Vasumitra (Buddhism)

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Translations of
Chinese世友 or 婆須蜜多
(rōmaji: Seu)
Glossary of Buddhism

Vasumitra was a Buddhist monk of the Sarvastivada school who flourished in the 2nd century CE. A native of Gandhāra, he presided over the 4th Buddhist council in Kashmir, administered by Kanishka I. He is credited as contributing to the Mahāvibhāṣā.[1]


Vasumitra put forward a thesis to defend the tenet of the Sarvastivada school that dharmas exist in the past and future as well as the present. According to this argument, dharmas exist in a noumenal or latent state in the future until they attain a moment of causal efficacy (karitra) in the present. This marks their entry into a functional relationship with other phenomena. When this moment is past, they reenter into a noumenal state that is understood as "past." Vasumitra's theory of temporality was accepted in preference to the views posited by other monks such as Dharmatrāta, Ghoṣa, and Buddhadeva.[2]


Vasumitra is the eighth zen ancestor. According to Soto Zen tradition, Vasumitra "always wore clean clothing. He used to wander around the villages carrying a wine vessel, whistling and singing. People thought he was crazy." [3]


  1. ^ "Nichiren Buddhism Library". Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  2. ^ "Vasumitra". Oxford Dictionary of Buddhism. Oxford University Press. 2003.
  3. ^ "Vasumitra". Transmission of light. Shambhala. 1990.