Yeshe D. wrote:tobes wrote:For some reason, there is a strong desire to deny this, when it is really an uncontroversial assertion
The previous quotations from Atīśa's Satyadvayāvatāra fully accords with what I've been trying to get at: The union of the two truths does not entail affirming arising, abiding, and dissolution. And Atīśa, along with Maitrīpa, held Candrakīrti in highest regard. Again, Atīśa states:
3. We hold the correct conventional truth to be
The phenomenon which arises and perishes, and
Is capable of producing meaning, and
Is attractive only when (left) unexamined.
4. There is only one ultimate truth;
Although others hold it is of two kinds;
But if true-nature is not established anywhere,
Why would there be two, or three, or more?
5. One does use (conventional) words to show this,
Stating it is non-arising and non-perishing, etc.,
But in the mode of undifferentiated ultimate truth,
There is no phenomenality and no true-nature.
6. Differentiation in emptiness itself
Has not the slightest possibility of existing;
And when one realizes this non-conceptually,
It is described as “seeing emptiness.”
7. The most profound sūtras say that
It is seeing the unseen itself, and
In it there is no seeing and no seer;
It is beginningless and endless calm.
8. Substance and non-substance are rejected,
There is no conceptualization, no basis for it;
There is no abiding and nothing to abide;
No going, no coming, and no analogy for it.
9. It is inexpressible and unseeable;
It is changeless and unconditioned.
If a yogin realizes this, he is rid of
The obscuration of his afflictions and of his knowledge.
18. The teacher Candrakīrti says this:
“Relative truth acts as the means,
From the means arises the ultimate truth.
Whoever does not know the difference between the two,
And understands them wrongly, falls to bad destinies.”
19. “Without trusting in (this) difference
There will be no realization of the ultimate.
To endeavor to reach the upper story
Of the palace of correctness
Without the stairs of correct relative (truths),
Is impossible for a learned man.”
20. If one investigates with logical examination
What this relative truth appears to be,
The very finding of nothing (there) is the ultimate (truth):
The true-nature that abides from eternity.
All the best,
It is the only the last verse that I have trouble accepting. I assume that you interpret that as: the relative truth disappears upon apprehension of the ultimate; it is therefore merely a necessary stepping stone to reach that point. Language, concepts, ethics, causality are all merely pedagogical devices which lead one into the true-nature, at which point they are properly understood to be nothing.
What worries me about that interpretation is the importance Atisha holds to the Gelugpa's, who are ostensibly a continuation of the Kadampa tradition, and the very great weight he places on ethics.
I would need to see other translations, but the line "the very finding of nothing (there) is the ultimate (truth)" probably does not imply that the relative disappears or is ultimately nothing. I think that it is far more likely that this means "the very finding of nothing [truly existent] there is the ultimate truth."
And therefore, the ultimate is precisely this endlessly abiding emptiness of true existence.
In any case, that would be how the Gelugpa's would present it.
Maitripa is a different kettle of fish. The former reading is much more plausible in that case.