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Asanga
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{{other}}File:Mujaku Asanga Kofukuji.JPG|thumb|upright|Japanese wood statue of Asaṅga from 1208 CE]]File:Asanga.JPG|thumb|upright|Tibetan depiction of Asaṅga and MaitreyaMaitreyaAsaṅga ({{bo|t=ཐོགས་མེད།|w=thogs med}}, {{CJKV|t=無著|p=Wúzhuó}}; Romaji: Mujaku) (fl. 4th century C.E.) was a major exponent of the Yogacara tradition in India, also called Vijñānavāda. Traditionally, he and his half-brother Vasubandhu are regarded as the founders of this school. The two half-brothers were also major exponents of Abhidharma teachings.

Early life

Asaṅga was born as the son of a Kṣatriya father and Brahmin motherTsoṅ-kha-pa Blo-bzaṅ-grags-pa, Robert A. F. Thurman (Page 28){{full}} in Puruṣapura (present day Peshawar in Pakistan), which at that time was part of the ancient kingdom of Gandhāra. Current scholarship places him in the fourth century CE. He was perhaps originally a member of the Mahīśāsaka school or the Mūlasarvāstivāda school but later converted to Mahāyāna.'Doctrinal Affiliation of the Buddhist Master Asanga' - Alex Wayman in Untying the Knots in Buddhism, {{ISBN|81-208-1321-9}} According to some scholars, Asaṅga's frameworks for abhidharma writings retained many underlying Mahīśāsaka traits.Anacker, Stefan (1984). Seven Works Of Vasubandhu: The Buddhist Psychological Doctor. p. 58 André Bareau writes:Rama Karana Sarma (1993). Researches in Indian and Buddhist Philosophy: Essays in Honour of Alex Wayman. p. 5In the record of his journeys through the kingdoms of India, Xuanzang wrote that Asaṅga was initially a Mahīśāsaka monk, but soon turned toward the Mahāyāna teachings.Rongxi, Li (1996). The Great Tang Dynasty Record of the Western Regions., Numata Center, Berkeley, p. 153. Asaṅga had a half-brother, Vasubandhu, who was a monk from the Sarvāstivāda school. Vasubandhu is said to have taken up Mahāyāna Buddhism after meeting with Asaṅga and one of Asaṅga's disciples.Rongxi, Li (1996). The Great Tang Dynasty Record of the Western Regions., Numata Center, Berkeley, pp. 154-155.

Meditation and teachings

{{MahayanaBuddhism}}Asaṅga spent many years in serious meditation, during which time tradition says that he often visited Tuṣita Heaven to receive teachings from Maitreya Bodhisattva. Heavens such as Tuṣita Heaven is said to be accessible through meditation, and accounts of this are given in the writings of the Indian Buddhist monk Paramārtha, who lived during the 6th century CE.Wayman, Alex (1997). Untying the Knots in Buddhism: Selected Essays. p. 213 Xuanzang tells a similar account of these events:, the {{IAST|Mahāyāna-sūtra-alaṃkāra-śāstra}}, the {{IAST|Madhyānta-vibhāga-śāstra}}'', etc.; in the daytime, he lectured on the marvelous principles to a great audience.}}Asaṅga went on to write many of the key Yogācāra treatises such as the Yogācārabhūmi-śāstra, the MahāyānasaṃgrahaKeenan, John P. (2003). weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20140821120318weblink">"The summary of the Great Vehicle by Bodhisattva Asaṅga", transl. from the Chinese of Paramārtha (Taishō vol. 31, number 1593). Berkeley, Calif: Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research. {{ISBN|1-886439-21-4}} and the Abhidharma-samuccaya as well as other works, although there are discrepancies between the Chinese and Tibetan traditions concerning which works are attributed to him and which to Maitreya.Giuseppe Tucci (1930). On Some Aspects of the Doctrines of Maitreya (natha) and the Asanga, Calcutta.According to Walpola Rahula, the thought of the Abhidharma-samuccaya is invariably closer to that of the Pali {{IAST|Nikāyas}} than is that of the Theravadin Abhidhamma.Dan Lusthaus (2002). Buddhist Phenomenology. Routledge, p. 44, note 5. Lusthaus draws attention to Rahula's Zen and the Taming of the Bull.

Questions of authorship

The Tibetan tradition attributes authorship of the Ratnagotravibhaga to him, while the Chinese traditions attributes it to a certain Sthiramati or Sāramati. Peter Harvey finds the Tibetan attribution less plausible.Peter Harvey (1993). "An Introduction to Buddhism." Cambridge University Press, page 114.

References

Bibliography

External links

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