The Vaibhāṣika was an early Buddhist subschool formed by adherents of the Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra, comprising the orthodox Kasmiri branch of the Sarvāstivāda school. The Vaibhāṣika-Sarvāstivāda, which had by far the most "comprehensive edifice of doctrinal systematics" of the early Buddhist schools, was widely influential in India and beyond.
The school was originally of a mystical nature, later developing into more materialistic concerns with a focus upon Materialism and 'existent phenomena' (Tibetan: yod-pa). The key tenets of this school are "that no mental concept can be formed except through direct contact between the mind, via the senses, such as sight, touch, taste, etc., and external objects".
Berzin (2007) elaborates this further:
Vaibhashika asserts sensory nonconceptual cognition of an object through direct contact with it, without the medium of a mental aspect of the object. Because of that, when something made of parts is validly known, the cognition must simultaneously also take as its objects the parts on which the object depends.
Nomenclature and etymology
Vaibhashika or Vaibhasika (Sanskrit). (Tibetan: bye-brag smra-ba).
Within the eighteen Hinayana schools, the Vaibhashika and Sautrantika belong to Sarvastivada (thams-cad yod-par smra-ba), a Sanskrit tradition, different from the Pali Theravada tradition (gnas-brtan smra-ba). The Tibetan lineage of monastic vows comes from another of its sub-schools, Mula-sarvastivada (gzhi thams-cad yod-par smra-ba).
Mipham (1846–1912), discusses the Vaibhashika school in his purport to Verse 3 of Śāntarakṣita's Madhyamākalaṃkāra, an extract of this discussion rendered into English by the Padmakara Translation Group (2005: p. 165) follows:
The Buddhist Vaibhashika school asserts three uncompounded entities, which are truly existent and permanent (rtag dngos). The first of these is space. The second is nonanalytical cessation, or absence. This term refers not to a cessation that occurs through the application of analysis or understanding but to the fact that when something is not present, owing to the absence of some of the natural conditions that would normally produce it, this very absence is regarded as an uncompounded entity that precludes the appearance of the thing in question. And this is therefore called a non-analytical cessation or absence (brtags min 'gog pa). The Vaibhashikas claim that this uncompounded entity is a really existent thing. The third uncompounded entity is analytical cessation--the cessation that arises through analysis or understanding (so sor brtags 'gog pa), referring to the absence of defilements that results from the practice of the path. The Vaibhashikas ascribe real, "substantial" existence to this as well. .
- "one does not find anywhere else a body of doctrine as organized or as complete as theirs" . . ."Indeed, no other competing schools have ever come close to building up such a comprehensive edifice of doctrinal systematics as the Vaibhāṣika." The Sautrantika theory of seeds (bija ) revisited: With special reference to the ideological continuity between Vasubandhu's theory of seeds and its Srilata/Darstantika precedents by Park, Changhwan, PhD thesis, University of California, Berkeley, 2007 pg 2
- A Study of the Abhidharmahṛdaya: The Historical Development of the Concept of Karma In The Sarvāstivāda Thought. PhD thesis by Wataru S. Ryose. University of Wisconsin-Madison: 1987 pg 3
- Source:  (accessed: January 1, 2008)
- Berzin, Alexander (2007). The Two Truths: Vaibhashika and Sautrantika. Source:  (accessed: January 2, 2008)
- Berzin, Alexander (2007). The Two Truths: Vaibhashika and Sautrantika. Source:  (accessed: July 11, 2016)
- Shantarakshita (author); Mipham (commentator); Padmakara Translation Group (translators)(2005). The Adornment of the Middle Way: Shantarakshita's Madhyamakalankara with commentary by Jamgön Mipham. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Shambhala Publications, Inc. ISBN 1-59030-241-9 (alk. paper), p.165