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Vasubandhu (Sanskrit; traditional Chinese: 世親; ; pinyin: Shìqīn; Wylie: dbyig gnyen) was a Buddhist monk and scholar. He studied Abbidharma and wrote the influential Abhidharmakośakārikā or Verses on the Treasury of Abhidharma. He was the co-founder of the Yogacara school along with his half-brother, Asanga. Vasubandhu was retroactively adopted as the 21st Indian Patriarch of Zen.

Life and Teaching

Encounter with Jayata

Patriarch Jayata is said to have encountered Vasubandhu while expounding the Sudden Teaching. Vasubandhu was an established Buddhist teacher already, and apparently led a group of "scholars" who "only valued debating". Naturally, they want to debate Jayata about the sudden teaching, and after a brief back and forth with Vasubandhu's students, the Master Jayata explains why he has the merit to teach one such as Vasubandhu:

"I do not seek the Way, but neither do I go against it," said the Master. "I do not worship Buddha, but neither am I haughty, nor superficial. I do not sit long in meditation, but neither am I negligent. I may not eat just once a day, yet I do not over-indulge. Even though I do not know what enough is, I am not greedy. In my heart there are no expectations. This is called the Way."

When Vasubandhu heard this, he gave rise to wisdom without outflows, and joyfully praised the Master.

According to the Lamp Record, Vasubandhu sought out the next patriarch when he visited the king of Nadi, and told him that one of his sons, Manula, would be a great spiritual teacher. The king gave his son to Vasubandhu for ordination without question. Vasubandhu's recorded gatha in the Lamp Record, which enlightened Manula (Manorhita) is:

Bubbles and shadows are both without obstructions
So how could there not be awakening?
The penetration of dharmes goes through their middle
There is no present, there is no past