A Small Basket of Small Texts of Small Price 

A Small Basket of Small Texts of Small Price to Support a Larger Understanding of the Yogacara Mahayana as they understood themselves in their own World

For about $100 you can build a small library to study some of the foundational language of the Yogacara. This list isn’t trying for an academic approach like my other attempt at making a list. [ps: Kambala’s Alokamala is a treasure. It is parallel to a Guide to the Bodhisattva Path by Shantideva - but for the Yogacara. Actually, you might read this as an alternate Chapter Nine on Wisdom for the Bodhicaryavatara.]

Shun’ei, T., 2009. Living Yogacara: An Introduction to Consciousness-Only Buddhism, Wisdom Publications.

- The book is written by the head of the Japanese Hosso sect (Yogacara in Japan), and covers the basics of Yogacara thinking. It delves into theories of the mind the 8 consciousness, the discriminating mind, and notion of Buddha-nature. It's coverage of the Alaya store conscious is a term I've heard in brief in other Buddhist books, but never understood nor appreciated until now.

Rev. Tagawa strives to provide real-life context to difficult abstract concepts, and I feel he strikes a good balance between discussions of practice in real-life and its challenges, with what the Yogacara teaches as a scholarly, philosophical school. He writes from a realistic standpoint about the difficulty of following through on Buddhist practices in real-life, but also encourages and inspires people as well. review by By Gerald Ford


Bodhisattva Vasubandhu. & Hua, H., 2007. Shastra on the Door to Understanding the Hundred Dharmas 1st ed., Dharma Realm Buddhist Association.

- The One Hundred Dharmas are a categorization of all dharmas according to the Consciouness-Only or Yogacara School of Mahayana Buddhism. All lists of dharmas are for the purpose of breaking attachment to distinctions about our minds and the physical world that are based on attachment to self. They include 

1. Form Dharmas (11), 

2. Mind Dharmas (8), 

3. Dharmas Interactive with the Mind (51), 

4. Dharmas Not Interactive with the Mind (24)

5. Unconditioned Dharmas (6+)

 Rigpa Shedra wiki:  Vasubandhu (Skt.; Tib. དབྱིག་གཉེན་, Yiknyen; Wyl. dbyig gnyen) numbers among the ‘Six Ornaments’, the greatest Buddhist authorities of Ancient India. He was the younger brother of Asanga, and composed The Treasury of Abhidharma (Skt. Abhidharmakosha), a complete and systematic account of the Abhidharma, the peak of scholarship in the Fundamental Vehicle. Later he followed the Mahayana Yogachara view, and wrote many works, such as Thirty Stanzas on the Mind (Trimsikavijñapti-karika). 


Lotsawa, K.P., 2002. A Manual of Key Buddhist Terms: Categorization of Buddhist Terminologies with Commentary Bilingual., Paljor Publications.

- Composed in the 8th Century as a tool to standardize the understanding of the Indian Buddhism of the day, and the 3rd Turning of the Wheel of Dharma. It is based partly on Asanga’s “Compendium of the Dharma”, Abhidharma-samuccaya. It’s chief failing in presentation is not supplying the sanskrit equivalents of all the definitions, being targeted at a Tibetan vocabulary. THE Shastra on the Door to Understanding the Hundred Dharmas operates as a specialized vocabulary pendant to this. Rigpa Shedra wiki: Asanga (Skt. Asaṅga, Tib. ཐོགས་མེད་, Tokmé; Wyl. thogs med) — one of the most famous Indian saints, he lived in the fourth century and was the elder brother of Vasubandhu. He received teachings from Maitreya and transcribed them as the ‘Five Treatises of Maitreya’. Together with Asanga's own commentaries, these texts became the basis for the philosophical schools known as Yogachara, or Chittamatra.


Kambala, 2003. A Garland of Light: Kambala’s Alokamala, Asian Humanities Pr.

- A Garland of Light provides an overview of the Yogacara or mind-only teachings in the form of verses meant to inspire. It is in this way reminiscent of the inspiring Madhyamaka-oriented work, the Bodhi[sattva]caryavatara. Kambala apparently wrote it in the period of innocence just before Bhavya polarized the Buddhist community by his attacks on the Yogacara teachings. So here we have a syncretism where Yogacara and Madhyamaka are not inimical to each other. Indeed, mind-only (citta-matrata) is here equated with emptiness (sunyata). It is the best introduction to Yogacara available. Includes Sanskrit and Tibetan texts.


 © Leo Rivers 2013