Skip to Main Content

The Middle-Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment

Foreword by Ling Rinpoche / Translated by Philip Quarcoo
Published by Wisdom Publications
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



Buy from Other Retailers

About The Book

The first complete English translation of renowned scholar-saint Tsongkhapa's Middle-Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path.

Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), the author of the well-known Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment and the teacher of the First Dalai Lama, is renowned as one of the greatest scholar-saints that Tibet has ever produced. A dozen years after writing the Great Treatise, he wrote the Middle-Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path, presented here in its first complete English translation.

Half the length of the well-known Great Treatise, this work similarly presents a systematic overview of the Buddhist path. Tsongkhapa begins by abridging the longer work, distilling its explanations for quicker integration. He presents a series of meditations, beginning with recognizing the rarity of our human existence and the great opportunities it affords, followed by reflections on impermanence, suffering, and the promise of liberation from our past actions, until proceeding to the path of bodhisattvas, whose universal compassion seeks to free every being from suffering. Tsongkhapa gives especially detailed instructions on samatha, 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.

Those new to Tibetan Buddhist teachings will benefit from the approachable style of this classic handbook for enlightenment, and beginners and longtime practitioners alike will cherish the clear guidance from one of Tibet’s great luminaries.

About The Author

Tsongkhapa Losang Drakpa (1357–1419), perhaps Tibet’s greatest religious genius, founded the Geluk school and Ganden Monastery and was teacher to the First Dalai Lama.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (June 29, 2021)
  • Length: 488 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781614294436

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

“It is thrilling at long last to have a complete translation of the Middle-Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, Tsongkhapa’s great, late-life summation of his views on a wide range of issues in Buddhist cosmology, ethics, meditation theory, and—perhaps most importantly—Madhyamaka philosophy. Philip Quarcoo’s accurate and readable translation brings alive for both scholars and practitioners of Buddhism Je Rinpoche's lucid presentation of the entire non-tantric path to awakening, from initial devotion to the spiritual master all the way to the transformative realization of emptiness. This is an indispensable work for anyone who wants to appreciate the mature thought of one of Tibet’s—and the world’s—true religious and philosophical geniuses.”

– Roger R. Jackson, John W. Nason Professor of Asian Studies and Religion, Emeritus, Carleton College

“Tsongkhapa’s Middle-Length Treatise offers precious personal instruction for practice. It is a beautiful letter from our teacher. I am grateful to everyone involved in producing this excellent translation!”

– Guy Newland, author of Introduction to Emptiness: As Taught in Tsong-kha-pa’s Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path and editor of The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment

“An authentic source for the deep and extensive teachings of one of the greatest Buddhist masters of Tibet. The profound words of Je Tsongkhapa come through clearly and precisely in this welcome addition to the growing lamrim graded-path literature.”

– Alexander Berzin, author and founder, Berzin Archives,

“The Middle-Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, composed by Je Tsongkhapa at Ganden Monastery in 1415 as a summary of all the scriptures containing the Buddha’s words, counts among the early outstanding works of his printed oeuvre, a Central Tibetan xylograph from the year 1465 being a significant witness. This work is now available in an elegant English translation, refined in a long process of immersion in the text and ably capturing the tone of the master’s voice as he presents a complete course to enlightenment in an accessible step-by-step approach.”

– Franz-Karl Ehrhard, professor emeritus of Tibetan and Buddhist studies, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich

“Dromtonpa Gyalwe Jungne said: ‘Amazing! The words of the Buddha, the Tripitaka, this golden garland of precious instructions for the splendor of the three types of beings advised by it—it is meaningful to every living being you may think of.’ In accordance with this statement, the great Jamgon Lama Tsongkhapa composed the present Middle-Length Treatise as a commentary on Jowo Atisa’s Lamp on the Path, which is special in the way it greatly benefits those of the greatest minds as well as persons of medium and least capacity. Although it is abridged, the presentation of the subject matter is complete, and the essential key points are crystal clear. For instance, the way to cultivate the mental image in tantric samatha meditation that is not elucidated in the Great Treatise, the sequence in which the two apprehensions of a self arise in the context of special insight, the sequence in which the two types of selflessness are realized, and other such profound points make this an outstanding text. Therefore Wisdom Publications now publishing it in English for the first time is of great significance to scholars and practitioners striving to study, contemplate, and meditate on it is worthy of praise and fills me with great joy.”

– Jhado Rinpoche, former abbot of Namgyal Monastery

“This is an excellent translation of Tsongkhapa’s Middle-Length Treatise (Lam rim ’bring ba), which sets out the way to skillfully progress through the stages of the path to enlightenment. This translation successfully conveys that Tsongkhapa is speaking not only to his fifteenth-century disciples but to us as well, more than six hundred years later. I am absolutely sure that this work offers us a key to concisely comprehend the profound and magnificent system of Tsongkhapa’s lam rim teaching.”

– Kodo Yatsuya, professor, Komazawa University

“The Buddha said that we should not accept his teachings with blind belief, but investigate them to see if they hold up to reasoned analysis. Then we must meditate on them and apply them to our lives to make them our own. In my experience, Jé Tsongkhapa’s texts, with their clear instructions and brilliant logic, are some of the best to guide us on this transformative path.”

– Bhiksuni Thubten Chodron, founder and abbess of Sravasti Abbey and author of Buddhism for Beginners

Resources and Downloads