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Verses Delineating the Eight Consciousnesses

Ronald Epstein

The work, written by Tripitaka Master Xuanzang (AD 596-664) at the request of his foremost disciple and successor Dharma Master Kuiji (AD 632-682), is a summary of the doctrine contained in Xuanzang 's most celebrated work, Treatise on Consciousness-Only. The Treatise on Consciousness-Only is a commentary on the Thirty Verses on Consciousness Only by Vasubandhu (fl. 4th cent. AD). The Treatise is based on the Sanskrit commentary of the Venerable Dharmapala (fl. 6th cent. AD) and nine other Indian masters. Dharmapala was the teacher of Master Xuanzang's own teacher, Silabhadra, the Abbot of Nalanda Monastery in India. In brief, the "Verses Delineating the Eight Consciousnesses" is a verse summary of a commentary on a verse summary of the Treatise on the Stages of Yoga Practice. Only a simple explanation of the meaning of the lines of the "Verses" is presented here.