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The Madhyamakāvatāra (Wylie: dbu ma la 'jug-pa) is a text by Candrakīrti (600–c. 650) on the Mādhyamaka school of Buddhist philosophy. Candrakīrti also wrote an auto-commentary to the work, called the Madhyamakāvatārabhasya.[1]

It is traditionally considered as a commentary on the meaning of Nagarjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā and the Ten Stages Sutra (Daśabhūmika Sūtra).[2][3] As such, within the Tibetan Buddhist canon this text is classified as commentarial literature.[4]

The text[edit]

The Madhyamakāvatāra relates the Mādhyamaka doctrine of śūnyatā to the "spiritual discipline" (Sanskrit: sādhanā) of a bodhisattva. The Madhyamakāvatāra contains eleven chapters, where each addresses one of the ten pāramitās or "perfections" fulfilled by bodhisattvas as they traverse the 'ten stages' (Sanskrit: bhūmi) to buddhahood, which is the final chapter.[5][6]

Commentarial literature[edit]

  • The Madhyamakāvatārabhasya is Candrakīrti's own auto-commentary to the text.[1]
  • The Madhyamakāvatāraṭīkā is an elaborate 11th century commentary by the Indian scholar Jayānanda.[1]
  • 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[7] and by Padmakara Translations in it is titled The Word of Chandra: The Necklace of Spotless Crystal [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[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Fredrik Liland (trans), Candrakīrti. "Madhyamakāvatāra (Bibliotheca Polyglotta)". Retrieved 2022-09-23.
  2. ^ Rigpa Shedra (January 2009). 'Introduction to the Middle Way'. Source: [1] (accessed: April 10, 2009)
  3. ^ '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.
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ Keown, Damien (2004). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Oxford University Press.
  6. ^ Rigpa Shedra (January 2009). 'Introduction to the Middle Way'. Source: [2] (accessed: April 10, 2009)
  7. ^ Source: [3] (Wednesday November 11, 2009)
  8. ^ Padmakara Translation Group (2002). Introduction to the Middle Way (Candrakirti's Madhyamakāvatāra with Mipham Rinpoche's Commentary). Shambhala ISBN 978-1-57062-942-6

Further reading[edit]

  • 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.