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Key Term Cittamātra
Hover Popup Choices Mind-Only; Mind Only; Consciousness Only; mere mind; Mere Mentalism; sems tsam
In Tibetan Script སེམས་ཙམ་
Wylie Tibetan Transliteration sems tsam
Devanagari Sanskrit Script चित्तमात्र
Romanized Sanskrit cittamātra
Tibetan Phonetic Rendering sem tsam
Sanskrit Phonetic Rendering chittamatra
Chinese Pinyin weixin
Japanese Transliteration yuishin
Korean Script yusim
English Standard Mind-Only
Karl Brunnhölzl's English Term mere mind; Mere Mentalism
Richard Barron's English Term Mind Only
Term Type Noun
Source Language Sanskrit
Basic Meaning Though it is sometimes used synonymously with Yogācāra, it is in fact one of the more prominent philosophical theories associated with this school. It asserts that the objects in the external world with which we interact are actually mentally created representations appearing as those objects. The character of these perceptions is predetermined by our own karmic conditioning that is stored in the ālayavijñāna.
Has the Sense of It is a philosophical position that places mentation at the forefront of our experience of the world, rather than the seemingly real objects that consciousness perceives. It can also be used to refer to a Buddhist school, a genre of texts, or as a section of the Tibetan Buddhist canon. For instance, the Gyü Lama is in the sems tsam section of the Tibetan canon.
Did you know? In Sanskrit sources it is more common to see this theory articulated as vijñaptimātra or consciousness only. Western scholars have associate this philosophy with a form of Idealism. In Tibet, the followers of zhentong made great efforts to distance themselves from this concept, while still utilizing many of the Yogācāra terms associated with it.
Related Terms Yogācāra;ālayavijñāna
Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism See page 195: In Sanskrit, lit. “mind-only”; a term used in the Laṅkāvatārasūtra to describe the notion that the external world of the senses does not exist independently of the mind and that all phenomena are mere projections of consciousness. Because this doctrine is espoused by the Yogācāra, that school is sometimes referred to as cittamātra. The doctrine is closely associated with the eight consciousness (vijñāna) theory set forth in the Viniścayasaṃgrahaṇī of the Yogācārabhūmiśāstra and in the Mahāyānasaṃgraha and Abhidharmasamuccaya that are supplemental to that work.
Rangjung Yeshe's English Term Mind Only school, Chittamatra; the doctrine of Mind Only; founded by Maitreya and Asaṅga, idealist-mentalist, just displays of mind.