Buddhist Epistemology | Realism & Idealism

Four schools of Buddhist philosophy

To understand better Buddhist philosophy, Buddhist views and differences between different traditions and first of all between 3 yanas – Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana – we have to speak about their philosophy. Generally there could be differentiated 4 schools of philosophy- Vaibhāṣika, Sautrāntika, Yogacara (Cittamatra in Tibetan sources) and Madhyamaka. All of them are based upon Buddha Shakyamuni teachings, Sutras and Abhidharma, and may share

Mainstream Buddhist Schools

Mainstream Buddhist Schools By several centuries after the death of the Buddha, the itinerant mendicants following his way had formed settled communities and had changed irrevocably their received methods of both teaching and praxis: Most sources agree that the first schism in early Buddhist community occurred with the separation of the Mahāsaṁghika School, or “those of the great community,” from those referred to as Sthāviras,

Schools of Buddhism | Introduction

We will give next a general historical account of the chief branches of Buddhist thought in India such as Vaibhasikas, Sautrantikas, Yogacaras and Madhyamikas and briefly show their relation to the central teachings of the Buddha such as three fundamental principles of Impermanence (anitya), Sorrow (duhkha), and Non-self (anātman).

Buddha Lotus

In Buddhist council the Sacred Canon was revised and a great commentary on the Abhidharma called Vibhāṣā (expounder) was written. The original text in Sanskrit of this work is lost, but there are still two Chinese translations.Again, among the Vaibhāṣikas there were different views on certain points, and two groups formed - Kaśmīra Vaibhāṣikas and Pāścātya or Western Vaibhāṣikas.

“Those who hold the sūtras as their authority and not the śāstras are Sautrāntikas.”says Yaśomitra in his Abhidharma-kośa-vyākhyā.The word sūtrānta actually means that which is definitely ascertained of the sūtras.They reject the authority of the Abhidharmas of the Sarvāstivādins, for according to them, those Abhidharmas are far from the sayings of the Buddha.

The followers of idealism are naturally known as Vijñāna-vādins. They are called Yogācāras. The word Yogācāra (literally, a practiser of yoga) originally meant an ascetic, but gradually was employed for an idealist or the School. The idealistic thought in Buddhism is already found in Mahāyāna- sūtras, but first systematized by Maitreyanātha, the master of Asanga.

Mādhyamika doctrine involving the Śūnya -vāda as in the Mahāyāna-sūtras is systematized by Nāgārjuna (A.D. 200?).Now the Mādhyamikas are those who followed the middle path of the Buddha. But what is this middle path?“Those ignorant people who see existence and non-existence do not see the cessation of the visible which is blissful.”

The problem for the Buddha who was much influenced by the Upaniṣadic thoughts was as to how we can control desires which are so natural in human minds. He found the solution in his three fundamental principles of Impermanence (anitya), Sorrow (duhkha), and Non-self (anātman). If one deeply meditates upon them with regard to the worldly things, one's desire for their enjoyment is sure to

*/ Sarvāstivāda-Vaibhāṣika or simply Vaibhāṣika , refers to an ancient Buddhist tradition of Abhidharma (scholastic Buddhist philosophy), which was the most influential tradition in India from the 1 st – 7 th century CE. They were distinguished from other Sarvāstivāda sub-schools by their orthodox adherence to the doctrines found in the Mahāvibhāṣa – the Great Compendium of Abhidharma, compiled around 150 CE. Despite numerous variations

Yogācāra (literally "yoga practice"; "one whose practice is yoga") is an influential tradition of Buddhist philosophy and psychology. The 4th-century Gandhāran brothers, Asaṅga and Vasubandhu, are considered the classic philosophers and systematisers of this school, along with Maitreya. Yogācāra philosophy is meant to aid in the practice of yoga and meditation and it sets forth a systematic analysis of the Mahāyāna path of mental training.