Introduction to the Middle Way

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Introduction to the Middle Way (Skt. Madhyamakāvatāra; Tib. Uma la Jukpa; Wyl. dbu ma la 'jug pa) — Chandrakirti's classic commentary on the meaning of Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamaka-karika. It is also a commentary on the Sutra of the Ten Bhumis (Dashabhumika-Sutra).

Meaning of the Title

Madhyamaka refers to the texts which express the meaning of the middle way beyond extremes, both the Buddha's teachings of the second turning and the commentaries that further elucidate their meaning. Specifically here it refers to Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamaka-karika.

Avatara means entry or introduction. This text is an introduction in the sense that it clearly brings out the meaning of Nagarjuna's text by means of both scriptures from the sutras as well as the pith instruction passed down through the lineage of masters from Nagarjuna to Chandrakirti. It expresses both the profound aspect of Nagarjuna's text, namely emptiness, as well as the vast aspect, the paths and bhumis.


The text has eleven chapters, corresponding to the ten bhumis and the state of buddhahood.



  • Geshe Rabten, Echoes of Voidness, translated and edited by Stephen Batchelor, Wisdom, 1983
  • Huntington, C.W., The Emptiness of Emptiness, University of Hawaii Press, 1989
  • Introduction to the Middle Way with Mipham Rinpoche's Commentary, translated by Padmakara Translation Group, Shambhala, 2002
  • Introduction to the Middle Way: Chandrakirti's Madhyamakavatara with commentary by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, edited by Alex Trisoglio, Khyentse Foundation, 2003
  • The Karmapa's Middle Way: Feast for the Fortunate (translation of Chandrakirti's root text along with commentary by the Ninth Karmapa, Wangchuk Dorje), translated by Tyler Dewar, Snow Lion, 2008.



In Tibetan

In Translation

  • Jeffrey Hopkins, Compassion in Tibetan Buddhism, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 1980 (first five chapters based on Tsongkhapa’s commentary)
  • Rendawa Shonnu Lodro, Commentary on the Entry into the Middle, Lamp which Elucidates Reality, translated by Stotter-Tillman & Acharya Tashi Tsering, Sarnath, Varanasi, 1997.

External Links