Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakosa-Bhasya (ca. 380-390), besides its culminating achievement in streamlining the overall structure of the exposition of the preceding Abhidharma manuals, is unmatched by any of the preceding manuals in respect of its comprehensiveness-incorporating all important Vaibhasika doctrines since the time of the Abhidharma-mahavibhasa-of its excellent skill in definition and elucidation, and of its ability to clarify the difficult point involved in doctrinal disputations.
Added to these qualities is its great value as a brilliant critique and insightful revaluation of all the fundamental Sar-vastivada doctrines developed up to its time.
Since its appearance, it has been used as a standard textbook for the understanding of not only the Abhidharma doctrines but all the fundamental Buddhist doctrines in general.
Translated into Chinese by Paramartha in 563 A.D. and by Hsuan-tsang in 651-654 A.D., Hsuan-tsang's disciple P'u-kuang tells us that in India the Abhidharmakosa-Bhasya was hailed as the 'Book of Intelligence'. In China, Japan and the Far-east, too, the Kosa has generally been highly treasured as a textbook of fundamental importance for Buddhist studies.
Vasubandhu's brilliant critique of the doctrines of the Vaibhasika was answered by the equally brilliant Samghabhadra-a contemporary staunch defender and expounder of the doctrines of the Vaibhasikas-in his masterwork, the Abhidharmanyayanusara, now extant only in Hsuan-tsang's translation (653-654 A.D.).
The Sanskrit text, considered for a long time to be irremediably lost, was discovered by Rahula Samkrtyayana in 1935 in the Tibetan monastery of Ngor and was published by P. Pradhan in 1967 (1st edition).