Author: Nanren Shi
Chairman of The International Hua-Yan Buddhist Federation
Buddhism with more than 2500 years history, teaches perfect wisdom and compassion to benefit the world. The current challenge is how Buddhism will adopt itself to the changing world. The " Three Country Buddhist Forum" in Toronto University would be the great opportunity for Chinese Buddhism to entering the western. It is the heart felt voice of Buddhists.
The middle way or the middle path is the core value and the most important fundamental opinion in Buddhism. Both Buddhist Hinayana and Mahayana practice the middle way. There are differences in how to understand and practice the middle way. However, both schools treat "the middle way" as the most important view in practice.
Venerable Jingyi Shi (center), Chairman Mr. Shi in the United Nations Headquarter Square during the Vesak day, 2017
From the lines in Madhyama Agama, we can see that "the middle way" is a mental process which will not look at the objects of our mind in extreme way. Buddha taught us do not indulge in desire-satisfaction and do not practice extremely ascetic activities. Both way of living will not bring benefits to us. Staying away from both extremists would fit the meaning of the middle way. With the view of the middle way, we could achieve samadhi and attain wisdom through meditation. Finally, we will attain nirvana.
Hinayana's view of middle way was also expounded in its teaching of "The Twelve Links of Interdependent Origination" and the teaching of " The Eight-fold Path".
Mahayana's view of the middle way focuses on our own mind. We could have comprehensive understanding of the perfect middle way through studying both Buddhist Madhyamaka school and Yogacara school.
In Buddhist Madhyamaka school, the core concept of the perfect middle way is regarding the dependent arising of all phenomena. In Nagarjuna’s “The Middle Way”, it was said: “ All phenomena are dependent arising. Whatever is dependently originated, it is to be empty of true existence. That is dependently designated. Therefore, it is said to be the Middle Way.” ( * please refer the Chapter 4, Section 24 of The Middle Way).
In Nagarjuna’s another commentary “ Great Treatise on the Perfection of Wisdom”, He said: “ The truth reality of the dependent origination of all phenomena is emptiness. We can call it relative truth, or call it the middle way. If all phenomena is truthly existence, then it should have no birth. But since phenomena has birth, it is not truthly existence.”
To be continued.....