The Two Truths

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The Two Truths

Postby rachmiel » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:24 pm

I'm out to deepen my understanding of the two truths and hope you can help. :-)

Is this nutshelling even close to correct? If not, what's broken?

Relative truth is mind's interpretation of "what is."
Absolute truth is "what is" (sans interpretation).

Thanks for the help. :-)

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Re: The Two Truths

Postby oushi » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:03 pm

It's very tricky. I would agree with you when it comes to relative truth. When it comes to ultimate I would quote Chandrakirti "ultimately, all is free from the four extremes".
Relatively, everything can be grasped and manipulated.
Ultimately things are ungraspable like East and West.
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Re: The Two Truths

Postby rachmiel » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:10 pm

So rather than absolute truth being "what is," it's more like absolute truth is emptiness?
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Re: The Two Truths

Postby oushi » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:29 pm

rachmiel wrote:So rather than absolute truth being "what is," it's more like absolute truth is emptiness?

Yes, but emptiness doesn't remove being "what is". I would say, it doesn't remove and doesn't create. Try imagining being "what is" as something solid, some kind of solid truth, reality behind illusion. Now try to apply the same attitude toward it, as you have toward East and West. It becomes very "soft", empty, free from being here or there, this or that. It does not remove it! Just removes extremes. Truth as we know it, is an extreme. It is something that mind stops at and cannot pass. This is relative truth. If those illusory boundaries are removed mind does not cling to appearances as truly existent.
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Re: The Two Truths

Postby Astus » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:47 pm

Relative is believing the relative to be absolute. Absolute is seeing that the relative is relative.

The knowledge that appearances arise unfailingly in dependence,
And the knowledge that they are empty and beyond all assertions—
As long as these two appear to you as separate,
There can be no realization of the Buddha’s wisdom.

Yet when they arise at once, not each in turn but both together,
Then through merely seeing unfailing dependent origination
Certainty is born, and all modes of misapprehension fall apart—
That is when discernment of the view has reached perfection.

When you know that appearances dispel the extreme of existence,
While the extreme of nothingness is eliminated by emptiness,
And you also come to know how emptiness arises as cause and effect,
Then you will be immune to any view entailing clinging to extremes.

(Three Principal Aspects of the Path, v 11-13)

Also see this brief and practical explanation: Clarifying the Two Truths - An Instruction on the View of the Mahayana
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: The Two Truths

Postby rachmiel » Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:20 pm

oushi wrote:
rachmiel wrote:So rather than absolute truth being "what is," it's more like absolute truth is emptiness?

Yes, but emptiness doesn't remove being "what is". I would say, it doesn't remove and doesn't create. Try imagining being "what is" as something solid, some kind of solid truth, reality behind illusion. Now try to apply the same attitude toward it, as you have toward East and West.

Sorry, but I don't understand ... what kind of attitude am I supposed to have toward East and West? That they are merely mind-made conveniences for indicating direction, and as such, not concrete entities?
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Re: The Two Truths

Postby rachmiel » Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:38 pm

Astus wrote:Relative is believing the relative to be absolute. Absolute is seeing that the relative is relative.

This, of course, doesn't help me if I don't understand what "relative" and "absolute" mean in this context. ;-)

[i]The knowledge that appearances arise unfailingly in dependence,
And the knowledge that they are empty and beyond all assertions—
As long as these two appear to you as separate,
There can be no realization of the Buddha’s wisdom.

Is "The knowledge that appearances arise unfailingly in dependence" = relative truth and "the knowledge that they are empty and beyond all assertions" = absolute truth?

Also see this brief and practical explanation: Clarifying the Two Truths - An Instruction on the View of the Mahayana

From this article:

"In essence, the absolute is the basic space of phenomena (dharmadhatu), devoid of all conceptual elaboration." This sounds pretty much exactly like what I said: "Absolute truth is 'what is' (sans interpretation)." Am I misunderstanding something ... or is my take on absolute truth correct?
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Re: The Two Truths

Postby Son of Buddha » Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:03 am

rachmiel wrote:I'm out to deepen my understanding of the two truths and hope you can help. :-)

Is this nutshelling even close to correct? If not, what's broken?

Relative truth is mind's interpretation of "what is."
Absolute truth is "what is" (sans interpretation).

Thanks for the help. :-)

rachMiel


According to a Shentongpa (proponent of Shentong), the emptiness of ultimate reality should not be characterized in the same way as the emptiness of apparent phenomena because it is prabhāsvara-saṃtāna, or "clear light mental continuum," endowed with limitless Buddha qualities. It is empty of all that is false, not empty of the limitless Buddha qualities that are its innate nature.

Is this what you are looking for?
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Re: The Two Truths

Postby oushi » Sat Jul 20, 2013 9:49 am

rachmiel wrote:Sorry, but I don't understand ... what kind of attitude am I supposed to have toward East and West? That they are merely mind-made conveniences for indicating direction, and as such, not concrete entities?

This is an idea that you have here, not an attitude.

East and West are very specific ideas, because they do not have fixed boundaries. If you go East you will return from West without passing the boundaries of East and West. Moreover, you cannot say I love East, and hate West. They are very obvious in their emptiness, idea like nature. If you go around the globe, places that were East, becomes West, so it is easy to see impermanence. Still, those are only mind-made ideas which are conventional. What is important is the attitude one gains through contemplating something ungraspable. This is a way out of thinking mind. Mind that grasps after "truth".
If directions does not trigger any specific attitude, try comprehending infinity, as it doesn't have extremes. There is no end to it, like everlasting falling from the cliff. It contains everything, but mind does not fixate on anything, pours like boundless ocean.
Absolute cannot be comprehended by ideas, never. Find a concept that will work as a gateway for the mind to pour over everything. It is accompanied by relaxation, thus intentional relaxation may help here. It does not need effort, the only thing it needs is permission. Ignorant creation of illusion is a heavy work. Heavy work that is needed to create conventional truth. Conventions emerge from ultimate and are cling to. This clinging becomes habitual, intentionless. So, bringing pure intentions to contemplating boundless idea like infinity, or East and West, will shift you from intellectual to intuitive, and from intuitive to empty. This is all I can think of now.
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Re: The Two Truths

Postby rachmiel » Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:16 pm

Son of Buddha wrote:
rachmiel wrote:I'm out to deepen my understanding of the two truths and hope you can help. :-)

Is this nutshelling even close to correct? If not, what's broken?

Relative truth is mind's interpretation of "what is."
Absolute truth is "what is" (sans interpretation).

Thanks for the help. :-)

rachMiel


According to a Shentongpa (proponent of Shentong), the emptiness of ultimate reality should not be characterized in the same way as the emptiness of apparent phenomena because it is prabhāsvara-saṃtāna, or "clear light mental continuum," endowed with limitless Buddha qualities. It is empty of all that is false, not empty of the limitless Buddha qualities that are its innate nature.

Is this what you are looking for?

It helps, yes. :-) Thanks!

Your description of prabhāsvara-saṃtāna reminds me of my take on emptiness: unreified potential, like a field whose wave function never collapses to zero.
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Re: The Two Truths

Postby Astus » Sun Jul 21, 2013 6:28 pm

rachmiel wrote:This, of course, doesn't help me if I don't understand what "relative" and "absolute" mean in this context.


To believe that there is something solid in our experience is the realm of the relative. To see that there is nothing substantial anywhere that could be grasped is the absolute. To perceive that appearances are dream-like without any basis is the middle way.

As Patrul Rinpoche explains under The Provisional Understanding In Terms Of The Two Truths:

"When we understand the natural condition of phenomena in general, and realize that they are similar to an illusion on the relative level because they appear although they are not truly existent, whereas they are like space on the absolute level because they can not be established as existent or non-existent, and we also understand that ultimately the truths are inseparable within the great Middle Way—the absolute space of reality beyond all conceptual extremes—the mind or awareness that has this understanding is relative."

Is "The knowledge that appearances arise unfailingly in dependence" = relative truth and "the knowledge that they are empty and beyond all assertions" = absolute truth?


Yes. However, as the verse goes on, it states one should not stay with the view that there are actually two truths.

Patrul Rinpoche writes, "The division into the two truths is only a provisional device, based on the distinct perspectives of two states of mind, that is made in order to facilitate understanding."

This sounds pretty much exactly like what I said: "Absolute truth is 'what is' (sans interpretation)." Am I misunderstanding something ... or is my take on absolute truth correct?


When there is still something, it is conceptual elaboration, it is interpretation. It's not that one should get rid of thinking and understanding, it is believing that concepts hold some sort of truth when one fails to see "what is". And by that "truth" the belief that they are contrary to reality is included. That is, as long as we think we should gain or get rid of something, that is the relative view and not the absolute.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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