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, Jun 4, 11, 18, 25, Jul 9, 16, 23 & 30, 1–2:45pm EDT (optional after class discussion group) ONLINE

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 1-2:45pm, will remain the same for the duration of the course.

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)

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 over many months 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.

Important Note

This is an online-only event that is administered using Zoom, as the center is currently closed due to COVID-19. 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.

After registering, the system automatically sends a confirmation and/or a receipt email that contains the Zoom meeting link or other instructions. If you are using Zoom for the first time, please login a few minutes earlier to allow any necessary installations on your device.

If you don’t immediately receive the email(s) with the Zoom information, or you have questions about Zoom or accessing the class online, please contact us at [email protected].

Registration / Schedule

Suggested: $20 per session, or $144 for all 8-weeks 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 discounts or benefits will be applied 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 1-2:45pm, 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 [email protected] for assistance.

Additional Materials

Recommended Text

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.

If you are a registered student, you may access the 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 [email protected] if you have questions about accessing this page.

Recordings

All recordings will be available soon.

Dana for the Teacher

Shantideva Center makes offerings to all of our teachers using the funds collected through registration. You can give additional support to the teacher and create a stronger karmic connection by offering dana. Please make sure to select the teacher’s name in the dropdown menu. Dana offered is passed entirely to the teacher, 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 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 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.