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The Chittamatra (Skt. Cittamātra; Tib. སེམས་ཙམ་པ་, Semtsampa, Wyl. sems tsam pa) or 'Mind Only' School is a Mahayana school founded by Asanga in the 4th century AD. Its followers say that all phenomena are merely mind (Skt. vijñaptimātra)—the all-ground consciousness manifesting as environment, objects and the physical body, as a result of habitual tendencies stored within the all-ground.

This school is also known under the names of Yogachara, Vijñānavāda and Vijñānaptimātra.

Canonical Literature




The Three Natures

They divide all phenomena into the ‘three natures’:

The Chittamatra View of the Two Truths

Khenpo Ngakchung says:

All the dualistic phenomena of the imputed nature and the mind and mental phenomena of the dependent nature are the deceiving phenomena of delusion, the relative truth. The essence of the dependent nature, which is the naturally luminous consciousness, and the fully established nature, which is the fact that this [i.e., the dependent nature] is empty of the dualistic projections of the imputed nature—comprising the nature of reality and wisdom—are said to be the absolute truth.


There are two subschools of Mind Only:

  1. True Aspectarians and
  2. False Aspectarians.

Alternative Translations

  • Mere Mentalist (Brunnholz)