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Gateway to the Mahāyāna: Scholastic Tenets and Rhetorical Strategies in the Abhidharmasamuccaya

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The doctrine of the store consciousness (ālayavijñāna) is strikingly absent from huge parts of the Abhidharmasamuccaya, a work traditionally held to be a summary of Yogāacāra doctrines. This fact raises doubts about the nature of Abhidharmasamuccaya as a monograph linearily introducing the reader to Yogācāra Abhidharma. I therefore put forth the hypothesis that the first section of this book, the Laksanasamuccaya, which is the only section to mention the ālayavijñāna, could have been taught as an Abhidharma primer in its own right, just as the second section, the Satyaviniścaya, depending on whether or not the audience was likely to accept the ālayavijñāna. An additional examination of the bodhisattva expositions in the two sections shows rather minor differences in terms of doctrine, while in terms of dramaturgy, the Satyaviniścaya places the bodhisattva in an exalted position which could indicate its novelty to the audience. In the absence of compelling evidence, the above hypothesis requires further investigation. The article opens with a reconsideration of the pioneering scholar Wassiljew's views on Yogācāra.


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