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The Samkhya (Skt. sāṃkhya; Tib. གྲངས་ཅན་པ་, drangchenpa, Wyl. grangs can pa), or 'Enumerators', are non-Buddhist eternalists. They are followers of the sage Kapila (Skt.; Tib. སེར་སྐྱ་, Wyl. ser skya). They assert that all objects of knowledge can be classified into twenty-five principles.

The Samkhyas believe that beings circle in samsara due to mistakenly believing the fundamental nature or prakriti (Skt.) and the person or purusha (Skt.) to be one, and not understanding that modulations or transformations (Wyl. rnam ‘gyur) are manifested by the prakriti. By receiving instructions from a guru, a practitioner can understand that the transformations are only manifestations of the prakriti and gradually let go of attachment to phenomena. Through meditation the practitioner develops the divine eye and then, when seeing prakriti with this divine eye, the prakriti ‘blushes’, like a mistress seen by the wife, and disappears with the transformations, leaving the self all alone. This means that all conventional phenomena disappear from the mind of the yogi. That is liberation.


There are two kinds of Samkhyas:

  • non-theists and
  • theists who believe in Ishvara.

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