The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also, Vijnanavadins), the followers of the second major religious and philosophical school of Mahayana Buddhism. (The other, equally important, school is Madhyamika Buddhism.) The basic ideas of Yogacara doctrines arose in the third century A.D. The leading representatives of the Yogacarins are considered to be Asanga (fourth century A.D.), whose chief works are Yogacharyabhumi, Mahayana Samgraha, and Abhi-dharmasamuchaya; and Vasubandhu (fifth century A.D.), whose chief works are Vyakhyayukti, Vimshika, and Tramshika. The school reached its height in the sixth to eighth centuries A.D., when Sthiramati and Dharmapala wrote commentaries on the works of Asanga and Vasubandhu, and when the greatest Buddhist logicians, Dignaga and Dharmakirti, were active. The works of both of the latter have been preserved chiefly in Tibetan, Mongolian, and to a lesser extent, Chinese translations.

Concretizing the general Buddhist principle of the psychic existence of the personality as the sole reality and thing of value, the Yogacarins developed the idea of the supreme importance of pure consciousness (vijnana), freed from any content. Being in this state of consciousness, which is the aim of human strivings, is called bodhi (literally, “illumination”) or nirvana. The Yogacarins cultivated yoga in particular as the means to achieve it. At the same time, the school of Yogacarins also widely held the concept of alaya vijnana (“treasury of consciousness,” literally, “storehouse consciousness”), a unique form of omnicon-sciousness or absolute consciousness having the nature of the Buddha and serving as a kind of overall basis for each empirical, individual consciousness.

The Yogacarins made a large contribution to the development of non-Aristotelian logic by creating an independent branch of this logic—Buddhist logic, with a completely original elaboration of the problems of dichotomic classification of categories, the construction of syllogistic figures, and so on.


Shcherbatskoi, F. I. Teoriia poznaniia i logika po ucheniiu pozdneishikh buddistov, parts 1 to 2. St. Petersburg, 1903–09.
Radhakrishnan, S. Indiiskaia filosofiia, vol. 1, pp. 534–51. Moscow, 1956. (Translated from English.)
Stcherbatsky, T. Buddhist Logic, vols. 1–2. Leningrad, 1930–32.
Wolff, E. Zur Lehre vom Bewusstsein (Vijnanavada ) bei den sädteren Buddhisten. Heidelberg, 1930. (Dissertation.)
Takukasu, J. The Essentials of Buddhist Philosophy. Honolulu, 1947.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Yogacarins view it as the appearing-disappearing dharmas.
If the Yogacarins aimed to liberate consciousness from all forms of bondage to the external world, to revolve it to itself (asraya paravrtti), now the goal is to see consciousness in a radically different way.
Yogacarins (followers of Yogacara) affirm an idealist (mind-only) metaphysics, but madhyamikas (followers of Madhyamaka, the middle path) neither affirm nor deny either wholly realist or wholly idealist metaphysics.
158 that occurs in what is ostensibly a comparative discussion of the differences in the approach to language and the ontological commitments of the Sautrantikas and the Yogacarins (emphasis mine, even though I do not once believe there are such doctrinal entities out there).