In the last fifty years or so, since Yogācāra texts have been available to western academics, there has been a debate as to how Yogācāra Buddhism should be interpreted. This article seeks to establish that Yogācāra Buddhism is most properly interpreted as an idealist school of Buddhist thought. Specifically, it challenges the arguments that have been put forth in recent years that suggest a phenomenological interpretation of Yogācāra Buddhism. The primary target of my argumentation is Dan Lusthaus but arguments of other scholars are also taken into account. In the process of defending my thesis I will explain the fundamentals of Yogācāra Buddhism, provide the reasons why Yogācāra Buddhism should be interpreted as an idealist school, provide reasons why some have interpreted Yogācāra Buddhism as phenomenology, refute non-idealist interpretations of Yogācāra Buddhism, and investigate the relation between Yogācāra Buddhism and other forms of idealism. In order to achieve each of these goals I will utilize the original texts of Yogācāra Buddhism, known as the Trimsika, authored by Vasubandhu and the Cheng Wei-Shih Lun, authored by Hsüan-Tsang. I will also reference and expound upon the philosophies of George Berkeley, Immanuel Kant, and Georg Hegel along with recent scholars who have partaken in this debate.
"Idealism in Yogācāra Buddhism,"
The Hilltop Review: Vol. 4
, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/hilltopreview/vol4/iss1/6