vijnavdin Those who hold that in consciousness, when we are conscious of something,
there is kra in our mind.

Nirkra-vijnavdin Another party says there is no kra.

These two terms were coined in a somewhat later stage, probably around 6
century. The way the
Sarvstivda understand the word kra is somewhat different from the meaning of kra here.

In the context of these two terms skra-vijnavdin and nirkra-vijnavdin the kra here
means an image or a reflection. So according to the later modern Buddhist scholars, Sarvstivda
belongs to nirkra-vijnavda. Yogcara, Sautrntika and others are called skra-vijnavda. Go
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
back to the example of visual perception, according to the Sautrntika, our knowledge is through the
kra in this sense that there is an image in our mind.

Yogcra likewise says we must know something through kra, that is an image in our mind, but that
image is manifested in our mind, not from outside. In the case of the Buddha, what He sees is reality
(suchness tathat), that is not kra.

To summarize, according to Yogcra themselves and modern scholars:-

Nirkra-vijnavda Sarvstivda


Sautrntika external object exists. Though I
dont know directly, but I can infer.

Yogcra image is real
Image is unreal.

Remark: Image is real this type of Yogcra came from Sautrntika. They are particularly Dgnaga
and Dharmakrti. They were, probably originally at first Sautrntika. They brought in the realists
position into the fold of Yogcra. The other Yogcrin insists that image is not a real thing. The image
is the manifestation of the mind.

According to Dharmakrti in Nyayabindu, he says the so-called reality is something that has svalaksana,
and that svalaksana has kriy (activity), it has an impact on our mind. It affects the way we perceive it.
For example, the table is near to us, it is big; if I go far, the table becomes small. So my perception of
that thing is affected by the reality of the table. If there is no table outside, if just an imagination of our
mind, how come I cannot imagine after thousand of miles away. That proves the reality of that nature.

Sarvstivdfa never able admit that there can be any image in the mind that is pure manifestation /
transformation of consciousness. Even when we imagine something, that imagination is based on
something real. If I see a person, a person is just a concept, but if there is no 5 skandha-s, how can I
have the idea of a person? That kind of imagination is based on real. Their position is we can never
have consciousness of something that is totally non-existent.

Sautrntika has a different position. In a perceptual process, the object and image may not be real. The
object can be real and can be totally unreal also. For instance, for them past and future things are unreal.
But we think of past and future things. tma is not real; but we can think of tma. tma has no any
basis, but we can have an idea of it.

kra = praj
For Sarvstivdin, we cant have something complete imagination. That in the sense of imagining
something that is totally non-existent outside. When we know something, what is happening is that, that
something actually outside there that activate the mind. So we have the understanding of it. This
understanding is called kra (mode of apprehension/ understanding).

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
When the Sarvstivdin uses the term kra, the sense of the word kra is different. kra is not that
reflection of the object outside. kra is the way the mind understand a certain thing. In fact, kra is
praj (element of understanding), one of the 10 mahbhmika-s. Citta never arises by itself. It arises
with vedan, samj, cetan, praj, etc. Vedan, for example, is to make the mind to be able to feel
something, i.e., pleasurable, etc., Even to be able to feel like that, there is an element of understanding
(praj). Likewise samj is a thought i.e., it is a man, etc. Samj is able to do that because of the
co-operation or contribution from the praj. Without praj, there is no any understanding at all.
Therefore, this kra in their system refers to praj.

That is why, the caitta-s are said to be sa-kra in the sense that they are always conjoined with praj.
It is only praj that there is really kra. Citta and other caitta-s are conjoined (samprayukta) with
that kra (= praj). Therefore they are called sa-kra. So kra is praj. Praj is the
investigation or discernment with regard to an object.

kra is used in Sarvstivda is very different from the sense that is given by Yogcra. Some scholars
tried to understand the Sarvstivdas position by thinking of kra in a way of Yogcra.

According to Pu Guang, a disciple of Xuan Zang, he gives a different tradition regarding this

nirkra-vijnavda Smitya
Skra-vijnavda Other Hnayna schools
Mahyna i.e., Yogcra

According to Xuan Zang, all these schools including Sarvstivda, all speaks of skra. According to
Sarvstivda, the word kra means the way the mind understand things. That understanding is called

For the later period of Yogcra work, they are talking about arthkra (the form of that object). In
another words, if we want to use kra to apply to Sarvstivda, we could use that arthkra (the
form of the object). It directly reflected in the mind. Though it is sound like that consciousness arises
with the image of the object, it sounds like that there is an object, then there is an reflection of the mind.
That would be very similar to Sautrntika. But what they are really saying is that the so-called image is
an understanding (arthkra). It is not something made by the mind. It is a direct understanding of that
thing. When my eyes see something, I see it indirectly, as if it is an image. That seeing and
understanding is described as an image. Really it is a mode of understanding, a mode of seeing/
apprehension. It is not the reflection that is left from the object outside. So this is the difference here.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Lecture 23: 22
Oct 2003

Pratyaka and Anumna

According to the Later Buddhist scholars, there is a classification of two types of theory concerning
perception (1) skla-(vi)jnavdin; (2) nirkra-(vi)jnavdin.

Xuan Zang tradition tells us Sarvstivda belongs to skra-vijnavdin. In the theory of Sarvstivda,
there is an element called kra. Nirkra is assigned to Smitya, etc., who maintain that perceptual
process, the object is exactly cognized by visual consciousness without going through the mechanism
called kra. Xuan Zangs tradition, both Sarvstivda and others are skra-vijnavda that is, to
know something, there must be kra in the mind. Then from the kra, we know, we get knowledge
from it. For Sarvstivda, kra is praj. Praj is the mode of understanding. We have to make
distinction between the perception of five consciousnesses and that of sixth consciousness.

Yogcra is a composite movement. There are different types of Yogcra. Some are strict Idealism;
others are more Sautrntika. Sautrntika are not Idealists, their theory is a kind of representational
theory. They talked about kra we know something, but not directly, because everything is ksanika,
we cant know outside thing directly. There is no time. The object arises and passes away. It leaves
behind an image in the mind. This kra is not necessary praj. What you get is a representation of
that object that is the knowledge derived from that.

In the Later Yogcra, there are some important exponents within Yogcra who explain in a very
similar manner as Sautrntika. They are considered as a Sautrntika-inclined within the Yogcra. They
are represented by Dinga and Dharmakrti. They are generally better known as logicians. They
developed the pramna school, sometimes this is considered as a separate school. The word pramna
stands for the name of school of Buddhist logic. In Buddhism, logical reasoning was important for
beginning. The Buddha reasons in a very rational manner. In the northern tradition, these reasoning are
very much developed than to Theravda Buddhism. In Abhidharma period, they used logical tools,
concepts, like giving clear definition, for instance, what is pratyaksa? etc.

Around the time of MVS, they developed very much logical reasoning so much so, eventually this study
became a separate branch of Buddhism called logical school. They study about the valid means of
perception. In other words, to get knowledge, what are the valid means (pramna)? They study the
definition, for example, what is the pratyaksa, anumna, etc? Of course, Buddhist logician is different
from western logicians. Logicians also study the question of epistemology, knowledge, perception.
Dinga and Dharmakrti are considered as among the greatest Buddhist logicians. They are said to
have been pro-Sautrntika, and brought in a lot of Sautrntika ideas. What is the implication of this? It
means, in their explanation, one should detect certain elements of the belief of external reality. They
brought in the realist position (of Sautrntika). The strict Idealist, for instance Dharmapla would
maintain that nothing outside exists apart from the mind.

Sautrntika are realists. They really believe that there is an external reality. They believed in paramnu
(atom). The only thing they say is, we can never know this thing directly. But they can infer. Therefore
we can detect this kind of pluralism in Dinga and Dharmakrtis perception.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
Perception requires an image (kra) in the mind. We know in Sautrntika, Yogcra. But there is
confusion in Sarvstivda, the confusion arises because of their understanding of the word kra.

Dharmakrti and Dinga, according to them, how do they define pratyaksa (Direct-perception) and
anumna (inference)?

Dingas explanation

Dinga gives the requirement that pratyaksa must be kalpanpodha (h : to infer, to induce the
statement, lit. free form imagination, conceptualization.) In other words, in direct-perception, you sense
the data directly without any thinking. If I see a cow, when I say I see a cow, it is not a pratyaksa.
because it has gone beyond the domain of pure sensation, you come to domain of thinking. There would
be the domain of anumna. When I just sense a unique cow without saying it out this is a cow, I see
that particular concrete entity before my thinking (kalpana) set in. That is pratyaksa. Pratyaksa is
kalpanpodha. It is a pure sensation, whereas anumna is perception at the stage where one begins to
think. That is how kalpana involves. Pratyaksa is associated with the perception of svalaksana.
Inference is associated with the perception of smnya-laksana.

They matched starting from Dinga, these two means pratyaksa and anumna the only means
accepted by the, bda or gama is not considered as independent pramna. They say there are only
two pramna 1. Pratyaksa, 2. anumna. abda or gama is included under anumna. At the earlier
stages, there are many pramna-s recognized as being valid for obtaining a knowledge. But when come
to Dinga, finally these two are accepted. These two are co-related with these two concepts of
svalaksana and smnya-laksana. For anumna to be valid, there must be basis, that basis is pratyaksa.
In pratyaksa stage, it is direct or pure perception without any idea (kalpana). When one begins to think,
for example, when I see something nla iti, I just see blue, but not iti, I just see the blueness, that
pure, direct perception is pratyaksa. When I say nlam iti, it is blue, that is anumna. In term of time
factor, first moment is pratyaksa; the second moment is anumna.

Dharmakrtis explanation

Dharmakrti also follows the definition given by Dinga. He added one element, there must be
abhrnta (non-erroneous) in pratyaksa. But in anumna, we can make mistake. Dharmakrti also find
tune the idea of kalpana. What is kalpana? According to Dinga, it means the verbalization in the
mind. It may not be speaking in it, but it has an idea in the mind. Dharmakrti is even more strict, not
only the actual verbalization, but even mental states would tend toward verbalization is kalpana. He
says, for instance, a small child. A small child can have kalpana. But he may not have the same way as
we adult. But it doesnt mean that he has no anumna. What is the difference in the case of small child
and adult about the kalpana? In the case of small child, he may not be able to formulate word inside his
mind, but he has some kinds of conceptualization, so that mental states also is conducive to
verbalization, that also is considered as kalpana. Therefore pratyaksa must be even free from that kind
of mental states.

According to Dharmakrti, in pratyaksa, we see the reality. He calls that svalaksana. Another term is
tattva. In pratyaksa, one perceives the reality in itself, and because of that, we can be sure that outside
thing exists. Although as a Sautrntika, they accept that what we know outside there is no more, it is
just indirect, but nonetheless, we can be sure something outside. Example, a moving object. An object
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
outside there when it is near to me, it looks big; but when that object is far away, it becomes smaller and
smaller. What does it mean? There must be something real outside there that has causal efficacy on my
perceptual process. That effect on my perception is due to the thing outside there (real). He says this is
the case of pratyaksa. What you perceive really is the real thing (thing in itself). How they prove reality?
Because of the causal efficacy. Something real causal efficacy from the way we perceived. What we
perceive is actually svalaksana.

Compare with Sarvstivda

In the MVS, there is no precise statement or definition of pratyaksa. But the notion is clear, one is that
we are perceiving a thing that is real; two is that it mustnt be any error. These two are clearly recorded
in MVS.

Another point is, with regard to all the six consciousnesses when we look at the first five
consciousnesses, we have indriya-pratyaksa, we see a real thing outside. And this is in the present
moment. Another one, Saghabhadra say anubhava-pratyaksa. It is caksu that see rpa. of course,
caksu cannot see without relying on vijna. Definitely it is not vijna that sees. Vijna cognizes.
Indriya-pratyaksa refers to in the case of visual perception, the seeing of the object by indriya. In that
seeing, we see that thing itself, what we are seeing is a real thing. At that stage, it is not knowledge. Or
you are not saying that you have seen something. It is not knowledge yet, just sense the data, that is, in
the case of visual perception. That is called indriya-pratyaksa. Dharmakrti also say so. In Indriya-
pratyaksa, what we see is a mere thing. At the same time, when the eye sees, according to the sahabh-
theory, rpa and caksu give rise to caksurvijna. All these happen at the same time.

Another theory, when vijna arises, it cannot arise by itself. There are ten mahbhmika-s vedan,
praj, smrti, etc. So although when caksu perceives the rpa, there is no understanding. But there is
also at the same time, vijna there. Vijna is conjoined with other forces called mental factors. This
makes the experiencing possible. Anubhava-pratyaksa (pratyaksa as experience/ sensation).

In the second moment, there is buddhi-pratyaksa. This involves recollection. Although it is in the
second moment, it is still pratyaksa. This immediately recollects what has been experienced in the
earlier moment.

In the first moment, there are pratyaksa of five senses indriya-pratyaksa and anubhava-pratyaksa.
The second moment, there is pratyaksa of the mind buddhi-pratyaksa. This pratyaksa is not possible
unless in the first moment, there are indriya-pratyaksa and anubhava-pratyaksa.

Another type of pratyaksa is yogi-pratyaksa. In the spiritual realization, in meditation, he sees thing
truly. That pratyaksa is not assessable to others, unless you are meditator.

The conclusion is that, the first five consciousnesses, caksu-vijna, etc., experience the present
moment. That is opposed to Sautrntika. They say that in the first moment, there is no perceptual
process at all. There are only rpa and caksu. But everything is momentary. Cause must be before
effect. The effect is vijna. When the vijna arises, already rpa and caksu became past. It is only in
the second moment.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
When one asks what do the first five consciousnesses have as object (lambana)? When you have
consciousness, the object becomes past. In contrast, according to Sarvstivda, the first five
consciousness has present dharma as an object.

How exactly is an external thing perceived by caksu? How does it take place? In the Abhidharmvatra,
section on nmdaya (name, etc), they argue like this. They say when we refer to some existent thing,
first we see word (abda), but the word does not directly give rise to referent (artha). For example, a
cow. First, I spell the word c-o-w. The sound cannot directly refer to cow. It must have the name
called cow. From abda, you have nma, from nma, then artha.

Likewise in jnavad arthpratinidhi-sthnyh just like knowledge, [we get] representative of an
image of that object.

Caksu does not for that matter, rpa also, these two do not directly give rise to artha. But caksu and
rpa as conditions produce the jna. Jna arises with an image of that outside thing, then we say we
have an image of that thing. It says like this tadyath jnam caksurdn hetn apeksya artham
vibhvayati. (knowledge, having dependent on causes, eye, etc., reveal the object). Though it says caksu
sees, the seeing is not the knowledge, but without that, you cant have knowledge. Knowledge consists
in revealing of the object.


Lecture 24: 23
Oct 2003

Theory of Pratyaka of Sautrntika and Vaibhika

What is pramna? It is a valid means of knowledge. How do we derive knowledge? There must be a
means for it. Two valid means are recognized by Yogcra, (1). Pratyaksa; (2). Anumna. The word
pramna also stands for school that study Buddhist logic. Buddhist logic is not like Western logic. A
large part of Buddhist logic has to do with the question of perception. That is why, the word pramna
comes in. In perception, what are the valid means? In the case of Yogcra, these two are accepted, and
in fact, when you talk about this topic in Yogcra really we have to go to Dinga and Dharmakrti
who are representative of this theory. Dinga and Dharmakrti are more Sautrntika than Yogcra.
There are various theories about their affiliations, some say they are Sautrntika; others say they are
Vaibhika; others say they are Vaibhika-Sautrntika; yet others say they are Yogcra. And yet some
say they are Sautrntika-Yogcra. There is no complete conclusive. As regards their affiliations by one
Indian Amasingh, his conclusion is that Dinga and Dharmakrti are Sautrntika.

According to Dharmakrti and Dinaga, there are only two valid means to derive knowledge.
1. Direct Perception/ sensation It perceives the svalaksana (specific characteristic/ thing in itself);
2. Inference it perceives the smnya-laksana (general characteristic). To have a general cognition
of general characteristic, it involves the faculty of kalpana. Thus, thinking like it is impermanent,
it is good, etc These are intellectual notions/ mental conceptualizations. Dharmakrti says that take
place at the stage of inference.

Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
When one is having pratyaksa [aksa eye; lit. in front of ones eyes, that is direct-perception]. In
direct-perception, there is no conceptualization. We see a thing in itself without being to say anything.
The moment we begin to say something in the mind, then it is no more direct-perception. Therefore we
perceive a real thing (vastu) in itself. Dharmakrti says in direct-perception, the svalaksana, we see
actually is an external reality, Because it has causal efficacy on the way we perceive it. Example,
moving object. That shows there is something objectively real outside. So this is what cognizes in
direct-perception. And starting from Dinga (/ Dignga), he defines perception as being kalpanpodha
(freed from kalpana). Dharmakrti basically follows this definition a bit later than Dignga. He adds one
more, that it must be without error (abhrnta). Dharmakrti, for pratyaksa, firstly must be free from
kalpana. Secondly, must be error free (abhrnta). Thats why, in pratyaksa, we are really seeing the
thing as it is without any error.

Compare with Vaibhika, we find that basically they have the same idea. Vaibhika generally accept
these two, and the words of the Buddha is also considered as another valid means. This valid means
cannot be formed as independent means, because it is subsumed under inference. Therefore when we
come to Dinga and others, they streamline the whole thing and say we can only have these two.
These two correspond to two possible characteristics of anything. One, an object of perception can
either have svalaksana or smnya-laksana. Svalaksana means a thing in itself.

Three types of pratyaka

Saghabhadra say there are three types of pratyaksa. (1). Indriya-pratyaksa; (2). anubhava-pratyaksa;
(3). buddhi-pratyaksa. Buddhi-pratyaksa represents mental perception in the form of recollection. One
might question them, is recollection a direct-perception? For instance, I have seen something, what
happen in the first stage, I see through my indriya (caksu), at that time, according to Sarvstivda, when
my caksu and rpa are present, caksurvijna present simultaneously. At that time, I know because my
mind knows that I have seen something. My indriya-pratyaksa does not know in that sense. It is not an
act of knowing. It just perceives directly. It is not knowledge at such. But at the time, I have caksur-
vijna. In caksurvijna, there are other mental forces (like vedan, smrti, etc.) So this consciousness
together with mental factors experience that fact. That is called anubhava. These two take place at the
first moment. Immediately after that, what is experienced is understood, is made an object directly by
the mind. Hence it is direct-perception. From the professors point of view. It is a kind of recollection
also. It is not like recollecting something like in the past. If the mind having the one immediately
preceding as the object. In this case, this is pratyaksa.

Another pratyaksa is called Yogi-pratyaksa. That is direct-perception of meditator. In this case,
particularly, refer to one who has spiritual insight. When one enters meditation, we come into the
realization where the insight into the four Noble truth arises, we see directly everything is anitya,
duhkha, etc. That is a higher kind of Direct-perception. This kind of Yogi-pratyaksa is also recognized
by all Buddhists.

Saghabhadra representing Vaibhika say that Indriya-pratyaksa takes place in the very first moment
when you have caksu and rpa at that very time. You have caksurvijna. At that very first moment,
the eye sees the rpa. That is direct-perception. Though there is no question of knowing it. It is just the
direct experience there is no saying, no thinking at such. In that case, it is similar to Dharmakrtis
notion, except one important difference, Dharmakrti representing Sautrntika would say, in the first
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
moment, that cannot even happen. In another words, what is called pramna-phala cannot arise.
Because the fruit or effect must arise after a cause (This is Sautrntikas view).

There are two different standpoints. Vaibhika say in such a situation, cause-effect are simultaneous
(sahabh); whereas Sautrntika say it is impossible to recognize sahabh-relationship. In any causal
relationship, always there is cause, then the effect. Then would mean that in the case of pratyaksa also,
as far as the object of first five consciousnesses are concerned, their objects, according to Vaibhika
would be present object. What about Sautrntika? That would past objects. Because in the first moment,
there is no perception whatever possible. In the second moment only, then the consciousness arises. For
that object, the object has already become past, belonging to the past moment.

Both talk about direct-perception. Both also talk about Indriya-pratyaksa. But there are these
differences. The object of Indriya-pratyaksa for Vaibhika is the present object of the present moment.
The object of the Indriya-pratyaksa of Sautrntika is the past object. That means according to
Sautrntika, buddhi-pratyaksa would have to occur at the third moment. According to Sautrntika, in
the first moment, there is no phala. There is only caksu and rpa. When the moment finishes, that rpa
would leave behind as it is ceasing an image in the mind. The effect comes in the second moment.
Because for them, effect must be always after the cause. It is only when you accept a type of causality
which is simultaneously (sahabh), then you can speak of phala existing at the same time as the cause.
Otherwise it is very difficult to imagine that. Vaibhika gives one example of lamp and light. Lamp
and light are always together.

We saw that Sanskrit quotation from Dharmadpa - tadyath jnam caksurdn hetn apeksya
artham vibhvayati it is the same as stated in Abhidharmvatra. There, it tells us clearly in the case
of knowledge (jna), knowledge arises depending on caksu and rpa (simultaneous) dependent on the
conditions. Just like, three bundles of straws. They are mutually cause as well as effect to each other.
This is known as sahabh. This kind of relationship is recognized only by Vaibhika and also by
Yogcra, but not by Sautrntika.

According to Sanskrit quotation, jna arises depending on caksu and rpa. Thus three are together.
Depending on caksu, the jna reveals the object. So caksu itself does not reveal the object. Therefore,
when the eye sees, it is not the act of revealing, that is why, as eye sees, it is not the act of knowing. The
revealing is done by jna. According to the Vaibhika, that takes place in the same moment.
According to Sautrntika, that takes place in the next moment. So how is that revealing come about?
That is because there is an image. The image is not the phala yet according to Vaibhsika. That image
comes in the first moment, and then jna depending on that, knows immediately. Not the caksu, but
the jna. In the case of Sautrntika, the image is there, but it can only be known by jna in the next


According to Sautrntika, Mahsghika as well as Yogcra, when consciousness knows something,
it knows itself also. That is called self-awareness/ consciousness.

Dharmakrti argues at length that, if that is not the case, then we cannot have buddhi-pratyaksa. How
can we know that we had experienced something, so we must acknowledge that we saw something,
then I can directly know it. Vaibhika argues that it is not possible. Nothing can have action on itself.
Yogcra 2003
Lectured by Professor Bhikkhu Dhammajoti
For instance, a knife cannot cut itself. So it is impossible the knowledge can know itself. In the
Vaibhikas explanation, there is an indriya-pratyaksa. The indriya sees something at the same time,
they have sahabh-relationship; at the same time, there are consciousness and other mental factors. So
consciousness knows, so there is an awareness, there is an experiencing of that act. Therefore, when we
come to buddhi-pratyaksa, we know that we have experienced earlier I saw something, etc. So
Vaibhika does not resort to this sva-samvedan. They explain mental recollection in the form of
Direct perception, whereas Sautrntika say in every act of consciousness, there is this Self-

Another difference is, pertaining to object, Sautrntika say the object of the five consciousnesses are
unity. In other words, it is a unity that is imposed by the mind. If I see a tape-recorder, I am not really
seeing the atom individually. I have imposed the idea of tape-recorder from my mind, so what you see a
unity; whereas for the Vaibhika, the object is not unity, but accumulation or agglomeration
(nusamcaya, nu-samudaya). So one single atom cannot be visible, but many atoms put together
would give the effect of particular form. That form is visible, is directly perceived by the eye. This is
difference as regards to the object of perception. Dharmakrti also say the same thing. When atoms are
together, it gives rise to a particular form. That form is directly perceived. In this respect, Dharmakrtis
notion as regards at least the objects of five senses seem to be similar to Vaibhika.