The Adornment of the Middle Way
and Jamgön Mipham's commentary
Padmakara talks: Following Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche’s advice, Padmakara senior translators will be hosting study sessions on different classical texts. This is a joint venture of Padmakara (Portugal) and Maitrikara, and, for this first event, is in partnership with the Milinda Program.
The first series of sessions will be given by Wulstan Fletcher and will focus on Madhyamaka and will consist of a reading of the introductory preamble to Mipham Rinpoche’s commentary on Śāntarakṣita’s The Adornment of the Middle Way (Madhyamakālaṃkāra). On the basis of the explanations given by Khenchen Pema Sherab many years ago at Chanteloube, an attempt will be made to review and contextualise Mipham’s work. This will include a general presentation of the principles of Madhyamaka, together with some reflections on the history of the tradition in India and Tibet and the important role played in it by Śāntarakṣita.
Śāntarakṣita was one of the most important abbots and scholars of Nalanda and a major figure in the Madhyamaka tradition. His unique contribution was to combine the Madhyamaka view as an expression of the ultimate truth with the Yogacāra or Cittamātra (Mind Only) teachings as a means of understanding the conventional. This synthesis, which thus unites the teachings of the second and third turnings of the Dharma-Wheel, and which was further enriched by the logico-epistemological tradition, to which Śāntarakṣita himself made important contributions, was the last major philosophical development in the history of Buddhist India. It was this tradition that Śāntarakṣita, together with his disciple Kamalaśīla, brought to Tibet in the eighth century.
Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche was a major figure in the Rimé or non-sectarian movement which, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, did so much to revive and strengthen the different traditions and schools of Tibetan Buddhism. His commentary on Śāntarakṣita’s Madhyamakālaṃkāra, composed while he was still a young man, has been described as one of the most profound Madhyamaka commentaries ever written. It formed part of an entire programme, requested by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, to produce textbooks on sūtra topics, the purpose of which was to revive and clarify the particular position of the Old Translation School. The vigour of the Nyingma teachings in the modern age is in large measure thanks to Mipham Rinpoche’s immense labours.
O Adorno do Caminho do Meio
(Madhyamakālaṃkāra, dbu ma rgyan), by Śāntarakṣita, and its commentary, by Jamgön Mipham, were translated from the Tibetan by Wulstan Fletcher and Helena Blankleder, Padmakara Translation Group (published by Shambhala Publications).
The online course will consist of 4 study sessions:
Thursday to Sunday, May 18th, 19th, 20th, 21th, 2023
Every session will last 2 hours, starting at:
18:30 WET (London, Lisbon)
19:30 CET (Paris, Madrid, Berlin)
13:30 EST (New York)
14:30 GMT-3 (Brasília)
The online sessions will be held in English with simultaneous translation to French, Portuguese, and Spanish. And take place via Zoom. Every session will be recorded and participants given the opportunity to watch any missed session.