Ignorance is the cause of suffering

The goal of the Rime Shedra is to make accessible the vast treasures of Buddhist wisdom to those who wish to progress further in their understanding of the profound principles presented in these advanced Buddhist texts. The understanding of the ultimate nature of reality is the key to liberation. For practitioners this program provides an opportunity to develop a more sophisticated understanding of the nature of reality.  For scholars it provides an opportunity to expand their understanding of Buddhism by cultivating an experiential understanding. The program is based upon the traditional Shedra, or monastic college, curriculum which is the cornerstone of Buddhist education in all of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

The Root Text of the Yogachara Tradition

Middle Beyond Extremes is one of the main root texts of the Yogacara tradition and its descendant the Shentong tradition. This text presents the core material traditionally covered in both Abhidharma and Madhyamaka texts from a Yogacara point of view, as well as a profound description of the practice of analytical vipashyana. It explains the profound key points of the entire path of the Great and Lesser Vehicles and reveals reality, free of dualistic extremes.  

This text is one of the five great treatises of Maitreya, the supreme Bodhisattva of the tenth ground and the future Buddha. In about the third century CE, Maitreya presented this to Asanga, who then committed it to writing and taught it widely.  

Each verse is explained by two commentaries - an "annotation-commentary" by Shenphen Chokyi Nangwa and a "meaning-commentary" by Ju Mipham, which is based upon the commentaries by Vasubandhu and Sthiramati. The verses and commentaries are followed by Mipham’s topical outline.  

The opening stanzas of this text has mystified readers for over 1,500 years:

The Way Things Are
The false imagination exists.
In it, the two do not exist.
Emptiness exists here,
And within it, that exists as well. [I.1]

Not empty, not not empty—
This explains it all,
Because of existence, non-existence, and existence.
This is the path of the Middle Way. [I.2]


Core Materials

  1. Syllabus
  2. Madhyantavibhaga Summary Outline
  3. Madhyantavibhaga Mipham’s Detailed Outline
  4. The Three Natures as Described in Verse 1.5 of the Madhyantavibhaga
  5. Course Chants

Supplemental Materials

  1. Prajnaparamita, Indian gzhan stong pas, and the beginning of Tibetan gzhan stong
  2. The Maitreya Chapter from the 18,000 Line Prajnaparamita Sutra
  3. Mipham’s Detailed Outline of Chapter Four
  4. “A Study of the Madhyantavibhaga-bhasya-tika
  5. “The Ontological Foundation of Religious Praxis in Yogacara Buddhism”
  6. Factors Eliminated on the Paths
  7. Key Qualities for Enlightenment
  8. Selections from the Prajnaparamita Sutras on Suchness and Emptiness
  9. “What Remains” in Shunyata
  10. Lists from Middle Beyond Extremes
  11. Wisdom of Buddha – Chapters Six and Seven
  12. Excerpt from The Nature of Things
  13. Madhyamika and Yogacara
  14. The Lack of Own Being of Phenomena
  15. Three Natures and Wheels of Dharma
  16. Excerpt from A Buddhist Doctrine of Experience
  17. Excerpt from Mind Only
  18. Excerpt from Principles of Buddhist Psychology
  19. Excerpt from Seven Works of Vasubandhu
  20. Comparative Translations of Verses 1.1-1.9
  21. Excerpt from Wonhyo’s Philosophy of Mind
  22. Readings from Middle Beyond Extremes

Class Recordings

  1. April 17, 2012
  2. April 24, 2012
  3. May 1, 2012
  4. May 8, 2012
  5. May 15, 2012
  6. May 22, 2012
  7. May 29, 2012
  8. June 5, 2012
  9. June 12, 2012
  10. June 19, 2012