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Wulstan Fletcher
On Śāntarakṣita's Madhyamākālaṃkāra:
The Adornment of the Middle Way

Second Part | 7–10 March 2024


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, once again, in partnership with the Milinda Program.

On the first series of sessions Wulstan Fletcher covered part of the introductory preamble to Mipham Rinpoche’s commentary on Śāntarakṣita’s The Adornment of the Middle Way (Madhyamakālaṃkāra).

On this second series, Wulstan will continue to present this text and, 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 (1846–1912) 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 commentaries on both Sūtrayāna and Vajrayāna teachings are considered core texts in the Nyingma tradition, and in addition he wrote treatises on painting, poetics, sculpture, alchemy, medicine, and logic. His explanation of the Mahāyānasūtrāṃkāra, which is based on and condenses Sthiramati’s two-volume commentary in the Tengyur, was written in just forty days during the last year of his life.


The text:
The Adornment of the Middle Way 
(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 second part of this online course will again consist of 4 study sessions:

Thursday to Sunday, March 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 2024

Every session will last 2 hours, starting at: 
18:30 WET (London, Lisbon)
19:30 CET (Paris, Madrid, Berlin)
13:30 EST (New York)
15:30 GMT-3 (Brasília)

The online sessions will be held in English with simultaneous translation to Portuguese, Spanish, and French. And take place via Zoom. Every session will be recorded and participants given the opportunity to watch any missed session.

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