BUD 601 Chittamatra Philosophical Tradition:
Appearances Are Mere Mind

Intermediate Curriculum

Course Credits: 2 credits
Course Code: BUD 601


Course Description: This course is a systematic presentation of Chittamatra, or Mind Only meditative view of Mahayana Buddhism. We will engage in the philosophical reformulation of experiences arising from meditation practice—declaring reasonings establishing objects as not separate from mind, as well as the three natures theory and the eight-fold collection of consciousness.

Though any student may take any intermediate course at any time, it is recommended that students complete the Foundation Curriculum before beginning the Intermediate Curriculum, then take all four intermediate courses in the order of:

  • BUD 601 Chittamatra Philosophical Tradition: Appearances are Mere Mind
  • BUD 610 Madhyamaka Philosophical Tradition: Not Even a Middle
  • BUD 620 Paths and Bhumis: The Path to Enlightenment
  • BUD 630 Buddha Nature: Luminous Heart of the Tathagata


Self Paced Online Course – Israel Lifshitz

Meeting times

At your convenience!

What You’ll Learn:

  • Distinctions of the greater and lesser vehicles
  • Mind only scriptural sources, definition
  • The meaning of the term “mind only,” examples
  • Mind only school reasonings
  • Real aspectarians and false aspectarians
  • Presentation of the three natures
  • Definition of mind; self-awareness
  • All-base consciousness; immediate mind and klesha mind
  • Transformation of consciousness into five wisdoms and three kayas

Required Texts

  • Root text: The Mind Only Tenet System (Semtsam), by Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen, Nitartha Institute Publications
  • Mind Only Tenet System Sourcebook, by Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen, Nitartha Institute Publications

Recommended Texts

  • Commentary on the Chittamatra Philosophical Tradition, by Acharya Sherab Gyaltsen, Nitartha Institute Publications

Available for purchase by emailing bookstore@nitarthainstitute.org.

If there are further questions about texts, please write to publications@nitarthainstitute.org.

Mode of Instruction: Self-paced online course

The class is part of our online campus and is available as streaming video, as well as downloadable audio.  There are also posted study questions, recommended readings, exam questions and the ability to contact a distance learning advisor with questions.

You will receive an email providing information about accessing the online course within a week of registering.

Additional Information
For questions about this course as a Self-Paced Online Course, contact SPOC Coordinator Jenny Shu at jshu@nitarthainstitute.org.