Middle Beyond Extremes contains a translation of the Buddhist masterpiece Distinguishing the Middle from Extremes. This famed text, often referred to by its Sanskrit title, Madhyantavibhaga, is part of a collection known as the Five Maitreya Teachings. Maitreya, the Buddha's regent, is held to have entrusted these profound and vast instructions to the master Asanga in the heavenly realm of Tushita.
In pithy verses, Distinguishing the Middle from Extremes employs the principle of the three natures to explain the way things seem to be, as well as the way they actually are. Unraveling the subtle processes that condition our thinking and experience, Maitreya's teaching reveals a powerful path of compassionate vision and spiritual transformation. Distinguishing the Middle from Extremes is here presented alongside commentaries by two outstanding masters of Tibet's nonsectarian Rimé movement: Khenpo Shenga and Ju Mipham. Maitreya and Asanga, who lived during the fourth century C.E., are the progenitors of the Approach of Vast Activity, one of two great currents of Mahayana view and practice. Their works have achieved the status of unique spiritual classics.
Maitreya describes the multifaceted interdependent processes whereby consciousness manifests and expresses itself. When on this path of experience we equally acknowledge the expressions of mind and their intrinsic nature, we will, he promises, discover a flawless and bountiful perspective—a discovery of unlimited resources. Maitreya's terse instructions are accompanied here by two commentaries.
The first, by Khenpo Shenga (1871–1927), intersperses glosses and explanatory remarks between the words of the root text. Unique to Shenga's approach is that he literally never adds a word of his own—all of his comments are extracted verbatim from the classical commentary of Vasubandhu. The second commentary, by Ju Mipham (1846–1912), seeks to explain and provide clear solutions by taking up the issues set forth in the verses and offering his understanding of them.
"In his Five Teachings, the protector Maitreya the Regent, who has mastered the ten grounds, reveals fully and flawlessly the view, meditation, conduct, and fruition that is accomplished through the Great Vehicle. With utmost profundity, his teachings reach far and wide; they are a treasury of scripture, reasoning, and oral instruction."—Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche
"This is the most readable translation I have ever seen of Maitreya's profound text Distinguishing the Middle from Extremes, together with two of the most incisive commentaries from Tibet. The translation is so lucid and precise, even one sentence can pull the reader toward deep experience of meaning. Invaluable for scholars and meditators, this is a work to be celebrated."—John Makransky, Associate Professor of Buddhism, Boston College
"This timely volume is a much welcomed addition to our body of Yogacara literature in translation. This profound text—one of the five Yogacara treatises associated with the legendary Indian master Maitreya—is both an analysis of the extreme views to which we are all too prone and a succinct summary of the Middle Path that takes us beyond extremes. The translation of the root verses is accompanied by two recent Tibetan commentaries. The first carefully elucidates the often cryptic verses themselves, while the second fully elaborates their sense and application. Together the text and its commentaries provide a comprehensive and accessible outline of the Yogacara view of reality. It is essential for any serious student of Yogacara."—William S. Waldron, Associate Professor of Religion, Middlebury College
"Academics and serious students will gain from it a key to many other Tibetan Buddhist texts and a rigorously tested foundation for Buddhist practice."—Thar Lam
"This is a fine translation . . . of a seminal text in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist traditions. It is accompanied by two commentaries that together make this notoriously difficult text surprisingly readable. . . . Represents a major contribution, of which scholars as well as practitioners will want to take note."—Religious Studies Review
"This fascinating translation of Maitreya's Madhyantavibhaga is a lynchpin for students of the classics. . . . The end-path of this critically important text is to aid the seeker in discerning reality free of dualistic extremes. This translation does that job admirably well. . . . Of value to the reader is a superb 23-page English-Tibetan-Sanskrit glossary."—New Age Retailer