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How is this different from Solipsism?


whoever is reading this, go read Yoga Vasistha, or concise yoga vasistha. it is the best!

It may not be different from Solipsism, or rather there may be similarities, but Consciousness-only or Mind-only refers specifically to the Buddhist Cittamatra school. I'm wondering if this should be merged in with Yogacara -- but then I may be unclear on the distinction Zero sharp 23:51, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

I see no particular similarity with solipsism; mind-only does not assert that you are the only thing that can be known to exists is yourself - , but that the skhanda (heap) of (phenomena (dharma) called) mind (citta) is the basis for samsaric existance. I think this article formulates this bit ackwardly. In any case, its not criticised for being 'extremely scepticistic', like solipsism, but one might say for not being sceptical enough; not for claiming that only mind is real, but even for claiming that mind is really established, while the current 'orthodoxy' would denounce mind, like all other skhandas, being established (or any logical position that could be made about it..)

For instance, Shantideva in dialogue, presenting some arguments of cittamatra (Berzins translation, fragmentary quotes): 'just like how a candle flame perfectly illuminates itself as a phenomenon (is mind in relation to itself)' 'a blue object, (for example) doesnt depend on something else for it being blue, as does a (clear) crystal; So like this, some things are seen that depend on another and some that do not so depend' 'as its cognised by a cognition, it can be said 'the candle flame is illuminating itself 'if reflexive awareness doesn't exist, then wod does a consciousness come to be racalled?' ... and so on Shantideva's straw-man yogacharin attempts to establish mind as existant against madyamaka critique of establishing any skhanda...

I also wonder about some info here - for instance, that it was developed for the same reasons pudgalavada waa thought of (reincarnation), and think this isnt true (it was imo settled within nikaya schools; pudgalavada predates yogachara by about 500 years!!!!) - if you go to Shentong article, you can see a link where a Kagyu Rinpoche explains cittamatra, shentong (which might be the actual yogachara position), svatrantika and prasangika positions - he starts his explanation of cittamatra like this, quoting from "The All-Pervasive Knowledge" by Kongtrul Rinpoche :

"The tradition of the Mind Only school posits a dualistic appearance depending on objects and object perceivers. The ultimate truth is the nature of the consciousness of there not being two." thus stating totaly different motivations for this teaching...Ive also heard it explained how questions about how a meditator who enters a jhana 'knows' how to get 'back' in some specific amount of time from the jhana being motivations for the alaya theories. this is from [1] This school confronted the mind-body issue through intense focus on the mind (vijnana) in meditation.According to Professor Brian Hoffert, the Vijnanavada School systematized the works of Asanga and Vasubandhu “with the aim of devising a theoretical framework that would have therapeutic use in the practice of meditation.This school was thus called the Yogacara, or practice of meditation school.” [21] According to Hoffert, the focus on the mind is not meant to be taken to the extreme of idealism, or mind-only on the metaphysical level, but is instead meant as a form of upaya (skill in means) to break students from all clinging to the supposed physical world. ... and indeed as skillfull means shentong is still defended.

Also, link to artifitial consciousness?????

Ive seen cittamatra and yogachara used only as alternative names to the same school so Id also say this should be merged with yogachara. With no mention of any sources and such dubious claims, I think this article requires much further attention. If you type cittamatra in wiki, it redirects you to yogachara - definitely merge!!!!.--Aryah 05:29, 10 May 2006 (UTC)


Cittamatra is the summary of the teaching of Yogacara school, in the same way that shunyatavada could be a summary of Madhyamaka. If cittamatra links to Yogacara (as it should), why on earth would its translation not?

Certainly in the Tibetan parlance the terms are used interchangably. However, recent scholars in the West such as Karl Brunnhlzl have begun to argue[2] that in India there was an important distinction between the two systems, namely that the Cittamatra posited that mind was truly existent while Yogachara did not. In that sense, the Yogachara position is essentially what came to be called "Shentong Madhyamika" in Tibet for political reasons. Sylvain1972 19:31, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

The term "cittamatra" occurs in texts of the Madhyamika as well as those of the Yogacara and varies greatly in meaning depending upon context -- not only in the different schools and in the early and later streams of Yogacara, but even within the early Yogacara itself. See (if you can obtain a copy) Janice Dean Willis' excellent Introduction and Commentary to her translation of the Tattvartha chapter of Asanga's Bodhisattvabhumi (Delhi,India: Motilal Banarsidass, 1982). This term is so complex with so many meanings in different strata of Buddhist tradition that I think it deserves its own topic. However, the article for this topic as currently written needs much development in my opinion. I hope to have time in the near future to contribute a bit to that task. Dewain Belgard 04:37, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

→ I don't think the article concerning consciousness-only should be merged with yogachara, I would rather that this article be expanded with more of an emphsis on the idea of alayavijnana and trisvabhava. I don't believe merging this article would do full justice to these very important doctines in Buddhist epistimology.

I read somewhere that the writings of actual Buddhist writers don't usually correspond to those of schools as described in texts dealing with them. In other words, schools are to some extent abstractions, overlapping or shading into each other in real life. That being so, is it a good way to deal with the situation to have separate articles for Yogacara, Cittamatra, Vijnanavada, Vijnaptimatra ...? Peter jackson (talk) 11:55, 18 March 2008 (UTC)


To clarify earlier statements and questions, the Yogacara position is that the unenlightened experience is mind-only, that it is not separated from the projections of the alaya-vijnana (storehouse consciousness). The enlightened experience is not mind-only, but the direct apprehension of phenomena as they are, without projections.

There is no doubt in Buddhist thought that our experiences correspond to dependently-arisen objects.

Through this explanation of Yogachara, it is clear that there is no conflict between this school and Madhyamaka. I've never encountered any source text that suggests that the mind is independently real, though this doesn't mean it doesn't exist, though I doubt that Asanga et al. would have been so unrefined in their understanding of pre-existing Mahayana thought to suggest this.

The Relativism of the No Self Thing[edit]

Yogacara concepts affirm a relativism, a pragmatic methodology, while solipsism is a position.

The desire of the (especially western) mind to objectify or negate (creating winners and losers) begets false dichotemy.

The buddha conveyed the idea that that atman was an illusion but when confronted with the question of self or no self his best response was, sensibly, silence because the question entails a fallacy. Later mahayana texts wax solypsistically on the 'not'ness of things (a sort of double click, I'm already there elitism) a grasping for finiteness that misses the point about 'process'. (Gill 15/04/07)

Potential sources to iterate article quality[edit]

  • Anacker, Stefan. Seven Works of Vasubandhu. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. 1984.
  • Beyer, Steven. The Twenty Verses by Vasubandhu with an anonymous commentary. Typescript.
  • Clack, Joseph and Panish, Paul. Remarks on Vasubandhu's "Thirty Verses Proving the Doctrine of Mind Only. Typescript. 1974.
  • Epstein, Ronald. Verse Delineating the Eight Consciousnesses. Typescript.
  • Epstein, Ronald. Tranformation of Consciousness into Wisdom in the Chinese Consciousness-Only School according to Cheng Wei-Shr Lun. Vajra Bodhi Sea Journal. January-March, 1985.
  • Epstein, Ronald. General Pathways of Discrimination/Differentiation. Chart.
  • Epstein, Ronald. Interrelation of the Eight Consciousnesses. Chart.
  • Epstein, Ronald. Levels of Meditation Prior to Enlightenment. Chart.
  • Harvey, Peter. An Introduction to Buddhism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1990.
  • Huntington, C.W. The Emptiness of Emptiness. Honolulu: University of Hawaii. 1989.
  • Liu, Ming-Wood. Madhyamaka thought in China. Leiden: Brill. 1994.
  • Masaaki, Hattori. "Yogacara." The Encyclopedia of Religion. New York: Macmillan. 1987. Vol. 15.
  • Nagao, G. M. Madhyamika and Yogacara. Trans. L. S. Kawamura. Albany: State University of New York Press. 1991.
  • Sangharakshita, Bhikshu. A Survey of Buddhism. Boulder: Shambhala. 1980.
  • Sutton, Florin G. Existence and Enlightenment in the Lankavatara- sutra. Albany: State University of New York Press. 1991.
  • Vasubandhu. Shasta on the Door to Understanding the Hundred Dharmas. Trans. Hsuan Hua. Talmage. 1983.
  • Verdu, Alfonso. The Philosophy of Buddhism: A "Totalistic" Synthesis. Boston: Martinus Nijhoff. 1981.
  • Wood, Thomas. Mind Only. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. 1994. —Preceding unsigned comment added by B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 07:59, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Relating Buddhist Consciousness-only to similar conclusions by quantum physicists, such as Everett and Wigner, as referenced in would be an interesting addition of East meets West, and ancient meets modern.JosephCampisi (talk) 05:32, 5 January 2010 (UTC)