Two truths, not the same not different.

Moderator: Tibetan Buddhism moderators

Two truths, not the same not different.

Postby muni » Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:22 am

The Two Truths: Not the Same, Not Different
One of the key questions the Eighth and Ninth Karmapas tackle in their Entrance to the Middle Way commentaries is that of the relationship between the essential natures of the two truths. In the sixth chapter of The Karmapa's Middle Way, the Karmapa asks the question, Are the two truths of the same essential nature, or are they of different essential natures?

It is important to understand that Middle Way presentations in general, and the Karmapa's stylistic emphasis in particular, are not about setting forth an assertion, or suggestion to the reader that things are or are not a certain way. Rather, the teachers of the Middle Way tradition mainly refer to other teachers of the past who have articulated the options that our conceptual minds may very likely come up with on their own when we set to grappling with these questions. Following Nāgārjuna's approach in the Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way, the Karmapa sets up assertions, then dismantles them with reasoning.

The purpose of this dismantling is not (to use some language of the season) to say "gotcha." It is to give our conceptual minds an opportunity to get involved in the discussion, take a side, and then be shown the inherent error of the given concept. When we finally and resolutely puncture the veils of conceptual mind's mistakenness, we see nakedly the true nature of all things. This naked, clear seeing leads to freedom from suffering.

(As a side note, I saw an interview with George Soros on Bill Moyers's PBS show recently. In a discussion about the currect crisis in the financial markets, Soros was asked by Bill Moyers, "What is the correct ideology?" Soros response was that the correct ideology is to understand that all human thought is flawed. On this particular point, I found this to be quite a Nāgārjunian observation.)

Moving along: if one posits that the two truths are of the same essential nature, the Karmapa says, there would be the absurd consequence that ordinary beings would see the true nature of reality. For ordinary beings perceive the relative truth, and they would also be perceiving the same essential nature as the ultimate truth. There would therefore be no "ordinary beings" at all, because all beings would be seers of the ultimate. (And it is seeing ultimate reality that distinguishes the noble ones from the ordinary sentient beings).

Furthermore, if the two truths were of the same essential nature, it would absurdly follow that noble ones would perceive the afflicted phenomena of the relative truth when they were resting in meditative equipoise within realization of the ultimate. For they would be perceiving the ultimate, and the ultimate would be of the same nature as the relative.

Nor can the two truths be held to possess separate natures. They are not inherently separate, because they are mutually dependent. Anything that depends on something else to achieve its own identity cannot exist on its own as an inherently separate entity.

In sum, the true nature of the two truths is beyond conceptual elaborations. From the perspective of the noble ones' seeing, both truths are merely conceptual categories.
http://karmapasmiddleway.blogspot.be/20 ... erent.html
muni
 
Posts: 2978
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Two truths, not the same not different.

Postby muni » Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:33 am

I think everyone understands the relative and ultimate truths and only spoke of them because we cling to an apprehending subject and apprehended objects as discordant and real. Our erroneous cognition distracts us from engaging in practices to progress spiritually. We hear about the Buddhadharma, falsely shun the apparent world as “bad,” and chase after what we call “the absolute,” the “good.” Clinging to appearances as true existents is an extreme; clinging to an ultimate reality is another extreme. We need to be free of clinging to either the one or the other, altogether.

Some students learn about the Buddhadharma and then want to have nothing to do with the apparent world. It has even happened that they refuse to eat, defying anything they consider mundane. This isn’t the meaning of the Buddha’s words. Lord Buddha described apparent reality and never negated the concrete world we experience. He clarified the truth of reality in and around us and showed how it actually is. Many students think that fleeing from what appears within and without leads them to the truth, a fundamental mistake that I wish to warn you about.

The error that can arise is assuming once emptiness has been realized, nothing at all exists any more. While abiding in meditative composure of calmness, a knowledge arises which sees that all things are free of coming and going, of being and non-being, of both being and non-being, and of neither being nor non-being. After having rested in meditative equipoise, the apparent world is there, as it was and as it is, and does not disappear. A sincere practitioner understands and sees that existents are appearances and that what appears does not truly exist as it seemingly appears to do. We need to sincerely know that the two truths are inseparable – we need not divide them. Ascertaining this truth is realizing the ultimate view.

While a yogi rests in meditative equipoise, he or she naturally realizes that all things are empty of inherent existence, are actually beyond such mental formulations as “existent” and “non-existent.” During post-meditation, he or she apprehends phenomena with an understanding that all things are free of an own entity and therefore clearly appear. He experiences no contradiction or controversies, rather the truth of reality. I hope to have clarified that the two truths or two realities of being are inseparably one. Again, everything in and around us is there, which does not mean that what is there is not empty. Everything in and around us is empty, which does not mean that what is empty is not there. Things appear due to emptiness, a theme difficult to understand. For example, I have laid my mala on the table, so it is there. The non-existence of the mala on the table has ceased, i.e., existence and non-existence, there-ness and non-there-ness, exclude each other. Either there is an existent or there is no existent, in this example, the mala is on the table.

As far as the relative and ultimate truths are concerned, we need to know that while things appear they are by nature empty and that because of being empty they appear. The two truths do not imply that before a student treads the path of the Buddhadharma there is total there-ness and emptiness gradually slips in during meditation or a Lama brings it along and distributes it to the crowd. Emptiness does not mean that a practitioner meditates, realizes emptiness at a certain stage, and after practice sessions needs to put things back into place in order to be able to function again. Things appear because they are empty of inherent existence, therefore emptiness and clarity are not in opposition, rather they are one. Understanding the indivisibility of emptiness and clarity is the supreme view. If a student investigates how things are, he or she non-mistakenly comes to know that all phenomena are empty of inherent, self-supporting existence. Clinging to an analytical understanding of emptiness brings the danger of straying into an intellectual understanding that nothing exists.

I want everyone to know that emptiness is a central theme in Lord Buddha’s instructions and distinguishes it from other religions. In contrast to other religions, belief is of no relevance in Buddhism, rather Buddhism taught us to ascertain that all appearances are there since they are by nature empty of inherent existence. It is not the case that an opinion can become a belief in Buddhism, that Vajrayana once originated in Tibet, and is a religion one is now free to blindly follow. It is not the case that one believes in the yidams employed in Tantric practices. We need to understand the indivisibility of emptiness and clarity, then we can recognize that all meditation practices employed are skillful means to realize the truth of the Buddha’s instructions. Knowing this, a practitioner can – wakefully aware – tread the path that Lord Buddha showed.
http://www.rinpoche.com/teachings/gpf.htm
muni
 
Posts: 2978
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Two truths, not the same not different.

Postby muni » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:47 am

The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche on distinguishing between the relative & the ultimate.

The teachings in the second and third turnings approach reality through two truths: relative truth and absolute truth. In order to understand emptiness, it is very important to distinguish between these two truths.

Relative truth, or conventional reality, is that which is in accordance with ordinary worldly usage or understanding, something on which everyone will agree. It is concerned with the things of our everyday experience and is always conceptual. The reason it is not ultimate truth is because relative phenomena cannot withstand analysis. When subjected to analysis, relative phenomena disappear, and all you find is absolute truth, or emptiness.

For example, if I asked you, “Please hand me my thermos,” you would simply pass it to me without question. We understand each other perfectly and all this works quite well. You would not ask, “Does the thermos exist or not exist? From where does it arise?” If, however, you first wanted to find its essence, its thermos-ness, then you would subject the thermos to analysis. You would look at the whole thermos and then at each of its parts to try to locate its most fundamental entity-ness. As these parts are broken down further and further, you would continue to search for the essence of the thermos until nothing is left at all. At this point, the thermos has disappeared and you have come to the realization that it never possessed any true, substantial reality. The thermos before you is only a “mere appearance,” a dreamlike object. It is perceptible to the senses but its abiding nature is emptiness. Thus the same object has two natures: relative and absolute.

This process of analysis produces a clear understanding of emptiness; however, this determination of untrue existence is not the final absolute truth because it is still conceptual. There is still an “I” with a conceptual understanding that this thermos does not exist. In order to go further, there has to be nonconceptual meditation through which one experiences directly the nature of emptiness. What is experienced through nonconceptual meditation is the true, genuine, absolute truth.

The absolute truth is the real essence, the “suchness” or “isness” of things. It is not refutable. It is not merely temporary. Therefore, it is ultimate and that ultimate nature is the main object of our realization. It is characterized as being indescribable, inconceivable, and unable to be signified by any word, gesture, or concept.

At the same time, it is important to realize that understanding relative truth is the cause of understanding absolute truth. Thus relative truth should not be thought of as being something inferior and unrelated to absolute truth. Relative truth may be conceptual, but there is no way to realize nonconceptual absolute truth without it. The understanding of either one of the two truths assists the understanding of the other.

http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?o ... mitstart=2
muni
 
Posts: 2978
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Two truths, not the same not different.

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:11 am

I don't think it is a question of ontology. It is not a matter of saying that 'the two truths refer to the same or different domains' but of understanding the limitations of conventional thinking. Then you can say there is only one domain of truth, but diverse ways of perceiving it. Then you can say 'ordinary beings' indeed perceive 'the same world' as the enlightened, but they reflexively interpret it in accordance with their various defilements. Isn't the teaching that all beings are in reality 'the true nature' but that this true nature is obscured by 'adventitious defilements'? In which case, the purpose of speaking of 'relative truth' is to indicate what needs to be done, in order to overcome the defilements. It is like a stick that is used to stir the fire, but in the end, that stick is also thrown into the fire. But the true nature remains unchanged by anything that has occurred. It was already the case, when the whole training started out.

Actually I am reminded of a saying by an ancient Greek sage: 'The many live each in their own private world, while those who are awake have but one world in common' - Heraclitus.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
User avatar
Wayfarer
 
Posts: 1931
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Two truths, not the same not different.

Postby Andrew108 » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:54 am

muni wrote:
In sum, the true nature of the two truths is beyond conceptual elaborations. From the perspective of the noble ones' seeing, both truths are merely conceptual categories.
http://karmapasmiddleway.blogspot.be/20 ... erent.html

Yes they are often seen as an expression rather than anything more solid. Contingencies.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
Andrew108
 
Posts: 1502
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: Two truths, not the same not different.

Postby muni » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:25 am

jeeprs wrote:I
understanding the limitations of conventional thinking.
Actually I am reminded of a saying by an ancient Greek sage: 'The many live each in their own private world, while those who are awake have but one world in common' - Heraclitus.

Union of the two truths. Like the famous example: in union of water and moon, the moon is not the same as the water but not different. Empty mind and its empty reflections, not same, not different. Then no limitations and no conventional thinking.

Thanks for the Greek sage's words. :thanks:
muni
 
Posts: 2978
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Two truths, not the same not different.

Postby muni » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:39 am

"The following sentence from Mipham's exegesis of Śāntarakṣita's Madhyamālaṃkāra highlights the relationship between the absence of the four extremes (mtha'-bzhi) and the nondual or indivisible two truths (bden-pa dbyer-med):

The learned and accomplished [masters] of the Early Translations considered this simplicity beyond the four extremes, this abiding way in which the two truths are indivisible, as their own immaculate way".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_truths_doctrine
muni
 
Posts: 2978
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Two truths, not the same not different.

Postby Sherab » Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:37 am

muni wrote:Nor can the two truths be held to possess separate natures. They are not inherently separate, because they are mutually dependent. Anything that depends on something else to achieve its own identity cannot exist on its own as an inherently separate entity.

Here's how I see it: the two truths are not mutually dependent. They are two aspects of a phenomenon. All phenomena are dependently originated. Dependent origination has two aspects, "horizontal" and "vertical". Horizontal DO (casual chaining) points to relative truth. Vertical DO points to emptiness. But emptiness points to phenomena as being illusions ultimately.
User avatar
Sherab
 
Posts: 770
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:28 am

Re: Two truths, not the same not different.

Postby muni » Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:22 am

Hi Sherab,
Dharmakaya/empty mind, is the basis for all phenomena. In no any way is it possible to separate phenomena from Empty Unchanging Mind or Dharmakaya. All empty phenomena is spacious mind.
Here is a good read about Dharmakaya and Phenomena: http://www.trikaya.es/en/Teachings/the- ... akaya.html

ps emptiness and appaerances occur together without contradiction, also called vajra space.

But intellectually it cannot be described. Still the importance in awareness, regarding the clinging to nihilism or eternalism.
muni
 
Posts: 2978
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Two truths, not the same not different.

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:17 pm

X and Y are not different or the same. Why? Because neither exist. Basic logic. There are no two truths or one truth. There is no truth. And that is the truth. The following statement is untrue: The truth is there is no truth. Honestly, I'm lying. Just kidding, I'm being serious. Do you really think dharma is saying something? There's a whirlygig of ideas vying for position. The problem is, they don't know where to go because there's no place to go. I worship at the altar of Lewis Carroll, who made crooked what was made straight by those who grade A, B, C, D, thereby preventing me from belonging to the cult of hypocrisy. Why someone one day can be sweet as syrup and the next day vicious as a terrier is because they believe that what they see in the maze of warped mirrors is their true face fat or skinny. Have you been to a hall of mirrors? When you see yourself distorted it twinges the C-fibers: there's something disturbingly telling in it, but the pain of reality setting in only leads to laughter and play. But that lingering twinge of the C-fibers will ultimately lead you down the rosy path to "self-illumination" and gurus. Finally, one day the guru says, Look! You are a mirror. That's it? That's all? No you're space. How absurd and boring. At least I can carry on without whirring and girligigging. No paticcasamuppada or patimokkha for this bedumpkin from Kerplamatoka Falls in the Great State of Omygodnotagain.
deepbluehum
 
Posts: 1302
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:05 am
Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: Two truths, not the same not different.

Postby muni » Sat Jun 23, 2012 6:55 pm

Hi Deep,

To answer: "Do you really think dharma is saying something"?
If we are healthy in comfortable samsara and give no shit for "others", if we cannot see through superiority and pride the need for many approaches, then not. I mean, no selfconcern.

Of course I agree, no need to merely chatter about.

If by sickness for example "the union" cannot or can be understood and "emerge in daily life", whether called Dzogchen, Mahamudra....is it a difference between suffering-hope-fear....or not such suffering-hope-fear, and not a difference of Mahamudra or Dzogchen.
muni
 
Posts: 2978
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am


Return to Kagyu

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests

>