Five Treatises of Maitreya
Five Treatises of Maitreya (Wyl. byams chos sde lnga) — the bodhisattva Maitreya, who will be the next buddha after Shakyamuni, transmitted the root teachings to Asanga, who transcribed them as the ‘Five Treatises of Maitreya’.
Among the five, four are classed as shastras (commentaries) proper, and one falls into the class of oral instructions. The four that are shastras are extensive are:
- The Ornament of Clear Realization (Skt. Abhisamayalankara, Abhisamayālaṃkāra; Tib. ngönpar tokpé gyen, Wyl. mngon par rtogs pa'i rgyan).
- The Ornament of the Mahayana Sutras (Skt. Mahayanasutralankara, Māhayānasūtrālaṃkāra; Tib. tekpa chenpö do de gyen, Wyl. theg pa chen po'i mdo sde rgyan).
- Distinguishing the Middle from the Extremes (Skt. Madhyantavibhaga, Madhyāntavibhāga; Tib. ü dang ta nampar jepa, Wyl. dbus dang mtha' rnam par 'byed pa).
- Distinguishing Dharma and Dharmata (Skt. Dharma-dharmata-vibhaga, Dharma-dharmatā-vibhāga; Tib. chö dang chönyi nampar jepa, Wyl. chos dang chos nyid rnam par 'byed pa) is very brief and direct in its presentation and is included within the class of oral instructions.
- The Sublime Continuum (Skt. Uttaratantra Shastra, Uttaratantra Śāstra; Tib. gyü lama, Wyl. rgyud bla ma).
- "The treatises are:
- The Ornament of Clear Realization, which explains the intent of the sutras teaching profound emptiness;
- The Ornament of Sutras and the two ‘Distinguishing’s, which explain the intent of the sutras teaching the aspect of extensive conduct; and
- The Sublime Continuum, which explains the intent of the sutras teaching the inconceivable nature of reality (dharmata).
- Moreover, these texts were given for the sake of guiding three types of individual:
- The three intermediate treatises of Maitreya were composed for those to be trained through the teachings of the mahayana Mind Only system of philosophy;
- The Ornament of Clear Realization was composed for those to be trained through the teachings of the mahayana Svatantrika system; and
- The Sublime Continuum was composed for those to be trained through the teachings on the mahayana Prasangika system."