There are four principal Buddhist philosophical schools that together create the four pillars of Buddhist doctrine. These are known as the (1) Vaibhashika, (1) Sautrantika, (3) Cittamatra [Mind Only], and (4) Madhyamaka schools.
The Vaibhashikas believe that relative truth is that which can be broken down into parts, whereas ultimate truth is indivisible.
The Sautrantikas accept the selflessness of persons but not the selflessness of phenomena.
The Cittamatrins accept the selflessness of both self and phenomena, but believe in the true existence of mind.
Finally, the Madhyamikas claim that things appear to be real and substantial but are actually without inherent true existence.
The various tenets of these four schools form the basis for understanding the entire scope of the Buddha’s teachings. Thus it is essential to gain an understanding of the fundamental schools of Vaibhashika and Sautrantika on the road to ultimate insight.
The doctrines of these two schools were taught by the Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches according to the profound teachings of Longchenpa during the first Shedra philosophical class at Padma Samye Ling August 25th-30th 2003.
This is a Revised Second Edition published by Dharma Samudra in August 2007.