Spiritual Forums

Home


Donate!


Articles


CHAT!


Shop


 
Welcome to Spiritual Forums!.

We created this community for people from all backgrounds to discuss Spiritual, Paranormal, Metaphysical, Philosophical, Supernatural, and Esoteric subjects. From Astral Projection to Zen, all topics are welcome. We hope you enjoy your visits.

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest, which gives you limited access to most discussions and articles. By joining our free community you will be able to post messages, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload your own photos, and gain access to our Chat Rooms, Registration is fast, simple, and free, so please, join our community today! !

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, check our FAQs before contacting support. Please read our forum rules, since they are enforced by our volunteer staff. This will help you avoid any infractions and issues.

Go Back   Spiritual Forums > Religions & Faiths > Buddhism

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 24-03-2017, 04:51 PM
jonesboy jonesboy is offline
Master
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 2,958
  jonesboy's Avatar
The Two Truths

Everything that the enlightened one spoke of leads back to the understanding of the two levels of truth. (This doesn't mean there is no third truth, for example the Four Noble Truths and so on, so you can have sub-divisions.) Since you have two levels of reality, you have to have something being sub-divided, or categorized in two categories.

So you can ask yourself, "What is being sub-divided?" and the answer is knowables or objects of knowledge (Tibetan: she-ja). Here, a knowable is simply something that is existing. To exist means to be knowable, and to be knowable means to exist.

For example, I could have the idea of antlers on a rabbit—it could come up in my mind. I could fabricate this awareness, and in that sense rabbit's antlers are something known but they certainly don't exist. [The problem] here is that when you equate things that exist and things that are known, they are known by [a valid] awareness but not by [just any] awareness. In other words I could get out of this difficulty by saying that, true, rabbit's antlers are known by [a particular person's] awareness, but this doesn't necessarily mean that they are known by awareness!

Ultimate truth, paramarthasatya, if you take the [Sanskrit] word apart is this: artha refers to that which is known; parama refers to that which knows its object, that is, the mind of a high spiritual being; satya means truth. It is truth because that which is known is true for that which knows its object, the mind of the high spiritual being, therefore, ultimate truth, an ultimate thing that is true.

So what about this other truth, the conventional, surface level of truth: how does one come to understand this second of the two truths if the ultimate reality is understood in this way? This is samvrtisatya. Samvrti is total covering up, and covering here means ordinary awareness covering that which is real. Here again satya is truth, but truth for an ordinary awareness. In other words, all the things that are true for ordinary minds like our own that are taken as real by them—are conventional truths, therefore, truth for an ordinary covering mind.

In the scholastic tradition we say that anything that is known will always be included in one of these two levels of reality. Anything not covered by these two levels is beyond the sphere of what is knowable. There is a deep logic here—that these two categories, the two truths, are an exhaustive description of all that there is.

Here is how it works. Truth and lie go together, don't they? If a person makes a statement that mirrors reality, then that statement is true. However, a statement not mirroring reality is a lie.

The ultimate level of reality is mirrored in the mind of awareness that knows it, in a way that is not lying. This necessarily brings out the situation that all conventional truths are lying to the awareness that knows them, about the way they appear. Similarly, ordinary things appearing to ordinary awareness must be said to be lying to that ordinary awareness. You are, by removing that truth, positively showing the truth of the awareness of the ultimate. That ultimate, appearing to an awareness that knows it is not lying to that awareness, is the suchness of things—the ultimate reality of things.

So you have one being necessitated by another in a see-saw-like fashion, and from that account you can extrapolate out to show that it is a statement that is exhaustive of all knowables, of all that exists.

In Buddhist systems of ideas, there are many interpretations of what exactly these two levels of truth are. They are set forth as the four Buddhist schools of philosophy.

In the most profound school, the Middle Way Consequentialist school, just what is emptiness or the ultimate? It is this: that in fact nobody or nothing, anywhere, has anything that inherently makes it what it is. Nothing has its own personal mark. Everything exists simply through language, through ideas.

The absence of something, the total absence, the total not-being, non-existence of anything that is not there through the power of language and thought is shunyata, emptiness, the ultimate truth.

http://www.lamayeshe.com/article/two-truths
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 24-03-2017, 05:21 PM
jonesboy jonesboy is offline
Master
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 2,958
  jonesboy's Avatar
Let's start by trying to identify what are classically the most important of these bases, the five aggregates or skandas. In the Heart Sutra it says, "He looked and saw that the five aggregates are empty of inherent existence." So if you don't know what these five are, how can you look into the ultimate truth of them?

The five aggregates are: a great heap of physical things, a great heap of feelings, a great heap of discriminations, a great heap of created things (Sanskrit: samskara) and a great heap of awareness.

So then, one has heaps, aggregates, and these locate living creatures. Let's take the aggregate of physical things, which can be further broken down into the external objective physical things and the internal subjective physical things. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes and sensations are the external or objective physical things in this great heap of physical things, while the five senses are the subjective or internal physical things.

The second heap is that of feelings. What are feelings? They are the experiences one gets out of things: pleasant experiences, neutral experiences and unpleasant ones.

The next heap is discrimination, which is defined as that part of the mind that functions to identify particular things as what they are.
The fourth aggregate of created things has most of the non-associated created things. It's a catch-bag for everything not included in the other four heaps.

And what is the fifth heap? This is all our awarenesses or consciousness or thoughts. This is generally looked at as sense-based awareness coming from a thinking mind.

One can only focus on the reality of emptiness when one has seen the size, the dimensions, of what one is refuting or denying.

The Tibetan saint Tsongkhapa said, "Anything that is produced from conditions is never produced." You can unpack this apparent paradox in this way. What you are saying is that nothing is produced as something that is independent; nothing is produced as something that is there under its own power. That's what you are trying to demonstrate.

As the great Aryadeva said, "Anyone who gets a view into one reality gets a view into all realities." What he is saying is that if one plumbs the depths of reality of anything, one doesn't need to go through the whole process again with another object. Just bringing to the mind the reality you've seen in one object or person, and turning the mind to another, you will look at its reality as well.

That's why every one of our sadhanas without exception starts with the mantra that means "Om, this is purity, all Dharmas are pure, I am that purity." Before doing any sadhana one brings to mind this fact of the ultimate reality—of emptiness.

http://www.lamayeshe.com/article/two-truths
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 25-03-2017, 09:12 AM
Ground Ground is offline
Master
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 1,003
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesboy
Everything that the enlightened one spoke of leads back to the understanding of the two levels of truth. (This doesn't mean there is no third truth, for example the Four Noble Truths and so on, so you can have sub-divisions.)


The point here isn't that alleged two levels of truth may cover several specific truths within their own sphere but that only two levels or categories of truths are posited.

So if you posit 'Four Noble Truths' and you posit 'two levels of truth' then you have to decide to which level of the two these 'Four Noble Truths' do belong and once you assign these 'Four Noble Truths' to one of the two levels of truth everything you expound in the context of this level of truth must apply to these 'Four Noble Truths' too.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 25-03-2017, 02:35 PM
jonesboy jonesboy is offline
Master
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 2,958
  jonesboy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ground


The point here isn't that alleged two levels of truth may cover several specific truths within their own sphere but that only two levels or categories of truths are posited.

So if you posit 'Four Noble Truths' and you posit 'two levels of truth' then you have to decide to which level of the two these 'Four Noble Truths' do belong and once you assign these 'Four Noble Truths' to one of the two levels of truth everything you expound in the context of this level of truth must apply to these 'Four Noble Truths' too.

There are really only two levels of experience.. Conventional or Ultimate..

The first one:

This mean that at best, we can only find temporary happiness and pleasure in life.

Suffering (or unsatisfactoriness) can be distinguished in three types:
1. Suffering of suffering: this refers to the most obvious aspects like pain, fear and mental distress.
2. Suffering of change: refers to the problems that change brings, like joy disappears, nothing stays, decay and death.
3. All-pervasive suffering: this is the most difficult to understand aspect, it refers to the fact that we always have the potential to suffer or can get into problematic situations. Even death is not a solution in Buddhist philosophy, as we will simply find ourselves being reborn in a different body, which will also experience problems.

Is that Conventional or Absolute?


SUFFERING

The reason that we experience suffering comes ultimately from our mind. According to Buddhism, our main mental problems or root delusions are: attachment, anger and ignorance. Because of these delusions, we engage in actions that cause problems to ourselves and others. With every negative action (karma) we do, we create a potential for negative experiences.

Is one stuck in Conventional or Absolute if they are suffering?

SUFFERING CAN END, NIRVANA IS PEACE

This is the most positive message of Buddhism: although suffering is always present in cyclic existence, we can end this cycle of problems and pain, and enter Nirvana, which is a state beyond all suffering.
The reasoning behind this Third Noble Truth is the fact that suffering and the causes of suffering are dependent on the state of our own mind, so if we can change our own mind, we can also eliminate suffering. The reasons we do actions that cause ourselves and others harm come from our delusions

Now it seems we are starting to move from Conventional to Absolute?....Right?

There is a path that leads from dukkha. Although the Buddha throws responsibility back on to the individual he also taught methods through which we can change ourselves, for example the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Buddha summarised the correct attitude and actions in the Eight-fold Noble Path:


(The first 3 are avoiding the 10 non-virtues of mind, speech and body:)
1.Correct thought: avoiding covetousness, the wish to harm others and wrong views (like thinking: actions have no consequences, I never have any problems, there are no ways to end suffering etc.)
2.Correct speech: avoid lying, divisive and harsh speech and idle gossip.
3.Correct actions: avoid killing, stealing and sexual misconduct
4.Correct livelihood: try to make a living with the above attitude of thought, speech and actions.
5.Correct understanding: developing genuine wisdom.
(The last three aspects refer mainly to the practice of meditation:)
6.Correct effort: after the first real step we need joyful perseverance to continue.
7.Correct mindfulness: try to be aware of the "here and now", instead of dreaming in the "there and then".
8.Correct concentration: to keep a steady, calm and attentive state of mind

The last one sure seems to have aspects of both.. still caught up in the conventional but with a path to the absolute...

Just my take..
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 25-03-2017, 06:56 PM
Ground Ground is offline
Master
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 1,003
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesboy
Is that Conventional or Absolute?

Is one stuck in Conventional or Absolute if they are suffering?


Now it seems we are starting to move from Conventional to Absolute?....Right?


The last one sure seems to have aspects of both.. still caught up in the conventional but with a path to the absolute...

Just my take..

Since I am not a follower of the two truths doctrine I won't answer your questions.

In the prasangika madhyamaka interpretation I prefer all conventionalities are called 'truths for a concealer' (sanskrit: saṃvṛti) and the concealer is ordinary consciousness. So if truths do only appear to a concealing consciousness it doesn't make sense at all to apply the term 'truth' in the affirmative. Therefore there aren't any truths.

If you replace the expression 'the two levels of truth' by the expression 'the two levels of experience' that may be a solution if - and only if - truth is not assigned to any of 'the two levels of experience'.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 26-03-2017, 12:21 AM
jonesboy jonesboy is offline
Master
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 2,958
  jonesboy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ground


The point here isn't that alleged two levels of truth may cover several specific truths within their own sphere but that only two levels or categories of truths are posited.

So if you posit 'Four Noble Truths' and you posit 'two levels of truth' then you have to decide to which level of the two these 'Four Noble Truths' do belong and once you assign these 'Four Noble Truths' to one of the two levels of truth everything you expound in the context of this level of truth must apply to these 'Four Noble Truths' too.

My third post does just that.

Emptiness is a central point of Buddhism. This is just a theory to explain the experience of this world with that of Ultimate Emptiness.

Of course the four Noble Truths fit within that framework.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 26-03-2017, 12:32 AM
Ground Ground is offline
Master
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 1,003
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesboy
Of course the four Noble Truths fit within that framework.
Of course. They exist merely through conceptual imputation. Therefore they are actually non-truths, like anything else. What the world, buddhist world or non-buddhist world, calls 'truth' is just 'truth for the concealer' which is ordinary consciousness.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 26-03-2017, 01:00 AM
jonesboy jonesboy is offline
Master
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 2,958
  jonesboy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ground
Of course. They exist merely through conceptual imputation. Therefore they are actually non-truths, like anything else. What the world, buddhist world or non-buddhist world, calls 'truth' is just 'truth for the concealer' which is ordinary consciousness.

I think you need to read up more on what emptiness is.

Maybe start with the Heart Sutra. Unless of course you believe that the realization of the Heart Sutra is just ordinary stuff :)

That would be equivalent to the realization of Ultimate emptiness.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 26-03-2017, 01:09 AM
Ground Ground is offline
Master
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 1,003
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesboy
I think you need to read up more on what emptiness is.

I know exactly what emptiness is.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesboy
Maybe start with the Heart Sutra. Unless of course you believe that the realization of the Heart Sutra is just ordinary stuff :)
The heart sutra needs interpretation and that interpretation is exactly what the diverse madhyamaka philosophies are about.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 26-03-2017, 01:15 AM
jonesboy jonesboy is offline
Master
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 2,958
  jonesboy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ground

I know exactly what emptiness is.

The heart sutra needs interpretation and that interpretation is exactly what the diverse madhyamaka philosophies are about.

I think everyone agrees on the interpretation of the Heart Sutra.

I think of the Two Truth doctrine as a means of breaking it down from such a high level. To help explain the reality we all experience with that reality mentioned in the Heart Sutra.

Which of course the 4 Noble Truths fit into.

Also, can you site me reference that says the realization of Ultimate Emptiness is just ordinary stuff?
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 12:58 PM.


Powered by vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
(c) Spiritual Forums