Yogacara

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Yogacara

(yō'gəkär`ə) [Skt.,=yoga practice], philosophical school of Mahayana BuddhismBuddhism
, religion and philosophy founded in India c.525 B.C. by Siddhartha Gautama, called the Buddha. There are over 300 million Buddhists worldwide. One of the great world religions, it is divided into two main schools: the Theravada or Hinayana in Sri Lanka and SE Asia, and
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, also known as the Vijnanavada or Consciousness School. The founders of this school in India were Maitreya (270–350), his disciple Asanga (c.375–430), and Asanga's younger half-brother Vasubandhu (c.400–480), who was also the greatest systematizer of the AbhidharmaAbhidharma
[Skt.,=higher dharma, or doctrine], schools of Buddhist philosophy. Early Buddhism analyzed experience into 5 skandhas or aggregates, and alternatively into 18 dhatus or elements.
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 type of Buddhist philosophy. The school held that consciousness (vijnana) is real, but its objects are constructions and unreal. The school's teachings are thus often characterized by the phrase "consciousness-only" (citta-matra) or "representation-only" (vijnapti-matra). The content of consciousness is produced not by independently existing objects but by the inner modifications of consciousness itself. A theory of eight kinds of consciousness was formed to explain how this process functions. The deepest level of consciousness is the "store-consciousness" (alaya-vijnana), which is both individual and universal and contains the seeds or traces of past actions, which are projected into manifestation through the "defiled mind" and the six sense-consciousnesses (the five physical senses plus mind or thought). The school was transmitted to China as the Fa-hsiang. It eventually syncretized with the MadhyamikaMadhyamika
[Skt.,=of the middle], philosophical school of Mahayana Buddhism, based on the teaching of "emptiness" (see sunyata) and named for its adherence to the "middle path" between the views of existence or eternalism and nonexistence or nihilism.
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 school.

Bibliography

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