THE MIDDLE WAYPlease read the Summary first
Buddha's Early Life and The Middle WayBuddha started his life as a Prince and enjoyed all the pleasures of this world.
So, he experienced both sides of life – the two extremes. Unrestrained sensual pleasure as a prince, and sensual withdrawal as an ascetic. Then he realised there was a third way to look for, and find happiness and fulfilment in life. He called this 'The Middle Way'.
It is clearly written and unquestioned by all Buddhists that The Middle Way is a way between the two extremes of sensual indulgence and sensory withdrawal. It is usually understood as moderation in our mental and emotional approach to life.
The Mystery of The Middle WayThe Middle Way is usually understood as either moderation, occasionally as renunciation, and sometimes it is thought to be the same as the Eightfold Path. It seems the teaching is either lost or shrouded in mystery.
The Eightfold Path is already an alternative name for The Fourth Noble Truth, it seems doubtful Buddha would use yet a third name and also call it The Middle Way. However panoramic sensing is an ideal example of mindfulness and absorption, the last two steps of the eightfold path.
Moderation has many advantages. Wise local rulers and teachers would have known about the value of moderation; even everyday craftsmen and householders would have known its value; and there were inevitably many people who practiced something between the two extremes of asceticism and hedonism, long before Buddha's time.
Buddha first announced the Middle Way at the same time as the Four Noble Truths directly after his enlightenment, in the Sermon of Bernares. These teachings were about something new and special. So, it seems highly unlikely that the Middle Way is anything to do with moderation.
However, it's impossible to be anything but moderate, when action is balanced with panoramic sensing.
Renunciation was already practiced in ascetic Hinduism, it is an integral part of the ascetic way, and therefore one of the two extremes which the Middle Way avoids.
However, the panoramic way of receptive sensing without wanting is a practical basis for renunciation.
Please continue with Desire is Dependent on Focusing