THE MIDDLE-LENGTH TREATISE ON THE STAGES OF THE PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT
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Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), author of the well-known Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment and guru to the First Dalai Lama, is renowned as perhaps Tibet’s greatest scholar-saint. A dozen years after writing his Great Treatise, he wrote the Middle-Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, presented here in its first complete English translation.
Less than half the length of the Great Treatise, this work similarly presents a systematic overview of the Buddha’s teachings. Tsongkhapa begins by abridging the longer work, distilling its meditations for quicker integration. After recognizing the rarity of our human existence and the great opportunities it affords, he follows with reflections on impermanence, suffering, and the promise of liberation from our past actions, proceeding then to the path of bodhisattvas, whose universal compassion seeks to free every being from suffering. Tsongkhapa gives especially detailed instructions on śamatha, the deep meditative concentration that is a precondition for the highest insight into the nature of reality. The final and largest section, on that very insight, is unique to this work, particularly Tsongkhapa’s presentation of conventional truth and ultimate truth. Beginners and longtime practitioners alike will cherish the clear guidance from one of Tibet’s great luminaries.
“It is thrilling at long last to have a complete translation of the Middle-Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. Philip Quarcoo’s accurate and readable rendering brings Jé Rinpoché’s lucid presentation alive.”
—Roger R. Jackson, John W. Nason Professor of Asian Studies and Religion, emeritus, Carleton College
“The great Jamgön Lama Tsongkhapa composed the Middle-Length Treatise as a commentary on Jowo Atiśa’s Lamp on the Path. Although abridged, the presentation is complete, and essential key points are crystal clear. The way to cultivate the mental image in tantric śamatha meditation (not elucidated in the Great Treatise), the sequence in which the two types of selflessness are realized, and other such profound points make this an outstanding text. That it is now in English for the first time for scholars and for practitioners striving to study it, contemplate, and meditate is worthy of praise and fills me with great joy.”
—Jhado Tulku Rinpoche, former abbot of Namgyal Monastery
The Wisdom Culture Series, published under the guidance of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, features translations of key works by masters of the Geluk tradition.