Making Sense of Yogacara with William Waldron


Professor William Waldron teaches courses on the South Asian religious traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism, Tibetan religion and history, comparative psychologies and philosophies of mind, and theory and method in the study of religion at Middlebury College. His publications focus on the Yogacara school of Indian Buddhism and its dialogue with modern thought. He is the author of Making Sense of Mind Only: Why Yogacara Buddhism Matters (Wisdom Publications, 2023).

In this conversation, we look at Yogacara thought, idealism, constructivism and the impact on the practitioner and tackle the following;

  • Why thinking of Yogacara as Mind Only is deeply problematic
  • Why seeing Yogacara as essentially constructivist is more accurate
  • Why seeing constructivism in dualistic terms is to miss the point
  • Why interdependence is central to Yogacara rather than the doctrine of emptiness
  • Why the signature concepts of; the three natures, the storehouse consciousness, and mere perception are liberational and key to understanding Yogacara’s ethics
  • Why Madhyamaka became dominant and a mistaken view of Yogacara developed as a consequence
  • How the insights of Yogacara can help us to understand concepts of liberation today

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Matthew O'Connell

Matthew O'Connell is a life coach and the host of the The Imperfect Buddha podcast. You can find The Imperfect Buddha on Facebook and Twitter (@imperfectbuddha).

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