Madhyantavibhaga

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Distinguishing the Middle from Extremes (dbus mtha' rnam 'byed) - composed by Maitreya, transcribed by Asanga


Translated by the Dharmachakra Translation Committee along with two commentaries by Ju Mipham, and Khenpo Shenga as:

From the cover: Distinguishing the Middle from Extremes (Madhyantavibhaga) is one of five great treatises ascribed to Maitreya, Shakyamuni Buddha’s Regent and the next Buddha to appear in this Fortunate Eon. Maitreya, it is said, transmitted these teachings to the great Bodhisattva Asanga in the heavenly realm of Tushita. Distinguishing the Middle from Extremes applies the principles of the three natures (trisvabhava, ngo bo nyid gsum) to explain things both as they seem to be, and as they actually are. Unraveling the nature of the ground, the path and the fruition as discovered by means of the Buddhist vehicles for spiritual transformation, Distinguishing the Middle from Extremes is cherished as an inexhaustible treasure of profound and vast Dharma. The treatise has spurned rich and diverse commentarial traditions in South-, Central and East Asia. This volume presents Distinguishing the Middle from Extremes accompanied by the commentaries by Khenpo Shenga (1871-1927) and Ju Mipham (1846-1912).

Khenpo Shenga was a master of the non-sectarian Rime movement of 19th and 20th century Tibet. In his commentaries on the classical Indian treatises he applies an extraordinary approach. Rather than directly commenting on the treatise in question himself, Shenga instead draws quotations from the great Indian commentaries, which he then supplies as annotations to the treatise. In this way he achieves a format that lets the reader come intimately close to the original through a skillful and discrete use of annotations, which themselves are classical source material. In his commentary to Distinguishing the Middle from Extremes, all annotations are from the commentary by the 4th century master, Vasubandhu.

Ju Mipham, paramount master of the Nyingma school and primary exponent of the Rime movement, displayed a universal genius as he produced treatises on all aspects of Sutrayana and Mantrayana Buddhism as well on all the classical fields of secular learning. With his characteristic achievement of both profundity and clarity of expression Mipham in his commentary to Distinguishing Between the Middle and the Extremes illumines the path of vast activity, explaining the crucial principles that, for him, are fundamental for the entire Great Vehicle.

This volume translated by the Dharmachakra Translation Committee will be published in early 2007 by Snow Lion Publications.

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