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Vinaya Lineage



Mulasarvastivadin doctrine is not different from that of the Sarvastivada school of which it is a late development. The doctrine is characterised by the Sarvastivada Abhidharma teaching that dharmas, which have their own inherent nature, continue to exist in past, present and future modes. This doctrine explains how past dharmas can affect the present. The canon of the Mulasarvastivada includes non-Sarvastivadin works but the main feature which divides the two schools is their adherence to different forms of vinaya or monastic discipline which meant they could not live within the same monasteries.


The school was dominant in North India from the seventh to ninth centuries CE. Its literature, when combined with that of the Sarvastivada, forms a canon which is almost complete. It survives mostly in Chinese and Tibetan translation with some Sanskrit elements. The canon contains two versions of the Sarvastivadin vinaya the longer of which survives in Sanskrit and was taken over by the Mulasarvastivadin. This is the only version of the vinaya which was translated into Tibetan and it has formed the basis for monastic discipline for all schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

     The Mulasarvastivada school is the main source for the non-Mahayana texts preserved in the Tibetan canon. These have been incorporated into the Tibetan Bka'-'gyur; the word of the Buddha.

There is no textual or inscriptional evidence to suggest that the school had a distinct symbol system.


The school has no contemporary adherents.

Main Centre

To our knowledge, the school had no headquarters, but had different centres throughout Kashmir.