Also known as the Yogachara school, one of the two major Mahayana schools in India, the other being the Madhyamika school. Maitreya, who is thought to have lived around 270-350 (350-430 according to another account), is often regarded as the founder of the Consciousness-Only school.
He is attributed with composing Yoga Practice, which explains the Consciousness-Only doctrine, and passing it on to Asanga. Thereafter the Consciousness-Only doctrine was further developed by Asanga and by Vasubandhu in the first half of the fifth century.
This school upholds the concept that all phenomena arise from the vijnana, or consciousness, and that the basis of all functions of consciousness is the alaya-consciousness. The Consciousness-Only doctrine was a major subject of Buddhist studies in Nalanda Monastery. Dharmapala and his disciple Shilabhadra further developed the doctrine in the latter half of the sixth century.
Shilabhadra taught the Consciousness-Only doctrine to Hsüan-tsang, who brought it back to China. Gunamati and his disciple Sthiramati were also well known scholars of the Consciousness-Only doctrine. The Dharma Characteristics (Chin Fa-hsiang; Jpn Hosso) school in both China and Japan carried on the philosophy of the Consciousness-Only school. </poem>