Defined by Charles Muller
(Skt., “yoga practice”)is an influential school of philosophy and psychology that developed in Indian Mahayana Buddhism starting sometime in the fifth century C.E. Originating around a set of scriptures and treatises composed by early masters such as Vasubandhu and the semi-mythical Maitreyanatha, this school held a prominent position in the Indian scholastic tradition for several centuries. It was also transmitted to Tibet, where its teachings became an integral part of much of Tibetan Buddhism up to modern times, and to East Asia, where it was studied intensively for several centuries.
eventually died out as a distinct school in East Asia, along with other scholastic traditions. One reason for this was the evaporation of the state patronage essential to the survival of scholastic traditions like Yogacara. Another was the overwhelming competition from more readily understandable, practice-oriented traditions like Ch’an (Zen) and Pure Land. But even though it would eventually die out as a distinct school, Yogacara brought a deep and lasting influence on the basic technical vocabulary of all forms of Buddhism that developed in Tibet and East Asia. It was the Yogacarins who took it upon themselves to provide a detailed analysis of the functions of consciousness, as well as the effects that Buddhist practices such as morality, concentration and wisdom have on the consciousness, and how those effects bring one to the Buddhist goal of enlightenment.