“Mind is the forerunner of all actions. All deeds are led by mind, created by mind. If one speaks or acts with a serene mind, happiness follows, As surely as one’s shadow.”     — Buddha, Dhammapada (Introduction, verse 2)



Mind; primary consciousness (Tsepak Rigdzin)
verb: think [in the sense of have an opinion]; contemplate; noun: mind; consciousness; thought; continuum (Hopkins)

Mental factor
sems byung

mental event; mental factor / function, thought pattern, mental outflows, mental contents, all the reactions that follow initial perception. mental state / event, ‘resulting from a cognitive act’. secondary mind. (Rangjung Yeshe)

blo rig

Awareness and Knowledge (Hopkins); Awareness, cognition, and knowledge (Rangjung Yeshe); Ways of knowing (Berzin)

chos mngon pa

Manifest Knowledge; Higher Knowledge; knowledge; higher doctrine; phenomenology (Hopkins)
The knowledge. The set of teachings and treatises concerning the training of higher wisdom and the study of metaphysics and cosmology. (Tsepak Rigdzin)

Abhidharma Pandits at Nalanda

Vasubandhu (ca. 316-396)
དབྱིག་གཉེན་ (dbyig gnyen) 

ཐོགས་མེད་ (thogs med)

Mind in Tibetan Buddhism

  • Bstan-ʼdzin-Rgya-Mtsho, Dalai Lama XIV, and Thubten Chodron. 2018. The Foundation of Buddhist Practice. Wisdom Publications. JABL
  • Chim Jampalyang, and Ian James Coghlan. Ornament of Abhidharma a Commentary on Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakosa. Wisdom Publications. 
  • Lati Rinbochay and Elizabeth Napper, trans. 1986. Mind in Tibetan Buddhism. Snow Lion. JABL 
  • Rabten and Stephen Batchelor, trans. 1992. The Mind and Its Functions. Tharpa Choeling. JABL
  • Tashi Tsering.2006. Buddhist Psychology. Wisdom Publications. JABL 
  • Thupten Jinpa, ed., and Dechen Rochard, John Dunne, trans. 2020. Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics. Vol. 2 The Mind. Simon and Schuster. JABL
  • Tshe-mchog-gling Ye-shes-rgyal-mtshan and Herbert Guenther, Leslie Kawarure, trans. 1975. Mind in Buddhist Psychology. Dharma Publishing. JABL
  • Ye-she Gyel-ten and Toh Sze Gee, trans. 2006. A Necklace for Those of Clear Awareness Clearly Revealing the Modes of Minds and Mental Factors. FPMT. FPMTABC 

Indian Sources – Pali Tradition

 Abhidhamma Piṭaka
Theravāda Abhidhamma

  • Anuruddha and Bhikkhu Bodhi.  1993. A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma: The Abhidhammattha Sangaha of Ācariya Anuruddha. Buddhist Publication Society. JABL

Indian Sources – Sanskrit Tradition

Sheath of Abhidharma (Vasubandhu)
chos mngon pa’i mdzod
Sanskrit   Tibetan

Commentary on the Sheath of Abhidharma
Sanskrit Tibetan

  • Vasubandhu, Louis de La Vallée Poussin, and Leo M. Pruden, trans. 1988. Abhidharmakośabhāṣyam. Asian Humanities Press. JABL

Compendium of Abhidharma (Asanga)
mngon pa kun btus
Sanskrit   Tibetan

  • Asanga, Walpola Rahula, and Sara Boin-Webb, trans. 2015. Abhidharmasamuccaya: The Compendium of the Higher Teaching (Philosophy). Asian Humanities Press. archive.org   WorldCat

Other Resources

  • Hacket, Paul. 2003. “Basic Buddhist Terms and Concepts: A Student’s Guide for the Study of Tibetan Buddhism.” wiki.learntibetanlanguage.org
  • Jhado Rinpoche. 2022. “Mind & Mental Factors in  Sutra and Tantra.” Maitripa College January 2022. YouTube.com
  • Khadro, Sangye. 2021. Know Your Mind, Part 2: Mindas and Mental Factors. Sravasti Abbey, August 21-22.  sravastiabbey.org
  • Thubten Chodron. 2014. “Buddhist Psychology: Mind and Mental factors.” thubtenchodron.org
  • Thubten Chodron. 2019. “The Seven Types of Awareness.” Part 1: thubtenchodron.org Part 3: thubtenchodron.org
  • Yönten, Lozang. 2022. Conception and Perception and Main Mind. Land of Medicine Buddha. YouTube.com