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Yogacara / Madhyamaka

JoshuaJoshua Veteran
edited November 2010 in Philosophy
Just wondering if anybody could shed some light on the difference.

I was also wondering if all Mahayanists choose one or the other? Or at the least, say a monk has joined a Mahayana sangha and he isn't schooled enough in doctrine to know such things, would he still unknowingly be taught philosophies based off of either one?

I understand that they are supposed to be very similar, some say the same thing in fact, other say there's subtle differences.

I also understand that the Madhyamaka school further divides itself into Prasangika, Svatantrika and Yogacara-Svatantrika-Madhyamaka schools... :eek:


  • WhoknowsWhoknows Australia Veteran
    edited November 2010
    Sure Yogacara is Madhyamaka, though I'm sure there are others here with differing views :). {This view is not accepted from a scholarly POV} I'm not terribly good with definitions though.

    To me Yogacara means that mind ultimately effects every single experience we can have, after all the only experience we can ever have is subjective, no-one can have an objective experience, the objective is imputed on the subjective. So Yogacara is recognition of this fact.

    Several people observe the same subjective phenomena and agree on conceptual grounds that it is the same for each (this is a generalisation) and on those grounds define it as an objective experience.

    As to Madhymaka (from an non-Yogacarin POV), it is ultimately involved in the interrelationships of different entities, in such a way that no single entity can be defined without dependence on circular references (or infinite recursion). For instance: to define change you need to refer to time, yet you cannot talk about time unless you refer to change. Hence time and change are mutually dependent and one cannot talk about one without the other. So in this respect it is impossible to define "time" as something that exists in its own right. True realisation of this dependency is the same as the realisation of emptiness. That's very simplistic but gives the gist of the argument.

    You may have wondered why I say that Yogacara is Madhymaka above, well as all experiences are dependent on mind, mind itself is merely a concept of its own making (or something like that) so mind is not immune to this circular referencing and is therefore empty in its own right.

    I haven't explicitly studied any of the other schools so I would need to research them myself if I wanted to find out more.

    Cheers, WK
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