Ultimate Truth

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Caoimhghín
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Ultimate Truth

Post by Caoimhghín » Sun Oct 30, 2016 5:10 pm

Greetings all,

This is a wildly open-ended question, and obviously I don't expect an "ultimate answer", but, either practically or theoretically, what is "ultimate/absolute truth", either in respect to the polarity between that and "conventional truth", or just on its own? Individual opinions on this are fine obviously, but if your definition is grounded in a teachers words or a sūtra, please guide me to the source of them.
歸命本覺心法身常住妙法心蓮臺本來莊嚴三身徳三十七尊住心
城遠離因果法然具普門塵數諸三昧無邊徳海本圓滿還我頂禮心諸佛

In reverence for the root gnosis of the heart, the dharmakāya,
for the ever present good law of the heart, the lotus terrace,
for the inborn adornment of the trikāya, the thirty-seven sages dwelling in the heart,
for that which is removed from seed and fruit, the upright key to the universal gate,
for all boundless concentrations, the sea of virtue, the root perfection,
I prostrate, bowing to the hearts of all Buddhas.

胎藏金剛菩提心義略問答鈔, Treatise on the teaching of the gnostic heart of the womb and the diamond, T2397.1.470c5-8

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Rick
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Re: Ultimate Truth

Post by Rick » Sun Oct 30, 2016 5:24 pm

Nothing exists inherently = from its own side. Everything is empty of inherent essence.

That pretty much does the trick for me. And afaik it's Buddhistically correct. :thumbsup:
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

Malcolm
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Re: Ultimate Truth

Post by Malcolm » Sun Oct 30, 2016 5:31 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:Greetings all,

This is a wildly open-ended question, and obviously I don't expect an "ultimate answer", but, either practically or theoretically, what is "ultimate/absolute truth", either in respect to the polarity between that and "conventional truth", or just on its own? Individual opinions on this are fine obviously, but if your definition is grounded in a teachers words or a sūtra, please guide me to the source of them.
I think Candrakīrti's definition in the Madhayamaka-avatāra is best:
  • Any object of a veridical perception is real;
    it is said that false perception is relative truth.
    It is also held there are two kinds of false perception;
    that of nondefective sense organs and that of defective sense organs.
And Śantideva's definition form the Bodhicarya-avatāra clarifies it well:
  • Relative and ultimate
    are held to be the two truths.
    The ultimate is not within range of the intellect;
    the intellect is said to be relative.

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Rick
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Re: Ultimate Truth

Post by Rick » Sun Oct 30, 2016 6:59 pm

> The ultimate is not within range of the intellect;
> the intellect is said to be relative.

Is this at odds with the assertion that "Nothing has inherent essence/existence?" Or a different way of stating it?
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

Malcolm
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Re: Ultimate Truth

Post by Malcolm » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:08 pm

rachmiel wrote:> The ultimate is not within range of the intellect;
> the intellect is said to be relative.

Is this at odds with the assertion that "Nothing has inherent essence/existence?" Or a different way of stating it?
It is statement defining the ultimate as beyond the mind because the very mind itself is relative.

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Rick
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Re: Ultimate Truth

Post by Rick » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:13 pm

So it's basically saying all we can speak knowledgeably of is relative truth. The nature of ultimate truth, if there is such a thing*, is pure guesswork.

* That would follow, yes ... that ultimate truth might be a mind-devised fiction.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

Malcolm
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Re: Ultimate Truth

Post by Malcolm » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:29 pm

rachmiel wrote:So it's basically saying all we can speak knowledgeably of is relative truth. The nature of ultimate truth, if there is such a thing*, is pure guesswork.

* That would follow, yes ... that ultimate truth might be a mind-devised fiction.
There are two kinds of ultimate truth: conventional and actual. The former is a conceptual construct, the latter is the way things are. The former, however, is a valid approximation of the latter, in so far as it cannot be rejected with reasoning.

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Vasana
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Re: Ultimate Truth

Post by Vasana » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:32 pm

rachmiel wrote:So it's basically saying all we can speak knowledgeably of is relative truth. The nature of ultimate truth, if there is such a thing*, is pure guesswork.

* That would follow, yes ... that ultimate truth might be a mind-devised fiction.
No, because the nature of mind can be cognized /known without conceptual or mentally devised thought. There are different categories of valid cognition. Guessing is conceptual activity.


"All our thoughts and perceptions are relative.
The realization of their nature is the absolute.
The mind which realizes this is the relative.
Mind’s absence of true reality is the absolute.
The terms signifying the two truths are relative.
The absence of true reality in such terms is the absolute."

...........................................
Excerpts from A Teaching on the Tathagatagarba by
The 3rd. KARMAPA RANGJUNG DORJE
ཨོཾ ་ མ ་ ཎི ་ པ ་ དྨེ ་ ཧཱུྃ ། འ ་ ཨ ་ ཧ ་ ཤ ་ ས ་ མ །
Om Mani Peme Hum ། 'A Ah Ha Sha Sa Ma
'When alone, watch your mind,When with others, watch your speech' - Old Kadampa saying

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Astus
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Re: Ultimate Truth

Post by Astus » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:40 pm

Relative as ultimate is the relative. Relative as relative is the ultimate.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Rick
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Re: Ultimate Truth

Post by Rick » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:44 pm

I'm getting an "ultimate truth" is in the eye of the definer kinda feeling here ... :quoteunquote:

Which makes sense in a way ... since the definer is trying to hold water in their hand.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Vasana
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Re: Ultimate Truth

Post by Vasana » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:50 pm

Astus wrote:...

Relative as relative is the ultimate.
While it's true that the relative never strays from the ultimate, not knowing the source of the relative Is what keeps the wheel of suffering spinning.

It's one thing to conceptualize the relative as being the ultimate but another to experience it as such.
ཨོཾ ་ མ ་ ཎི ་ པ ་ དྨེ ་ ཧཱུྃ ། འ ་ ཨ ་ ཧ ་ ཤ ་ ས ་ མ །
Om Mani Peme Hum ། 'A Ah Ha Sha Sa Ma
'When alone, watch your mind,When with others, watch your speech' - Old Kadampa saying

Malcolm
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Re: Ultimate Truth

Post by Malcolm » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:51 pm

rachmiel wrote:I'm getting an "ultimate truth" is in the eye of the definer kinda feeling here ... :quoteunquote:

Which makes sense in a way ... since the definer is trying to hold water in their hand.
You might think so, however, since concepts are entities, they also have two natures, as Candrakīrti states:
  • Because all entities are perceived validly and falsely,
    two natures will be discerned for a given entity.

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Grigoris
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Re: Ultimate Truth

Post by Grigoris » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:59 pm

So now there are four truths?

Relative non-truth.
Relative truth.
Relative truth of Ultimate truth.
Ultimate truth.

Whatever happened to the One Truth? :smile:
Last edited by Grigoris on Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Vasana
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Re: Ultimate Truth

Post by Vasana » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:00 pm

rachmiel wrote:I'm getting an "ultimate truth" is in the eye of the definer kinda feeling here ... :quoteunquote:

Which makes sense in a way ... since the definer is trying to hold water in their hand.
This is still problematic. There can't be one ultimate for one person and another ultimate for another - that would then relatavize both of those so called ultimates.

The ultimate isn't something that can be defined either. Defining is the relative. Valid-cognition of the ultimate entails no defining.
ཨོཾ ་ མ ་ ཎི ་ པ ་ དྨེ ་ ཧཱུྃ ། འ ་ ཨ ་ ཧ ་ ཤ ་ ས ་ མ །
Om Mani Peme Hum ། 'A Ah Ha Sha Sa Ma
'When alone, watch your mind,When with others, watch your speech' - Old Kadampa saying

Malcolm
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Re: Ultimate Truth

Post by Malcolm » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:02 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Whatever happened to the One Truth? :smile:
We are not discussing Dzogchen. We are answering someone's question concerning the two truths. The OP wanted it grounded in śastra, so I am obliging.

Malcolm
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Re: Ultimate Truth

Post by Malcolm » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:06 pm

Vasana wrote:
The ultimate isn't something that can be defined either.
The ultimate can be defined. In fact, it is necessary to define it. If one cannot define it, one cannot meditate upon it; if one cannot mediate on the relative example ultimate, one will not produce heat on the path of application. If one does not produce heat on the path of application, there is no chance that one will enter the path of seeing.

Therefore, we have different ways of definining the ultimate such as free from extremes, absence of inherent existence, emptiness, nonorigination and so on.

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Rick
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Re: Ultimate Truth

Post by Rick » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:10 pm

From Studies in Early Indian Madhyamaka Epistemology by David Francis Burton:

There are thus two distinct senses in which the term 'ultimate truth' (parämarthasatya) is employed in Madhyamaka.

Ultimate truth can mean:

(1) ultimate truth in the Abhidharma sense of irreducible/unanalyzable existence;

(2) ultimate truth in the sense of 'how things actually are', i. e. the true nature of things.

For the Mädhyamika, then, there is no ultimate truth in sense (1), but there is ultimate truth in sense (2).

In fact, the ultimate truth in sense (2) is that there is no ultimate truth in sense (1).
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Vasana
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Re: Ultimate Truth

Post by Vasana » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:11 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:So now there are four truths?

Relative non-truth.
Relative truth.
Relative truth of Ultimate truth.
Ultimate truth.

Whatever happened to the One Truth? :smile:
Actually, your categories almost fit with the modes of cognition Mipham Rinpoche speaks of if you substitute invalid cognition in place of your initial "relative non-truth".
In Mipham Rinpoche's tradition, valid cognition is often divided into conventional valid cognition and absolute valid cognition and these categories are then further subdivided into two:

Conventional valid cognition (tha snyad tshad ma)
conventional valid cognition of ordinary limited vision, or valid cognition of ordinary limited vision investigating the conventional level of reality (ma dag tshur mthong tha synad dpyod pa'i tshad ma), and
conventional valid cognition of pure vision, or valid cognition of pure vision investigating the conventional level of reality (dag pa'i gzigs snang tha snyad dpyod pa'i tshad ma)
Valid cognition of the absolute (don dam dpyod byed kyi tshad ma)
Valid cognition of the categorized absolute (rnam grangs pa'i don dam dpyod byed kyi tshad ma)
Valid cognition of the uncategorized absolute (rnam grangs ma yin pa'i don dam dpyod byed kyi tshad ma)
ཨོཾ ་ མ ་ ཎི ་ པ ་ དྨེ ་ ཧཱུྃ ། འ ་ ཨ ་ ཧ ་ ཤ ་ ས ་ མ །
Om Mani Peme Hum ། 'A Ah Ha Sha Sa Ma
'When alone, watch your mind,When with others, watch your speech' - Old Kadampa saying

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Vasana
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Re: Ultimate Truth

Post by Vasana » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:13 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Vasana wrote:
The ultimate isn't something that can be defined either.
The ultimate can be defined. In fact, it is necessary to define it. If one cannot define it, one cannot meditate upon it; if one cannot mediate on the relative example ultimate, one will not produce heat on the path of application. If one does not produce heat on the path of application, there is no chance that one will enter the path of seeing.

Therefore, we have different ways of definining the ultimate such as free from extremes, absence of inherent existence, emptiness, nonorigination and so on.
The ultimate can be defined in relative terms, yes, but what I was getting at is that the ultimate has no terms of it's self so to speak.

As you said earlier,
[...]defining the ultimate as beyond the mind because the very mind itself is relative.
ཨོཾ ་ མ ་ ཎི ་ པ ་ དྨེ ་ ཧཱུྃ ། འ ་ ཨ ་ ཧ ་ ཤ ་ ས ་ མ །
Om Mani Peme Hum ། 'A Ah Ha Sha Sa Ma
'When alone, watch your mind,When with others, watch your speech' - Old Kadampa saying

Malcolm
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Re: Ultimate Truth

Post by Malcolm » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:43 pm

Vasana wrote:
The ultimate can be defined in relative terms, yes, but what I was getting at is that the ultimate has no terms of it's self so to speak.

As you said earlier,
[...]defining the ultimate as beyond the mind because the very mind itself is relative.
This is why we describe the ultimate as empty.

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