Vasubandhu’s “Three Natures”

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“Ben Connelly's extraordinary new book is almost impossible to classify. Beautifully written, it fuses lucid explanations of often-difficult Yogacara ideas with attention to everyday concerns in a way that can help all of us apply Buddhist wisdom to the lives we live in the twenty-first century. Through such a fusion, Connelly points the way toward a new and distinctive form of Buddhist commentary uniquely suited to our complex and contentious era.” —Roger R. Jackson, emeritus professor of religion, Carleton College, and author of Mind Seeing Mind: Mahāmudrā and the Geluk Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and Rebirth: A Guide to Mind, Karma, and Cosmos in the Buddhist World

“This book is an inspiring model of the new face of Buddhism; it opens many doors to personal and social transformation, sorely needed. This is a wonderful read that made both my heart and mind sing with fresh, meaningful possibilities.” —Dr. Larry Ward, author of America’s Racial Karma: An Invitation to Heal

"This is a remarkable book, a powerful and lucid exploration, and a beautiful new translation of the ‘Treatise on Three Natures.’ One of the great virtues of this important work by scholar and practitioner Ben Connelly is its focus on the practical application of the Yogacara view.” —Roshi Joan Halifax, founding abbot, Upaya Zen Center, and author of Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet

"Connelly's commentary on Vasubandhu's ‘Treatise on Three Natures’ offers a rare and welcome combination of scholarship and insight born of deep study and practice. The goal of human flourishing and freedom from suffering is at the center of his exposition of every verse.” —Anantanand Rambachan, emeritus professor of religion, Saint Olaf College, and author of A Hindu Theology of Liberation: Not-Two Is Not One

“The practical application of Vasubandhu’s ancient wisdom to contemporary oppressive challenges is no small task, yet Ben Connelly, through his own wounded-healer imagination, lived experiences in diverse relationships, and appreciation for freedom fighters, shows us how to understand and embody the mystery of Vasubandhu’s teachings without getting lost in esoterica and spiritual bypassing.” —Pamela Ayo Yetunde, co-editor, Black and Buddhist: What Buddhism Can Teach Us About Race, Resilience, Transformation and Freedom


A Practitioner's Guide for Liberation

Ben Connelly


In this plain-English commentary on Vasubandhu’s classic Treatise on the Three Natures, Ben Connelly shows the power of integrating early Buddhist psychology with the Mahayana emphasis on collective liberation. You’ll discover how wisdom from fourth-century India can be harnessed to heal and transform systems of harm within ourselves and our communities.

The three natures (svabhavas)—the imaginary, dependent, and complete, realized natures—are inherent aspects of all phenomena. The imaginary nature of things is what we think they are. Their dependent nature is that they appear to arise from countless conditions. The complete, realized nature is that they aren’t as we imagine them to be: things that can be grasped or pushed away. The three natures form the backbone of Yogacara philosophy, and by showing us how to see beyond our preconceived notions of ourselves and others, beyond the things that we’re convinced are “true,” they open up a path to personal and communal healing.

Dive into this empowering approach to freedom from suffering, from harmful personal and social patterns, and to finding peace and joyfulness in the present.





book information
  • Paperback
  • 312 pages, 5 x 8 inches
  • $18.95
  • ISBN 9781614297536
  • ebook
  • 312 pages
  • $13.99
  • ISBN 9781614297697
about the author
Vasubandhu’s “Three Natures”

Ben Connelly is a Soto Zen teacher and Dharma heir in the Katagiri lineage. He also teaches mindfulness in a wide variety of secular contexts including police and corporate training, correctional facilities, and addiction recovery and wellness groups. Ben is based at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center and travels to teach across the United States. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For teaching inquiries contact: [email protected]

Other books by Ben Connelly:
Mindfulness and Intimacy
Inside the Grass Hut
Inside Vasubandhu’s Yogacara

× Vasubandhu’s “Three Natures” - eBook



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