Course Outline: BP315 Yogācāra: The Buddhist Doctrine of Mind-Only, 2011/2012, Semester 1

Basic Data
Bachelor of Arts (Buddhist Studies)
First Semester (July 11 – November 12, 2011) Academic year 2011/2012
Credit / status: 
3 credits / Major required subject
Course Organization: 

The course will be lectured based and will be initiated with a review of the historical background of Mind Only Philosophy. This will be followed by a detailed discussion of the Buddhist realistic and idealistic views on the empirical world and freedom from Samsara. The idealistic concepts of Alaya Vjñāna, Trisvabhāva and Āśrayaparāvrtti also will be discussed.

Lectures (3 hour blocks) are arranged in order as follows:

  • Lecture 1 Early Buddhist concept of Viññāna
  • Lecture 2 Sarvāstivāda and Sautrāntica contribution to Mind Only philosophy
  • Lecture 3 Buddhist Realism and Idealism
  • Lecture 4 Realistic arguments against idealism
  • Lecture 5 Refutation of realism by idealism
  • Lecture 6 Three levels of the consciousness
  • Lecture 7 Idealistic interpretation of external world
  • Lecture 8 Inward and outward process of the Consciousness
  • Lecture 9 The concept of Trisvabhāva
  • Lecture 10 The concept of Absolute
  • Lecture 11 Parinishpanna and Nirvāna
  • Lecture 12 Yogācāra discipline
  • Lecture13 Yogācāra Abhidharma
  • Lecture 14 Summary
Course Requirements: 

Students are required to participate to do an essay assignment of 2500 words maximum. Class participation includes student’s presentation of their critical and descriptive knowledge of the mind only philosophy. There is a mid - course and final written examination. A suitable amount of time will be allocated at the end of the course for the review and for the preparation of examination. To be eligible to sit for the final examination students must attend a minimum of 80% of the scheduled classes.

Allocation of Marks: 
  • Class Participation 5%
  • Assignment – Essay Writing 15%
  • Mid-term written examination 20%
  • Final written examination 60%
Course Objectives: 

This course is intended to provide a critical and historical survey of the mind only philosophy developed by Buddhist Vijñānavāda School and its fundamental teaching. At the end of the semester the students are expected to gain a comprehensive knowledge of mind only teachings alone with their philosophical background.


All tests, assignments and examinations are graded as follows with grade point and numerical marks:

Grade Performance Grade value Percentage Equivalence
A+ Excellent 4.0 90-100
A Almost Excellent 3.75 85-89
A- Fairly Excellent 3.5 80-84
B+ Very Good 3.25 75-79
B Good 3.0 70-74
B- Fairly Good 2.75 65-69
C+ Fair 2.5 60-64
C Satisfactory 2.25 55-59
C- Minimum Satisfactory 2.0 50-54
D+ Fairly Poor 1.5 40-49
D Poor 1.0 30-39
F Fail 0.0 29 or less
I Incomplete
W Withdrawn
WF Withdrawn because of failure
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