Yogacarabhumi-sastra

The Yogācārabhūmi-Śāstra (YBh, Sanskrit; Treatise on the Foundation for Yoga Practitioners) is a large and influential doctrinal compendium, associated with north Indian Sanskritic Mahāyāna Buddhism (particularly Yogācāra).[1] According to Ulrich Timme Kragh, it is "a massive treatise that brings together a wealth of material stemming from Mainstream as well as Mahāyāna Buddhism."[2]

The Yogācārabhūmi is generally associated with the Indian Yogācāra school because it contains certain unique Yogācāra doctrines, like the eight consciousnesses and the ālaya-vijñāna (storehouse or foundational consciousness). According to Ulrich Timme Kragh, "its overall objective seems to be to present a coherent structure of Buddhist yoga practice with the Mahāyāna path of the bodhisattva placed at the pinnacle of the system", but substantial parts also deal with non-Mahāyāna "mainstream" practices.[1] The text also shows strong affinity to the Abhidharma works of the Mainstream Buddhist Sarvāstivāda school, adopting many of its technical terminology and classifications of phenomena (dharmas).[3]

While it likely contains earlier materials, the YBh is thought to have reached its final redaction in the fourth century CE.[4] Traditional sources name either the Indian thinker Asaṅga (ca. 300-350) or the bodhisattva Maitreya as author, but most modern scholars hold that it is a composite text with different chronological textual layers and various authors, though this does not rule out the possibility that Asaṅga was among them.[5][6]

According to scholars such as Changhwan Park and Robert Kritzer the YBh may have subtly influenced other North Indian Buddhist works such as the Abhidharmakośa and the works of the Sautrāntika school.[2] The YBh also exherted a strong influence on the later works of the Yogācāra-Vijñānavāda school, such as the Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra, the Abhidharma-samuccaya and the Mahāyānasaṃgraha.[7] Finally, the YBh also exherted a clear influence on the tantric tradition of Indian Buddhism of the sixth to fourteenth centuries (and the works of exegetes like Ratnākaraśānti), and the YBh is itself aware of the use of mantras and subjugation rituals that would become common to the tantric tradition.[8]

The YBh was studied and transmitted in East Asian Buddhist and Tibetan Buddhist translations. In China, it was the work of Xuánzàng (玄奘, 602?-664) that introduced the YBh in full.[9] It caused many debates, particularly around the notion that certain beings did not have the gotra, or spiritual disposition, to attain awakening.[10] By the end of the Sui dynasty (589-618), Buddhism within China had developed many distinct schools and traditions. In the words of Dan Lusthaus:

[ Xuanzang ] came to the conclusion that the many disputes and interpretational conflicts permeating Chinese Buddhism were the result of the unavailability of crucial texts in Chinese translation. In particular, he [Xuanzang] thought that a complete version of the Yogācārabhūmi-śāstra (Yuqielun, 瑜伽論), an encyclopedic description of the stages of the Yogācāra path to Buddhahood written by Asaṅga, would resolve all the conflicts. In the sixth century an Indian missionary named Paramārtha (another major translator) had made a partial translation of it. Xuanzang resolved to procure the full text in India and introduce it to China.[11]

The YBh was translated into Tibetan in the ninth century at Samye by Ye shes sde and Cog ro Klu'i rgyal mtshan working with the Indian paṇḍitas Prajñāvarman, Surendrabodhi, and Jinamitra.[12] The YBh remained influential in these traditions (for example, it is a major source of meditation instruction for Tsongkhapa's Lamrimchenmo), however, perhaps because of size and complexity, it was eventually abandoned in monastic seminaries.[13]

Besides the Chinese and Tibetan translations which survive in full, at least 50% of the text survives in nine extant Sanskrit fragments.[14] A translation project is currently underway to translate the entirety of Xuánzàng's version into English. It is being carried out by the Bukkyō Dendō Kyōkai society and the Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research.[15] A subsection of the work, the Bodhisattva-bhūmi, was translated into English by Artemus Engle and is part of the Tsadra series published by Shambhala Publications.

The complete YBh is often divided into the Basic Section and the Supplementary Section.The first section, which is the largest (49.9 % of the work), is the "main stages division" or "the basic section" (Skt. *Maulyo Bhūmayaḥ, Ch. 本地分 Běn dì fēn, Tib. Sa'i dngos gzhi) and contains fourteen books that describe the successive seventeen levels (bhūmi), which cover the entire range of mental and spiritual stages of practice for the Mahāyāna bodhisattva.[16][17]

However, according to Ulrich Timme Kragh, "in the present context, the word bhūmi appears in many cases to imply a 'foundation' in the sense of a field of knowledge that the Yogācāra acolyte ought to master in order to be successful in his or her yoga practice."[18] Most of the Basic Section which includes such seminal works as the Bodhisattva-bhūmi and the Śrāvaka-bhūmi survives in Sanskrit, but little survives from the other parts. The following list is based on the Chinese arrangement, which seems to be closer to the original order.

"The Foundation on the Fivefold Group of Empirical Consciousness" provides a phenomenological analysis of the five sensory consciousnesses (the visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, and tactile forms of consciousness), in terms of five points, their bases (āśraya), nature (svabhava), foci (alambana), accompanying mental states (sahaya) and functioning (karman).[20] Sense perception is said to have both material basis (the physical sense faculty) and a mental basis (the ālayavijñāna). The mental basis is the latent consciousness which is "the holder of all the seeds [for the mind and mental states]" (sarva-bījaka), "the appropriator of the [corporeal] basis (i.e., the body)" (āśrayopādātṛ), and "belonging to the [category of] karmic maturation" (vipāka-saṃgṛhīta), which refers to the fact that it is morally neutral.[20]

"The Foundation on Cognition" discusses "thought-consciousness or reflexive consciousness [manas] that arises subsequent to the five sensory perceptions", in terms of the same five points outlined above. It also explains citta, manas, vijñāna, the ālayavijñāna and the afflictive cognition (kliṣṭaṃ manaḥ), using the schema of the eight consciousness. This book also explains the 51 mental factors (caittasikā dharmāḥ), "agreeing with the arrangement that is also seen in the first chapter of Asaṅga's Abhidharmasamuccaya."[21]

An explanation of the functioning or operation (karman) of cognition is also given which includes an extensive overview of death and rebirth, as well as an exposition of Buddhist cosmology and 24 typologies which discuss many modes of existence.[22] The rest of the book discusses various classifications of dharmas (phenomena), the first of which divides phenomena into physical (rūpasamudāya), mental (cittacaitasikakalāpa) and unconditioned (asaṃskṛta).[23] This exposition rejects the Abhidharma theory of atoms (paramāṇu) and instead posits that the seeds (bīja, causal potential) for physical matter are in the mind stream, which suggests that matter emerges from the mental.[23]

The second group of classifications relates to causality and explains time (adhvan), arising (jāti), elapsing (jarā), enduring (sthiti), impermanence (anityatā) and four types of causal conditions (pratyaya). The third group is an ethical classification of phenomena as being either beneficial (kuśala) or not (akuśala) or indeterminate (avyākṛta). The fourth classification includes the twelve constituents of perception (dhātu).[24]

This book discusses three different foundations having to do with vitarka (discernment) and vicara (discursiveness): (1) the foundation which includes both, (2) the foundation with only discursiveness and (3) the foundation that has neither of these.[25]

According to Ulrich Timme Kragh "discernment is said to be the cognitive operation that is responsible for ascertaining what is perceived by the senses by initially labeling it with a name, while discursiveness is explained as being the subsequent conceptual operation of deciding whether the perceived sense-object is desirable and what course of action one might want to take in relation to it."[26] Because these two cognitive factors play a crucial role in samsaric bondage and in meditative concentration (samādhi, which is the pacification of these two factors), they are the focus of an extensive analysis in this book. This analysis is divided into five sections:[27]

This book is titled "The Foundation on Meditative Immersion" and attempts to provide a coherent and exhaustive presentation of meditation. Large parts of this book make use of the canonical sutras of "conservative Buddhism" (i.e. non-Mahayana).[31] The first section of this book gives a general overview of meditation using four terms: meditation (dhyāna), liberation (vimokṣa), meditative attainment (samāpatti), and samādhi.[32]

The second section of this book provides an extensive presentation of meditation (dhyāna). First, five positive states to be cultivated and five negative states to be abandoned are explained. Then the five hindrances (nivaraṇa) are explained in detail. This is followed by a thorough explanation of each aspect (aṅga) of the four absorptions (catvāri dhyānāni). Also, various related terms from the scriptures are discussed.[33]

The third section provides a classification of the various types of meditation, these types are either divided into different forms of 'observation' (manasikāra) or classified according to the various foci (ālambana) on which one concentrates, which are called the 'images' (nimitta).[34] Forty types of meditative observation are listed and explained in detail in this section.

Meditative images are presented in terms of four aspects: (1) the image as the meditative focus (ālambananimitta), (2) the image as the basis for meditation (nidānanimitta), (3) the images that are to be abandoned (parivarjanīyaṃ nimittaṃ), and (4) the images that are to be relied upon (pratiniṣevaṇīyaṃ nimittaṃ). The images to be abandoned are: dimness (laya), restlessness (auddhatya), distraction (vikṣepa), and attachment (saṅga). A further 32 meditative images are also enumerated in this section, as well as how to enter the four meditative absorptions.[35]

The fourth section is a summary of how meditation is explained in the sutras. The topics of the meditative liberations (vimokṣa) and the various types of samādhi are outlined, such as the emptiness (śūnyatā), wishlessness (apraṇihita), and imagelessness (ānimitta), as well as samādhi with and without vitarka-vicara.[36]

This book, "The Foundation on Being Without Meditative Absorption", lists 12 states that remain devoid of meditative absorption, such as a mind that is engaged in the realm of sensual desire (kāmāvacara) or the mind of a beginner meditator that suffers from distraction (vikṣepa).[37]

This book, "The Foundation on Having Mentation and Being Without Mentation", examines the notion of 'mind' or 'mentation' (citta) in relation to meditation and other doctrines" and discusses different states that are with or without citta. States without citta include the meditative attainment of cessation (nirodhasamāpatti) and nirvāṇa, which is a state in which all mentation ceases, even the latent consciousness (ālayavijñāna).[38]

"The Foundation on What is Derived from Listening" focuses on various issues dealing with learning, listening to, and memorizing Buddhist spiritual knowledge (adhyātmavidyā). "Listening" is related to processes of "listening to religious discourses, memorizing and reciting scriptures, and recollecting various points of doctrine, all of which result in knowledge of the Buddhist teachings."[39]

The book contains an outline of various basic Buddhist concepts in different sets or groupings similar to Abhidharma lists. This book also contains outlines of other forms of knowledge, such as the arts of healing (cikitsā), logical reasoning (hetuvidyā), and linguistic knowledge (śabdavidyā).[39]

"The Foundation on What is Derived from Understanding" deals with understanding (cintā) which refers to when "the practitioner based on his or her studies of the teachings arrives at a singular 'view' or philosophical outlook of reality along with knowing the religious path that leads to the eradication of misconceptions of reality and the inner realization of this view."[40]

This presentation is divided into three sections. The first section explains how one internalizes what one has heard or studied. The practitioner is supposed to contemplate and analyze the meaning of what they have learned in solitude. The second section provides an analysis of what is to be known (jñeyapravicaya), which is divided into what exists and what does not exist. What exists is analyzed by various categories, such as their specific characteristics (svalakṣaṇa), general characteristics (sāmānyalakṣaṇa), and causal characteristics (hetulakṣaṇa).[40]

The book also presents a second analysis of "fivefold existence" (astitā) and fivefold non-existence which is more closely connected with the Yogācāra-Vijñānavāda doctrine of the three natures (trisvabhāva) and the three absences of intrisic nature (triniḥsvabhāvatā). The fivefold existences are:[41]

The third section of this book, the analysis of the teachings (dharmapravicaya), "consists of three passages of selected canonical and paracanonical verses accompanied by a prose commentary."[41] Among the key topics discussed here are the latent consciousness (ālayavijñāna), and the three kinds of religious training (śikṣā). Many passages from the Udānavarga are quoted, which, according to Schmithausen, shows that the canon used by the compilers of this text belongs to the Mūlasarvāstivāda sect.[42]

"The Foundation on What is Derived from Meditative Cultivation" discusses meditative cultivation (bhāvanā), in terms of its basis, conditions, the practice of yoga and its results. First, the right circumstances needed to encounter the teachings and practice them are explained, which include being reborn as a suitable sentient being, being born in the right place and so on.[43] Then an explanation of how to listen to the true teaching is given, mainly, one must listen without disdain, distraction or faintheartedness. This leads the practitioner to trust that nirvāṇa is a real and worthy goal and thus they turn their mind towards this as their ultimate aim.[44]

The book then discusses the conditions needed for achieving meditative insight (vipaśyanā) and tranquility (śamatha). The initial necessary circumstance leading to insight is said to be reliance on a spiritual friend (sanmitra) while tranquility is said to require the perfection of discipline (śīlasampatti).[44] The process towards spiritual realization is said to progress through the practice of ethical discipline and associating with a spiritual mentor, these two reinforce each other and lead to the study and internalization of the teachings, which give rise to a sense of renunciation of everything worldly and a yearning for realization. The spiritual seeker then applies all the remedies against the afflictions and achieves complete mental purity.[44]

After the inner and outer causes for spiritual development have been explained, this section then discusses the actual practice of meditative cultivation. This is explained through a list of ten types of remedies or antidotes (pratipakṣa) applied to counter the numerous afflictions and adverse inclinations (vipakṣa) that are also explained here. The ten meditative antidotes are:[45]

Following this presentation, the book discusses practical advice related to the attainment of meditative immersion (samādhilābha), covering topics such as living with others, finding and learning from a teacher, material affairs, one's environment, sleep and eating patterns, practicing asceticism, etc.[46]

Then, the fulfillment of meditative immersion (samādhiparipūri) is discussed, which refers to the process in which a meditator goes deeper into samadhi and achieves mastery of meditation, experiencing five stages of fruition.[47]

"The Foundation on the Hearer". This book focuses on practices associated with "hearers" or "disciples" (śrāvaka). Lambert Schmithausen, Noritoshi Aramaki, Florin Deleanu and Alex Wayman all hold that this is the oldest layer of the YBh.[48]

The Śrāvakabhūmi is divided into four sections called yogasthānas (yogic foundations or topics) and is the second largest book of the YBh.

The first subdivision of the first yogasthāna is called the Gotrabhūmi, and it discusses, in depth, how different practitioners have different spiritual dispositions (gotra), which is explained as a mental potential or capacity, which is like a seed (bīja-dharma) for spiritual achievement, found in the person since beginningless time.[49] This predisposition is at first hidden, but if a person encounters the right causes and conditions, they will reach nirvāṇa. This section also discusses the qualities of persons that are "not predisposed" for awakening, which are persons that lack the qualities needed to attain nirvāṇa.[50] The different types of predisposed persons are also discussed.

The second subdivision is called the Avatārabhūmi and it focuses on how different types of persons enter (avatāra) into the path as well as the characteristics of these different types of persons that have entered the path (avatīrṇāḥ pudgalāḥ).[51]

The third foundation of the first yogasthāna is "The Foundation of Going Forth" (naiṣkramyabhūmi). Going forth is a term which implies the abandonment of the household life and becoming a monastic but can also generally refer to entering the spiritual life.[52] This foundation could technically be seen as covering the rest of the entire Śrāvakabhūmi and covers the entire path of practice. The path is divided into two branches, the mundane (laukikaḥ mārgaḥ) and supramundane (lokottaraḥ mārgaḥ).[52]

In following the mundane path, practitioners realize that the realm of sense desire is brutish and coarse and see that the absorption and rapture of the first dhyāna is superior and serene. In practicing this dhyāna, they achieve detachment from sense desire. They then realize that this meditation is also coarse, and progress to the second dhyāna, and so on until they reach the fourth dhyāna and beyond into the four immaterial attainments.[52] The supramundane path meanwhile entails finding a genuine teacher, gaining knowledge of Dharma and realizing the four noble truths for oneself through vipaśyanā meditation they completely transcend saṃsāra.[53]

The rest of this text discusses the 13 requisites (sambhāra) needed for journeying along these paths:[54]

The second section discusses 28 different personality types and also various ways of classifying spiritual practitioners. An example of one such classification is that of persons of different temperaments (caritaprabheda). These are: the temperament of desire and attachment (rāgacaritaḥ), the temperament of dislike and hatred (dveṣacaritaḥ), the temperament of deludedness and stupidity (mohacaritaḥ), the temperament of pride and self-conceit (mānacarita), the temperament of intellectuality (vitarkacarita), and the temperament with equal amounts [of each afflictive state] (samabhāgacarita).[55]

Following this exposition, the various meditative foci (ālambana) are explained. It is in this section that concrete meditation techniques appear in this treatise. These meditations are divided into four kinds: (I) general [types of] foci, (II) foci purifying the practitioner's temperament, (III) foci [for developing] expertise, and (IV) foci purifying the afflictions.[56]

The foci for purifying the practitioner's temperament (caritaviśodhanam ālambanam) contains extensive explanations of five contemplative objects:[57]

The third type of foci, which are also termed the foci [for developing] expertise (kauśalyālambana), refers to the following:[58]

The fourth meditative object is the foci purifying the afflictions (kleśaviśodhanaṃ ālambanam). This is related to the mundane and supramundane paths. In the mundane path, meditation focuses on seeing the realm of existence one is currently on (e.g. realm of desire) as coarse, while the realm which is immediately above (i.e. first dhyana) is seen as peaceful. Then once one has attained the higher realm in meditation, one continues this process (i.e. one sees the first dhyana as coarse and the second dhyana as peaceful and so on).[59] On the supramundane path, the foci for meditation are the four noble truths.[59]

After these presentations, there follows an exposition on how to give instructions to a student, and another section on the three trainings (superior discipline, superior meditative mind and superior insight). Then there follows a segment which outlines "ten factors that go along with the training (śikṣānulomikā dharmāḥ), which are remedies to ten factors that go against the dharma. These are:[60]

The second Yogasthāna also gives a general definition of yoga as "spiritual practice", which is said to have four aspects, (1) faith (śraddhā), (2) aspiration (chandas), (3) perseverance (vīrya), and (4) spiritual methods (upāya).[61]

Another segment of the second Yogasthāna explains four levels of mental observation, engagement or attention (manaskāra) as it relates to the strength and constancy of one's mental focus on the object of meditation. These four levels are:[61]

Other topics are also outlined in the second Yogasthāna, including the nine types of ascertainment (adhimokṣa) of the meditative focus, the four aims of yoga (yoga-karaṇīya), the different kinds of yoga practitioners (yogācāra), the cultivation of notions (saṃjñā-bhāvanā), the thirty-seven factors of Awakening (saptatriṃśad bodhipakṣyā dharmāḥ) and the four stages of contemplative fruition (bhāvanāphala).[62]

The third section discusses various practical issues on the path, how one approaches a teacher and how a teacher assesses a student's abilities and predispositions.[63] Then five topics which a teacher instructions their student are discussed:[63]

The fourth section discusses the mundane and supramundane paths in detail. The mundane path deals with abandoning the sensual realm and practicing the meditative absorptions (dhyānas), which lead to rebirth in higher realms (but does not lead to awakening).[67] The various meditative observations that lead to the practice of the dhyānas is taught in this section, and the characteristics of the eight dhyānas are analyzed in detail.[68]

Other meditative attainments are also discussed, such as the meditative attainment of non-ideation (asaṃjñisamāpatti) and the meditative attainment of cessation (nirodhasamāpatti). The results of these practices are also presented, including the five types of extrasensory knowledge (pañcābhijñā), and rebirth in the realm of non-sensual corporeality (rūpadhātu) and the realm of incorporeality (ārūpyadhātu).[69]

Turning to the supramundane path (lokottaraḥ mārgaḥ), practicing this path requires fully understanding the four noble truths and its sixteen characteristics through meditative observation. These sixteen characteristics are explained in detail, they are:[70]

This path leads to nirvana as an arhat, through the ultimate meditation that gains insight into the four noble truths, called the vajra-like meditation (vajropamaḥ samādhi).[71]

This short section titled "The Foundation on the Solitary Buddha" outlines the disposition, path and practices of the pratyekabuddha. Kragh notes that "the pratyekabuddha avoids crowds and takes pleasure in solitude, exhibits little compassion and is not inclined to teach others, and is of mediocre aptitude and has a temperament of pride."[72]

The Foundation on the Mahāyāna Bodhisattva, which is the longest book in the basic section, is divided into three yogasthānas and ten topics:[73]

Yogasthāna one is titled the section on the basis (ādhārayogasthāna) because it deals with the basis (ādhāra) for becoming a bodhisattva (topic 1). There are three main aspects of the basis of a bodhisattva. The first is an inborn unique predisposition (svagotra) for the bodhisattva path, those who lack this are said to be unable to reach Buddhahood. The second is "the basis of initially engendering the resolve to reach Buddhahood (prathamaś cittotpādaḥ), which refers to arousing bodhicitta, practicing the perfections for the benefit of oneself and others, and so forth. The third is "the basis of practicing all the factors leading to Awakening" (sarve bodhipakṣyā dharmāḥ).[74]

Those who will become Buddhas are said to have a particular 'original nature' (prakṛti), which is like a 'seed' (bīja) that predisposes them to this path. This nature is accomplished through the cultivation of good qualities.[75] These persons are seen as "vastly superior to śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, and all ordinary sentient beings" because they have the ability to remove cognitive hindrances (jñeyāvaraṇa) and afflictive hindrances (kleśāvaraṇa), while other beings are only able to remove afflictive hindrance. Also, bodhisattvas practice for the good and well-being of all sentient beings, while practitioners of other paths only practice for their own good.[76] These persons are generally caring, compassionate, harmless, helpful, love solitude and have a natural capacity for understanding the Buddhadharma.[76]

The bodhisattva's resolve to attain Buddhahood is described in detail. Its conditions, causes, aspects, qualities and so forth are outlined.[77] The book explains how a bodhisattva engenders this wish and how they must practice, which is divided into seven undertakings.[77]

Yogasthāna one also expounds on the six perfections (ṣaṭpāramitā) at length, they are:

Following the exposition of the perfections, further sections teach various topics such as how to gather students (through giving, affectionate speech, meaningful activity and having a common aim), how to revere the three jewels (through various forms of puja), how to serve and rely on a qualified spiritual teacher (kalyāṇamitra, "good friend") and how to cultivate the four immeasurables (apramāṇa).[89]

Important qualities of a spiritual teacher include: being disciplined and pure in conduct, intelligent and well-educated in the doctrine, experienced and realized in meditation, compassionate, patient and caring, being without attachments and having few wants and needs, skilled at giving clear teachings, and being impartial in teaching others.[90]

Regarding practicing the four immeasurables (apramāṇa), this section states that this can be done in three main ways: by focusing on sentient beings, by focusing on the phenomena (dharmās) which make up sentient beings or completely without focus or reference (anālambanāni).[91] This section also discusses the special kind of compassion that a bodhisattva cultivates, namely great compassion (mahākaruṇā). This kind of compassion is directed towards the suffering of all beings and is cultivated for hundreds of thousands of aeons. A bodhisattva with great compassion would do anything to help sentient beings, such as give up their life in hundreds of rebirths, and endure any torment. The cultivation of the four immeasurables "is said to lead to instant happiness in this life, vast accumulation of merit, development of a firm wish to reach Awakening, and ability to carry the sufferings of others."[92]

The following chapters contain an exposition of all the factors leading to Awakening, the third main aspect of the basis for becoming a bodhisattva. This covers sixteen elements of a bodhisattvas training:[93]

The last section of Yogasthāna one contains four lists of qualities that advanced bodhisattvas have.

Yogasthāna two (titled "the section on the subsidiary factors ensuing from the basis" ādhārānudharmayogasthāna) explains the characteristics (liṅga) of bodhisattvas (mainly: compassion, affectionate speech, courage, openhandedness, and the ability to unravel deep underlying meanings).[96]

Furthermore, the classes (pakṣa) of bodhisattvas are explained (lay and monastic) along with their four main Dharmas or practices: good deeds, skillfulness and expertise (kauśalya), caring for others (parānugrāha) and dedicatory transfer of merit (pariṇāmanā).[97] The monastic bodhisattvas are said to be superior.[98]

The exalted conviction (adhyāśaya) of a bodhisattva is then explained, which refers to their pure motivation and mindset.[98] A bodhisattva is said to have tenderness towards sentient beings, they are also said to have conviction in the Buddha's teachings derived from faith and analysis. Different forms of conviction are then outlined.[98]

Yogasthāna two also sets out thirteen levels or dwellings (vihāra) of accomplishment in the practice of a bodhisattva.

Yogasthāna three ("the section on the culmination of the basis", ādhāraniṣṭhāyogasthāna) explains general topics six through ten.[99]

Topic six, is the five kinds of rebirths (upapatti) a bodhisattva undergoes during their journey, which are:[100]

Topic seven outlines six ways that bodhisattvas lead (parigraha) sentient beings to perfection:[101]

Topic eight explains the seven bodhisattva levels (bhūmis) and how they related to the thirteen vihāras.[102]

Topic nine sums up all the bodhisattva practices (caryā) into four main groups:[103]

Finally, general topic number ten explains the bodhisattva's ascension (pratiṣṭhā) to Buddhahood along with all the Buddha qualities which are manifested in them (140 exceptional buddha-qualities are outlined. including the 32 marks and the ten powers of a Tathāgata).[104]

The "Foundation on Having an Existential Substratum" discusses the state of the living arhat, as well as "what it is that forms the remaining layer or basis for continued saṃsāric existence, namely the notion of there being an existential substratum (upadhi)", such as the five aggregates and so forth.[105]

The last book, the "Foundation on Being Without an Existential Substratum" explains the state of an arhat who has died and entered parinirvāṇa (final nirvana), and thus is without a substratum for continued existence.[106] This book discusses parinirvāṇa which is said to be complete and eternal extinction and completion (nirvṛti).[107]

This part is made up of four 'collections' or 'compendia' (saṃgrahaṇī, shè 攝, bsdu ba), which supplement the Basic Section:[108]

The Chinese version also contains a Compendium of Abhidharma, missing from the Tibetan translation.

An Indian commentary was also written on the YBh, called the Yogācārabhūmivyākhyā.[109]