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Introduction to Yogacara (1st of 3 lectures)
April 23 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Yogacara and Madhyamaka are two schools of Indian Buddhism closely associated with the rise of Mahayana Buddhism in the centuries following the life of the Buddha. These schools were active during the period that Buddhism entered China (1st century or before), making them influential in the development of Chinese Buddhism and Zen. Madhyamaka translates as “middle way” and is associated with teachings on emptiness. Yogacara variously translates as “yoga practice,” “mind-only,” or “representation-only.” Yogacara focuses on the central function of consciousness as the shaper/creator of reality, going so far as to teach that there is no external world, there is “only consciousness.” You can see the influence of Yogacara teaching in this poem by Han Shan:
Who takes the Cold Mountain Road takes a road that never ends
the rivers are long and piled with rocks
the streams are wide and choked with grass
it’s not the rain that makes the moss slick
and it’s not the wind that makes the pines moan
who can get past the tangles of the world
and sit with me in the clouds
Our lecture series, presented by So On Jim Hare over three weeks, will give an introduction/overview of the Yogacara school, a session discussing one of the seminal sutras of the school, and a session introducing a set of verses that were composed in the 5th Century to convey the essence of the school’s teachings.
For advance study, these books may be helpful:
Inside Vasubandhu’s Yogacara, by Ben Connelly.
The Third Turning of the Wheel (chapter 8), by Tenshin Reb Anderson.