Vasubhandu on Theravada Buddhism

Hello all, I have recently been studying different schools in Buddhism and would like to pose a question here.

Did Vasubhandu or other Yogacara philosophers comment on Theravada Buddhism and more specifically on the Theravada Abhidhamma?

My understanding is that Vasubhandu made a commentary on the Sarvastivada Abhidhamma which I presume is different from the Theravada Abhidhamma.

It is also stated that he has made critiques of Hinayana but this I understand is specifically to the Arhat path. Theravada on other other hand includes all paths and also encourages (doesn’t discourage) followers to take the bodhisattva path.

Thank you for your time and clarification. Please feel free suggest further reading materials on this topic as well.

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Vasubandhu and others occasionally commented on Theravada positions, either to criticize them or to use them to bolster an argument for a particular point. For example, the Theravada doctrine of the bhavangavijnana (basis-of-existence consciousness) was used to bolster the case for the Yogacara concept of the alayavijnana (storehouse consciousness). Some other monastic sects also used the concept of a mulavijnana (root consciousness), which Yogacarins also equated with the alayavijnana.

That’s correct, Vasubandhu wrote quite a few works, but his most well-known writing is the Abhidharmakosabhasya. He used this text to criticize the reigning Sarvastivada system of the day, which was based around the (massive) Abhidharma Mahavibhasa Sastra. Along with the Mahavibhasa, there were also seven older books of classical abhidharma in the Sarvastivada Abhidharma Pitaka.

In general, Indian Buddhists tended to argue that their own systems were correct, and others were wrong or inaccurate. Being Mahayana converts, Asanga and Vasubandhu advocated for their own Mahayana system. Their main target was the Mahavibhasa text, and the Sarvastivadin orthodoxy it represented. They did advocate for Bodhisattvayana as opposed to Sravakayana, but their system included both Sravakayana and Bodhisattvayana. For example, the Yogacarabhumi Sastra has separate divisions for Sravakayana, Pratyekabuddhayana, and Bodhisattvayana.