The Middle Way
The Middle Way manifests the principle of impartiality. It stands in contrast to partial behavior. Ancient Chinese believed that the existence and changes of all things in the universe obey a single basic law, which is shown through human action and conduct. This is the Middle Way. People should comply with the Middle Way in both speech and action. It can be achieved, Confucian scholars hold, by avoiding all excessive as well as inadequate words and actions, thus attaining impeccable morality. Buddhists advocate practicing the Middle Way in order to see things in their true light and break free of human suffering. Different schools of thought and religious sects vary in their understanding of the specific content of this concept.
Mencius commented: “Confucius said, ‘If one cannot make friends with those who adhere to the Middle way, at least be close to aspiring or uninhibited minds. The former aims high whereas the latter never violates moral laws.’ Did Confucius not want to befriend people who pursue the Middle Way when he said this? An adherent to the Middle way is not easy to find; that is probably why he settled for meeting people somewhat lower in stature.” (Mencius)
Do not seek for physical pleasures, for they are too low and are the behaviors of common people. Do not seek any ascetic practice for yourself either. Extreme suffering is not practiced by the saintly people. It won’t bring the expected outcome. Only by keeping away from either extremes and by choosing the middle way can one accomplish concentration, thus getting on the way to wisdom, to peaceful mind, to awakening, and to nirvāna. (Middle Length Canonical Texts)