dbus dang mtha' rnam par 'byed pa'i tshig le'ur byas pa
Bian zhong bian lun song
Distinguishing the Middle from the Extremes
In Sanskrit, “Differentiation of the Middle Way and the Extremes”; one of the Five Dharma Treatises of Maitreya (byams chos sde lnga) said to have been presented to Asaṅga by the bodhisattva Maitreya in the Tuṣita heaven. Written in verse, it is one of the most important Yogācāra delineations of the three natures (trisvabhāva), especially as they figure in the path to enlightenment, where the obstacles created by the imaginary (parikalpita) are overcome ultimately by the antidote of the consummate (pariniṣpanna). The “middle way” exposed here is that of the Yogācāra, and is different from that of Nāgārjuna, although the names of the two extremes to be avoided—the extreme of permanence (śāśvatānta) and the extreme of annihilation (ucchedānta)—are the same. Here the extreme of permanence is the existence of external objects, the imaginary nature (parikalpitasvabhāva). The extreme of annihilation would seem to include Nāgārjuna’s emptiness of intrinsic nature (svabhāva). The middle way entails upholding the existence of consciousness (vijñāna) as the dependent nature (paratantrasvabhāva) and the existence of the consummate nature (pariniṣpannasvabhāva). The work is divided into five chapters, which consider the three natures, the various forms of obstruction to be abandoned on the path, the ultimate truth according to Yogācāra, the means of cultivating the antidotes to the defilements, and the activity of the Mahāyāna path. (Source: The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, p. 489)
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Translations of This Text
- D'Amato, Mario, trans. Maitreya's Distinguishing the Middle from the Extremes (Madhyāntavibhāga): Along with Vasubandhu's Commentary (Madhyāntavibhāga-bhāṣya); A Study and Annotated Translation. Treasury of the Buddhist Sciences. Tengyur Translation Initiative. New York: American Institute of Buddhist Studies, Columbia University's Center for Buddhist Studies and Tibet House US, 2012.
- Dharmachakra Translation Committee, trans. Middle Beyond Extremes: Maitreya's Madhyāntavibhāga with Commentaries by Khenpo Shenga (gzhan phan chos kyi snang ba) and Ju Mipham ('ju mi pham rgya mtsho). Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 2006.
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Philosophical positions of this text
|Other Titles||~ Madhyāntavibhaṅga|
~ dbus mtha' rnam 'byed
|Text exists in||~ Tibetan|
|Canonical Genre||~ Tengyur · Sūtra · sems tsam · Cittamātra|
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