BUD 610

Madhyamaka Philosophical Tradition: Not Even a Middle (SPOC)

This course is an overview of the Madhyamaka tradition of the Mahayana, which propounds the view of shunyata, the emptiness of all phenomena, which is the transcendence of all views, the ultimate freedom from all reference points and discursiveness. We will study the presentation of the two realities (ultimate and seeming), the differences and commonalities between the subschools of Prasangika and Svatantrika, the rangtong-shentong distinction, the array of reasonings that Madhyamikas use to deconstruct the notions of a personal self and really existing phenomena, the Madhyamaka-style four foundations of mindfulness (based on the ninth chapter of Shantideva’s Bodhicaryavatara), and the benefits and results of realizing emptiness. In addition, wherever possible, connections and common grounds between Madhyamaka and Mahamudra will be discussed.


  • BUD 501, BUD 510, BUD 520, BUD 530


  • Mahayana 303: Not Even A Middle, by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Nalandabodhi Publications
  • The Center of the Sunlit Sky: Madhyamaka in the Kagyü Tradition, by Karl Brunnhölzl, Snow Lion Publications, 2004



Nitartha’s Payment Plan and Financial Assistance (PPFA) program is funded by fellow students to support those who would not be able to attend the Institute’s courses without this assistance. To request aid, please fill out the PPFA application before you register for the course.


Buddhist teacher, Mitra Dr. Karl Brunnhölzl teaching at Nitartha Institute.

Mitra Dr. Karl Brunnhölzl


Mitra Dr. Karl Brunnhölzl has been a teacher, translator, and oral interpreter at Nitartha Institute since 1999 in both North America and Europe. Originally trained and having worked as a physician for 20 years, since 2006, Karl works as a full-time author and translator from Tibetan and Sanskrit to English in Seattle. He has published fifteen books in several languages (in the US with Snow Lion Publications and Wisdom Publications) on Madhyamaka, Prajñaparamita, Yogacāra, buddha nature, and other topics, including commentaries by several of the Karmapas and other major Kagyu lineage figures. Currently, he has been working on the collection of Indian Mahamudra texts (including many songs of realization) compiled by the Seventh Karmapa.


Buddhist teacher, the late Dr. Stuart Horn.

Dr. Stuart Horn


The Nitartha community is saddened by the passing of Dr. Stuart Horn on Saturday, April 10, 2021. Stuart first came to Nitartha as a student, served as the chair of our board, and in time came to be among the most valued members of our faculty. A prodigious teacher with an incisive intellect, he had a gregarious nature and was friend and confidant to many of us. There was nothing you couldn't tell him, nothing he wasn't willing to think through with you, nothing that he flinched from in serving the Institute and its family. He was always there, for all of us, and will be deeply missed.