SOAS University of London

Centre of Buddhist Studies

Successive Causality and Simultaneous Causality in the Yogācāra Theory of Bīja

Prof. Nobuyoshi Yamabe (Waseda University)

Date: 15 March 2018Time: 5:30 PM

Finishes: 15 March 2018Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Paul Webley Wing (Senate House) Room: SALT (Alumni Lecture Theatre)

Type of Event: Lecture


The history of the bīja (seed) theory in the Yogācāra tradition is long, and in its earlier phases it did not presuppose the ālayavijñāna theory. At this stage, the only theory of bīja causality seems to have been a successive one, because potential bījas and active dharmas were not clearly separable and thus a simultaneous causality between them was impossible. The simultaneous causality theory, a standard model in classical Yogācāra texts such as Mahāyānasaṃgraha and *Vijñaptimātratāsiddhi (Cheng weishi lun), became possible only after the introduction of ālayavijñāna, the abode of potential bījas. In this lecture, I will discuss the development of the causality theory with regard to bījas from a successive model to a simultaneous one.


M.A. in Indian Philosophy from Osaka University in 1987, Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Yale University in 1999. Currently Professor of Asian Philosophy at Waseda University.

Professor Yamabe specializes in Indian Buddhism, with particular interest in the Yogācāra and Buddhist meditation texts. He is the author of numerous works in both English and Japanese.

Among his most recent publications: 

Yamabe, Nobuyoshi. 2017. "Once Again on “Dhātu-vāda”." Critical Review for Buddhist Studies 21:9-43.

Yamabe, Nobuyoshi. 2017. "On Bījāśraya: Successive Causality and Simultaneous Causality." In Śrāvakabhūmi and Buddhist Manuscripts, edited by Seongcheol Kim and Jundo Nagashima, 9-25. Tokyo: Nombre.

Organiser: SOAS Centre of Buddhist Studies

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