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Madhyamakāvatāra (Sanskrit: Madhyamakāvatāra; Tib. wylie: ‘’dBu-ma-la ‘Jug-pa) is a text by Candrakirti (600–c. 650) on the Middle Way school (Skt. Mādhyamaka). It is a commentary on the meaning of Nagarjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā and also the Daśabhūmikasūtra-śāstra.[1][2] As such, within the Tibetan Buddhist canon this text is classified as commentarial literature.[3]

The inclusion of the text within most Geshe 'syllabus' (Tibetan: shedra) is normative.

The text

The Madhyamakāvatāra relates the Mādhyamaka doctrine of 'emptiness' (Sanskrit: śūnyatā) to the 'spiritual discipline' (Sanskrit: sadhana) of a Bodhisattva. The Madhyamakāvatāra contains eleven chapters, where each addresses one of the 'ten perfections' (Sanskrit: pāramitā) fulfilled by Bodhisattvas as they traverse the 'ten stages' (Sanskrit: bhūmi) to Buddhahood, which is the final chapter.[4][5]


Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche (1997) render's a quotation from Candrakirti's Madhyamakāvatāra thus:

That which arises interdependently
Is characterized as meeting and working together. [6][7]

Exegesis and commentarial literature

  • Jamgon Ju Mipham Gyatso (1846–1912) wrote a commentary on the Madhyamakavatara entitled: dbu ma la 'jug pa'i 'grel pa zla ba'i zhal lung dri me shel phreng; the title has been rendered into English by Duckworth (2008: p.232) as: Immaculate Crystal Rosary[8]
  • Khenpo Shenga, dbu ma la 'jug pa'i 'grel mchan legs par bshad pa zla ba'i 'od zer
  • Khenpo Ngawang Palzang, dbu ma 'jug pa'i 'bru 'grel blo gsal dga' ba'i me long
  • Jeffrey Hopkins (1980). Compassion in Tibetan Buddhism. Ithaca: Snow Lion. (first five chapters based on Tsongkhapa’s commentary)
  • Rendawa Shonnu Lodro (1997). Commentary on the Entry into the Middle, Lamp which Elucidates Reality, translated by Stotter-Tillman & Acharya Tashi Tsering, Sarnath, Varanasi.

English translations

See also


  1. Rigpa Shedra (January 2009). 'Introduction to the Middle Way'. Source: [1] (accessed: April 10, 2009)
  2. 'Sutra of the Ten Bhumis' (Skt. Daśabhūmika-sūtra, Wyl. phags pa sa bcu pa'i mdo), the nomenclature given to the thirty-first chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra.
  3. Gyamtso, Khenpo Tsultrim (2003) The Sun of Wisdom: Teachings on the Noble Nagarjuna's Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way ISBN 1-57062-999-4, p.168
  4. Keown, Damien (2004). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Oxford University Press.
  5. Rigpa Shedra (January 2009). 'Introduction to the Middle Way'. Source: [2] (accessed: April 10, 2009)
  6. Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche (1997). The Blazing Lights of the Sun and Moon. (A commentary on Mipham's Sherab Raltri). Source: [3] (accessed: April 10, 2009)
  7. "'du 'phrod 'du is joined or gathered together, and 'phrod mingled, or harmonious meeting. Things meet and cooperate. The universe is a coop, as it were, a condominium. Also there is a sense of things working as they are supposed to: Weapons cut, medicines cure, and whatever. This is a mtshan nyid of tendrel, its definition, what is it really. Mtshan nyid means definition, but also characteristic or principle. For example, like people are essentially characterized by being able to think." A note from: Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche (1997). The Blazing Lights of the Sun and Moon. (A commentary on Mipham's Sherab Raltri). Source: [4] (accessed: April 10, 2009)
  8. Source: [5] (Wednesday November 11, 2009)

Further reading

  • Huntington, C. W.(1983). "The system of the two truths in the Prasannapadā and The Madhyamakāvatāra: A study in Mādhyamika soteriology." Journal of Indian Philosophy 11 (1): pp: 77-106.

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