An Extensive Commentary on the Middle Way: Based on Chandrakirti’s Entering the Middle Way and Lama Tsong Khapa’s Illuminating the Intent
with Venerable George Churinoff

Saturdays, May 18, 25, Jun 1, 8, 15 & 22, 1–3pm EDT

*New Dates* Saturdays, Jul 6, 13, 20, 27 & Aug 3, 1–3pm EDT


Note: Registration for the new dates (Jul 6-Aug 3) will be available soon.

If one does not possess the wisdom realizing reality,
Even though renunciation and bodhicitta are cultivated,
The root of cyclic existence cannot be cut. So,
Therefore, strive in the means to realize dependent arising.

– from Lama Tsong Khapa’s Three Principals of the Path

This course began on June 4, 2022 and will continue for several years. The recordings for all the classes are available here. Registration dates will be offered for a series of, approximately, 8-week units. Timings, Saturdays 1-3pm, will remain the same for the duration of the course. 

Note: There is an optional after class discussion group which meets via Zoom on Mondays at 2pm EDT/EST, the Zoom link for registered students is in the Protected Materials section.

To achieve enlightenment, the ultimate aim of oneself and others, it is not sufficient to have fully developed pure renunciation of samsara and the altruistic intention to achieve enlightenment. One definitely needs to have realized the ultimate truth of all phenomena: emptiness. 

The correct understanding of emptiness–the fact that all phenomena are dependent arisings and hence empty of inherent existence–was taught by the Buddha and subsequently clarified by Arya Nagarjuna as the Middle Way (Madhyamaka). 

Chandrakirti made Nagarjuna’s teachings accessible with his Auto-Commentary to Entering the Middle Way (Madhyamakavatara-bhashya), and Lama Tsong Khapa clarified those very instructions in his Illuminating the Intent of the Middle Way (dbu ma gong pa rab gsal). This course is a detailed discourse on the Middle Way by means of these two texts. It will be taught by American-born Buddhist monk George Churinoff (Gelong Thubten Tsultrim). 

Venerable George received extensive teachings on Chandrakirti’s and Lama Tsong Khapa’s texts from several Tibetan masters including the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Geshe Lhundup Sopa, Geshe Jampa Gyatso, Geshe Palden Dragpa and others. Venerable George further translated the entirety of Chandrakirti’s Auto-Commentary over more than four years and edited the extensive commentary on Illuminating the Intent given by Geshe Sopa during five one-month summer courses. 

Participants should ideally have a foundation of the stages of the Buddhist path, a motivation to study this text for the ultimate benefit of others, and a determination to follow the course in its entirety.

Note: After Venerable Churinoff’s class, students are invited to participate in an optional self-organized weekly discussion session. This is to enhance our wisdom which arises from analysis, reflection and discussion.

The final length of the course is fluid. It will depend on the amount of detail students wish as well as the health of the teacher, holidays and other intangibles. Registration dates will be offered for a series of, approximately, eight-week units.

Venerable Churinoff began these extraordinary and inspiring teachings on June 4, 2022. If you missed the earlier sessions, view them online or jump right in!

This program is offered jointly by:

  • Ocean of Compassion (Gyalwa Gyatso) Buddhist Center, Campbell, CA
  • Tushita Mahayana Meditation Center, New Delhi, India

Important Note

This is an online-only event that is administered using Zoom.

After registering, the system automatically sends a confirmation and/or a receipt email that contains the Zoom meeting link and/or other instructions. If you don’t immediately receive the system email(s) or you have any other questions, please contact us at

*Zoom is an interactive video-conferencing tool that allows participants to see one another and ask questions. You will need a computer, a tablet or a smartphone with the Zoom application to attend. If you are using Zoom for the first time, please login earlier to allow any necessary installations on your device.

Registration / Schedule

Suggested: $20 per session, or $90 for all 5-weeks (Jul 6-Aug 3) of the course.
Other offering options: free, $5, $10, $30

The suggested amount helps support teacher offerings and expenses, direct costs and rent. Shantideva member benefits will apply automatically if you have a membership in MindBody. 

Note: The course will be taught over many months and registration dates will be offered for a series of, approximately, 8-week units.  Timings, Saturdays 1-3pm, will remain the same for the duration of the course.

Shantideva Center may publish recorded sessions in the public domain (e.g., on YouTube). By registering for this event, you are agreeing to give your consent to this process. To protect your privacy, we recommend being conscious about any personal information you share during the sessions. To further enhance anonymity, you may want to consider turning off video or naming yourself using abbreviations.

Time zone: US Eastern Daylight Time (GMT/UTC-4)

For questions regarding registration, please email for assistance.

Additional Materials

(click ⊕ to expand, ⊖ to collapse)

  • Prayers for Teachings-Illuminating the Intent 7-21-2023 (PDF)
  • The Foundation Of All Good Qualities (PDF)
  • Illuminating the Intent: An Exposition of Candrakirti’s Entering the Middle Way by Je Tsongkhapa, translated by Thupten Jinpa.

This text can be ordered from Wisdom Publications and other booksellers.

We are very grateful to Wisdom Publications for kindly offering a 40% discount on this book for exclusive use by the registered participants of this course. The Wisdom Publications discount code is available on the password protected page.

  • Candrakirti’s Madhyamakavatara, Translated by Thupten Jinpa (PDF)
  • Meditation on Emptiness – Hearers and Solitary Realizers (495, 496) (PDF)
  • Objectless Compassion and the Limits of Empiricism by Jeremy S. Manheim (PDF)
  • Gelong Thubten Tsultrim YouTube Channel:
  • The Bodhisattva’s Ten Great Vows (PDF)
  • Dharmakīrti Pramāṇavārttika Quote (PDF)
  • Śrāvakas and Pratyekabuddhas realize emptiness (PDF)
  • Origin of the Names Kinsman of the Sun -Sugarcane Lineage (PDF)
  • Lump of Foam Sutra (PDF)
  • Kaccānagotta Sutta (PDF)
  • Seventeen Great Paṇḍitas of Glorious Nālandā (PDF)
  • 17 Nalanda Masters Dates (PDF)
  • Picture 1-Seventeen Great Paṇḍitas (PDF)
  • Picture 2-Seventeen Great Paṇḍitas (PDF)
  • Chapa Chokyi Senge, Ngog Loden Sherab and Dolpopa (PDF)
  • Dolpopa & LTK – Cabezon – Freedom from Extremes (PDF)
  • Objects of Tsong Khapa’s criticism and his critics (PDF)
  • Dhūtaguṇa (PDF)
  • Questions of Kaśapya (PDF)
  • Guṇāparyantastotra (PDF)
  • The Three or Four Results of Nonvirtue (PDF)
  • Anger-The Miraculous Play of Mañjuśrī (PDF)
  • The Great Lions Roar of Maitreya (PDF)
  • Meeting of Father and Son Sutra quote on Two Truths-Hopkins (PDF)
  • Ven. George Churinoff – Practice of Emptiness (2022) (YouTube)
  • Realms of the Six Desire Realm Gods (PDF)
  • Jinpa- Two senses of ‘ultimate’ in the Madhyamaka dialectic (PDF)
  • Excerpt from Lopez on the Magician (PDF)
  • The Nine Examples etc. Excerpt from Lopez (PDF)
  • Similes from the Vajra Cutter Sutra – Khensur Jampa Tegchok (PDF)
  • Dose of Emptiness by Cabezon (PDF)
  • Lectures on Tibetan Religious Culture (PDF)
  • Quote from 20 verses Sevens Works of Vasubandhu (PDF)
  • Refutation of Unitary Partless Particles (PDF)
  • Quotation from The Noble Condensed Perfection of Wisdom (PDF)
  • Tekchog – Illustration of the person (PDF)
  • Geshe Sopa review (PDF)
  • Wayman Response (PDF)
  • Geshe Sopa response (PDF)
  • Wayman pp 61-69 & 188-197 (PDF)
  • Geshe Sopa pp 75-82 (PDF)
  • Geshe Sopa 7-05-2002 – Passage requested by Shankha (PDF)
  • Georges Dreyfus extract from “the sound of two hands clapping” (PDF)
  • di versus bi prefixes (PDF)
  • Kamalaśīla’s Five Sets of Reasons (PDF)
  • Sidney Morgenbesser: Sidewalk Socrates (American philosopher and professor at Columbia University) (LINK)
  • The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies (LINK)
  • Samkhya Philosophy, extracted from The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies (PDF)
  • Pramanavartika, Chapter 2, Verse 165-100 Elephants (PDF)
  • Comments by Geshe Sopa read during class March 16th (PDF)
  • Geshe Sopa LRC – Refuting Production from Others (PDF)
  • ​Excerpt from Satkari Mookerjee, The Pramanavarttikam of Dharmakirti pages 82-83​, includes Verse 34 about fire and smoke, cause and effect (PDF)
  • ​Refers to Note 397​, p.619 ​of Illuminating the Intent by Thupten Jinpa, with the passage from Prasannapada, and comparing the translations of Thupten Jinpa and Anne MacDonald. (PDF)
  • In Clear Words, The Prasannapadā, Chapter One, Vol. 2 by Anne MacDonald (PDF)
  • Hopkins 441-443 (PDF)
  • Hopkins 470-472 (PDF)
  • Causal and Natural Relations (PDF)
  • Scale Anology from Rice Seedling (PDF)
  • Seven-Line Prayer to Padmasambhava (PDF)
  • About translation of two phrases (PDF)

If you are a registered student, you may access protected readings on our password protected page. After registering, an online receipt will be sent to the email address that you used to register. The page link and password will be on the receipt. Please contact us at if you have questions about accessing this page.


Dana for the Teacher

Shantideva Center makes offerings to our teachers and facilitators using the funds collected through registration. You can give additional support to the teacher or facilitator and create a stronger karmic connection by offering dana. Please make sure to select the teacher’s or facilitator’s name in the dropdown menu. Dana offered is passed entirely to them, but please note that it is not tax-deductible.

About the Teacher

A physics graduate from MIT, Venerable George Churinoff earned a Masters degree in Buddhist studies from Delhi University, India. He took ordination in 1975 and studied the Geshe Studies Program at Manjushri Institute, England, where he also served as Spiritual Program Coordinator. Venerable George was instrumental in founding the FPMT Masters Program at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa in Italy, where he also served as Program Coordinator. After studying and teaching there for eight years he spent several years at Tushita Centre in Delhi, followed by three years as Lama Osel Rinpoche’s English curriculum tutor at Sera Je Monastery in South India.

Venerable George has done many retreats in the sutra and tantra traditions and taught extensively in FPMT centers all over the world. He taught the FPMT Basic Program as resident teacher at Dorje Chang Institute, New Zealand and at Land of Medicine Buddha, USA. Venerable George now resides in Asheville, NC and has recently completed a 3-year retreat.