The Defeat of Vij~naaptimatrataa In China:

Fa-Tsang On Fa-Hsing And Fa-Hsiang

Whalen Lai

Journal of Chinese Philosophy

Vol.13 1986


Copyright @ 1986 by Dialogue Publishing Company, Honolulu,

Hawaii, U.S.A.





The major Yogaachaara school in China was the one introduced

by the pilgrim Hsuan-tsang(a) (ca596-664) from Nalanda to

Ch'ang-an in 645. Being based on his translation of

Dharmapaala's Vijnaaptimaatrataa-siddhi (Ch'eng wei-shih

lun)(b)(1). It was developed into the Wei-shih (Consciousness

Only) school by his student, Kuei-ch'i(c) (632-682), who

wrote the two major works of Fa-yuan-i-lin-chang(d)(2) and the


    Although "Wei-shih" should be the title the practitioners

choose to call itself, traditionally the school came down to

us as the Fa-hsiang(f) (Dharma-characteristics) school.(4)

The name "Fa-hsiang" was, however, attributed it by its

critics; it is a derogative term alleging that the school did

not know thoroughly the deeper Fa-hsing(g) (Dharma-essence).

The contrast was intended to bring out the "Hinayaanist

phenomenalism" (sic) inherent in the Wei-shih school(5) and

to highlight the "Mahaayaana essentialism" of its critic. As

recalled by Sung T'ien-t'ai(h) master, Ssu-ming Chih-li

(959-1028)(i), the distinction rose at the time of Fa-tsang's

(643-712)(j) attack on the Weishih school:


At the time [of Hua-yen(k) (Avatamsaka) patriarch,

Fatsang,] there was widely held the theory of chen-ju

sui-yuan (1) (Suchnessor tathataa accompanying the

conditions [the pratyaya that brought phenomenal samsaara

into being])and the theory of a (passive)Suchness that

would not create ('letrise') the various

existents(dharmas). From that is derived the distinction

between a hsing-tsung (m)([Dharmaessence school) and a

hsiang-tsung (n)([Dharma] characteristic school). This

distinction was made by Fa-tsang and was unknown to our

[T'ien-t'ai] master Chih-i.(o)(6)



Our task below is to explicate and make sense of this

important statement.

    Chih-li underscored two points: (i) that, for some

reasons, the hsing-hsiang distinction came into being only at

the time of Fa-tsang, and (ii)that, for some reasons, the

distinction was unknown to-and was unnecessary at the time

of-Chih-i (531-597) in Sui. Concerning how Fa-tsang,

representing the "Dharmataa" tradition, defeated the

"" one, we have the testimony in the section

on "mind and consciousness" in his Wu-chiao-chang(p)where he

exposed the inferiority of the Wei-shih school. This section

is translated below. As to the more difficult question of why

there was no "essence vs. phenomena" distinction in Chih-i

and why that distinction became historically necessary at the

time of Fa-tsang, we will sketch a general outline after

analyzing the first point.

    What divided Hua-yen and Wei-shih, the two contending

schools, is the issue whether chen-ju or suchness (tathataa,

a synonym of fa-hsing or dharmataa)is active or passive.

The Hua-yen school has a theory of a "dynamic suchness"

wherein the dharma-essence would actively participate in

the creation of and become fully fused to the phenomenal

dharma-characteristics. Against this, the Wei-shih school

held to insisting that universal dharmataa cannot be confused

with the particularism of dharma-characteristics. In the

controversy, this issue boils down to two metaphors. The

Wei-shih school resorts to the "house and the ground"

analogy;the Hua-yen school to the "water and wave" analogy.

These are introduced briefly below.

    The Wei-shih school understood dharmataa or the nature

(the"-ness")of reality according to its classic, etymological

root: dharma is "that which supports" like the ground

supporting the house. All particular phenomena, such as

houses and trees, are distinquished by their particular

characteristics. Those laksanas that went into making

apparent a thing called a "house" are distinct rom those that

contributed to the appearance of a "tree." Both house and

tree, in their essence (svabhaava,self-nature), are empty.

That emptiness (sunnyataa) constitutes the universal

dharmataa. In this logical schema, there is a necessary

discontinuity between phenomena and essencethe ground

supports but is not the same as the house (or the house the

same as the tree).

    Fa-tsang opposed this with the "water and wave" metaphor

provided by the Ta-ch'eng ch'i-hsin lun(q) (Awakening of

Faith in Mahaayaana). Here dharmataa, as the ocean water, is

churned up into the phenomenal beings:



that is, the rising and falling of the waves churned up by

the wind of ignorance. It makes sense, in this metaphor, to

speak of nirvanic suchness participating in the creation of

the samsaric waves and, in such a way, that the latter

(whether it takes the form of a "house" or a "tree")is in

essence (in"wetness")no different from the original body of

water (orfrom one another). This subscribes to a fluidity

between essence and phenomena:

lai2.jpg (9925 bytes)

The critique against the Wei-shih (alias Fa-hsiang) school is

that it does not know of this participation of essence in

phenomena. We will see the more specific charges and the

proofs offered for it in the piece below.



Second Fascicle: On The Principle Differences

In the Philosophical Bases [the Various Schools](8)

Topic One: Differences in (the Conceptions on)

Mind and Consciousness(9)


In the Hinayaana teaching, there are enumerated only six

consciousnesses.(10) [Of these, the mind] is divided,

according to its functions, into hsin, i,shih(s) (citta,

manas, vij~naana). So says a Hinayaana 'saastra.(11) It knows

the alayavij~naa-



na, but only by name, as the Ekottara AAgama has it.(12)

    If we follow the Elementary Teaching [of Mahaayaana, i.e.

Yogaacaara], (13) there is an understanding of the

aalayavij~naana [superior to Hinayaana in that it has

dissociated this consciousness from the manas](14) that is

[still] biased in that it recognizes only that aspect of [the

one mind which pertains to] birth and death (samsaara). It

fails as yet in acknowledgeing fully [that other aspect of

the one mind that is one with] the true principle, chen-li(t)

[i.e. of suchness, tathataa].(15) Therefore it considers

[suchness] to be quiescent(16) and as not productive of

(ch'i:(u) giving rise to] the various dharmas. That is to

say, it establishes (the nature of) the aalayavij~naana with

reference to the samsaric aspect [alone], seeing its

substance as being generated out of the different natures o

the karmic bijas and other [i.e. the nominal] bijas

(seeds).(17) The delayed germination of the seeds [ripening

at a time other than when they were first planted] producer

the consciousness [stream] on which the myriad dharmas

(phenomenal realities) rely.(18)

    Only through the [slow] exercise of skillful means would

(this mind) advance toward the true principle. For this

reason, (this school) considers the perfumations (vaasanaa) et

cetera as ultimately not real (empty) [not endowed with true

suchness]. Thus the Samdhinirmocana suutra says:


If the bodhisattva no longer bear witness to, both within

and without, (the activities) of the store-base, seeing

no more the perfumations or the aalayavij~naana itself

[as object] or the aalayavij~naana itself [as subject],

and if he sees withing of the aadaanavij~naana [as

object] nor the adanavijnana [as subject],(thereupon)

knowing all dharmas such as they are, then he is called

the bodhisattva [skillful in means]. By this, the

Tathaagata establishes the doctrine of hsin, i, shih

(citta, manas, vij~naana) as the secret teaching of



This teaching we find also in the Yogaacara school.(19)

    Explanation: Since this school (Wei-shih) establishes its

doctrine of mind (hsin, i, shih et cetera), on the basis of

this non-perception [of the psychic elements et cetera), this

(teaching) constitutes only [an unreal] expediency [i.e. not

dwelling on the real].(20) That is why (the doctrine of) the

samsaric forms of the aalayavij~naana et cetera are being

offered as the




secret teaching.(21) (The instructed) is not to take the

verbal discussion ("speech and names") as real, but rather,

he should, by understanding [the innate emptiness of the

components], revert to the true (kuei-chen).(v)

However if we follow the Final Teaching (of Mahaayaana),

then this [same] aalayavij~naana [read in light of this

teaching] would have realized the twofold meaning of [the one

mind as suchness and as birth-and-death, in] perfect fusion

of principle and fact (noumena and phenomena; li shih t'ung

yung).(w22) Therefore, the [Awakening of Faith in Mahayana]

'saastra (repre- senting this final teaching) says:


The aalayavij~naana is that in which that which is

"beyond birth and death" (i.e. nirvaana) fuses with

"birth and death" (samsaara) so harmoniously that they

are neither the same nor different.(23)


Because this view allows suchness (tathataa) [as the water,

not to stay quiescent, but] following the perfumation [by the

wind of ignorance, avidyaa], to become fused [with the wave,

i.e. the phenomenal forms of birth and death], this

understanding of the core consciousness is different from the

previous [Yogaacaara] one [which sees only a samsaric

consciousness rooted inp the karmic and [nominal] seeds

arising [in delayed germination].

    [ In contrast to the Yogacara position, ] the Leng-chia

ching (x) (Lanka-vataara suutra) has said,


The [pure] tathaagatagarbha, womb of the Buddha, when

tainted by beginningless, unwholesome habituations, is

(then) known as the storehouse consciousness, aalayavij~n-



Elsewhere, it also says;


The tathaagatagarbha suffers pain and pleasure, [only

when] accompanying those [samsaric] causes, it seems to

undergo (likewise) birth and death.(25)


It also says:


The tathaagatagarbha is called the aalayavij~naana and





the seven consciousnesses of ignorance.(26)


And the A wakening of Faith says:


The innately pure mind becomes the polluted mind, (only)

as it was aroused by the wind of ignorance.(27)


And so on. We have more than one (scripture) stating this point.


    Question: But if suchness is already said to be a

permanent dharma, how can it is said to have followed the

conditions (sui-yuan) (as) [of ignorance] to become

involved in birth and death? If it is said to have done

so, how can it still be said to be quiescent and changeless?


    Answer: Suchness, said to be "permanent, " has a

permanence different from (ournormal idea)of permanence. Why

is this so? It is because when the Sage said that it is

quiescent, [he is referring to] its never once losing its

essence, even as (suchness)accompanies the condition [of

ignorance] to bring about the various (phenomenal) dharmas. In

that sense, it was said to be permanent. This is "permanence

that is not different from impermanence" or "inconceivable

permanence." It is never saying that suchness cannot give

rise to the various dharmas, as (vulgar)sentiments might

predispose some to take "quiescence" (to mean).

    Therefore the 'Sriimaalaadevi (sinhanaanda) suutra notes[

how the tathaagatagarbha is paradoxically polluted and

unpolluted].(28)[The statement that] "(it is)unpolluted yet

polluted" refers to how [the one mind, which, being pure,]

nevertheless [allows itself] to accompany the condition that

gives rise to the various dharmas. [The statement that] "(it

is)polluted and yet unpolluted" refers to how, [even though a

partner to change, the mind in fact] never once loses its

essence. Because (itcan be so polluted), the mundane truth

(samv.rti-satya) is established; because (itstays unpolluted),

the highest truth (paramaartha)



is reaffirmed. Thus although the mundane and the highest

truths refer to two meaning (complexes), they do not

pertain to two (different) realities. (Rather, the two)

are totally harmonized, [wherein fact and principle] no

longer obstruct, free from all sentient attachments (to

contrary views). Thus the [Samgraha] 'saastra says: "The

hindrance due to the lack of the proper insight is dark

and blind indeed."(29) That is describing well [the deep

folly of those who] cling on to [the idea of] different

substances for the two truths.


Concerning the two aspects of suchness [as permanent and as

changeable], the aforesaid Elementary (Mahaayaana) Teaching

knows only that aspect of [suchness that is] quiescent. This

is because it follows the practice of only differentiating

the dharma-characteristics (fa-hsiang) . But the Final

Teaching, by following the insight into the [necessary]

fusion of hsing and hsiang (dharma-essence and -form), speak

now of the nondual nature of the two aspects. This, generally

speaking, is the import of the Awakening of Faith.

    The Shih-ti ching(y) (Da'sabhumika suutra) has likewise

said,"The three realms are false, being only the doing of the

one mind."(30) [Apropos that,] the Sa.mgraha following the

Elementary Teaching, has taken that (mind) to mean the

alayavij~naana. (On the other hand,) the Ti-lun (Da'sabhuumika

'saastra), following the Final Teaching, has understood it to

be referring to the paramaartha true mind (ti-i-i chen-hsin) .

(z) Or, over a gaatha in the Abhidharma (Mahaayaana) suutra,


The Element is without a beginning in time,

It is the common foundation of all dharmas.

Because it exists therefore there all exist

All places of rebirth and the full attainment of Nirvaana.(31)


the Sa.mgraha has taken the "element" (dhaatu) to describe

"cause" and to mean the "seed consciousness" and so on.(32)

But the Pao-shing-lun(aa) (Ratngagotra vibhaaga) , (33)

faithful to the Final Teaching, took it to be the tathaagatagarbha.

(34) These (different readings) are behind the difference in

opinions.[The ambivalence we see] in the `Sriimaala suutra

which says:



Reliant on the tathaagatagarbha,

there is birth and death;

reliant on the tathaagatagarbha,

there is nirvaana. (35)


And other general statement to the same effect. From such, we

should indeed recognize the differences in the two teachings

[the Elementary and the Final Mahaayaana].

    If we follow the Sudden Teaching, then all myriad dharmas

are nothing but the one suchness mind. This (mind)is beyond

differentiations, beyond words and beyond thought. It cannot

be spoken of. This is the nondual Dharma taught by the

thirty-two bodhisattvas in the Vimalakiirti nirde'sa. It is

the same as the perfect harmony and nonduality of the

unpolluted and the polluted recognized by the Final Teaching

mentioned earlier. The nondual Dharma that Vimalakiirti

revealed by his silence pertains to this (Sudden)Teaching.

[The difference from the Final Teaching] is that, since it

denies all forms of pollution and purity (fromthe start), one

cannot even postulate two realities that are to be then

harmonized. (Forthat reason,)even the "two" [in the "not

two"] is not admissible as a datum (inthis schoo1).(36)

    If we follow the Perfect Teaching, then (werealize further

that) the ocean of essence (hsing hai) (ab) (37) is perfect and

all-illuminating; and that (byvirtue of the nature of)

Dharmadhaatu Causation (fa-chiehyuan-ch'i),(ac)(38) nothing

can ever obstruct anything else. Everything is as it should

be [i.e. perfect such-as-is]. The one is the all; the all is

the one. Master and client fuse perfectly. Therefore it

speaks of "ten minds"(39)to manifest the infinite. This we

find discussed in the Lokoottara (Transcendingthe World)

chapter[ in the Avata.msaka suutra],(40)or in the ninth

bodhisattva stage [in the Daasabhuumika].(41)There is nothing

but the one Dharmadhaatu in [continual self-willed]

essence-arousal(hsing-ch'1) , (ad)with the [suchness] mind

being replete [willed] essence-arousal (hsing-ch'i),((from the

start)with all ten (perfect)virtues, as described in the

(Ju-lai, (aw) Buddha) "Essence-arousal"

(Tathaagatatpattisambhava) chapter [of the same suutra].(42)

    The above [delineation of the Five Teachings on how they

differ] is based on the differentiating teaching. But if one

follows the unifying teaching,(43) then there is away to

subsume all the previous listed doctrines of



mind and consciousness (under one rubic). Why should (the one

teaching with so many manifestations) be so? It is in order

that upaya be realized. From that flow all (the teachings).

And we can grade it accordingly.


    Question: How is it that, based on the one mind,

there are nevertheless all these different teachings?

    Answer: There are two aspects to this. By recourse to

the (one) Dharma, all teachings may be penetrated and

subsumed. With reference to the recipients' capacity, all

teachings can be divided and reunited.

    Concerning the former, the meaning is profound

indeed. By just the one mind, the five meanings are

replete. The Sage made use of this one teaching to

instruct all sentient beings.

    [Of the five teachings subsumed under the one gate:]

(1) The first is to comprehend the meaning following the

      names; this is the Hinayaana teaching.

(2) The second is to comprehend the principle following

      the facts; this is the Elementary Teaching (of


(3) The third is to realize that neither principle nor

      fact obstructs one another;this is the Final


(4) The fourth is to exhaust all facts to manifest the

      principle; this is the Sudden Teaching.

(5) The fifth is the way of the essence-sea replete with

      all the virtues;this is the Perfect Teaching.

      In this way, one may, without disturbing the origin,

      be informed of all the subsequents; likewise, too,

      one may, without harming the end-results, abide

      forever with the basis. Thus are the five meanings

      harmonious, the consequence of the transformations of

      the one mind.

       [Concerning the second of the two aspects,] this

other way is to differentiate the teachings according

to the capacity of the recipient, [according to

which, the five are now:]

(1) There are those who gain the name but not the

      meaning; this is the Hinayaana teaching.

(2) There are those who gain the name and a part of the

      meaning; this is the Elementary Teaching.

(3) There are those who gain the name and the full




(3) There are those who gain the name and the full

      meaning; this is the Final Teaching.

(4) There are those who, gaining the meaning, are able to

      forsake the names; this is the Sudden Teaching.

(5) There are also those who realize that both names and

      meanings are infinite; this is the Perfect Teaching.

      As to the rest [of the ten-school classification],it is

      is as the chapter on "Consciousness Only" [in the

      K'ung-mu chang].(ae)(44)


(End of Section on Mind and Consciousness)


    The "Five Teachings" that the above discussion assumes

and which lies at the heart of the Wu-chiao-chang itself is

one constructed by Fa-tsang. They are,from top down:


(1) The Perfect Teaching of Hua-yen

(2) The Sudden Teaching of the Vimalakiiti-nirde'sa(45)

(3) The Final Teaching of the Tathaagatagarbha Tradition

(4) The Elementary Teaching of Emptiness

    (a) the Maadhyamika schoo

    (b) the Yogaacaara school

(5) The Hinayaana Teaching


Elsewhere, Fa-tsang used a Ten Schools scheme. In that case,

he was taking over a "seven schools" scheme from Kuei-ch'i


(1) Vastiputriya: self and objects real

(2) Sarvastivaada: no self but dharmas of the three times real

(3) Mahaasanghika: no past nor future but only present dharmas are real

(4) Praj~naaptivaada: only some of those present dharmas are real

(5) Lokottaravaada: no mundane but only supramundane dharmas are real

(6) Ekottiya: all dharmas, mundane or transmundane, are unreal

(7) Maadhyamika: universal emptiness

(8) The school faithful to the principle: the Hua-yen and Lotus

      suutras and the Wei-shih philosophy of Asanga and Vasubandhu


To construct a full ten-school scheme, Fa-tsang then aligned





(1) to (6) withHinayana, reserving Yogaacaara and Maadhyamika

as (7), the asuunyavaada of the tathaagatagarbha tradition as

(8), theViimaalaakiirti as (9)andthe Avatamsaka as (10).




Eight Schools              Ten Schools                      Five Teachings


(1)-(6)                          (1)-(6) Hinayana               Hinayana

(7) Maadhyamika      (7) a. Yogaaacaar           Elementary

                                         b. Maadhyamika       Mahaayaana

(8) Yogaaacaara          (8) Tathagataa-                Final

       (Lotus)                        garbha                        Mahaayaana

                                     (9) Viimaalaakiirti          Sudden


(Avatamsaka)              (10) Avatamsaka             Perfect




In this chapter on mind and consciousness, Fa-tsang dealt the

blow that would henceforth relegate Wei-shih to being no more

than an elementary teaching. He did so by tracing the

changing concepts of the mind. Hinayaana has no idea of an

eighth consciousness; Yogaaacaara has but unfortunately limits

it to being a phenomenal consciousness, ultimately empty or

false; only beginning with the final Mahaayaana teaching of

the not-empty tathaagatagarbha is the critical turn taken to

realizing that this core-consciousness is firmly rooted in

and fused to the suchness mind. Instead of the hsing-hsiang

discontinuity of the "ground and house," the Awakening of

Faith provided the higher continuity of the pair as "water

and wave." The nondual Vimalakirti would not even consider

any a priori pair; and the Avatasmaka finally crowned it by

realizing the perfect, endless, interfusion of parts and

whole and of parts and parts.

    The categorization of the five teachings thus serves to

demote Wei-shih for being biased and tired to the analysis of

fa-hsiang, and to promote the




higher interpenetration of essence and phenomena or fa-hsing

(suchness) and fa-hsiang (characteristics) in the Awakening

of Faith. As a presupposition behind it there is a distinction

between "timeless essence" and "mutable phenomena."


Essence (hsing)                        Phenomena (hsiang)

Mind (suchness mind)             Consciousness (aalayavij.)

tied to true principle                 tied to mere expediency

and to Dharmataa                    and to


Although Fa-tsang ultimately did not subscribe to their being

two-in fact, he accused Fa-hsiang precisely for such a

perverted idea and associated the higher teachings with their

fusion-still the question is: why did he make this

distinction in the first place? Did not Buddhism preclude,

ever since it denied the existence of the self (aatman), any

consideration of essentialism?

    If we look over Kuei-ch'i's classification of the eight

schools, then we see indeed how his sequence of teachings,

ending in Asanga and Vasubandhu, stays faithfully within the

phenomenalism of anaatmavaada, through 'suunyavaada, to

vij~naaptimaatrataa. But that, challenged Fa-tsang, is

precisely the point of its failure: how does it account for

the "not-empty" Buddha- nature of the Tathaagatagarbha corpus

that postulated rather clearly a permanent mahaatman? It is

here that Fa-tsang discovered the ju-lai-tsang tsung(af) or a

Tathaagatagarbha school as a discrete entity in India that no

one before him noticed as a distinct alternative. We are

still indebted to Fa-tsang for uncovering this third

tradition in that sense.

    But there are two points at stake here. One can accept

the one without necessarily accepting, the other as a

dogmatic truth. One can recognize the existence of a

Tathagata corpus without thereby adhering to Fa-tsang's

further characterization of it and its opponent as "a

hsing-tsung versus a hsiang-tsung." Tibetan tradition does

not use that mode of evaluation.(46) One can accept the

"incomprehensible permanence" of the tathaagatagarbha and its

a'sunya (not empty) status without casting them into the

formula of chen-ju sui-yuan pu-pien,(ag) a dynamic suchness

generating phenomenal becoming out of its changeless being.

That added interpretation, which the



Tibetan did not have,(47) is provided by Fa-tsang.

    The distinction between hsing-tsung and hsiang-tsung was,

however, unknown to Chih-i in Sui, even though Chih-i knew

and approved of the Buddha-nature doctrine. The proof that

the T'ien-t'ai school avoided that dichotomization lies in

(a) its staying within the bounds of Maadhyamika, and (b) its

being characterized traditionally as the Shih-hsiang school.

Essentially, Chih-i adhered to the dictum that "the various

dharmas are none other than pratiitya-samutpaada; are of

'sunyataa; and are of the middle way."


Essence of                  Conditioned

Reality          =            Arisen                      etc.

(Dharmataa)              Phenomena


Though admitting the permanence of the Dharmakaaya and the

Buddha-nature, Chih-i still kept the dialectical tension alive

so that what constitutes the unchanging is but the principle

of change; and the principle is the whole and not some essense

substratum aside from the phenomenal.

    Thus the T'ien-t'ai school is never a (fa) hsing school,

but always the shih-hsiang(ah) ("real form") school.

Shih-hsiang is short for Kumaarajiiva's oft-used rendition

for dharmataa (dharma essence) or equivalent as "chu-fa

shih-hsiang," the real characteristics (hsiang) of the myriad

realities. (The "real" [shih](ai) is the one dharma-mark [

i-fa-yin] (aj) of the empty, the provisional and the middle.)

The expression therefore covers what in Fa-tsang would be

hsing and hsiang.



                           Chu-fa shih-hsiang


As Dharmataa,hsing                         As Laksana,hsiong

(Dharma-essence)                          (Dharma-phenomena)


                            Hsing-hsisng Unity


This is the reason why Chih-li in Sung could look back and

say that the hsin-ghsiang distinction was unknown to Chih-i.



    What necessitated Fa-tsang's bifurcation of essence and

phenomena and then his resynthesis of the pair in a dynamic

Dharmadhatu causation was the challenge of the Yogaaacaara

philosophy that came in the period in between. The Wei-shih

school was emphasizing some new "core being"──the

aalayavijaana (storehouse consciousness) ──from which all

phenomenal realities supposedly rose. That transformed the

previous "horizontal equation" into a "vertical series":


          Manifested Phenomena     ︿       Phenomenal   =     hsiang

        or Samsaara:                       │        Realities

           ─────────      │       ─────

        Base Consciousness           │        Some basic      =      hsing

        or Alayavij~naana                           Essence


It was in response to this Yogaaacaara challenge that Fa-tsang

mapped the hsing-hsiang distinction. So just as T'ien-t'ai

may be said to represent sinicized Maadhyamika, Hua-yen would

be sinicized Yogaaacaara. Relying on the doctrine of the one

mind as the suchness mind (citta tathataa), Fa-tsang

disassociated his understanding of mind as Wei-hsin from the

inferior phenomenal consciousness he saw in Wei-shih. He also

contrasted the latter's passive suchness with his own

endorsement of a dynamic suchness.

    Fa-tsang succeeded in his campaign. Wei-shih came down in

history as the Fa-hsiang school that missed the fuller import

of the suchness hsing (essence). The hsing versus hsiang

distinction stuck. Even as Chih-li fought against the

encroachment of Hua-yen-esque dynamic causationism into

ortho- dox T'ien-t'ai shih-hsiang dialectics, he was not

totally successful. He, how- ever, left that problem of

harmonizing the two traditions-hsing hsiang yung ho(ak)-to

the syncretic Ming-Ch'ing Buddhist masters to come.








  1. T.31, no.1585. Translated in French by L. de la Vallee

Poussin, La Siddhi du Hiuen-tsang in 2 vol. (Paris: 1928).


  2. T.45, no.1861.


  3. T.43, no.1830. His fellow student Dosho (620-700)

introduced it to Japan. Headquartered at Nara's Gangoji,

Hosso claimed Gyogi (667-718) as its first disciple.


  4. Hosso in Japanese. Takakusu Junjiro re-rendered that back

into Sanskrit as Dharma-laksana, even though Yogaaacaara

was never so designated in India or in Tibet. See his The

Essentials of Buddhist Philosophy (Honolulu: University

of Hawaii, 1947) p. 85. Mochizuki Shinko's Bukkyo

daijiten also goes by this name; it even cited texts to

show how the term might be derived (pp. 4625C-46268B).

Though the school indeed exemplified an abhidharmic

interest in analyzing dharma-characteristics, i.e. hsing-

hsiang-hsueh, I have not coma across Kuei-ch'i ever calling

his school the Fa-hsiang school.


  5. The Wei-shih school war indeed so considered as

"quasi-Mahayana" or "pro-Hinayaana"; see Takakusu's modern

rationalization of this judgment Ibid. pp. 82, 93-94.

"Hinayaana" is being used as a blanket term depreciating

the opponent's position. No one in Indian Buddhism would

consider Yogaacaara Hina-yanist.


  6. T.46,p.871C.


  7. "Treatise Distinguishing and Harmonizing the Import of

the Teachings in [the Spirit of] the Ekayaana of the

Avata.msaka," otherwise known as the Wu-chiao chang

("Treatise on the Five Teachihgs"), the most systematic

review of the Buddhist tradition and probably the major

philosophical summa by Fa-tsang, written however at a

relatively early date (probably before 684).


  8. The first of ten topics. The second one is on

Buddha-nature; a draft of that section has been

completed. This section is not translated in the first

English study of this text by Francis H. Cook in his

"Fa-tsang's Treatise on the Five Doctrines: An Annotated

Translation" (Doctoral dissertation, University of

Wisconsin, Madison, 1970), though the pioneering effort

is much appreciated; see Cook's Hua-yen Buddhism: The

Jewel Net of Indra (University Park: Pennsylvania State

University, 1977) for his interpretation of this school.


  9. In T.45, pp.484c-485b.

I am following closely the annotated study of Yusuki

Ryuei, (al) Kegon gokyosho kogi(am) (Kyoto: Ryukoku

university, 1927; reissued by Hakke'en, 1975) , pp.



  10. The five senses (consciousnesses) and the mind, manas.


  11. The Abhidharma-kosa says, "That which arouses karma is

called citta; the which thinks is called manas; that

which discerns, and differentiates is called vij~naana"

(T. 29, p. 12); cannot be found); as cited by Yusuki, (p.

228.) The three terms in




Sanskrit are often interchangeable.


  12. This attribution, made by the Mnhaayaana samgraha and the

Vij~naaptimaatrataa siddhi, is not confirmed by the

extent AAgama.


  13. On this and other subcategories of Mahaayaana, see brief

explanation in the concluding portions of this essay.


  14. Positing this eighth consciousness above and beyond the

six consciousnesses.


  15. The formula is from the Awakening of Faith: "The one mind

has two aspecfs: the aspect of suchness ... and the

aspect of birth and death." See Yoshito Hakeda trans.,

Awakening of Faith (New York: Columbia University, 1967),



  16. See the "house and ground" metaphor supra.


  17. Yushiki, pp. 230-231; the bija theory went back to

Sautranika. The karmic seeds are stronger, being the

result of perfumation by actual deeds; the nominal seeds

are weaker, being the result of trusting the nominal



  18. See Yusuki,p.231.


  19. The Paramaartha-translated She-lun(an) (Sa.mgraha), in

its first fascicle, cites the Hsin-chieh mi ching(ao)

(Samdhinir.mocana): "If the bodhisattva, within (the six

senses or consciousnesses) and without (in the six fields

of consciousness), seeing nothing of what is perfumated

by the eight consciousnesses and nothing of the seven

evolved consciousnesses that so perfumate; if he can see

nothing of (the twofold nature-the object and the

seeing─of the grasped aspect of) the aalayavij~naana, or

of (the self-knowing aspect of the grasping aspect of)

the aalayavij~naana; if he can see nothing of (the

grasped aspect of) the adaanavij~naana nor of (the

grasping aspect on the adaanavij~naana; and if he, while

seeing nothing, realizes them all as selfsame and

formless, and that being so they are all empty,─he is

then called the bodhisattva, skillful in means. It is

only to the extent that the Tathagata himself realizes

the provisional reality of all phenomena that he may set

up, as the secret expediency, all the teachings

concerning citta. manas, mamo-vij~naana. " Yusuhi,p.232.


  20. Since Chih-i of the T'ien-t'ai school established the

contrast between the falsehood of expediency (applied to

his analysis of the Triyaana) and the reality of the one

vehicle (i-ch'eng chen-shih) (ap), what is "expedient"

(in the Elementary Teaching here) is taken to be falling

short of realizing the true suchness (chen-ju).


  21. Hua-yen trusted that the exoteric teaching

(hsien-chiao)(aq) is superior to the esoteric; here the

target might be to the title of the Sa.mdhinirmocana and

its claim to a teaching about the odaana-vijn~naana

(egoclinging consciousness), hitherto hidden from view.


  22. Li ("principle", a native synonym to Tao, signifying what

is universal) and shih ("fact", or "the particular") are

preferred vocabularies of Hua-yen.


  23. My translation; see another rendition in Hakeda trans.,

Awakening of Faith, p.36.


  24. A gloss of a passage in the fourth fascicle in the

four-fascicle Chinese translation of this suutra by

Gunabhadra (T.16, p.510C) gives the following information:



"The tathaagatagarbha has been perfumated by beginningless,

unwholesome habituations (klesa, defilments) -that is to

say, by the fundamental ignorance (ken-pen wu-ming)(ar),

or the failure in recognizing suchness as suchness and

the absolute as the absolute─being so aroused, it is

(now) the aalayavij~naana."


  25. This is a free paraphrase from Ibid. (T.16, p. 512)(ab).

The notation that it "seems to undergo" is perhaps

important, because the tathaagatagarbha is also often

said, by this text as well as others, to be "above pain

and pleasure." The tathaagata being nirvanic, his essence

should be above suffering.


  26. This is from fascicle seven of the ten-fascicle version

of this suutra translated by Bodhiruci (T. 16,p. 556bc).


  27. From T. 32, p. 576c: "The body of water that is the

innately pure mind, alias, the tathagatagarbha, is

aroused to become the form of the waves that is the

polluted mind, by virtue of th condition that is the wind

of ignorance.": Hakeda p.41.


  28. A free paraphrase of T. 12,p.222.


  29. The hindrance due to knowledge ? (wrong views) is more

damaging than the lesser hindrance due to unwholesome

practices. T.31, p. 153, the opening line.


  30. The word translated as "doing" in tso; it is not needed

in the original Sanskrit. In Chinese, it can be read

still more actively as the "one mind creating the three

realms." See T.9, p. 558c. This is the reading preferred

in the Hue-yen school.


  31. Following Edward Conze's translation in his Buddhist

Texts Through the Ages (Oxford: Bruno Cassirer, 1954), p. 217.


  32. T. 31,p. 383a.


  33. Basic to the southern branch of the Ti-lun school led by



  34. T.31,p.839a. See Conze,ibid.


  35. See Alex and Hideko wayman trans. The Lion's Roor of

Queen Srimala (New Yark Columbia Uni, 1974) p. 97.


  36. My reading here is different from Yushiki's in his op.

cit., p. 239; I emend the "not two" into "two."


  37. A favorite metaphor in Hua-yen, because of the use of it

in the Awakening of Faith and because the Hua-yen

teaching was supposed to be delivered during the

Ocean-seal samadhi


  38. A yuan-ch'i (interdependent causation; pratiityasamutpaada)

theory unique to the Hua-yen school; in essence, it celebrates

the universe's own perpetual regeneration, par em toto and

vice versa.


  39. Ten is the perfect, the full number, repeatedly used by

the Avata.msaka suutra. Here it is also the symbol for the



  40. T.9,p.657a.


  41. Now part of the Avata.msaka; T. 9, pp. 567b-571a.


  42. The chapter deals with the arousal of the bodhicitta and

the appearance of the Buddha in the world. Glossing there

two together and building on the term hsing-ch'i in the

chapter title, the Hua-yen school justifies its

hsing-ch'i theory; that all phenomena are generated from

the essence of this Buddha-mind, through



self-will and without any reliance on even the yuan (the

pratyaya of condition). T. 9, p. 611b.


  43. These are two principles in understanding the various

teachings, by bie(at) (seeing the dissimilarity) or by

t'ung(au) (stressing what is common). This method is

basic to the fen-ch'i(av) "differentiation and

harmonization" goal of the treatise.


  44. See note 9 above.

  45. On the rationale─and the problems─involved in this

category and in the scheme as a whole, see Peter N.

Gregory, "The place of the Sudden Teaching within the

Hua-Yen Tradition: An Investigation of the Process of

Doctrinal Change, " Journal of the International

Association of Buddhist Studies 6.1 (1983), pp. 31-60.


  46. The departure is clearer over the distinction Fa-tsang

made between the pair Wei-shih (Consciousness Only) and

Wei-hsin (Mind Only); in Tibetan, Vij~naaptimaatrataa is

Cittamaatrataa. On this, see my "The Meaning of

Mind-Only: An Analysis of a Sinitic Mahayana

Phenomenonon, " Philosophy East and West 27.1



  47. By staying close to praj~naa as `suunya without hypostatizing

the a`suunya aspect into a separate, higher, ontologi source.



               CHINESE GLOSSARY

a 玄奘                                                        z 第一義真ト

b 成唯識論                                                aa 寶性論

c 窺基                                                        ab 性海

d 法苑義林章                                            ac 法界緣起

e 唯識述記                                                ad 性起

f 法相                                                         ae 孔目章

g 法性                                                        af 如來藏宗

h 天台                                                        ag 真如隨緣不變

i 四明知禮                                                 ah 實相

j 法藏                                                         ai 實

k 華嚴                                                        aj 一法印

l 真如隨緣                                                 ak 性相融和

m 性宗                                                       al 湯次了榮

n 相宗                                                        am 華嚴五教章講義

o 智顗                                                        an 攝論

p 五教章                                                    ao 深解密經

q 大乘起信論                                            ap 一乘真實

r 華嚴一乘教義分齊章                             aq 顯教

s 心意識                                                     ar 根本無明

t 真理                                                         as 隨緣

u 起                                                            at 別

v 歸真                                                        au 同

w 理事通融                                               av 分齊

x 楞伽經                                                    aw 如來

y 十地經