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Manas (T. yid; C. yi; J. i; K. ui) is translated as "mind," "mental process," "mental functioning," "thinking process," "thought," etc. It is generally a synonym for related terms such as citta and vijnana.[1]

Manas is used in the following contexts:

Distinction between manas, citta, and vijnana

The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism states:

...mind is designated as citta because it “builds up” (cinoti) virtuous and nonvirtuous states; as manas, because it calculates and examines; and as vijñāna, because it discriminates among sensory stimuli.[2]

Bhikkhu Bodhi states:

While technically the three terms [citta, manas and viññāṇa] have the same denotation, in the Nikāyas they are generally used in distinct contexts. As a rough generalization:
  • Viññāṇa signifies the particularizing awareness through a sense faculty (as in the standard sixfold division of viññāṇa into eye-consciousness, etc.) as well as the underlying stream of consciousness, which sustains personal continuity through a single life and threads together successive lives (emphasized at 12:38-40).
  • Mano serves as the third door of action (along with body and speech) and as the sixth internal sense base (along with the five physical sense bases); as the mind base it coordinates the data of the other five senses and also cognizes mental phenomena (dhammā), its own special class of objects.
  • Citta signifies mind as the center of personal experience, as the subject of thought, volition, and emotion. It is citta that needs to be understood, trained, and liberated.
For a more detailed discussion, see Hamilton, Identity and Experience, chap. 5.[3]


  1. Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. manas.
  2. Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. citta.
  3. Bodhi 2000, pp. 769-70, n. 154.


  • Bodhi, Bhikkhu (2000), The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya, Wisdom Publications 
  • Princeton Dict icon 166px.png Buswell, Robert E.; Lopez, Donald S. (2014), The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, Princeton University 
  • Skorupski, Tadeusz (2012), "Consciousness and Luminosity in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism", Buddhist Philosophy and Meditation Practice (Academic Papers presented at the 2nd IABU Conference), The International Association of Buddhist Universities (IABU) 

External links

  • Rangjung a-circle30px.jpg yid, Rangjung Yeshe Wiki