Madhyamaka (Profound Lineage)

One of the two great mahayana schools in India and based on the Second Turning of the Wheel of Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings. It was founded by the great Dharma King and Mahasiddha Nagarjuna (150-250). Nagarjuna, who was taught directly by Manjushri, developed the Prajnaparamita Sutras and founded the Profound or Wisdom Lineage upon which the Pure Land and Ch’an (Zen) Schools are based.Madhyamakavatara or the Madhyamika Treatise (Guide to the Middle Way) by Chandrakirti (600-650) is a commentary on Nagarjuna’s The Mulamadhyamakakarika Treatise (The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way) and is also one of the five classic commentaries or treatises that should be mastered. This school is also considered by certain Tibetan Sects to hold the highest teaching of the Buddha on emptiness, although all the major sects study all four of the early Indian schools listed here. Shantarakshita merged the approach of the Madhyamaka and Yogachara to show that they were both aspects of the Buddha’s teachings, one emphasizing the profound wisdom aspect and the other vast oceanlike compassion.