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Do Mahayana Buddhists believe that the whole world and all objects are created by the mind? For example, my friend and I see a train. Do I and my friend see the same train?

Tell me if it is correct to say that Mahayana Buddhists believe that the people they see in front of them have consciousness and sensations (individual mindstreams) and exist independently of the imagination of Buddhists, but all of us and our whole world are dependent on all people and their minds, that is, we co-create our world together?

And what about the Yogacara school, which is considered idealism?

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  • Is this yet another solipsism question?
    – ruben2020
    Mar 24 at 16:40
  • Try reading this answer in response to a similar question.
    – Max
    Mar 24 at 17:12
  • Thank you!That is, when Mahayana Buddhists see people in front of them, they believe that they have consciousness and sensation (individual streams of the mind) and that they see the same object, just each person perceives it differently?
    – Randy
    Mar 24 at 17:27
  • Yes, I can go with that wording. :-)
    – Max
    Mar 24 at 18:09
  • I hadn't seen the word "intersubjectivity" before. I'd heard of Joint attention or shared attention though, from talking about "early childhood education". I imagine that's how and when people begin to learn what "a train" is -- I can't easily fathom what that's got to do with Mahayana though.
    – ChrisW
    Mar 24 at 18:30
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Mahayana Buddhists do NOT believe that the whole world and all objects are literally created by the mind.

Yogacara and especially Mahayana is not a form of subjective idealism, that's a popular urban myth/misunderstanding.

"the people they see in front of them have consciousness and sensations (individual mindstreams)" - yes of course.

"but all of us and our whole world are dependent on all people and their minds, that is, we co-create our world together" - maybe but that's beside the point.

The way I would put the mainstream Mahayana view is: each person's subjective reality is a projection of their mind which in turn is a result of their background and choices. Different backgrounds&choices give rise to different minds which project different subjective realities. Subjective realities overlap to the extent the backgrounds/choices/minds are alike.

Your friend and you see similar trains to the extent your minds are alike. To the extent your backgrounds are different you will pay attention to different aspects of the train, your interpretations will differ etc. - to that extent your respective trains will be unique.

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  • That is, when Mahayana Buddhists see people in front of them, they believe that they have consciousness and sensation (individual streams of the mind) and that they see the same object, just each person perceives it differently?
    – Randy
    Mar 24 at 17:22
  • "consciousness and sensation" - yes; "the same object" - no! They don't think the notion of "object" has validity anywhere outside subjective experience. The stuff they look at + each of their respective backgrounds is together called "the [ontological] basis of imputation" but its not considered delineated into distinct objects ontologically. The delineation of "the ground" (aka "basis") into "subject" and "objects" is a feature of the subjective experience.
    – Andrei Volkov
    Mar 24 at 17:26
  • does it mean when a Mahayana Buddhist looks at a person who stands in front of him, he believes that this person has an individual mindstream(consciousness and sensations), but when he looks at a train with his friend, he believes that everyone perceives the train differently?
    – Randy
    Mar 24 at 17:34
  • In your example with the train we have two distinct "bases of imputation" that share most (but not all!) of the present material (the scene in front of them) but don't share most of the past material (personal backgrounds that formed their present bodies and minds).
    – Andrei Volkov
    Mar 24 at 17:36
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    Thank you! You are a very good teacher of Buddhism!
    – Randy
    Mar 24 at 18:36
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Can anyone think about train differently ? It is a means to commute. Someone can take liberty for example a kid and think of it as a means of entertainment. Some people can think of it as a means to earn money. Some people can think of it as a means to fill their stomach. Some people can think of it as a means to meet their lover or relatives... Train is same but people can think about it differently. There are no surprises here.
Now coming to the physicality. Same physical observations guide the design of the train.Train assumes people of some fixed height and weight will travel. Train assumes that no will sit on floor or in the bathrooms.Two person can have different views on its physical comfort and utility. But if you are saying that any person can think of it as aeroplane that will be absurdly wrong and no one can physically stretch a train in the minds to make it more spacious ... but yes it can happen that trains can meet accidents if mind desires... that is quite obvious how.
Do we co-create the world ? Sometimes but not always. Just as we can not identify I or self , we can not identify we or us. Sabbe sanskar annicca ... sometimes we co-destruct the world...

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  • Thank you!That is, when Mahayana Buddhists see people in front of them, they believe that they have consciousness and sensation (individual streams of the mind) and that they see the same object, just each person perceives it differently?
    – Randy
    Mar 24 at 18:31
  • @Randy I only know teachings of Buddha ... I have hardly studied Mahayana... however I can tell you that people can have different perceptions or same perception about a thing... sabbe sanskar annicca... perceptions change from the individual point of view and collective point of view. Mar 24 at 18:38

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