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Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
(Sanskrit; traditional Chinese: 世親; ; pinyin: Shìqīn; Wylie: dbyig gnyen) (fl. 4th to 5th century CE) was a very influential Buddhist monk and scholar from Gandhara. Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
was a philosopher who wrote on the Abhidharma
Abhidharma
from the perspectives of the Sarvastivada and Sautrāntika schools. Along with his half-brother Asanga, he was also one of the main founders of the Yogacara
Yogacara
school after his conversion to Mahayana
Mahayana
Buddhism. Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośakārikā
Abhidharmakośakārikā
("Commentary on the Treasury of the Abhidharma") is widely used in Tibetan and East Asian Buddhism
East Asian Buddhism
as the major source for non- Mahayana
Mahayana
Abhidharma
Abhidharma
philosophy. His philosophical verse works set forth the standard for the Indian Yogacara
Yogacara
metaphysics of "appearance only" (vijñapti-mātra), which has been described as a form of "epistemological idealism", phenomenology[1] and close to Immanuel Kant's transcendental idealism.[2] Apart from this, he wrote several commentaries, works on logic, argumentation and devotional poetry. Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
is one of the most influential thinkers in the Indian Buddhist philosophical tradition. In Jōdo Shinshū, he is considered the Second Patriarch and in Chan Buddhism, he is the 21st Patriarch.

Contents

1 Life and works

1.1 Two Vasubandhus theory

2 Philosophy

2.1 Abhidharma 2.2 Critique of the Self 2.3 Momentariness 2.4 Yogacara
Yogacara
theories 2.5 Appearance only 2.6 Three Natures and non-duality 2.7 Logic

3 Notes 4 Works 5 References 6 External links

Life and works[edit] Born a Brahmin[3] in Peshawar
Peshawar
(present-day Pakistan), Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
was the half brother of Asanga, another key personage in the founding of the Yogacara
Yogacara
philosophy. Vasubandhu's name means "the Kinsman of Abundance."[4] He and Asanga
Asanga
are members of the "Six Ornaments"[5] or six great commentators on the Buddha’s teachings. He was contemporaneous with Chandragupta I, father of Samudragupta. This information temporally places this Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
in the 4th century CE.[6] The earliest biography of Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
was translated into Chinese by Paramärtha (499-569).[7] Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
initially studied with the Buddhist Sarvastivada
Sarvastivada
(also called Vaibhāṣika, who upheld the Mahavibhasa) school which was dominant in Gandhara, and then later moved to Kashmir
Kashmir
to study with the heads of the orthodox Sarvastivada branch there.[8] After returning home he lectured on Abhidharma
Abhidharma
and composed the Abhidharmakośakārikā
Abhidharmakośakārikā
(Verses on the Treasury of the Abhidharma), a verse distillation of Sarvastivada
Sarvastivada
Abhidharma teachings, which was an analysis of all factors of experience into its constituent dharmas (phenomenal events). However Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
had also begun to question Sarvastivada
Sarvastivada
orthodoxy for some time, and had studied with the Sautantrika teacher Manoratha. Due to this, he then went on to publish an auto-commentary to his own verses, criticizing the Sarvastivada
Sarvastivada
system from a Sautrāntika viewpoint (also called Dārṣtāntika).[2] He is later said to have converted to Mahayana
Mahayana
beliefs under the influence of his brother Asanga, whereupon he composed a number of voluminous treatises, especially on Yogacara
Yogacara
doctrines and Mahayana sutras. Most influential in the East Asian Buddhist tradition have been the Vimśatikāvijñaptimātratāsiddhi, the "Twenty Verses on Representation Only", with its commentary (Viṃśatikāvṛtti), the Triṃśikā-vijñaptimātratā, the "Thirty Verses on Representation-only" and the "Three Natures Exposition" (Trisvabhāvanirdeśa). Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
also wrote a texts on Buddhist Hermeneutics, the Proper Mode of Exposition (Vyākhyāyukti). Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
thus became a major Mahayana
Mahayana
master, scholar and debater, famously defeating the Samkhya
Samkhya
philosophers in debate in front of the Gupta king Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
at Ayodhya, who is said to have rewarded him with 300,000 pieces of gold.[9] Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
used the money he made from royal patronage and debating victories to build Buddhist monasteries and hospitals. He was prolific, writing a large number of other works, including:

Pañcaskandhaprakaraṇa (Explanation of the Five Aggregates) Karmasiddhiprakarana ("A Treatise on Karma") Vyākhyāyukti ("Proper Mode of Exposition") Vādavidhi("Rules for Debate") Catuhśataka-śāstra Mahāyāna śatadharmā-prakāśamukha śāstra Amitayus sutropadeśa ("Instruction on the Amitabha Sutra") Discourse on the Pure Land[10] Vijnaptimatrata Sastra ("Treatise on representation only") Mahāyānasaṃgrahabhāṣya (Commentary to the Summary of the Great Vehicle of Asanga) Dharmadharmatāvibhāgavṛtti (Commentary on Distinguishing Elements from Reality) Madhyāntavibhāgabhāṣya (Commentary on Distinguishing the Middle from the Extremes) Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkārabhāṣya (Commentary on the Ornament to the Great Vehicle Discourses) Dasabhūmikabhāsya (Commentary on the Ten Stages Sutra) Commentary on the Aksayamatinirdesa-sutra Commentary on the Diamond Sutra Commentary on the Lotus Sutra[11][12] Paramärthasaptati, a critique of Samkhya

Two Vasubandhus theory[edit] Erich Frauwallner, a mid-20th-century Buddhologist, sought to distinguish two Vasubandhus, one the Yogācārin and the other a Sautrāntika, but this view has largely fallen from favour in part on the basis of the anonymous Abhidharma-dīpa, a critique of the Abhidharmakośakārikā
Abhidharmakośakārikā
which clearly identifies Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
as the sole author of both groups of writings.[13] According to Dan Lusthaus, "Since the progression and development of his thought ... is so strikingly evident in these works, and the similarity of vocabulary and style of argument so apparent across the texts, the theory of Two Vasubandhus has little merit."[14] Scholarly consensus on this question has generally moved away from Frauwallner's "two-authors" position.[15][16] Philosophy[edit]

Vasubandhu: Wood, 186 cm height, about 1208, Kofukuji Temple, Nara, Japan

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Abhidharma[edit] Vasubandhu's Verses on the Treasury of the Abhidharma
Abhidharma
contains a description of all 75 dharmas (phenomenal events), and then outlines the entire Sarvastivada
Sarvastivada
doctrine including "meditation practices, cosmology, theories of perception, causal theories, the causes and elimination of moral problems, the theory of rebirth, and the qualities of a Buddha."[17] The Treasury and its commentary also expound all kinds of arguments relating to the Sarvastivada
Sarvastivada
Abhidharma and critique those arguments from a Sautantrika perspective in the commentary. Major arguments include an extensive critique of the Self (Atman and Pudgala) and a critique of the Sarvastivada
Sarvastivada
theory of "the existence of the dharmas of the three time periods [past, present and future]". In the Treasury, Vasubadhu also argued against a Creator God (Ishvara) and against the Sarvastivada
Sarvastivada
theory of avijñaptirūpa ("unperceived physicality" or "invisible physicality"). Critique of the Self[edit] Vasubandhu's critique of the Self is a defence of Buddhist Anatman doctrine, and also a critique of the Buddhist Personalist School and Hindu view of the soul. It is intended to show the unreality of the self or person as over and above the five skandhas (heaps, aggregates which make up an individual). Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
begins by outlining the soteriological motive for his argument, writing that any view which sees the self as having independent reality (e.g. the Hindu view) is not conductive to Nirvana. Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
then evaluates the idea of the Self from epistemic grounds (Pramana). Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
states that what is real can only be known from perception (Pratyakṣa) or inference (Anumāṇa). Perception
Perception
allows one to observe directly the objects of the six sense spheres. Inference allows one to infer the existence of sense organs. However, there is no such inference for a solid real Self apart from the stream of constantly changing sense perceptions and mental activity of the sense spheres.[2] Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
also argues that because the Self is not causally efficient, it is mere convention (prajñapti) and a “conceptual construction” (parikalpita). This argument is mainly against the Buddhist Pudgalavada school who held a view of a 'person' that was dependent on the five aggregates, yet was also distinct, in order to account for the continuity of personality. Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
sees this as illogical, for him, the Self is made up of constantly changing sensory organs, sense impressions, ideas and mental processes and any imagined unity of self-hood is a false projection. Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
also uses this analysis of the stream of consciousness to attack non-Buddhist Hindu views of the Atman. Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
shows that the Hindu view of the Self as 'controller' is refuted by an analysis of the flux and disorder of mental events and the inability of the supposed Self to control our minds and thoughts in any way we would like. If the Self is truly an eternal un-caused agent, it should be unaffected by mere physical and mental causes, and it also seems difficult to explain how such a force existing independently outside of the mind could causally interact with it.[2] Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
also answers several common objections to the Buddhist not-self view such as how karma works without a Self and what exactly undergoes rebirth. Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
points to the causal continuum of aggregates/processes which undergoes various changes leading to future karmic events and rebirth. Momentariness[edit] During Vasubandhu's era, the philosophy of space and time was an important issue in Buddhist philosophy. The Sarvāstivādin tradition which Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
studied held the view of the existence of dharmas (phenomenal events) in all three times (past, present, future). This was said to be their defining theoretical position, hence their name Sarvāstivāda
Sarvāstivāda
is Sanskrit
Sanskrit
for "theory of all exists". In contrast to this eternalist view, the Sautrāntika, a rival offshoot, held the doctrine of "extreme momentariness", a form of presentism (only the present moment exists). In the Abhidharmakośakārikā, Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
puts forth the Sarvāstivādin theory, and then in his commentary (bhasya) he critiques this theory and argues for the 'momentariness' of the Sautrāntika. He also later wrote the Karma-siddhi-prakaraṇa ("Exposition Establishing Karma") which also expounded the momentariness view (kṣanikavāda). Vasubandhu's view here is that each dharma comes into existence only for a moment in which it discharges its causal efficacy and then self-destructs, the stream of experience is then a causal series of momentary dharmas. The issue of continuity and transference of karma is explained in the latter text by an exposition of the "storehouse consciousness" (ālayavijñāna), which stores karmic seeds (bīja) and survives rebirth. Yogacara
Yogacara
theories[edit] According to Dan Lusthaus, Vasubandhu's major ideas are:[8]

"Whatever we are aware of, think about, experience, or conceptualize, occurs to us nowhere else than within consciousness." "External objects do not exist." " Karma
Karma
is collective and consciousness is intersubjective." "All factors of experience (dharmas) can be catalogued and analyzed." " Buddhism
Buddhism
is a method for purifying the stream of consciousness from 'contaminations' and 'defilements.'" "Each individual has eight types of consciousness, but Enlightenment (or Awakening) requires overturning their basis, such that consciousness (vijñaana) is 'turned' into unmediated cognition (jñaana)."

Appearance only[edit] Vasubandhu's main Yogacara
Yogacara
works (Viṃśatikā and Triṃśikā) put forth the theory of "vijñaptimātra" which has been rendered variously as 'representation-only', 'consciousness-only' and 'appearance-only'. While some scholars such as Lusthaus see Vasubandhu as expounding a phenomenology of experience, others (Sean Butler) see him as expounding some form of Idealism
Idealism
similar to Kant
Kant
or George Berkeley.[18] The Twenty verses begins by stating:

In Mahayana
Mahayana
philosophy...[reality is] viewed as being consciousness-only... Mind
Mind
(citta), thought (manas), consciousness (chit), and perception (pratyaksa) are synonyms. The word "mind" (citta) includes mental states and mental activities in its meaning. The word "only" is intended to deny the existence of any external objects of consciousness. We recognize, of course, that "mental representations seem to be correlated with external (non-mental) objects; but this may be no different from situations in which people with vision disorders 'see' hairs, moons, and other things that are 'not there.'"[2]

One of Vasubandhu's main arguments in the Twenty verses is the Dream argument, which he uses to show that it is possible for mental representations to appear to be restricted by space and time. He uses the example of mass hallucinations (in Buddhist hell) to defend against those who would doubt that mental appearances can be shared. To counter the argument that mere mental events have no causal efficacy, he uses the example of a wet dream. Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
then turns to a mereological critique of physical theories, such as Buddhist atomism and Hindu Monism, showing that his appearance only view is much more parsimonious and rational.[2] The Thirty verses also outlines the Yogacara
Yogacara
theory of the Eight Consciousnesses and how each one can be overcome on the stages of enlightenment, turning consciousness (vijnana) into unmediated cognition (jnana) by cleansing the stream of consciousness from ‘contaminations' and ‘defilements.’ The Treatise on Buddha Nature was extremely influential in East Asian Buddhism
East Asian Buddhism
by propounding the concept of tathagatagarbha ( Buddha
Buddha
Nature). Three Natures and non-duality[edit] The Thirty verses and the "Three Natures Exposition" (Trisvabhavanirdesha) does not, like the Twenty verses, argue for appearance only, but assumes it and uses it to explain the nature of experience which is of "three natures" or "three modes". These are the fabricated nature (parikalpitasvabhāva), the dependent (paratantrasvabhāva) and the absolute (pariniṣpannasvabhāva). The fabricated nature is the world of everyday experience and mental appearances. Dependent nature is the causal process of the arising of the fabricated nature while the absolute nature is things as they are in themselves, with no subject object distinction. According to Vasubandhu, the absolute, reality itself (dharmatā) is non-dual, and the dichotomy of perception into perceiver and perceived is actually a conceptual fabrication. For Vasubandhu, to say that something is non-dual is that it is both conceptually non-dual and perceptually non-dual.[2] To say that "I" exist is to conceptually divide the causal flux of the world into self and other, a false construct. Just the same, to say that an observed object is separate from the observer is also to impute a false conception into the world as it really is - perception only. Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
uses the analogy of a magician who uses a magic spell (dependent nature, conceptual construction) to make a piece of wood (the absolute, non-duality) look like an elephant (fabricated nature, duality). The basic problem for living beings who suffer is that they are fooled by the illusion into thinking that it is real, that self and duality exists, true wisdom is seeing through this illusion.[2] Logic[edit] Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
contributed to Buddhist logic
Buddhist logic
and is held to have been the origin of formal logic in the Indian logico-epistemological tradition. Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
was particularly interested in formal logic to fortify his contributions to the traditions of dialectical contestability and debate. Anacker (2005: p. 31) holds that:

A Method for Argumentation (Vāda-vidhi) is the only work on logic by Vasabandhu which has to any extent survived. It is the earliest of the treatises known to have been written by him on the subject. This is all the more interesting because Vāda-vidhi marks the dawn of Indian formal logic. The title, "Method for Argumentation", indicates that Vasabandhu's concern with logic was primarily motivated by the wish to mould formally flawless arguments, and is thus a result of his interest in philosophical debate.[19]

This text also paved the way for the later developments of Dignaga
Dignaga
and Dharmakirti
Dharmakirti
in the field of logic. Notes[edit]

^ Lusthaus, Dan, 2002. Buddhist Phenomenology: A Philosophical Investigation of Yogācāra Philosophy and the Ch’eng Wei-shih lun, New York, NY: RoutledgeCurzon. ^ a b c d e f g h Gold, Jonathan C., "Vasubandhu", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2015/entries/vasubandhu/>. ^ P. 34 Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 2001 By Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland[full citation needed] ^ Anacker, Stefan; Seven Works of Vasubandhu, the Buddhist Psychological Doctor, page 13. ^ http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Six_Ornaments ^ Dharma
Dharma
Fellowship (2005). Yogacara
Yogacara
Theory - Part One: Background History. Source: [1] (Accessed: November 15, 2007) ^ Takakusu, J., trans. (1904). The Life of Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
by Paramartha, T'oung-pao 5, 269 - 296 ^ a b Lusthaus, Dan; Vasubandhu ^ Anacker, Stefan; Seven Works of Vasubandhu, the Buddhist Psychological Doctor, page 21. ^ Matsumoto, David (2015). Jōdoron 浄土論: Discourse on the Pure Land, Pacific World: Third Series 17, 23-42 ^ Abbot, Terry Rae (1985). Vasubandhu´s Commentary to the Saddharmapundarika-sutra. PhD dissertation, Berkeley: University of California ^ Abbot, Terry (2013). The Commentary on the Lotus Sutra, in: Tsugunari Kubo; Terry Abbott; Masao Ichishima; David Wellington Chappell, Tiantai
Tiantai
Lotus Texts (PDF). Berkeley, California: Bukkyō Dendō Kyōkai America. pp. 83–149. ISBN 9781886439450.  ^ Jaini, Padmanabh (1958). "On the Theory of Two Vasubandhus". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (1): 48–53. doi:10.1017/s0041977x00063217. JSTOR 610489.  ^ Dan Lusthaus, "What is and isn't Yogacara.". ^ Anacker, Stefan (2005). Seven Works of Vasubandhu. Delhi: MLBD. pp. 7–28.  ^ Gold, Jonathan C. "Vasubandhu". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Edition). Stanford University.  ^ Lusthaus, Vasubandhu ^ Butler, Sean (2011) " Idealism
Idealism
in Yogācāra Buddhism," The Hilltop Review: Vol. 4: Iss. 1, Article 6. Available at: http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/hilltopreview/vol4/iss1/6 ^ Anacker, Stefan (2005, rev.ed.). Seven Works of Vasubandhu: The Buddhist Psychological Doctor. Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass. (First published: 1984; Reprinted: 1986, 1994, 1998; Corrected: 2002; Revised: 2005), p.31

Works[edit]

Abhidharma
Abhidharma
Kosha Bhashyam 4 vols, Vasubandhu, translated into English by Leo Pruden (based on Louis de la Vallée Poussin’s French translation), Asian Humanities Press, Berkeley, 1988-90. L’Abhidharmakosa de Vasubandhu, traduit et annoté par Louis de la Vallée Poussin, Paul Geuthner, Paris, 1923-1931 vol.1 vol.2 vol.3 vol.4 vol.5 vol.6 Internet Archive (PDF) Stefan Anacker, Seven Works of Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1984, 1998 Ernst Steinkellner and Xuezhu Li (eds), Vasubandhu's Pañcaskandhaka (Wien, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2008) ( Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Texts from the Tibetan Autonomous Region, 4). Dharmamitra, trans.; Vasubandhu's Treatise on the Bodhisattva
Bodhisattva
Vow, Kalavinka Press 2009, ISBN 978-1-935413-09-7

References[edit]

David J. Kalupahana, The Principles of Buddhist Psychology, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1987, pp 173–192. Francis H. Cook, Three Texts on Consciousness
Consciousness
Only, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Berkeley, 1999, pp 371–383 ("Thirty Verses on Consciousness
Consciousness
Only") and pp 385–408 ("Twenty Verses on Consciousness
Consciousness
Only") Erich Frauwallner, The Philosophy of Buddhism, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 2010. Li Rongxi, Albert A. Dalia (2002). The Lives of Great Monks and Nuns, Berkeley CA: Numata Center for Translation and Research Thich Nhat Hanh
Nhat Hanh
Transformation at the Base (subtitle) Fifty Verses on the Nature of Consciousness, Parallax Press, Berkeley, 2001; inspired in part by Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
and his Twenty Verses and Thirty Verses texts Kochumuttom, Thomas (1982). A Buddhist Doctrine of Experience: A New Translation and Interpretation of the Works of Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
the Yogacarin. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass

External links[edit]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has original text related to this article: Triṃśikā Vijñaptimātratā

Gold, Jonathan C. "Vasubandhu". In Zalta, Edward N. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  Vasubandhu: Entry at the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy Multilingual edition of Triṃśikāvijñapti in the Bibliotheca Polyglotta Vasubandhu’s Treatise on the Three Natures (Trisvabhāvanirdeśa) – A Translation and Commentary by Jay Garfield

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Indian philosophy

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Abhava Abhasavada Abheda Adarsana Adrishta Advaita Aham Aishvarya Akrodha Aksara Anatta Ananta Anavastha Anupalabdhi Apauruṣheyā Artha Asiddhatva Asatkalpa Ātman Avyakta Brahman Brahmi sthiti Bhuman Bhumika Chaitanya Chidabhasa Cittabhumi Dāna Devatas Dharma Dhi Dravya Dhrti Ekagrata Guṇa Hitā Idam Ikshana Ishvaratva Jivatva Kama Karma Kasaya Kshetrajna Lakshana Mithyatva Mokṣa Nididhyasana Nirvāṇa Niyama Padārtha Paramatman Paramananda Parameshashakti Parinama-vada Pradhana Prajna Prakṛti Pratibimbavada Pratītyasamutpāda Puruṣa Rājamaṇḍala Ṛta Sakshi Samadhi Saṃsāra Sankalpa Satya Satkaryavada Shabda Brahman Sphoṭa Sthiti Śūnyatā Sutram Svātantrya Iccha-mrityu Syādvāda Taijasa Tajjalan Tanmatra Tyāga Uparati Upekkhā Utsaha Vivartavada Viraj Yamas Yoga More...

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Metaphysics Philosophy of artificial intelligence / information / perception / self

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