Yogacara Vignanavad – School of Buddhism

Its followers admit that there is only one kind of reality which is of nature of consciousness and objects which appear to be material or external to consciousness, but are in reality only mental constructs, ideas. Hence they are called subjective idealists. The same is followed by Berkeley.

  • Consciousness is real and consciousness/mind is the only reality.
  • There is no duality between Mind and matter. Externality is a fiction.
  • This may be said to be subjective idealism, as there is no independent reality but consciousness (Similar to Berkeley)
  • Do not agree with Shunyavadins that mind is also Shunya. For them, all thinking and reason would be false. The reality of mind should at least be admitted in order to make correct thinking possible.

As Charvaka maintains : “Matter is All”, Vignanavadin maintains, “Consciousness is all”.


Just as in a dream, a man perceives things around him, which are actually not real. Similarily, objects appear only because they are ideas in the mind. There is no difference between blue color and consciousness of blue color, object cannot exist without consciousness of it (Esse ist Percipi)

Three levels of Reality :

Yogacara and Buddhism refers to three levels of Reality :

a) Parikalpit or Illusory : When imagines appear as real. Example : Snake is a rope, or dream experience.

b) Paritantra or Worldy : The empirical phenomenon are realized as relative and dependent.

c) Parinispanna or Transcendental : When consciousness is recognized as the only reality. (Similar to Sankara’s three layers of Reality)

Negation of External Object :

a) Just as in cases of dreams and hallucinations, a man fancies to perceive things outside, though they don’t exist there, similarily the objects which appear to be out there, are actually just ideas of our mind.

b) The existence of external objects cannot be proved, because it cannot be shows that the object is different from the consciousness of the object.

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