The Essence of Scholasticism is a meditation manual leading to arhatship. It is the central text of the westernmost part of the Gandharan cultural area, e.e. Bactria. Probably composed in the first century BCE, it was commented on and elaborated in several sastras the best known being the Abhidharmakosabhasya of the fifth century. The Essence and the Astagrantha are the basic treatises of the non-Vaibhasika sarvastivadins, i.e. of the sautrantikas of the Gandharan cultural area.
Charles Willemen, M.A. in Classics (Latin and Greek) M.A. and Ph.D. in Oriental Studies all in Belgium where he has been a full professor since 1977. He is lifelong member of the Belgian Royal Academy of Science and has been visiting professor in Nalanda, Benares, Santineketan, Beijing, Shanghai, Xi`an, Calgary.