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Madhyānta-vibhāga-kārikā (Verses Distinguishing the Middle and the Extremes) is a key work in Yogācāra Buddhist philosophy, attributed in the Tibetan tradition to Maitreya-nātha and in other traditions to Asanga.
The Madhyānta-vibhāga-kārikā consists of 112 verses (kārikā) which delineate the distinctions (vibhāga) and relationship between the middle (madya) view and the extremes (anta); it contains five chapters: Attributes (laksana), Obscurations (āvarana), Reality (tattva), Cultivation of Antidotes (pratipaksa-bhāvanā) and the Supreme Way (yānānuttarya). Along with Chinese, Tibetan and Mongolian translations, the text survives in a single Sanskrit manuscript discovered in Tibet by the Indian Buddhologist and explorer, Rahul Sankrityayan. The Sanskrit version also included a commentary (bhāsya) by Vasubandhu. An important sub-commentary (tīkā) by Sthiramati also survives in Sanskrit as well as a Tibetan version.
Editions and translations
A Sanskrit edition was prepared by Gadjin M. Nagao in 1964. The Madhyāntavibhāga-kārikā has been translated into English at least nine times, often with the Indian commentaries, in the following volumes:
- Madhyanta-vibhanga by Theodor Stcherbatsky. Bibliotheca Buddhica XXX. Academy of Sciences of USSR Press. Moscow: 1936
- Madhyāntavibhāga-ṭikā: An Analysis of the Middle Path and the Extremes by David Lasar Friedmann. Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden. 1937
- A Buddhist Doctrine of Experience: A New Translation and Interpretation of the Works of Vasubandhu the Yogacarin by Thomas Kochumuttom. Motilal Banarsidass. Delhi: 1982.
- Seven Works of Vasubandhu by Stefan Anacker. Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi: 1984
- The Principles of Buddhist Psychology by David J. Kalupahana. State University of New York Press. Albany: 1987
- A Study of the Madhyāntavibhāga-bhāṣya-ṭikā by Richard Stanley. Doctoral disseration, Australian National University, April, 1988
- Mind Only: A Philosophical and Doctrinal Analysis of the Vijnanavada by Thomas E. Wood. University of Hawaii Press. 1991
- Middle Beyond Extremes: Maitreya's Madhyantavibhaga with Commentaries by Khenpo Shenga and Ju Mipham by the Dharmachakra Translation Committee. Snow Lion Publications. Ithica: 2007. ISBN 1-55939-270-3
- Distinguishing the Middle and the Extremes by Asaṅga, Commentary by Vasubandhu: Draft Translation with brief annotations. by John D. Dunne. Unpublished.
- Gadjin M. Nagao (ed.), Madhyantavibhaga-bhasya, A Buddhist Philosophical Treatise Edited for the First Time from a Sanskrit Manuscript (Tokyo: Suzuki Research Foundation, 1964).