What is Time?: Yogācāra-Buddhist Meditation on the Problem of the External World in the Cheng Weishi Lun


  • Jianjun Li Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München




time, vijñapti-mātratā, Cheng Weishi Lun, Dan Lusthaus, Lambert Schmithausen


Because it asserts that there is consciousness-only (vijñapti-mātratā), the difficulty in philosophically approaching the Yogācāra-Buddhist text Cheng weishi lun centers on the problem of the external world. This paper is based on a review by Lambert Schmithausen that, specifically with regard to the problem of the external world, questions Dan Lusthaus’s phenomenological investigation of the CWSL. In it I point out that the fundamental temporality of consciousness brought to light by the Yogacaric revelation of the incessant differentiation of consciousness (vijñāna-pariṇāma) calls into question every temporally conditioned, and hence appropriational, understanding of vijñapti-mātratā. Therefore, the problem of the external world cannot be approached without taking into account the temporality of consciousness, which, furthermore, compels us to face the riddle of time.


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Author Biography

Jianjun Li, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

I'm a Ph.D. candidate in religious studies at the LMU in Munich and have just defended my dissertation on the time problem in religious and metaphysical discourses.


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How to Cite

Li, J. (2016). What is Time?: Yogācāra-Buddhist Meditation on the Problem of the External World in the Cheng Weishi Lun. Asian Studies, 4(1), 35–57. https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2016.4.1.35-57