Clarifying the Essence

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Rongtön Sheja Künrig

Rongtön Sheja Kunrig

Clarifying the Essence

A Summary of the Instructions on the View of the Middle Way

by Rongtön Sheja Kunrig

Oṃ svasti!

In devotion, I pay homage to, and take refuge in, the guru and supreme deity: grant your blessings, I pray!

The summary of the instructions on the view on the Middle Way includes advice on 1) decisively eliminating conceptual elaboration[1] through the view; 2) taking the meaning into experience through meditation; and 3) bringing about enhancement through action.


Taking the meaning into experience through meditation has two aspects: 1) calm abiding (śamatha) and 2) penetrating insight (vipaśyanā).


The instructions on vipaśyanā themselves are divided into two: 1) meditating on the selflessness of the individual, and 2) meditating on the selflessness of phenomena.

These two incorporate meditations on 1) outer emptiness, 2) inner emptiness, and 3) the emptiness of both [outer and inner]. As any attachment to the truth of the two forms of selflessness must also be eliminated, it is also necessary to meditate on how they both lack true reality, and so 4) the meditation on the emptiness of emptiness is also taught.

Together, these four forms of meditation on emptiness include all the necessary means of cultivating the view of emptiness, with nothing lacking. Meditating on the first three forms of emptiness eliminates imputation[2] regarding phenomena (chos can; dharmin), while meditating on the emptiness of emptiness eliminates imputation regarding the nature of phenomena (chos nyid; dharmatā).

As Śāntideva said:

When notions of real and unreal
Are absent from before the mind,
Then, there is no other possibility,
But to rest in total peace, beyond concepts.[3]

This summary of the instructions on the view of the Middle Way was composed by the great Rongtön at glorious Nālendra.

| Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2016


Tibetan Edition

shes bya kun rig. "dbu ma'i lta khrid kyi bsdus don." In gsung 'bum/ shes bya kun rig. 10 vols. Chengdu: si khron dpe skrun tshogs pa/ si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2008. (BDRC W1PD83960). Vol. 1: 413–414.

Version: 1.4-20220626

  1. spros pa; prapañca  ↩

  2. sgro 'dogs; samāropa  ↩

  3. Bodhicaryāvatāra, IX, 34  ↩

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