Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||When Yogācāra specialists take on the task of trying to introduce the tradition to newcomers and nonspecialists, whether it be in a book-length project, or an article in a reference work, they inevitably choose different points of departure, depending on their particular approach to understanding Yogācāra, and Buddhism in general. Some will start with the explanation of the eight consciousnesses; some will start with the four parts of cognition; some will start with the three natures; others will start with the doctrine of no-self, and so on. There is no special need to try to assess whether one of these approaches is better than the other, for indeed, in the vast and complex system that is known as Yogācāra, all of these different approaches and categories are ultimately tied into each other, and thus, starting with any one of them, one can eventually enter into all of the rest. Another approach, partially utilized in a recent introductory Yogācāra book by the Japanese Yogācāra specialist Yokoyama Kōitsu — Yasashii yuishiki ( "Easy Consciousness-Only" ), would be to take the two hindrances as a point of departure for an introduction to the Yogācāra soteriological system. This is also a viable approach, since there is nothing within the Yogācāra system that cannot be tied into or developed from the two basic categories of problems that Buddhist practitioners must work their way through: (1) afflictive/emotive disorders and (2) distorted apprehensions of reality. The two hindrances are the afflictive hindrances (kleśa-āvaraṇa ; also rendered in English as "obscurations from defilement," "veils of the afflictions," etc.) and the cognitive hindrances (jñeya-āvaraṇa , ; "obstructions of the knowable," "obscurations of omniscience," etc.). These..|
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