Imputed nature

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Imputed nature (Skt. parikalpita-svabhāva; Wyl. kun brtags mtshan nyid) ― the first of the three natures presented in the Mind Only school. Imputed or imaginary (Skt. parikalpita; Tib. ཀུན་བརྟགས་, küntak, Wyl. kun btags), in this sense, does not mean to be hallucinatory as opposed to being real, it is to be constructed as an object by the operation of the mind.[1]


The imputed is divided into:

  • "the imputed lacking identity" and
  • "the nominally imputed."

Examples of the former include the horns of a rabbit, the child of a barren woman, and flowers in the sky. The latter includes such things as pillars and vases.[2]

Alternative Translations

  • Imaginary nature (Karl Brunnhölzl)
  • Imagined nature (Jay L. Garfield)


  1. From an article by Jay L. Garfield on Vasubandhu’s Treatise on the Three Natures in Buddhist Philosophy: Essential Readings, Oxford University Press 2009, ISBN: 978-0-19-532817-2
  2. Khenpo Ngakchung, Zindri (Shambhala, 2004), page 206.