SARVĀSTIVĀDA . The school of Sarvāstivāda was one of the so-called Eighteen Schools (nikāya, ācariyavāda ) of early Buddhism. The term Sarvāstivāda is also used to designate the body of doctrine and literature associated with this community. The sociological nature of the group, however, remains unknown.
Although it is customary to refer to the Sarvāstivāda as a Hīnayāna "sect," it seems evident that it was primarily a monastic and intellectual movement—thus the term sect might be inappropriate. The term Hīnayāna is equally problematic, and in this case it must be taken to establish only a definition by exclusion—"that which is not Mahāyāna." The Sarvāstivāda was one of the parent lines in the genealogic tree of the Eighteen Schools, consistently identified in traditional doxography as one of the earlier Sthavira groups. From the Sarvāstivāda arose in turn, according to most accounts, the schools of the Sautrāntika and the Mūlasarvāstivāda, and perhaps that of the Dharmaguptaka.
Existing knowledge of the history and teachings of the early schools is based on late sources, and there is little agreement among scholars as to the true affiliation of the sects mentioned in these sources. It is not clear, for instance, whether the Mahīśāsaka school should be classified under the Sarvāstivāda or under "mainline" Sthaviras. There is, nevertheless, agreement among the classical sources on the derivation of the Sarvāstivāda from a main Sthavira trunk, most probably after the great schism that separated the early Sthavira from the Mahāsāṃghika. The separation of Sarvāstivāda from its trunk of origin is supposed to have taken place at the Third Buddhist Council, held under King Aśoka. They separated from the Sthaviras according to some accounts, from the Mahīśāsaka, according to others.
It is known from inscriptional evidence that the area of greatest strength of the Sarvāstivāda was the Northwest, from Mathura to Afghanistan and the Central Asian desert. But they also were known in East and South India. Their influence extended to Indonesia, and, indirectly, to China.
The Sarvāstivādins received the royal patronage of Kaniṣka (second century ce). According to tradition, the Tripiṭaka of this school was finally closed during his reign. But it is not clear whether this legend is due to a confusion between the writing of their Abhidharma and the compilation of the canon. It is more likely that most of the Sarvāstivādin Tripiṭaka was redacted earlier, and that by the second century ce Sarvāstivādin scholars were engaged in exegetical work. This was the time for the major systematic works, and the beginning of the work of synthesis such as would develop into the Mahāvibhāṣā.
As a school of philosophy Sarvāstivāda was gradually absorbed by the Sautrāntika and the Mahāyāna. But it remained a strong monastic institution, especially in the Northwest. Sarvāstivāda survived at least into the ninth century ce through the Mūlasarvāstivāda subschool. By counting Mūlasarvāstivādin texts as works of Sarvāstivādin imprint, one can form an approximate idea of the greater part of the Tripiṭaka of this school. The combined literature of both groups almost constitutes a complete canon, preserved mostly in Chinese and Tibetan translation, but also in several Sanskrit fragments from central Asia. This body of literature is an important source for the study of the so-called Hīnayāna schools, eclipsed in this respect only by that of the Theravāda tradition.
The Sarvāstivādin canon is a Tripiṭaka only in the sense that it was conceived as having three parts. But it is characteristic of this canon that in addition to the three traditional Piṭakas (Sūtra, Vinaya, and Abhidharma), it eventually developed a Kṣudraka Piṭaka to accommodate miscellaneous works of late origin. Also characteristic of this canon was the exclusion of texts such as the Dharmapada (considered paracanonical) and the composition of extensive commentaries on the Abhidharma Piṭaka.
A good part of the Sarvāstivādin canon survives in Chinese translation. The Madhyama Āgama found in the Chinese canon is definitely Sarvāstivādin; some scholars also regard the Chinese translation of the Saṃyuktāgama as of Sarvāstivāda origin, although this collection is probably a Mūlasarvāstivāda work. The Dharmaguptaka Dīrghāgama may be quite similar to the corresponding Sarvāstivāda collection, now lost. The Sarvāstivāda Vinaya is also preserved in Chinese in several versions, including a short, early version, and an expanded version accompanied by a commentary, the Vinaya-vibhāṣā. This last text became the Mūlasarvāstivādin Vinaya, which is also preserved in Tibetan. Another recension has been recovered in Sanskrit manuscripts from Gilgit and Afghanistan. The Abhidharma of the Sarvāstivāda is preserved in its entirety in the Chinese canon (some books in more than one translation). Only fragments remain in the original Sanskrit.
Fragments of the Sarvāstivādin canon have been found in Central Asia (the Tarim Basin). These Sanskrit manuscripts include parts of the Vinaya, the Bhikṣu- and Bhikṣun̄ī-prātimokṣa, and the Sūtra Piṭaka. The same region has yielded several manuscripts of the Udānavarga (a collection similar to the Pali Dhammapada ). One of the seven books of the Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma, the Abhidharmas-aṃgītiparyāya, has been found in Afghanistan (Bamiyan). A Sanskrit manuscript of a postcanonical work of Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma, the Abhidharmadīpa, was recovered in Tibet. It is believed that this is the work of Saṃghabhadra (fourth century) or one of his disciples.
The greater part of the remaining Sanskrit works of the school belong to the avādana literature and are for the most part late compositions or redactions. The Lalitavistara, for instance, a biography of the life of the Buddha (up to his enlightenment), shows strong Mahāyāna influence. Two other important works of this genre, the Avadānasataka and the Divyāvadāna, are probably associated with the Mūla-sarvāstivādin subsect. To this same group belongs the Vinaya discovered at Gilgit and some of the fragments from Turfan (e.g., the Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra ).
The SarvĀstivĀdin Abhidharma
The Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma Piṭaka is divided into six treatises and a seventh work of synthesis ("the six feet and the body" of Abhidharma): (1) Prakaraṇapada, (2) Vijñānakāya, (3) Dharmaskandha, (4) Prajñāptiśāstra, (5) Dhātukāya, (6) Saṃgītiparyāya, and (7) Jñānaprasthāna. Each of the works has a putative author, but sources vary on their attribution (e.g., Mahākauṣṭhila or Śāriputra for the Saṃgītiparyāya, Śāriputra or Maudgalyāyana for the Dharmaskandha ). However, the last (and latest) of these seven books, the Jñānaprasthāna, is consistently attributed to Kātyāyanīputra; his authorship is generally accepted as factual, although the Mahāvibhāṣā claims that he was merely the redactor of the text and that its real author was the Buddha. Three of the works in the Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma reflect the style and content of earlier catechistic (mātṛkā ) and cosmological sūtras, found in the Sūtra Piṭaka of other schools. In all probability these form the original core of the Abhidharma and explain the Sarvāstivādin claim that the Abhidharma was also the word of the Buddha (buddhavacana ).
The most influential text of the school was the fruit of its dedication to Abhidharma studies, a collective work of exegesis, the Mahāvibhāṣā (150–200 ce), purporting to be a commentary to Kātyāyanīputra's Jñānaprasthāna. But this work is more than a commentary; it provides invaluable information on the earlier traditions of Abhidharma (e.g., the doctrines of the "four great masters," Vasumitra, Dharmatrāta, Ghoṣa, and Buddhadeva), and on rival schools, including some non-Buddhist philosophical schools (e.g., Sāṃkhya). Apart from its value as a major source of information on Buddhist scholastic traditions, this work influenced the development of other schools, including the Mahāyāna. Even when criticized (as in the Abhidharmakośa of the Sautrāntika philosopher Vasubandhu, or in the Mahāprajñāpāramitā-upadeśa Śāstra of the Mahāyānist pseudo-Nāgārjuna), the Mahāvibhāṣā continued to provide the basic model for intellectual order and spiritual typologies. Moreover, the two above-mentioned critical works contributed to the diffusion of Sarvāstivādin ideas in East Asia. Because of the central role of this text in defining Sarvāstivādin orthodoxy, mainline Sarvāstivādins are sometimes known as Vaibhāṣikas, that is, followers of the (Mahā ) Vibhāṣā.
A characteristic doctrine of this school, the one from which the school derives its name, is the theory of time. According to this doctrine—summarized in the phrase sarvam asti ("everything exists")—all of the three dimensions of time (past, present, future) exist; that is, the present continues to exist when it becomes the past, and so forth. This doctrine seems to have been developed as a way to protect the laws of causality (especially as they apply to karmic or moral retribution) from the potentially undermining effect of the doctrine of impermanence.
Another means of insuring continuity and order in the philosophical world of Sarvāstivāda was the doctrine of dharma s. According to the Sarvāstivāda understanding, although all things are impermanent, the basic building blocks of reality including even some attributes and relations, are substantial and real. These substantial entities (dravyasat ) are known as dharma s. With the exception of three elements of reality, all things are compounds of dharma s; they can be broken into their component parts and are in that sense impermanent. Some compounds and the dharma s that compose them are pure, others impure. Only nirvāṇa is both pure and permanent (as well as uncompounded). There are, however, two other dharma s that are uncompounded: cessation without conscious discrimination, and space.
Karman and no-self
The Sarvāstivāda theory of karman is based on the dharma theory. All actions resulting from human intention affect the constituents of the personality—that is, they change its dharma composition. This effect of action is made possible by a relational dharma called "appropriation" or "acquisition" (prāpti ). Prāpti was a key concept in the attempt to establish the rationality of moral responsibility in an impermanent world; that is, it was meant to account for karmic continuity in the absence of an agent, or self. But the key term used in formulating a rational account of the element of continuity in the empirical self was santāna ("series"). The term self was considered a misnomer for a series of dharma s. With no lasting element or underlying substance, this series is held together only by the laws of causality. The doctrine of prāpti was criticized by the Sautrāntikas—mainly in the work of Vasubandhu (c. fourth century ce)—but the concept of santāna remained a central tool of philosophical explanation in later Buddhist philosophy.
In soteriology and in their theory of the Path, the Sarvāstivāda developed perhaps the most complex and complete of the Buddhist maps of spiritual growth. They were concerned with the path of the bodhisattva as well as that of the arhat, although they still perceived the former as a rare occurrence. Their Abhidharma literature considers the goal of arhatship the only ideal to which one could aspire, but the avādana literature (possibly of late Mūlasarvāstivādin composition) gives numerous legendary accounts of faithful taking the vows to "become a buddha" in a future life. In the same way, although the Sarvāstivāda had a doctrine of the "perfections" (pāramitā ) of a bodhisattva, a theory of the two bodies of the Buddha (rūpakāya and dharmakāya ), and a belief in the Buddha's "great compassion" (mahākaruṇā ), and although they accepted the mythology of the vow and the prophecy (vyākaraṇa ) in the career of the Buddhas, they do not seem to have developed these ideas as possible models for religious life.
A number of important subgroups appear to be related to the Sarvāstivāda. Unfortunately, the sources offer contradictory information. Two movements are definitely derivative schools: the Sautrāntikas and the Mūlasarvāstivādins, both of which were especially active in Central India. The Dharmaguptaka school may also be derived from Sarvāstivāda, although this case is more problematic than the other two. They were concentrated in South India. Another important subgroup of the Sthaviras, the Mahīśāsaka, must be related to the Sarvāstivādins; but the nature of the relationship remains unclear. They had monasteries in the Punjab and Andhra.
Tradition has it that after the council at Pāṭaliputra a Sarvāstivādin scholar by the name of Madhyāntika took the teachings of the school to Kashmir, where it flourished. He is believed to belong to the spiritual lineage of Ānanda and to have been originally from Mathurā. The latter region was the missionary province of Upagupta. Both locations were important cultural centers in the empire of the Kushans and provided the base for imperial patronage of the Sarvāstivāda under Kaniṣka. The Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang, who visited India between the years 629 and 645, reported the existence of Sarvāstivādin monasteries only in the Northwest and in the upper Ganges River valley. Another pilgrim, Yijing, who was himself a Sarvāstivādin, visited India half a century later (671–695) and reported a much wider distribution of monasteries under Sarvāstivādin influence. Although he found Sarvāstivādins in almost all parts of India, they were the dominant group only in Northwest India and in the Indonesian archipelago.
A subgroup of the Sarvāstivādins, the Dārṣṭāntikas—followers of Kumāralāta's Drṣṭāntapaṅki —gave rise to a new movement in reaction to Sarvāstivādin emphasis on the Abhidharma. Whereas the Sarvāstivādins were of the opinion that the Buddha had preached the Abhidharma at Sravasti, this new group maintained that the Abhidharma was not the word of the Buddha. Only the sūtras had canonical authority for them. They claimed that the term Abhidharma Piṭaka could refer only to those sūtras belonging to the mātṛkā genre. Therefore, they called themselves Sautrāntikas ("followers of the sūtra or sūtrāntā "). Their first great master was Śrīlāta, a disciple of Kumāralāta (both from around the first century bce). But their most distinguished scholar was the independently minded Vasubandhu (fourth to fifth century), whose major Abhidharmic work, the Abhidharmakośa, championed certain Sautrāntika doctrines. Vasubandhu's work, however, had its critics, among whom the most famous was Saṃghabhadra, whose Abhidharmanyāyānusāra was written as a polemic against the Abhidharmakośa.
The Sautrāntikas opposed the Sarvāstivādin belief in substantial entities and what they saw as surreptitious ways of retaining notions of permanence. They denied that the unconditioned or uncompounded dharma s have any existence, preferring instead to regard them as bare nonexistence or absence (abhāva ). They asserted that some of the dharma s of the Sarvāstivāda are mere denominations or conceptual constructs (prajñāpti ). Among the dharma s whose reality they criticized in this way was the concept of appropriation (prāpti ). In order to explain the process of karman, the Sautrāntikas brought to prominence an old concept shared by most Buddhist schools, the concept of karmic seeds (bīja ). These Sautrāntika theories were first proposed by Śrīlāta and developed by Vasubandhu. The doctrine of bīja became one of the cornerstones of Mahāyāna idealistic philosophy.
The Sautrāntikas also formulated a radical theory of impermanence known as the doctrine of kṣaṇikavāda ("momentariness"). This doctrine denied the Sarvāstivādin theory of the displacement through time of a permanent entity or essence (svabhāva ). It also contributed to the development of a theory of knowledge that would have a major impact on the formation of Mahāyāna epistemology. They proposed that the senses cannot apprehend an object directly (among other reasons, because of its momentary existence); accordingly, perception is the arising of mental images or representations that are only analogical or coordinated with their objects (sārūpya ). In this way the Sautrāntikas became the first Buddhist phenomenalists, perhaps the first in the history of world philosophy. Their influence continued to be felt in the Buddhist logicians and in the metaphysics of Mahāyāna idealistic philosophy until the end of Buddhist monasticism on Indian soil; it continues today in Tibetan philosophical speculation.
This school seems to have been a late development in the Sarvāstivāda tradition. It was dominant in North India from the seventh to the ninth century and became the main source of non-Mahāyāna texts for the Tibetan canon. The Mūlasarvāstivādin Vinaya is preserved in Tibetan translation (early ninth century, now incorporated into the Bka' 'gyur) and has also been recovered in a Sanskrit manuscript from Gilgit. Some scholars would consider this Vinaya an early compilation, but others believe the work is late.
Although their doctrines do not seem to have differed significantly from those of the Sarvāstivādins, their literature—at least what remains of it—contains some materials that must derive from non-Sarvāstivāda sources. In addition to their Vinaya, several works from their avādana literature have survived; these include the Divyāvadāna, Avadāna-śataka, and Aśokāvadāna.
It is not clear whether the Dharmaguptakas should be regarded as a subset of the Vibhajyavādins (through the Mahīśāsaka line) or a subset of the Sarvāstivādins. They tended to emphasize Vinaya and Sūtra more than Abhidharma. Their Vinaya is preserved in Chinese translation (the Sifen Lü ) and became the model for monastic rules in China. Another work of great importance for the study of early Abhidharma, the Sāriputrābhid-harmaśāstra, is of Dharmaguptaka provenance. This text also shows strong influence from the Mahāsāṃghika school. The connection of this school with the development of Mahāyāna is confirmed not only by the eclectic nature of this text but also by their frank criticism of the limitations of the arhat ideal, by their addition of Bodhisattva and Dhāraṇī Piṭakas to their canon, and by their role in the formation of Chinese monasticism, the connection of which to Mahāyāna thought owes much to the exegesis of the Chinese monk Daoxuan (596–667), founder of the Southern Mountain (Nanshan) tradition of Chinese Vinaya (Lü) studies.
The geographical expansion of Sarvāstivāda represents only one of the aspects of its influence, for the sophistication and maturity of its philosophy clearly won many followers, even among those who disagreed with its basic presuppositions. Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma was a standard element in the classical curricula of Indian universities, not only at their centers in Puruṣapura (Peshawar) and Valabhī (Kathiawar), but in Mahāyāna centers of learning as well.
Sarvāstivāda as Hīnayāna
The study of Sarvāstivāda as the representative doctrine of Hīnayāna philosophy continued in India long after the school had declined. Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośa became the standard textbook and was the object of numerous commentaries (those of Guṇamati, Sthiramati, Vasumitra, and, above all, the Sphuṭārtha-abhidharmakośa-vyākhyā of Yaśomitra). Buddhist and Hindu doxography to this day recognizes four main schools of Buddhist philosophy, among which Sarvāstivāda and Sautrāntika are the only representatives of non-Mahāyāna philosophy. This is still the basic model even among contemporary scholars in Japan and the West, where the Abhidharmakośa continues to be required reading for the Buddhist scholar.
The Sarvāstivāda school also provided the model for Hīnayāna in the Far East. In China, it was transmitted mainly as part of the Jushe (Abhidharmakośa) school. Of Sautrāntika inspiration, this school was the main competitor of the other two Abhidharmic schools, the Chengshi (Satyasiddhi) school (perhaps Bahusrutiya), and the Faxiang (dharmalaksana, that is, the Mahāyāna Yogacara school, which has Mahīśāsaka roots).
As a source for Mahāyāna
The evident role of the Mahāsāṃghika school in the formation of Mahāyāna tends to eclipse the contribution of other Hīnayāna schools. The Sarvāstivāda in particular was a decisive element in the formation of the higher doctrines and philosophy of Mahāyāna. The first developments in the bodhisattva theory—especially as it is supposed to fit in the map of the Path—were probably those found in Sarvāstivādin literature. The basic structures of Mahāyāna soteriology and Abhidharma are clearly derived from Sarvāstivāda and Mahīśāsaka sources, and so is much of their philosophical terminology. The Sarvāstivāda also contributed, through Vasubandhu and the Sautrāntikas, the underpinnings for Mahāyāna epistemology.
Anacker, Stefan. Seven Works of Vasubandhu. Delhi, 1984. Includes Vasubandhu's logical work Vadavidhi, two of his Sautrāntika works, as well as four of his Mahāyāna treatises.
Aung, Shwe Zan, and C. A. F. Rhys Davids, trans. Points of Controversy. London, 1915. The most important Theravāda source on the early schools.
Banerjee, Anukul Chandra. Sarvāstivāda Literature. Calcutta, 1957. This is a catalog of works; although somewhat dated, it is still useful.
Bareau, André. "Les origines du Çāriputrābhidharmaçāstra." Le Muséon 63 (1950): 69–95. In this work Bareau, the modern scholar who has devoted most time and sound research to the question of the origin of Buddhist sects, has studied one of the most influential Dharmaguptaka texts. He collected data on the "unconditioned" dharma s from all the schools in his L'absolu en philosophie bouddhique: Évolution de la notion d'asaṃskrta. (Paris, 1951). His studies on the Abhidharma of the schools and the classical sources, "Les sectes bouddhiques du Petit Véhicule et leurs Abhidharmapiṭaka," Bulletin de l'École Française d'Extrême-Orient 50 (1952): 1–11, and "Trois traités sur les sectes bouddhiques attribués à Vasumitra, Bhavya et Vinītadeva," Journal asiatique 242 (1954): 229–266 and 244 (1956): 167–200, respectively, were part of the spadework for his two major contributions on the subject: Les premiers conciles bouddhiques (Paris, 1955) and Les sectes bouddhiques du Petit Véhicule (Saigon, 1955).
Bechert, Heinz. "Zur Frühgeschichte des Mahāyāna-Buddhismus." Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 113 (1963): 530–535.
Demiéville, Paul. "L'origine des sectes bouddhiques d'après Paramārtha." In Mélanges chinois et bouddhiques, vol. 1, pp. 15–62. Brussels, 1931–1932. See also his "Á propos du concile de Vaiśālī," T'oung pao 40 (1951): 239–296.
Dutt, Nalinaksha. Early History of the Spread of Buddhism and the Buddhist Schools (1925). Reprint, New Delhi, 1980. See also Dutt's Aspects of Mahāyāna Buddhism and Its Relation to Hīnayāna (London, 1930) and "The Second Buddhist Council," Indian Historical Quarterly 35 (March 1959): 45–56. Some of the author's early (1930–1940) articles on the subject were collected (without significant revisions) in his Buddhist Sects in India (Calcutta, 1970).
Glasenapp, Helmuth von. "Zur Geschichte der buddhistischen Dharma-Theorie." Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 92 (1938): 383–420. See also his "Der Ursprung der buddhistischen Dharma-Theorie," Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 46 (1939): 242–266.
Hirakawa Akira. "The Rise of Mahāyāna Buddhism and Its Relationship to the Worship of Stūpas." Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko 22 (1963): 57–106.
Jaini, Padmanabh S. "The Vāibhaṣika Theory of Words and Meanings," "The Sautrāntika Theory of bīja," and "Origin and Development of the Theory of viprayukta-saṃskāras." Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 22 (1959): 95–107, 236–249, and 531–547. These are brief, in-depth studies of Sarvāstivāda and Sautrāntika philosophy. Jaini also edited the Abhidharmadīpa (Patna, India, 1959); his introduction contains valuable information on the Sarvāstivāda school.
Lamotte, Étienne. Histoire du bouddhisme indien des origines à l'ère Śaka. Louvain, 1958. See pages 547–549, 576–606, and 662–694. The most compact of the scholarly surveys on the history of the early sects, this should be supplemented with Bareau's Les sectes, since the two authors disagree both in approach and detail. Lamotte has also translated an important Sautrāntika treatise that summarizes and criticizes the Sarvāstivādin theory of karman, "Le traité de l'Acte de Vasubandhu: Karmasiddhiprakaraṇa," in Mélanges chinois et bouddhiques, vol. 4 (Brussels, 1935–1936), pp. 151–288. An English translation of this text is contained in Anacker (1984).
La Vallée Poussin, Louis de. "Sautrāntikas." In Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, edited by James Hastings, vol. 11. Edinburgh, 1920. This Belgian scholar was one of the pioneers of Buddhist studies, especially of the Abhidharma tradition. His extensive scholarly contribution to our understanding of Sarvāstivāda includes "La controverse du temps et du Pudgala dans le Vijñanakāya," Études asiatiques publiées à l'occasion du vingt-cinquième anniversaire de l'École Française d'Extrême-Orient (Paris, 1925), vol. 1, pp. 343–376; "Les deux nirvanas d'après la Vibhāṣā," Académie Royale de Belgique, Bulletin de la classe des lettres et des sciences morales et politiques 15 (1929): 367–374; "Documents d'Abhidharma: Textes relatifs au Nirvana," Bulletin de l'École Française d'Extrême-Orient 30 (1930): 1–28, 247–298; and "Documents d'Abhidharma," in Mélanges chinois et bouddhiques, vol. 1 (Brussels, 1932), pp. 65–109. La Vallée Poussin also translated the most influential work of Abhidharma, L'Abhidharmakośa de Vasubandhu, 6 vols. (1923–1931; reprint, Brussels, 1971).
Masuda Jiryō. "Origins and Doctrines of Early Indian Buddhist Schools." Asia Major 2 (1925): 1–78. A translation of Vasumitra's treatise on the Eighteen Schools.
Mizuno Kogen. "Abhidharma Literature." In Encyclopaedia of Buddhism, edited by G. P. Malalasekera, vol. 1. Colombo, 1963.
Prebish, Charles S. "A Review of Scholarship on the Buddhist Councils." Journal of Asian Studies 33 (February 1974): 239–254. See also his Buddhist Monastic Discipline: The Sanskrit Prātimokṣa Sūtras of the Mahāsāṃghikas and Mūlasarvāsti-vādins (University Park, Pa., 1975).
Stcherbatsky, Theodore. The Central Conception of Buddhism and the Meaning of the Word "Dharma" (1923). 4th ed. Delhi, 1970. This is the classic study on the dharma theory of the Sarvāstivādins. Although it is dated and at times obscure, it is still the only comprehensive discussion accessible to general readers who cannot read French or German.
Takakusu Junjirō. "On the Abhidharma Literature of the Sarvāstivādins." Journal of the Pāli Text Society 14 (1904–1905): 67–146. In this essay Takakusu surveyed the Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma preserved in the Chinese canon. Dated, but still useful if studied in conjunction with more recent studies, is his article "Sarvāstivādins," in the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, edited by James Hastings, vol. 11 (Edinburgh, 1920).
Wayman, Alex. "Aspects of Meditation in the Theravāda and Mahīśāsaka." Studia Missionalia 25 (1976): 1–28.
Chung, Jin-Il. Die Pravāranā in den kanonischen Vinaya-Texten der Mulasarvāstivādin und der Sarvāstivādin. Göttingen, 1998.
Cox, Collett. Disputed Dharmas, Early Buddhist Theories on Existence: An Annotated Translation of the Section on Factors Dissociated from Thought from Sanghabhadra's Nyāyānusāra. Tokyo, 1995.
Frauwallner, Erich. Studies in Abhidharma Literature and the Origins of Buddhist Philosophical Systems. Translated by Sophie Francis Kidd under the supervision of Ernst Steinkellner. Albany, N.Y., 1995.
Hirakawa Akira. A History of Indian Buddhism: From Śākyamuni to Early Mahāyāna. Translated and edited by Paul Groner. Honolulu, 1990.
La Vallée Poussin, Louis de. Abhidharmakośabhāṣyam. Translated by Leo M. Pruden. 5 vols. Berkeley, 1988–1990.
Potter, Karl, ed. Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, vol. 9, Buddhist Philosophy from 350 a.d. Delhi, 1999.
Willemen, Charles, Bart Dessein, and Collett Cox. Sarvāstivāda Buddhist Scholasticism. Leiden, 1998.
Williams, Paul, with Anthony Tribe. Buddhist Thought: A Complete Introduction to the Indian Tradition. London, 2000. See Chapter 4.
Luis O. GÓmez (1987)