Alex Li Trisoglio

Madhyamakavatara 8-Week Program: Outline

An 8-week introduction to the Buddhist philosophy of the Middle Way and the view of emptiness and nonduality, based on Chandrakirti’s Madhyamakavatara.

Online Teaching
June-July 2017

For further information see Introduction.

IntroWeek 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6Week 7Week 8

Program Outline

Week 1: Introduction to the View of the Middle Way
7 June 2017 / 60 minutes
Question: What is the view and why is it so important in Buddhism? How might we approach the study of the Middle Way?

Reference: Madhyamakavatara Introduction
Transcript / Pre-reading / Audio / Video

Week 2: Wisdom and Compassion
14 June 2017 / 118 minutes
Question: Why do we need to study and establish the view? Why can’t we just do our practice? What does progress on the path look like?

Reference: Madhyamakavatara verses 1:1 – 6:7 (chapter 1 verse 1 to chapter 6 verse 7)
Transcript / Pre-reading / Audio / Video

Week 3: Refuting wrong views: Introduction
21 June 2017 / 120 minutes
Question: What are wrong views and how might we refute them? Why are the two truths necessary (relative truth & ultimate truth)?

Reference: Madhyamakavatara verses 6:8 – 6:44
Transcript / Pre-reading / Audio / Video

Week 4: Refuting the Chittamatra (Mind-Only) school
28 June 2017 / 111 minutes
Question: How should we understand the Buddha’s teaching that all things come from mind?

Reference: Madhyamakavatara verses 6:45 – 6:119
Transcript / Pre-reading / Audio / Video

Week 5: Emptiness of Self
5 July 2017 / 117 minutes
Question: What does it mean that self is empty? How can we explain our experience? What is the difference between ‘self’ and ‘person’?

Reference: Madhyamakavatara verses 6:120 – 6:178
Transcript / Pre-reading / Audio / Video

Week 6: Emptiness of Emptiness
12 July 2017 / 86 minutes
Question: How is emptiness understood in the Mahayana? What is the emptiness of emptiness? How can we practice nonduality?

Reference: Madhyamakavatara verses 6:179 – 6:226
Transcript / Pre-reading / Audio / Video

Week 7: Applying the View in Practice: Enlightenment & Meditation
19 July 2017 / 136 minutes
Question: How can we understand enlightenment as nondual? How should we apply the view in our meditation / practice?

Reference: Madhyamakavatara verses 7:1 – 11:56
Transcript / Pre-reading / Audio / Video

Week 8: Applying the View in Life: Post-Meditation & Everyday Life
26 July 2017 / 142 minutes
Question: How might we apply the view in post-meditation and in our everyday life (e.g. in relationships, at work, etc.)

Reference: n/a
Transcript / Pre-reading / Audio / Video


Artwork10 Ox-Herding pictures depicting stages of the path to enlightenment, woodblock prints by Tokuriki Tomikichiro (1902-99). This set of images first appeared in the 12th century, as drawn by the Chinese Chan (Zen) master Kuòān Shīyuǎn (廓庵師遠).

Page last updated January 18, 2018