On the Status of the Yogācāra School in Tibetan Buddhism
Prologue Yogācāra philosophy has generally been perceived in Tibet as a poor man's Madhyamaka, and as such that no Tibetan Buddhist school would wholly identify itself with it. Yet doctrinally, Tibetan Buddhism seems inconceivable without Yogācāra. In this article, being an extract of an earlier conceived paper on the perception and reception of Yogācāra in Tibet – one grown too far beyond its planned size and scope to be included in this volume – a modest attempt will be made to briefly discuss the status of Yogācāra in Tibetan Buddhism. This will be done by considering in succession seven points, namely (1) where Yogācāra stands in
the Buddhist scheme of vehicles ( theg pa: yāna ); (2) where it stands in the scheme of the religio-philosophical systems ( grub pa'i mtha': siddhānta ); (3) which Yogācāra subdivision is considered the highest within the system; (4) how the Yogācāra system has been compared with a certain non-Buddhist system; (5) whether the Yogācāra doctrine has been considered to be of provisional ( drang ba'i don: neyārtha ) or definitive meaning ( nges pa'i don: nītārtha ); (6) whether the Yogācāra view has been seen as being capable of bringing about nirvāṇic release; and (7) how different Tibetan attitudes and approaches towards
Yogācāra may be summed up. 1. Yogācāra as a Mahāyānic System Yogācāra has been clearly and consistently considered by Tibetan scholars a Mahāyānic system. The eleventh-century Tibetan scholar Rong zom pa, for example, in his commentary on the Man ngag lta phreng ascribed to Padmasambhava states:1 "Mahāyāna is of two kinds, namely, Yogācāra and Madhyamaka." Importantly, however, Yogācāra has not been accorded the status of an independent vehicle ( theg pa: yāna ). In the
nine-vehicle scheme of the Rnying ma school, for example, Yogācāra is normally regarded as one of the subcategories of what may be called Exoteric or non-Tantric Mahāyāna (for which several terms are employed, I would like to thank Professor Emeritus Dr. Lambert
SCHMITHAUSEN for going through the initial larger version of this present article and for making a number of valuable corrections and suggestions. My thanks also go to Philip PIERCE for correcting my English. I am, of course, solely responsible for both its style and content. 1 Rong zom pa, Lta phreng 'grel pa (p. 3273-4): theg pa' chen po'ang rnam pa gnyis te | rnal 'byor spyod pa dang dbu ma pa'o ǁ . See also Vimalamitra (ascribed), Rig pa'i me tog (Q5917.271b1; D4445.369b1; Collated Tanjur 3682.120.92119); Sa skya Paṇḍita Kun dga' rgyal mtshan (1182-1251), Mkhas 'jug (p. 27714-15; JACKSON 1987:347); Klong chen pa, Grub mtha' mdzod (p. 901).
On the Status of the Yogācāra School 1317
such as bodhisattvayāna and pāramitāyāna ).2 Si tu Paṇ chen Chos kyi 'byung gnas (1699/1700-1774) for his part states that Madhyamaka and Cittamātra ( dbu sems gnyis ) do not represent two separate vehicles, the little difference between them lying in their views ( lta ba ), not in their results ( 'bras bu ).3 As 'Jam dbyangs Mkhyen brtse'i dbang po (1820-1892) puts it, in terms of philosophical views, one speaks of the Mahāyānic systems of Madhyamaka and Cittamātra ( lta ba'i sgo nas dbu sems gnyis ), while in terms of vehicles, one speaks of the Sūtric and Tantric pair of vehicles ( theg pa'i sgo nas mdo sngags gnyis ).4 Occasionally, however, Cittamātra does seem to be considered separately, as one of fifteen or sixteen vehicles.5 In the context of discussing Yogācāra's
Mahāyānic status, it is perhaps worth pointing out that Tibetan scholars appear to have been not absolutely certain about the precise correlation between the Yogācāra view and that of the Pratyekabuddhayāna, which is normally subsumed under Hīnayāna (i.e., non-Mahāyāna). Bu ston Rin chen grub (1290-1364) purportedly criticized some Sa skya scholars for considering the philosophical view ( lta ba ) of a pratyekabuddha and a Yogācāra saint to be identical, but Glo bo mkhan chen Bsod nams lhun grub (1456-1532) responded that Bu ston had not understood the point being made ( phyogs snga ma ma dgongs pa ), namely, the distinction between the grades of realization of a pratyekabuddha and a Yogācāra saint as opposed to their realization of the nonessentiality of phenomena ( chos kyi bdag med pa: dharmanairātmya ) – though not as regards their realization of the non-essentiality of the person ( gang zag gi bdag med pa: pudgalanairātmya ).6 Klong
chen pa Dri med 'od zer (1308-1364) revived the attempt to distinguish the Yogācāra view from that of the Pratyekabuddhayāna: according to the former, both object ( gzung ba: grāhya ) and subject ( 'dzin pa: 2 In early Tibetan doxographical treatises, Yogācāra, referred to there as Rnam rig pa, has been considered the first of three subdivisions of the non-Tantric Mahāyāna, the other two being Yogācāra-Madhyamaka and Sautrāntika-Madhyamaka. See, for example, Ska ba Dpal brtsegs (eighth/ninth century), Lta ba'i rim pa (Q5843.140a8; D4356.237b4-5; Collated Tanjur
3601.115.64416-17); Dpal dbyangs (eighth/ninth century), Thugs kyi sgron ma (Q5918. 276b8; D4446.375a4-5; Collated Tanjur 3683.120.9372-3). Note, however, that the terms rnal 'byor ( pa ) and mdo sde in these cryptic verses obviously do not refer to Yogācāra and Sautrāntika but rather to Yogācāra-Madhyamaka and Sautrāntika-Madhyamaka, respectively. Cf. Klong chen pa, Yid bzhin mdzod (vol. 1, p. 555-6); Yid bzhin mdzod 'grel (vol. 2, pp. 5894-5901). The Man ngag lta phreng makes no reference to the Yogācāra school at all. The *Perojāvakīrṇasopānanavaka (Q4729.427b2-5; not found in D; Collated Tanjur 2605. 43.8717-17)
attributed to one Vimalamitra discusses the Vijñaptimātra system as a subcategory of Mahāyāna, where it is called an "external" ( phyi pa ) system in contrast to Sautrāntika-Madhyamaka and Yogācāra-Madhyamaka, which are considered "internal" ( nang pa ). For the place of Yogācāra in Sgam po pa Bsod nams rin chen's (1079-1153) doxographical scheme, see JACKSON (1994:15). 3 The above is a paraphrase of Si tu, Bka' 'gyur dkar chag (pp. 7717-782): snga ma la dbu sems gnyis su 'byed
kyang de dag la theg pa tha dad pa'i rnam g zhag byar med de | lta ba la cung zad khyad zhugs kyang 'bras bu la khyad par med pa'i phyir dang | lam myur bul tsam gyis theg pa che chung 'by ed mi nus pa'i phyir ro ǁ . 4 Mkhyen brtse'i dbang po, Bsgom pa 'chi med bdud rtsi (p. 3525): 'di la'ang lta ba'i sgo nas dbu sems dang | theg pa'i sgo nas mdo sngags gnyis su dbye la | . 5 Klong chen pa, Grub mtha' mdzod (pp. 591-602). 6 Glo bo mkhan chen, Rigs gter 'grel pa (p. 19315-21). Bsod nams rtse mo (1142-1182) for his part is said to have maintained that the doxographical system of the pratyekabuddha s is subsumable under the Madhyamaka system. See Mkhyen brtse'i dbang po, Zin bris sna tshogs (p. 2242-3); ibid . (p. 2294-5).
Dorji WANGCHUK 1318 grāhaka ) are equally non-existent, inasmuch as only the self-cognitive and selfilluminative ( rang rig rang gsal ) mental entity, free from subject-object dichotomy, is ultimately existent; whereas for the latter, the subject is existent ( 'dzin pa yod ) and the object non-existent ( gzung ba med ).7 2. Yogācāra in the Four-Siddhāntic Scheme In the four-Siddhāntic scheme, Yogācāra is placed above Vaibhāṣika and Sautrāntika8 but below Madhyamaka. Buddhist systems are said to be only four in number, no more and no less.9 The rigidity of this doxographical scheme compelled Tibetans to squeeze all Buddhist schools or strands of thought, be they Abhidharma, Pramāṇa, Tathāgatagarbha, Prajñāpāramitā, or the Buddhist Tantric systems, into the framework of the four doxographical systems, with those that did not fit into it facing the risk of being designated and discarded as non-Buddhist. This explains why, for the Tibetan tradition, Tathāgatagarbha and Tantric systems, both recognized as Mahāyānic, must be either Yogācāra or Madhyamaka. Rong zom pa, in his commentary on the
- Guhyagarbhatantra , proposes an alternative five-Siddhāntic ( grub pa'i mtha' lnga ) scheme,10 namely, (1) Yogācāra and Yogācāra-Madhyamaka, (2) Vaibhāṣika, Sautrāntika, and Sautrāntika-Madhyamaka, (3) Kriyātantra, Caryātantra, and Outer Yoga, (4) Mahāyoga, and (5) the Guhyagarbha system. Strikingly, Yogācāra and Yogācāra-Madhyamaka have been lumped 7 Klong chen pa, Yid bzhin mdzod 'grel (pp. 5905-5914). 8 While customarily Vaibhāṣika and Sautrāntika are thought of as belonging to Hīnayāna, and Yogācāra and Madhyamaka to Mahāyāna, the precise siddhānta – yāna
correlation is disputed. Bodhibhadra and Maitrīpāda considered Sautrāntika to fall under Mahāyāna. See Bodhibhadra, Jñānasārasamuccayanibandhana (Q5252.49a8-b4; D3852. 42b3-6; Collated Tanjur 3079.57.89218-8938); SEYFORT RUEGG (1981:59, n. 175); Maitrīpāda, Siddhāntopadeśa (Q5081.131a7-8, b7; not found in D; Collated Tanjur 2910.48.34218, 34319); Vajrapaṇi, Guruparamparākramopadeśa (Q4539.185a1-2; D3716.164b7; Collated Tanjur 2414.41.45016-17, 4477-10); Lcang skya Rol pa'i rdo rje (1717-1786), Grub mtha' mdzes rgyan , p. 9615-18). The position of Bodhibhadra and Maitrīpāda was rejected by Stag tshang Lo tsā ba Shes rab rin chen
(born 1405), Grub mtha' rnam bshad (pp. 1749-17515). Ngag dbang chos grags (1572-1641) in his Grub mtha'i mtha' dpyod (pp. 55 6-561) states that "reasoning-oriented Sautrāntikas" ( rigs pa'i rjes 'brang gi mdo sde pa ) are Mahāyānists and "scripture-oriented Sautrāntikas" ( lung gi rjes 'brang gi mdo sde pa ) are śrāvaka s (i.e., nonMahāyānists). Mkhyen brtse'i dbang po's Zin bris sn a tsh o gs (pp. 1484-1492) treats "reasoning-oriented Sautrāntikas" ( rigs pa'i rjes 'brang gi mdo sde pa ) as followers of Mahāyāna in view of the Mahāyāna concepts and terminology used in the Pramāṇavarttika 's verses of obeisance ( mchod brjod ). Bcom ldan Rig pa'i ral gri (1227-1305) in his Ye snying rgyan gi me tog (p. 242-5) expresses a similar view, though the reason given is that Sautrāntikas take
scriptures such as the Lalitavistarasūtra and Daśabhūmikasūtra quite literally. As SCHMITHAUSEN has pointed out (oral communication), it makes sense to identify reasoning-oriented Sautrāntika with the Sautrāntika of the Dignāga-Dharmakīrti school, and the scripture-oriented Sautrāntika with those who took Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośa as their main authority. 9 The idea that a fifth system is impossible goes back to Vajragarbha's Hevajrapiṇḍārthaṭīkā (cited in WANGCHUK,
2007:120, n. 80). See also Stag tshang Lo tsā ba, Grub mtha' kun shes (p. 1013-4); Grub mtha' rnam bshad (p. 1735-13). Cf. Sa paṇ, Mkhas 'jug (p. 2777-9): sangs rgyas pa la grub mtha' bzhi ǁ bye brag smra dang mdo sde pa ǁ rnam rig ngo bo nyid med smra ǁ . For an English translation, see JACKSON (1987:347). For a detailed note on the four doxographical systems, see ibid . 411-414, n. 120. 10 WANGCHUK (2007:119, n. 75).
On the Status of the Yogācāra School 1319 together into one system, and Vaibhāṣika, Sautrāntika, and Sautrāntika-Madhyamaka into another. Although a general hierarchy is observable here, with the Guhyagarbha system at the apex, Rong zom pa obviously did not mean to subordinate Yogācāra and Yogācāra-Madhyamaka to Vaibhāṣika, Sautrāntika, and Sautrāntika-Madhyamaka. The underlying criterion for this categorization seems to have been ontological, that is, whether a certain school of thought rejected or accepted the existence of external objects. In short, even without the royal decree that Nāgārjuna's Madhyamaka view would
henceforth hold sway in Tibet, 11 said to have been issued after the famous Bsam yas debate between what, according to SEYFORT RUEGG, were Sino-Tibetan simultaneists and Indo-Tibetan gradualists, Yogācāra would have had little prospect, from the very outset, of gaining ascendancy over Madhyamaka there. This is because Tibetans inherited a form of Indian Buddhism in which Yogācāra was never known to have been accorded top spot. The pre-eminence of Madhyamaka over Yogācāra has apparently been presupposed in Buddhist Tantric scriptures such as the Hevajratantra .12
3. Hierarchy within Yogācāra Systems Not all subdivisions of Yogācāra were placed on the same level with one another. The Dge lugs school is divided on the issue of which of the two, *Satyākāravāda ("True-Imagist") or *Alīkākāravāda ("False-Imagist"), is more profound ( brling ). Mkhas grub rje Dge legs dpal bzang (1385-1438) settled on *Satyākāravāda; Rgyal tshab rje Dar ma rin chen (1364-1432), on *Alīkākāravāda. Both of these positions, it is claimed, go back to Tsong kha pa Blo bzang grags pa (1357-1419) himself.13 For Rnying ma scholars such as Klong chen pa, *Alīkākāravāda is the highest of the Yogācāra systems.14 This is also the position of the mainstream Sa skya school.15 Mi pham Rnam rgyal rgya mtsho (1846-1912), a pro-Pramāṇa Rnying ma scholar, on the whole considered *Satyākāravāda to be more profound than *Alīkākāravāda, while admitting that *Alīkākāravāda is bordering on Madhyamaka
11 For a cluster of references on the decree passed in favour of Nāgārjuna's Madhyamaka view, see SEYFORT RUEGG (2000:2-3, n. 2; 1989:130, n. 250) and WANGCHUK (2004:180, n. 28). 12 Hevajratantra 2.8.10a (improved text in ISAACSON, 2007:291): yogācāraṃ tataḥ paścāt tad anu mādhyamakaṃ diśet . Also cited in NEGI (1993-2005: s.v.). 13 Khang dkar Tshul khrims skal bzang (born 1942), Deb dkar gsar ma (pp. 16018-16112). 14 See ALMOGI (2009:158, n. 54), where several sources are provided. The Sākāravāda ("Imagist") subdivision of the Yogācāra school is considered somewhat better than
Vaibhāṣika and Sautrāntika, but still not good enough ( Grub mtha' mdzod , p. 1041-2: gzhung de dag kyang nyan thos las cung zad 'phags kyang | da dung bzang p o ma yin pas | spyir dgag pa dang bye brag tu dgag pa gnyis las | ). The Nirākāravāda ("No-Imagist") subdivision is rated better than Sākāravāda ( ibid. , p. 1062: gzhung 'di'ang rnam bcas pa las cung zad 'phags kyang | da dung yang dag pa ma yin pas | dgag pa la gnyis te | ). See also the Gur bkra'i chos 'byung (p. 7413): "This (i.e., *Alīkākāravāda) transcends the former (i.e., Satyākāravāda)" ( 'di snga ma las 'phags par byed ). See also the Gur bkra'i chos 'byung (p. 7413). Ultimately both *Satyākāravāda and *Alīkākāravāda views are taken to be conceptual constructs ( Yid bzhin mdzod 'grel , vol. 2, pp. 6166-6172). 15 Stag tshang Lo tsā ba, Grub mtha' kun shes (p. 1901-2): … sems tsam pa'i mchog gyur rnam rdzun pa'i gzhung ….
Dorji WANGCHUK 1320 ( dbu ma dang mtshams lta bu ).16 In general, he apparently prefers *Satyākāravāda when it comes to epistemology and *Alīkākāravāda when it comes to ontology.
4. Yogācāra and Non-Buddhist Systems Mi pham makes the interesting point that the "Siddhāntic structure" ( grub mtha'i bab ) of *Alīkākāravāda and that of the Sāṃkhya system are similar.17 This comparison is clearly not meant to devalue *Alīkākāravāda but rather to elevate Sāṃkhya, which he considers the best of the non-Buddhist systems. Some Rnying ma doxographical literature speaks of "ten parallels" ( mgo snyoms bcu ) between Buddhist and non-Buddhist systems of thought, according to which Cittamātra ("Mind-Only") parallels a certain non-Buddhist doxographical system called Phra ba (*Sūkṣma); and Madhyamaka, one called Phra ba chen po (*Mahāsūkṣma).18
5. Is the Yogācāra Doctrine Provisional or Definitive? Of the three main philosophical schools of Indian Mahāyāna Buddhism, the Yogācāra and Tathāgatagarbha schools have generally been linked by Tibetans with the Final Promulgation ( bka' tha ma ), and Madhyamaka with the Middle Promulgation ( bka' bar pa ). While there is no consensus among Tibetan Buddhists over the issue of which of the two doctrines, Madhyamaka or Tathāgatagarbha, is to be regarded as of definitive meaning ( nges pa'i don: nītārtha ), there seems to be no dissent from the view that Yogācāra is merely of provisional meaning ( drang ba'i don: neyārtha ), even among those who interpret key Yogācāra theories in the light of Tathāgatagarbha. From the very outset, the Yogācāra doctrine was considered provisional and the Madhyamaka doctrine as definitive.19
16 Mi pham, Dbu ma rgyan 'grel (p. 2851-8). For Mi pham's detailed argument in defense of this theory of perception, see ibid . (pp. 19717-2043). See also ALMOGI (2009:158, n. 54). 17 Mi pham, Dbu ma rgyan 'grel (p. 2487-13). This has been noted in DUCKWORTH (2008: 255, n. 17). Lambert SCHMITHAUSEN, discussing the term ālayavijñāna , has suggested the possibility that though the term ālaya was taken from the Buddhist tradition, its meaning (at least its primary one) reflects the influence of a non-Buddhist tradition, namely, the Sāṃkhya, while the formation of the terms ālayavijñāna and pravṛttivijñāna was stimulated by this school's concepts of buddhi and buddhivṛtti (SCHMITHAUSEN, 1987:27-29, §2.12). Conversely, as noted in SCHMITHAUSEN (1969:811-812, n. 3), early Yogācāra left its
footprint on Brahmanical thought, as the Viṣṇupurāṇa and the writings of Advaitin Prakāśānanda (ca. 1500) show. Cf. Rig pa'i ral gri, Grub mtha' rgyan gyi me tog (p. 1833-5). Gareth SPARHAM (1993:9-10) discusses the parallels between Yogācāra and Sāṃkhya particularly in view of Yogācāra's ālayavijñāna and Sāṃkhya's prakṛti . 1
(1) The Śrāvaka system to Tha snyad pa, (2) Pratyekabuddha to Zab pa, (3) Cittamātra to Phra ba (*Sūkṣma), (4) Madhyamaka to Phra ba chen po (*Mahāsūkṣma), (5) Kriyā to Rig byed pa, (6) Caryā to Rig spyod pa, (7) (exoteric) Yoga to Rig sbyor ba, (8) (esoteric) Yogatantra ( pha rgyud ) to Rtul zhugs cher spyod pa, (9) Yoginītantra ( ma rgyud ) to Rgyal dpogs pa, and (10) (non-dual) Tantra ( gnyis med kyi rgyud ) to Brgyal thob pa. See Mi pham, Yid bzhin grub bsdus (pp. 5218-533); Dbu ma rgyan 'grel (p. 2578-11). The background to this doxographical parallelism needs to be investigated. Compare the series of nine vehicles ( theg pa rim pa dgu ) with the non-Buddhist systems found in Mkhas pa Lde'u, Lde'u chos 'byung (p. 11313-16). 19 In a Dūnhuáng manuscript (Pt 116, 1144-1151 according to the Tun
hong shog dril , pp. 20818-20911), Madhyamaka is described as being of definitive meaning and Vijñānavāda of provisional meaning. Klu'i rgyal mtshan (eighth/ninth century) is reported to have com
On the Status of the Yogācāra School 1321 6. Can the Yogācāra View Bring About Nirvāṇic Release? From a Madhyamaka-centric perspective, the Tibetan tradition often designates Yogācāra, along with Vaibhāṣika and Sautrāntika, as a school of Substantialists ( dngos por smra ba: vastuvādin ).20 The main criterion for designating (or branding) them as Substantialists has been that all these systems posit the existence of one or more types of entities – either both mental (or psychical) and physical entities ( dngos po: vastu ) that go to make up the psycho-physical complex ( phung po: skandha ), or else some kind of cognitive entity free from the subject-object dichotomy – and thus some kind of true nature ( svabhāva ). These three systems can hence be said to constitute the Sasvabhāvavāda
school of Buddhist thought, as opposed to the Madhyamaka system, which is in effect Niḥsvabhāvavāda or Śūnyatāvāda. One intriguing question is whether any Tibetan school or scholar has ever explicitly denied the Yogācāra system the ability to bring about nirvāṇic release in view of its alleged substantialist bent. It might prima facie seem that nobody has maintained, at least explicitly and categorically, that the Yogācāra system is incapable of independently bringing about nirvāṇic release. The issue, however, deserves closer consideration, from the standpoint of both what might be called pro-Yogācāra and anti-Yogācāra
interpreters of Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka in Tibet, particularly in face of the soteriological exclusivism expressed by Candrakīrti in Madhyamakāvatāra 6.79.21 For the former, represented by a majority of scholars from the Sa skya, Bka' brgyud, and Rnying ma schools, the question itself would sound appalling. If Hīnayānic systems such as Vaibhāṣika and Sautrāntika are capable of leading one to nirvāṇic release, why not a Mahāyānic system such as Yogācāra? The concept of soteriological exclusivism is thus to be interpreted as referring to the minimum degree of realization of emptiness mandatory for the attainment of all three spiritual goals in Buddhism (i.e., those of a śrāvaka saint, pratyekabuddha , and bodhisattva ).22 The pro-Yogācāra interpreters of PrāsaṅgikaMadhyamaka did not perceive the discrepancy between Yogācāra and Madhyamaka (and between Svātantrika-Madhyamaka and Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka)23 to
posed a Madhyamaka treatise entitled Nges pa'i don dbu ma (see 'Phang thang ma , p. 5712), clearly suggesting that he held the Madhyamaka doctrine to be of definitive meaning. 20 The term vastuvādin is attested in Prajñākaramati's Bodhicaryāvatārapañjikā (Skt. p. 19022; Tib. Q5273.230b4; D3872.205b6; Collated Tanjur 3100, vol. 61, p. 144313). Cf. SEYFORT RUEGG (2002:214, n. 102). The Sanskrit equivalent for dngos ( por ) smra ( ba ) given in the commentary on Catuḥśataka 11.11 (according to SEYFORT RUEGG, 2000:250, n. 28) is vastusatpadārthavādin . See also YOSHIMIZU (1996:42, n. 160). 21 For Tantric and non-Tantric Mahāyāna sources relating to soteriological exclusivism, see WANGCHUK (2007:125-126, cf. 201-202). See also SCHMITHAUSEN's remarks (in BSTEH, 2000:271) regarding the Uttiyasutta from the Aṅguttaranikāya and the beginning of the ninth chapter of Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośabhāṣya ; and PHUNTSHO (2005:28), regarding
Bodhicaryāvatāra 9.55 and Lokātitastava 27. Tibetan interpretations of soteriological exclusivism require further investigation. 22 I have suggested this interpretation in the context of discussing whether what I call "gnoseological bodhicitta " is mandatory for all three types of Buddhist saints, as claimed by Mañjuśrīmitra in his Bodhicittabhāvanā (WANGCHUK, 2007:201-202). 23 For various discussions of the Svātantrika-Prāsaṅgika distinction, see the contributions in DREYFUS & MCCLINTOCK (2003). See particularly CABEZÓN (2003:296-307) (cf. CABEZÓN & DARGYAY, 2007:312, n. 202), where Svātantrika-Prāsaṅgika distinctions made by Tibetan (i.e., predominantly Dge lugs and Sa skya) scholars are graded along two scales:
Dorji WANGCHUK 1322 be significant enough to mar the Mahāyāna soteriology of either. For this group, Madhyamaka can be "piled" on top of Yogācāra. The anti-Yogācāra interpreters of Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka obviously perceived Yogācāra as being diametrically opposed to Madhyamaka, inasmuch as for them these represent Sasvabhāvavāda and Niḥsvabhāvavāda, respectively. The realization of non-substantiality ( niḥsvabhāvatā ), which is mandatory for the attainment of any kind of nirvāṇic release, is possible only according to the Niḥsvabhāvavāda system, and hence it is not possible to attain nirvāṇic release by resorting to non-Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka doxographical systems such as Yogācāra.24 My own attempt to understand and concretize this extremely complex and contested Dge lugs pa
position would be that Tsong kha pa, like Candrakīrti, intended to clearly distinguish what I call an Einsicht oriented (i.e., "insight-oriented") approach of the Buddhist saints ( 'phags pa: ārya ) to true reality from an Ansichtoriented (i.e., "view-oriented") approach of Buddhist doxographers ( grub mtha' smra ba: siddhāntavādin ). For him, all Buddhist saints, regardless of their spiritual disposition and doxographical associa-tion, are actually Einsicht -oriented beings, and their realization of true reality, of which there is only one kind, is identical both qualitatively and quantitatively. In other words, for him, a saint who is a śrāvaka , pratyekabuddha , bodhisattva , or vidyādhara (i.e., in the sense of a Tantric bodhisattva ) has the same direct insight ( Einsicht ) of true
reality. The question is whether the view ( Ansicht ) of each of the four Buddhist doxographical systems agrees with the saintly Einsicht . The Dge lugs answer to this question is clearly negative: the only doxographical Ansicht that accords with a Buddhist saint's Einsicht is the Ansicht of Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka. Hence, the Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka's Ansicht is conceived of not as a private door to nirvāṇic release restricted only to the Prāsaṅgika-Mādhyamikas but as the one and only door to nirvāṇic release that is universally valid for all seekers of Buddhist spiritual goals.25 In short, from a Dge lugs perspective, one cannot attain the saintly Einsicht by relying solely on the doxographical Ansicht of the Vaibhāṣika, Sautrān
CABEZÓN's "hard" and "soft" (doxographers or doxographical positions in Tibet) seems to tally respectively with my "anti-Yogācāric and exclusivistic" and "pro-Yogācāric and inclusivistic" (interpreters or interpretations of Madhyamaka in Tibet). 24 One of the numerous concepts underpinning the soteriological exclusivism defended by the Dge lugs school, according to which no other Buddhist system apart from Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka is autonomously capable of leading one to nirvāṇic release, is the Dge lugs concept of Substantialism. For the Dge lugs pas, represented by Tsong kha pa, proponents of Vaibhāṣika, Sautrāntika, Yogācāra, and even Svātantrika-Madhyamaka (e.g., Bhavya) posit certain features of Substantialism and are hence Substantialists. See SEYFORT RUEGG (2002:170, n. 31, 214, n. 102, 236, n. 154) and CABEZÓN (2003:295-299). A considerable fraction of the doctrinal disputes in Tibet after the fourteenth century seems to be
directly or indirectly linked with the Dge lugs attempt to accentuate Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka and set it off from the remaining Buddhist philosophical systems. The Dge lugs position on Substantialism and soteriological exclusivism is held to be extremely problematic by its critics, but it has been vehemently defended. See, for instance, Shākya mchog ldan's critique and Se ra rje btsun's detailed response to it in the latter's Lta ba'i mun sel (pp. 2431-30312). Cf. Mi pham, Dam chos dogs sel (p. 5417-14). 25 Interestingly, long before the emergence of the Dge lugs school, Bsod nams rtse mo (1142-1182) in his Rgyud sde spyi rnam spoke of four Buddhist soteriological models including the so-called one-path-and-three-goal model. This model, according to Glo bo mkhan chen, is said to have been proposed by Candrakīrti. For a discussion, see WANGCHUK (2007:37-38).
On the Status of the Yogācāra School 1323 tika, Yogācāra, or Svātantrika-Madhyamaka system, but must de facto realize the Ansicht of Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka. Even amongst the Niḥsvabhāvavāda schools, Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka alone is capable of delivering the ultimate view of true reality. Are then non-Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka systems not authentic systems of Nairātmyavāda ("Non-Essentialism"), that is, ones that teach the principle of dependent origination? The Dge lugs pa response to this seems to be that these systems do teach the principle of dependent origination, but the subtlest form, mandatory for the attainment of any kind of nirvāṇic release, is taught only in the Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka system.26
7. The Tibetan Attitudes and Approaches towards Yogācāra Perhaps the Tibetan attitudes and approaches towards Yogācāra can also be expressed broadly as either (1) negativistic, (2) positivistic, or (3) inclusivistic. (1) First, those who have a largely negativistic attitude and approach towards Yogācāra tend to view it as antithetical to Madhyamaka (mainly PrāsaṅgikaMadhyamaka), and seek to dissociate Madhyamaka as much as possible from Yogācāra by emphasizing the differences between them. For this group, the only correct view is Nāgārjuna's. Given this attitude, this group may also be described as "exclusivistic." For it, the road to the pinnacle of Buddhist doctrine does not run through Yogācāra but bypasses it. This negativistic or exclusivistic group is represented by the Sa skya master Red mda' ba and most scholars of the Dge lugs school including its founder Tsong kha pa.27 (2) Second, the positivistic group exploits and de-
cittamātrizes the content of Yogācāra philosophy by reinterpreting it in the light of either the Tathāgatagarbha theory or the Great Madhyamaka ( dbu ma chen po ) of the Gzhan stong pas ("Extrinsic-Emptyists"). This approach towards Yogācāra is only de facto positivistic, for the group itself would not admit that its Great Madhyamaka has anything to do with Yogācāra philosophy. In effect, the old Yogācāra content is modified and put in a new container with a new label. Some scholars from this group state openly or seem to imply that the real Yogācāra school at some point became extinct and that its real works were never translated into Tibetan; all works considered by other Tibetan schools to be Yogācāra in origin are in fact not such.28
26 See, for example, Lcang skya, Grub mtha' mdzes rgyan (pp. 21020-2153), where it is asserted that various Buddhist systems may eliminate extremes of eternalism and annihilationism in their own ways but that it is only the Prāsaṅgika-Mādhyamika who is able to realize the subtlest meaning of the principle of pratītyasamutpāda . 27 Red mda' ba Gzhon nu blo gros (1349-1412) in his 'Jug pa'i rnam bshad (p. 3311-20) explicitly states that of the four doxographical systems, only Nāgārjuna's system ( klu sgrub kyi lugs 'ba' zhig ) represents the correct ( 'khrul pa med pa ) intention of the Buddha and that ( ibid ., pp. 1797-18018) others, including the proponents of the Yogācāra school, have no prospect of attaining release ( thar pa: mokṣa ). This is a literal interpretation
of Madhyamakāvatāra 6.79. 28 Some Extrinsic-Emptyists have argued that the Yogācāra school was initiated not by Asaṅga and Vasubandhu but by five hundred teachers from the pre-Nāgārjuna period. See Tāranātha (1575-1634), Gzhan stong snying po (p. 1806-7); Gur bkra'i chos 'byung (p. 782122); Kong sprul, Shes bya mdzod (p. 5505-8). Similarly, after the emergence of Nāgārjuna's Madhyamaka system, the Yogācāra school in India is said to have become extinct, and this is the reason given why no Yogācāra work has ever been translated into Tibetan and transmitted within Tibet. See Dge rtse Paṇḍita (1761-1829), Grub mtha'i rnam bzhag (p. 371-2).
Dorji WANGCHUK 1324 Hence the modified or reinterpreted Yogācāra philosophy is not regarded as antithetical to Madhyamaka but as one of the central pillars of the Great Madhyamaka. From the perspective of this group, the path to the summit of Buddhist philosophy takes the practitioner past the view of the extinct Yogācāra school; the view of the Great Madhyamaka at the summit constitutes in fact an amalgamation of modified Yogācāra and Tathāgatagarbha views. This positivistic group is represented by Gzhan stong proponents belonging mainly to the Jo nang, Bka' brgyud, and Rnying ma schools. (3) Third, for the
inclusivistic group, the Yogācāra view can hardly be said to represent the pinnacle of Buddhist philosophy, but for all that its ability to lead to Buddhahood is not questioned. From the perspective of this group, the Yogācāra school is neither antithetical to Madhyamaka nor part of its foundation; rather, the two schools both represent independent poles that admit of a synthesis. The road to the highest Buddhist philosophical view need not but can pass through Yogācāra. This position seems to have been maintained by very influential Indian scholars and followed by Tibetan scholars from the Sa skya, Bka' brgyud, and Rnying ma schools. There may certainly be differences in detail and nuance in the positions and interpretive strategies of the various Tibetan schools and scholars, but as far as I can see, all positions seem to be subsumable under one of these three groups.
Epilogue Although some Tibetans have compared Yogācāra to the non-Buddhist Sāṃkhya system, its status as a Māhāyānic system has never been denied. We have seen that not all Yogācāra subdivisions have been accorded the same status. As a doxographical system, Yogācāra seems to have been predestined to play a secondary role to Madhyamaka, its doctrine having never been considered to be of definitive meaning by Tibetan Mādhyamikas, whose attitudes and approaches towards it may be described as either pro- or anti-Yogācāric. For the pro-Yogācāra Tibetan Mādhyamikas, unlike their anti-Yogācāra counterparts, the Yogācāra view is capable of independently guiding one to nirvāṇic release. In short, the majority of Tibetan Buddhist schools can be considered pro-Yogācāric. For them, the road to the zenith of the Buddhist philosophical view does not bypass Yogācāra but rather passes right through it, if ultimately transcending it.
On the Status of the Yogācāra School 1325 Abbreviations and Sigla BST Buddhist Sanskrit Texts. CIHTS Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, Varanasi. Collated Tanjur bsTan 'gyur (dpe bsdur ma) . Beijing: Krung go’i bod kyi shes rig dpe skrun khang, 1994-2005. D Derge Tibetan canon. IIBS The International Institute for Buddhist Studies, Tokyo. Q Peking Tibetan canon. SPBMS Studia Philologica Buddhica Monograph Series. WSTB Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde.
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