The Yogācārabhūmi (YBh), an anonymous compilation belonging perhaps to the 4th century CE, is an invaluable source of information on Indian Buddhist scholasticism (abhidharma). At the same time, it also marks the beginning of the Yogācāra school, one of the two main schools of Indian Mahāyāna thought. Approximately one half of this extremely extensive work is preserved in Sanskrit original. These materials are indispensible for gaining a better understanding of the YBh in its original literary, dogmatic and historical context. Still, large parts of them are completely inaccessible to the public, or available only in unsatisfactory editions.
This two-volume publication contributes towards filling this gap with an editio princeps of the Samāhitā Bhūmiḥ, one of the chapters of the so-called Basic Section of the YBh. As its title indicates, this chapter deals with deep meditative concentration in which one temporarily transcends the sphere of everyday consciousness, that is, the sphere of sensual desire (kāmadhātu). Rather than presenting a manual for meditative practice, the anonymous authors are predominantly concerned with an exegetical and doctrinal, yet highly creative treatment of their subject-matter.
For this chapter of the YBh, only one Sanskrit manuscript is known, available only in low-quality photographs. In view of this rather difficult situation, the present work focuses on editorial aspects and presents both a diplomatic and a critical edition of the Sanskrit text, the latter making full use of the Tibetan and Chinese translations and of other secondary materials including canonical sources that the authors frequently cite. An edition of the especially important Tibetan translation is also provided. In addition, the study contains an annotated partial German translation and a complete structural analysis of the chapter. The introductory chapters deal, among others, with previous research, features of the manuscript, the language of the text and methodological problems, and discuss selected aspects of the contents of the Samāhitā Bhūmiḥ. Indices of selected names, words and technical terms and of selected primary text passages are included.
Errata to this publication can be found here.
NOTE from the WSTB editors: Due to a technical error, the number “8” has in many places been misprinted as “□”. We sincerely apologize to both author and readers.