Yogachara

Definition - What does Yogachara mean?

Yogachara is one of two main philosophical schools of Indian Mahayana Buddhism. Translated from Sanskrit, it literally means “one who practices yoga.” Yogachara uses meditation and yogic practices to explore various levels of consciousness and to study perception and cognition.

It is also called Vijnanavada, or the doctrine of consciousness; Vijnaptivada, or the doctrine of ideas or perceptions; and Vijnaptimatrata-vada, or the doctrine of mere representations. The other major school of Indian Mahayana Buddhism is Madhyamaka.

Yogapedia explains Yogachara

The Yogachara school has its roots in second-century India. Sometime after the fourth century, it divided into two branches, one focused on scriptural tradition (Agamanusarino Vijnanavadinah) and one on logical tradition (Nyayanusarino Vijnanavadinah).

Yogachara challenged the realism of both Theravada Buddhism and the Madhyamika school of Mahayana Buddhism. Its philosophy was that reality, as perceived by humans, does not exist and that only the experience of what happens in the mind or consciousness exists. Yogachara also focuses on the practice of yoga as a path to liberation from the phenomenal world.

Yogachara influenced East Asian and Tibetan Buddhism.

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