The role of truth in Buddhism?

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Queequeg
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:09 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:01 pm
Basically, you have to admit there is nothing to debate because there is nothing in the text of the Lotus that supports your position.
"Supports" is a funny way to put it.

Is there an explicit mention of "Three Truths" in the Lotus Sutra? Or any sutra for that matter? Nope.

Is the Three Truths teaching "supported" by the Lotus Sutra? Sure.

IMHO. YMMV.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:16 pm

tkp67 wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 5:47 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 5:43 pm
there is no excluded middle in the two truths.
is this the third truth that keeps the others in proper perspective?
Do you know what an excluded middle is? For example, when confront with a choice: true or false, there is no third choice. The middle is excluded because, for example, between a false cognition and a true cognition, there is no third option, a true cognition that is false, or a false cognition that is true.

Quite frankly, Zhiyi's argument fails the excluded middle test, rendering his position irrational. Nāgārjuna himself never violates the law of the excluded middle.

When we understand that the two truths refer to cognitions of objects, rather than objects themselves, then we can understand very clearly that the two truths are describing the experiential mode of perception of worldly beings on the one hand, and the experiential mode of perception of āryas in equipoise on the other.

Worldly beings can conceptually infer ultimate truth (otherwise, they could never realize it); but even that inference is not their experiential mode of perception, since an inference too is just a relative truth, even in mundane equipoise.

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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:19 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:09 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:01 pm
Basically, you have to admit there is nothing to debate because there is nothing in the text of the Lotus that supports your position.
"Supports" is a funny way to put it.

Is there an explicit mention of "Three Truths" in the Lotus Sutra? Or any sutra for that matter? Nope.

Is the Three Truths teaching "supported" by the Lotus Sutra? Sure.

IMHO. YMMV.
"Support" is exactly now to put it. It is like arguing case law. In a legal argument, you need to find support for your position in previous cases, precedents, etc., which support your present argument. But in this case, there is no way you can argue that the Lotus sutra supports a three truth position: a) because Zhiyi's three truths violate the law of the excluded middle, etc. The only place you can go from here is mystical irrationalism. That's fine, but mystical irrationalism is not acceptable in Buddhadharma.

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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:26 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:19 pm
"Support" is exactly now to put it. It is like arguing case law. In a legal argument, you need to find support for your position in previous cases, precedents, etc., which support your present argument. But in this case, there is no way you can argue that the Lotus sutra supports a three truth position: a) because Zhiyi's three truths violate the law of the excluded middle, etc. The only place you can go from here is mystical irrationalism. That's fine, but mystical irrationalism is not acceptable in Buddhadharma.
Sure, we find support in the penumbra.

The Three Truths don't fit the box you keep wanting to put it into. There's no excluded middle in the Three Truths. So, most of your argument doesn't really warrant a response.

To paraphrase Nagarjuna - your confusion does not belong to me.

And to be honest, I'm not interested in discussing this with you because you've demonstrated over time that you have no good faith in the discussion. Its funny you invoked this whole lack of good faith thing. Its quite rich.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by haha » Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:54 pm

The Truth of Non-substantiality (Kutai)
The Truth of Temporary Existence (Ketai)
The Truth of the Middle Way (Chutai)
It is quite equivalent to Yogacara Theory. It is said that Yogacara had tried to harmonize the views of asti and nasti vadin. I do not know whether Zhiyi had studied Mahayanasutralamkara or not as there might be Paramartha’s translation at his time (i.e. probably). However, his description is equivalent to this verse:
(34) When one has realized the vacuity of inexistence, and also vacuity of such and such existence, and has known the natural vacuity, one can say that one is the knower of the void.

Asanga, tr Surekha Vijaya Limaye, (2000), Mahayanasutralamkara, Sri Satguru Publications, Chapter XIV, p 272
Anyway, those, who are more familiar with Zhiyi, can cross check it.

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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Mar 10, 2020 7:30 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:26 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:19 pm
"Support" is exactly now to put it. It is like arguing case law. In a legal argument, you need to find support for your position in previous cases, precedents, etc., which support your present argument. But in this case, there is no way you can argue that the Lotus sutra supports a three truth position: a) because Zhiyi's three truths violate the law of the excluded middle, etc. The only place you can go from here is mystical irrationalism. That's fine, but mystical irrationalism is not acceptable in Buddhadharma.
Sure, we find support in the penumbra.
Huh? The penumbra of what?
There's no excluded middle in the Three Truths.
Yes there is, when one examines the so-called three truths from the perspective of the commonly understood definition of a "truth" (satya) use by Nāgārjuna and Mādhyamikas in general.

And to be honest, I'm not interested in discussing this with you because you've demonstrated over time that you have no good faith in the discussion. Its funny you invoked this whole lack of good faith thing. Its quite rich.
Of course I have good faith, I cite my sources and set out my reasoning. Thus far, the only response I get is "You don't understand' without a single line citation or reasoning to back up this assertion by any adherent of Zhiyi's thought in any classical sources available to Zhiyi. Instead, I get mysticism and double talk.

Oh well, so much for the role of truth in Buddhism.

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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Mar 10, 2020 7:45 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 7:30 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:26 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:19 pm
"Support" is exactly now to put it. It is like arguing case law. In a legal argument, you need to find support for your position in previous cases, precedents, etc., which support your present argument. But in this case, there is no way you can argue that the Lotus sutra supports a three truth position: a) because Zhiyi's three truths violate the law of the excluded middle, etc. The only place you can go from here is mystical irrationalism. That's fine, but mystical irrationalism is not acceptable in Buddhadharma.
Sure, we find support in the penumbra.
Huh? The penumbra of what?
You invoked legal reasoning. Look it up.

You seem to lack the basic understanding of how legal precedent evolve over time. Sometimes, a legal principle will be there, latent, for centuries until they are drawn out and identified by scholars or judges. And then, a watershed decision is rendered, and now you have a legal principle.
There's no excluded middle in the Three Truths.
Yes there is, when one examines the so-called three truths from the perspective of the commonly understood definition of a "truth" (satya) use by Nāgārjuna and Mādhyamikas in general.
And to be honest, I'm not interested in discussing this with you because you've demonstrated over time that you have no good faith in the discussion. Its funny you invoked this whole lack of good faith thing. Its quite rich.
Of course I have good faith, I cite my sources and set out my reasoning. Thus far, the only response I get is "You don't understand' without a single line citation or reasoning to back up this assertion by any adherent of Zhiyi's thought in any classical sources available to Zhiyi. Instead, I get mysticism and double talk.

Oh well, so much for the role of truth in Buddhism.
LOL. You didn't cite any sources to announce that the Three Truths involves a full middle. That's your interpretation. And you're wrong. What response can there possibly be to your flat error?

Here I'll say once more - The Three Truths, with regard to "Truths", say no more than the gist of MMK Ch. 24, V. 18. Does that involve a full middle? No? Then there's your refutation.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Caoimhghín » Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:00 pm

tkp67 wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 1:26 pm
The simplest resolve is to contemplate the answer against the sutra they where born from (the lotus sutra)
Believe it or not, but the three truths aren't in the Lotus Sūtra. Isn't that surprising? I don't think it mentions a "middle" in addition to a conventional and an ultimate anywhere in its text.
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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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:26 pm

haha wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:54 pm
The Truth of Non-substantiality (Kutai)
The Truth of Temporary Existence (Ketai)
The Truth of the Middle Way (Chutai)
It is quite equivalent to Yogacara Theory. It is said that Yogacara had tried to harmonize the views of asti and nasti vadin. I do not know whether Zhiyi had studied Mahayanasutralamkara or not as there might be Paramartha’s translation at his time (i.e. probably). However, his description is equivalent to this verse:
(34) When one has realized the vacuity of inexistence, and also vacuity of such and such existence, and has known the natural vacuity, one can say that one is the knower of the void.

Asanga, tr Surekha Vijaya Limaye, (2000), Mahayanasutralamkara, Sri Satguru Publications, Chapter XIV, p 272
Anyway, those, who are more familiar with Zhiyi, can cross check it.

Zhiyi would not have read the Sūtralāṃkāra, it was not translated into Chinese until 630.

And this is just a reference to to the three natures, the imputed, the dependent, and the perfected. What are these? The verse is, "Since the emptiness of the nonexistence is know, and likewise, since the emptiness of the existent and natural emptiness is known, one is called the knower of emptiness." The first is the imagined, the second is the dependent (aka all-basis consciousness), and the third of the perfected (the absence of the imputed in the dependent).

Now. in Vasubandhu's commentary on Maitreya's verse (this text was not written by Asanga), he comments that the first emptiness is the imputed nature; the second is the dependent nature, and the third is the perfected nature. But again, this is a question of perception, and it is clarified more readily by the Madhyānatavibhańgakāriks̄:

The imagination of the unreal exists;
duality does not exist in it;
emptiness exists in this;
and the former exists in the latter.

Since everything is explained
as not empty and not not-empty,
since there is existence, since there is nonexistence, and since there is existence,
that is the middle way.


The first line of the first verse explicitly explains the appearances of the triple realm, that is, the imagination of the unreal (parikalpita), that is, the imagination of subject and object exists. However, that duality does not exist, and in fact, it is exists as the imagination of an unreal subject and object. The former, duality, exists in the latter, emptiness, which is to say duality exists in a consciousness that is empty of duality.

Now, here emptiness and the imagination of the unreal both exist (not empty), but they are empty of duality (not not-empty). The imagination of the unreal is all compounded phenomena, and emptiness is uncompounded, hence, this explains all phenomena. Therefore, the imagination of the unreal exists, duality does not exist, but that emptiness of that duality does exist; and since everything is not wholly empty and everything is also not wholly non-empty, that is the middle way as described by Maitreyanatha.

To say that not everything is wholly empty is to say that everything exists as a projection of a deluded consciousness; to say that everything is not wholly nonempty is to say that the projections of that deluded consciousness do not exist. This is Maitreyanatha'ss formula of the middle way.

This presentation is completely different than what Zhiyi is getting at. Zhiyi is trying to reconcile a substantialist misunderstanding of Madhyamaka that plagued earlier Chinese scholars, who mistook epistemology of the two truths for an ontology. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, Zhiyi never totally overcame this ontology, and still continued this misunderstanding, even as he tried to resolve it.

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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:42 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 7:45 pm

You seem to lack the basic understanding of how legal precedent evolve over time. Sometimes, a legal principle will be there, latent, for centuries until they are drawn out and identified by scholars or judges. And then, a watershed decision is rendered, and now you have a legal principle.
Sure, I am not a lawyer. But the fact remains that when a legal precedent is established, generally, it is cited in support of a given argument. Where no precedent can be found, one is sought.
LOL. You didn't cite any sources to announce that the Three Truths involves a full middle. That's your interpretation. And you're wrong. What response can there possibly be to your flat error?
Well, you could for example explain how Zhiyi's interpretation is consistent with Nāgārjuna (good luck), and how he avoids violating the law of the excluded middle. But if you don't have time, or it is of no interest to you, well. Not much commitment. Your mere claim I am mistaken is not proof I am mistaken.

Here I'll say once more - The Three Truths, with regard to "Truths", say no more than the gist of MMK Ch. 24, V. 18. Does that involve a full middle? No? Then there's your refutation.
That is not a refutation, that is not even a consequence. For example, in order to show that I was mistaken, you would need to show that Nāgārjuna's intent was that emptiness, in that verse, intended ultimate truth; and that dependent designation intended relative truth (they don't). You cannot rely on a vague legal principle like "penumbra" to explain this away, that somehow this third truth was lurking there all along, just waiting to be discovered by Zhiyi, mystically concealed in the Lotus Sutra by the Buddha.

I have already provided scriptural citations flat out denying there is such a thing as third truth, etc., as well as citations which show how this verse intended to be understood. As far as I am concerned, the whole discussion is based on Chinese Buddhist misunderstandings of the intent of Nāgārjuna, misunderstandings that continue to this day because people refuse to study these things properly.

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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Mar 10, 2020 10:15 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:42 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 7:45 pm

You seem to lack the basic understanding of how legal precedent evolve over time. Sometimes, a legal principle will be there, latent, for centuries until they are drawn out and identified by scholars or judges. And then, a watershed decision is rendered, and now you have a legal principle.
Sure, I am not a lawyer. But the fact remains that when a legal precedent is established, generally, it is cited in support of a given argument. Where no precedent can be found, one is sought.
LOL. You didn't cite any sources to announce that the Three Truths involves a full middle. That's your interpretation. And you're wrong. What response can there possibly be to your flat error?
Well, you could for example explain how Zhiyi's interpretation is consistent with Nāgārjuna (good luck), and how he avoids violating the law of the excluded middle. But if you don't have time, or it is of no interest to you, well. Not much commitment. Your mere claim I am mistaken is not proof I am mistaken.

Here I'll say once more - The Three Truths, with regard to "Truths", say no more than the gist of MMK Ch. 24, V. 18. Does that involve a full middle? No? Then there's your refutation.
That is not a refutation, that is not even a consequence. For example, in order to show that I was mistaken, you would need to show that Nāgārjuna's intent was that emptiness, in that verse, intended ultimate truth; and that dependent designation intended relative truth (they don't). You cannot rely on a vague legal principle like "penumbra" to explain this away, that somehow this third truth was lurking there all along, just waiting to be discovered by Zhiyi, mystically concealed in the Lotus Sutra by the Buddha.

I have already provided scriptural citations flat out denying there is such a thing as third truth, etc., as well as citations which show how this verse intended to be understood. As far as I am concerned, the whole discussion is based on Chinese Buddhist misunderstandings of the intent of Nāgārjuna, misunderstandings that continue to this day because people refuse to study these things properly.
For one, I should be clear - I speak for no one but myself. I go no further than saying that whatever I say here is my opinion.

As for how MMK Ch. 24, V. 18 relates to the Three Truths, I very clearly said it lines up with the gist. I never proposed any 1 to 1 comparison.

Further, I never invoked the concept of the penumbra to explain the Three Truths. It was a somewhat humorous attempt to address your apparent tentative grasp on how legal arguments are made and precedents established. I assumed you did know more. The bounds of your knowledge are encyclopedic. But apparently you don't. So, if you knew the reference, you'd know how controversial the concept of the penumbra is in constitutional law, and in the context here you would have understood that referring to it was self-deprecating joke. I don't know where you were going with your invocation of legal reasoning. But just so there is no confusion: legal reasoning has nothing to do with the discussion here as far as I'm concerned.

Now, you keep asserting your views, saying things like, "my opinion" and "as far as I'm concerned" to support your assertions, but why am I expected to divine the details of your thinking and how you come to certain conclusions? I don't know the full picture of why you come to certain conclusions so how could I be expected to address them?

All I can offer is my sympathetic reading of Zhiyi. As I understand, the reason for the Three Truths innovation comes from, for instance, the tension you find in MMK Ch. 24, Vs. 8 & 9, which has been invoked above in this thread.

Garfield has it:

Without a foundation in the conventional truth,
The significance of the ultimate cannot be taught.
Without understanding the significance of the ultimate,
Liberation is not achieved.

Those who do not understand
The distinction drawn between these two truths
Do not understand
The Buddha's profound truth.

Zhiyi was not trying to construct some system to explain the existence of the world. If you go in thinking that, that's frankly unfair and one's bias becomes the subject and not the teachings themselves.

Here, Nagarjuna, even as he's declaring a relative truth and an ultimate truth, he is suggesting that there is a relationship between the relative and ultimate. So the question is, "Well, Nagarjuna, what's the connection between the ultimate and relative?" To simply say the relative is merely false perception and ultimate is true perception serves a purpose in some respects. But then what of this "foundation in the conventional truth" that Nagarjuna says is necessary? What of this "profound truth"?

In the Lotus, Buddha explains upaya very much along these lines. He describes a father telling his children playing in a burning house that there are toy carts outside the house if they'll only come and get them. At the time the father says this, there are no carts outside the house. And so he's saying something that is technically false. And yet, his aim is to get the children out of the house, which his enticement does. But then, when the Buddha asks Shariputra, "Is the father lying?" Shariputra answers in the negative, and then the Buddha goes on to affirm his answer and explain that although the Buddha teaches three vehicles, there is in fact only one Buddhavehicle, and that actually, they're all the Buddhavehicle.

Here is a text explaining the relationship between the ultimate and the relative that explicitly does not go so far as to declare what the Buddha says is false, even when it otherwise meets the definition of what people would generally say is false. The Three Truths includes this in the frame of its explanation. The Middle is sometimes called the Buddhanature Middle Truth to emphasize that the Three Truths is not just a restatement or clarification of Nagarjuna's Two Truths, but rather something else intimately related to the Buddha and his relationship with beings.

It is going to be confusing for someone coming from a strictly Madhyamika view to accept this. And what is there to say about that? :shrug:

To insist that the Three Truths be dumbed down to specific terms rather than to seek what is meant on its own terms, well, we often find this dynamic when we encounter something unfamiliar to ourselves - we try to fit it into the categories we already know.

All well and good, but it doesn't make for a productive discussion. Gonna need you to come out of your shell there a little, Malcolm.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by tkp67 » Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:48 pm

Caoimhghín wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:00 pm
tkp67 wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 1:26 pm
The simplest resolve is to contemplate the answer against the sutra they where born from (the lotus sutra)
Believe it or not, but the three truths aren't in the Lotus Sūtra. Isn't that surprising? I don't think it mentions a "middle" in addition to a conventional and an ultimate anywhere in its text.
viewtopic.php?f=39&t=33013&start=180#p523156

:shrug:

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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by tkp67 » Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:06 am

If one is not able to know
The distinction between the two truths,
One cannot know the true meaning
Of the profound Buddha Dharma.

Conventional truth (saṃvṛtisatya), also called “worldly truth” (lokasaṃvṛtisatya), is the ordinary, common acceptance of the everyday phenomenal world as experienced and interpreted through our senses. What is the relationship between Conventional and Supreme truth (paramārthasatya)? The two truths are actually one twofold truth that they are two ways of viewing one reality. Then what is the relationship between the two views?

Zhiyi developed a solution utilizing a threefold structure. Zhiyi’s threefold truth concept is an extension of the traditional Mādhyamika theory of the two truths. The direct literary inspiration for the formulation of the threefold truth concept is found in verse eighteen of the same chapter. yaḥ pratītyasamutpādaḥ Dependent co-arising śūnyatāṃ tāṃ pracakṣmahe We declare to be śūnyatā 5 sā prajñaptir upādāya That is dependent concept
pratipat saiva madhyamā That is the Middle Path.

Pratītyasamutpāda means all things arisen due to a multitude of causes and conditions. Śūnyatā means the lack of intrinsic nature (svabhāva). Svabhāva defined as something absolute, uncreated and not dependent on anything else, and it never changes. Śūnyatā is an attack of such concepts. Prajñāptirupādāya (dependent concept) refers to our phenomenal world which has temporary reality. This is called conventional existence. Madhyamā means the teaching of śūnyatā denies the view of externalism; the teaching of conventional designation denies the view of nihilism. Co-arising, emptiness, conventional existence, and the Middle are not four realities, four separate existences, or four independent doctrines, but four ways to express the same one reality, the Buddhadharma, which is saṃsāra to us common ignorant mortals and nirvāṇa to a Buddha, Hence the common Mahāyāna proposition that “there is no difference between saṃsāra and nirvāṇa.” (Paul L., 1989, 5-6)

For Zhiyi, the threefold truth is an integrated unity with three aspects. First, emptiness, often identified with the Supreme truth. Second conventional existence of phenomenal world as co-arising, often identified with the worldly truth. Third, the Middle, a simultaneous affirmation of both emptiness and conventional existence as aspects of a single integrated reality. Thus, these three components are not separate from each other but integral parts of a unified reality. They are simultaneous aspects of one reality.

This Middle Path, however, must not be grasped as an eternal; it is, rather, manifested in and through and is identical with temporal phenomenal reality, which is again in turn empty of an unchanging substance. The circle is complete in itself, what Zhiyi calls “a round and inter-inclusive threefold truth.” Zhiyi summarized in his Fa hua xuan yi:
Round and inter-inclusive threefold truths (san di yuan rong 三諦圓融) , 3. Śamatha (Pali, samatha) and vipaśyana (Pali, vipassana) (zhi guan 止观) The Classification of Teachings (pan jiao) to unite all Buddhist Schools The translation of Buddhist texts from Sanskrit into Chinese produced a large number of volumes. It was easy for the beginners to be confused, as some sutras contradict others and the Chinese has the spirit of round and integration. They tried to unite them together by analizing the differences and synthesizing them together. Under this circumstance, Zhiyi developed this theory of "Classfication" in order to unite all Buddhists in the divided China at that time in the Southern and Northern dynasty (420 — 589). Zhiyi believed that the Buddha taught for forty-nine years in different places for different people and he taught differently according to the audience’s capacities. To categorize the Buddha's doctrines will help people understand the teaching and enter the path without confusion. Facing a large volume of translated texts from India during the fifth century, the Chinese presumed all the teachings presented in different sūtras were taught by the Buddha, while they found that the contents of some sūtras contradicted other sūtras. The best way to solve this problem was to categorize his teachings according to the nature and contents, thus Tian Tai formed the “Five Periods and Eight Doctrines.” Five Periods
The Buddha's teaching can be chronically divided as five periods. Here “chronically” does not mean that the sūtras composed time rather it refers to the time the Buddha taught to his followers in 3
Mahāyāna tradition
A practitioner should apply anyone of the three truths into practice. When one is applied, the others are automatically applied. In that sense, the moment one applies the Buddha Dharma, the moment one is practicing the Round and Abrupt contemplation. At that moment, a beginner practitioner has the same experience with the advanced one. What is the most important message here is that one needs to apply the Dharma to present moment mind.
Zhiyi also explains his meditation system is Inclusive Dharma (攝法). Śamatha and vipaśyanā includes all Buddha’s teaching. Śamatha can calm all things, vipaśyanā can lighten the truth (理principles). Thus it includes all Buddha Dharmas.5

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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Malcolm » Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:10 am

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 10:15 pm

Here, Nagarjuna, even as he's declaring a relative truth and an ultimate truth, he is suggesting that there is a relationship between the relative and ultimate. So the question is, "Well, Nagarjuna, what's the connection between the ultimate and relative?" To simply say the relative is merely false perception and ultimate is true perception serves a purpose in some respects. But then what of this "foundation in the conventional truth" that Nagarjuna says is necessary? What of this "profound truth"?
It's pretty straight forward, worldly convention is just the syllable and expressions used by mundane people. So you explain the ultimate to them using conventional language. The profound truth of the Buddha's teaching is the truth seen by āryas——that all phenomena do not arise. If one does not understand both the distinction between the two truths and the necessity to ground the explanation of the ultimate in the conventions used by worldly people, the latter will never see the profound truth of the Buddha's teaching which is only seen by āryas.

In the Lotus, Buddha explains upaya very much along these lines. He describes a father telling his children playing in a burning house that there are toy carts outside the house if they'll only come and get them. At the time the father says this, there are no carts outside the house. And so he's saying something that is technically false. And yet, his aim is to get the children out of the house, which his enticement does. But then, when the Buddha asks Shariputra, "Is the father lying?" Shariputra answers in the negative, and then the Buddha goes on to affirm his answer and explain that although the Buddha teaches three vehicles, there is in fact only one Buddhavehicle, and that actually, they're all the Buddhavehicle.
This does not apply.

Here is a text explaining the relationship between the ultimate and the relative that explicitly does not go so far as to declare what the Buddha says is false, even when it otherwise meets the definition of what people would generally say is false.

This passage has nothing at all to do with the two truths, or even ultimate truth. The Saddharmapundarika does have a few nice passages on the nature of reality, but that is not the main point of sūtra, and definitely not the point of the parable of the burning house.
The Three Truths includes this in the frame of its explanation. The Middle is sometimes called the Buddhanature Middle Truth to emphasize that the Three Truths is not just a restatement or clarification of Nagarjuna's Two Truths, but rather something else intimately related to the Buddha and his relationship with beings.

It is going to be confusing for someone coming from a strictly Madhyamika view to accept this. And what is there to say about that? :shrug:
It's not confusing, but to someone schooled in Indian Buddhism, it seems tendentious, besides the point, and based on flawed definitions.
All well and good, but it doesn't make for a productive discussion. Gonna need you to come out of your shell there a little, Malcolm.
That's the pot calling the kettle black.
Last edited by Malcolm on Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Malcolm » Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:18 am

tkp67 wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:06 am

Conventional truth (saṃvṛtisatya), also called “worldly truth” (lokasaṃvṛtisatya),
This is an error. It is called "lokavyavahārasatya."
For Zhiyi, the threefold truth is an integrated unity with three aspects. First, emptiness, often identified with the Supreme truth. Second conventional existence of phenomenal world as co-arising, often identified with the worldly truth. Third, the Middle, a simultaneous affirmation of both emptiness and conventional existence as aspects of a single integrated reality.
This is where this goes wrong. There are other problems with the deleted parts, but here, this is the main misconception. It is wrong to term dependent origination "one integrated reality."
Thus, these three components are not separate from each other but integral parts of a unified reality. They are simultaneous aspects of one reality.
Same problem.

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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Caoimhghín » Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:45 am

tkp67 wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:48 pm
Caoimhghín wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:00 pm
tkp67 wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 1:26 pm
The simplest resolve is to contemplate the answer against the sutra they where born from (the lotus sutra)
Believe it or not, but the three truths aren't in the Lotus Sūtra. Isn't that surprising? I don't think it mentions a "middle" in addition to a conventional and an ultimate anywhere in its text.
viewtopic.php?f=39&t=33013&start=180#p523156

:shrug:
:shrug:
Words speak better than emoticons.

A lazy quotation. Do you think I don't read? I can't imagine why you would think that that is anything that even approaches helpful or useful in communicating, and is definitely trollish behaviour. You can do better.

Also, vis-a-vis the material quoted, the blossom falls once the fruit is revealed. The blossom opened to reveal the fruit. Now that the fruit is open, the blossom is gone, like a dewdrop, a dream that is woken from, or a flash of lightening -- there and gone. The blossom and the fruit don't co-exist eternally forever in union. Food for thought. We use these metaphors for a reason. What is in them isn't arbitrary, because they exist to teach us specific lessons.
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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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by tkp67 » Wed Mar 11, 2020 1:01 am

Caoimhghín wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:45 am
tkp67 wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:48 pm
Caoimhghín wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:00 pm

Believe it or not, but the three truths aren't in the Lotus Sūtra. Isn't that surprising? I don't think it mentions a "middle" in addition to a conventional and an ultimate anywhere in its text.

viewtopic.php?f=39&t=33013&start=180#p523156

:shrug:
:shrug:
Words speak better than emoticons.

Also, vis-a-vis the material quoted (lazily), the blossom falls once the fruit is revealed. The blossom opened to reveal the fruit. Now that the fruit is open, the blossom is gone, like a dewdrop, a dream that is woken from, or a flash of lightening -- there and gone. The blossom and the fruit don't co-exist eternally. Food for thought.
I was simply pointing out that the point was addressed without taking ownership for the words themselves. Sorry for the confusion.

To the later, why is it assumed this "eternal" process is internal and not referring to the potential we all have to blossom and fruit? Our individual existence doesn't define everyone's individual existence. I think this is the subtle but underlying point.

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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Caoimhghín » Wed Mar 11, 2020 1:15 am

tkp67 wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 1:01 am
Caoimhghín wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:45 am
tkp67 wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:48 pm


viewtopic.php?f=39&t=33013&start=180#p523156

:shrug:
:shrug:
Words speak better than emoticons.

Also, vis-a-vis the material quoted (lazily), the blossom falls once the fruit is revealed. The blossom opened to reveal the fruit. Now that the fruit is open, the blossom is gone, like a dewdrop, a dream that is woken from, or a flash of lightening -- there and gone. The blossom and the fruit don't co-exist eternally. Food for thought.
I was simply pointing out that the point was addressed without taking ownership for the words themselves. Sorry for the confusion.

To the later, why is it assumed this "eternal" process is internal and not referring to the potential we all have to blossom and fruit? Our individual existence doesn't define everyone's individual existence. I think this is the subtle but underlying point.
Who said "this 'eternal' process" was internal? It seems to be that is something you came up with, so I'll have to ask what you mean by "internal" vs "referring to potential," etc. By "eternal process" though, do you mean "opening the provisional, revealing the real?"

Does anyone have a link to a document that has Ven Zhiyi giving the explanation on the ways that the Lotus Sūtra is like a lotus blossom from T1716 Miàofǎ xuán yì so that tkp67 can read it? I referenced it before, in Swanson's Clear Serenity, Quiet Insight, Supplementary Texts p. 1815, but I don't know if it's on the internet and freely available. I can copy it out, and will do so in a bit, but it's going to be a pain.

If you equate the blossom with the fruit as a metaphor for that we all have Buddha-nature, I think you should read it again if you have not yet.
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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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Supramundane » Wed Mar 11, 2020 1:26 am

tkp67 wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 1:26 pm
Supramundane wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 7:59 am
how does the concept of Three Truths account for the concept of Pervasion, meaning that something cannot be singular and plural at the same time.

The DL uses this principle to discuss the nature of the self; if the self is singular, then how can the aggregates be plural? either the self is all of the aggregates, which would mean we have multiple selves, or the self is beyond the aggregates, which would mean it would be eternal and thus not reflective of the aggregates. therefore, the conclusion he draws is that the aggregates cannot be considered a Self.

It seems to me that the quotes you have chosen about the Three Truths make reference to the Truths being independent but also being multiple at the same time...

how is this logically possible? how do you reconcile these notions?
tx
The simplest resolve is to contemplate the answer against the sutra they where born from (the lotus sutra)

IMHO the key here is to understand the nature of the methods not the part one understands versus the part one does not.

The difference is these methods accommodate various capacities, causes and conditions opposed to requiring a specific set of capacity, cause and conditions to understand at all.

The answers are both in the sutra and the teachings.

Remember the teachers in question here all understood that sutra. They took the requests at the assembly and contemporized to the zeigest of the people during the period their own existence. That is the epiphany of turning around. The mind understands the realms and how varying minds accord there of. It has had this capacity the whole time. It needs to be potentiated and realized.
thank you for your answer, tkp.
appreciate it.
SM

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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:14 am

Malcolm wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:10 am
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 10:15 pm

Here, Nagarjuna, even as he's declaring a relative truth and an ultimate truth, he is suggesting that there is a relationship between the relative and ultimate. So the question is, "Well, Nagarjuna, what's the connection between the ultimate and relative?" To simply say the relative is merely false perception and ultimate is true perception serves a purpose in some respects. But then what of this "foundation in the conventional truth" that Nagarjuna says is necessary? What of this "profound truth"?
It's pretty straight forward, worldly convention is just the syllable and expressions used by mundane people. So you explain the ultimate to them using conventional language. The profound truth of the Buddha's teaching is the truth seen by āryas——that all phenomena do not arise. If one does not understand both the distinction between the two truths and the necessity to ground the explanation of the ultimate in the conventions used by worldly people, the latter will never see the profound truth of the Buddha's teaching which is only seen by āryas.
I don't see any controversy with that, except that it doesn't address how the buddhas engage through the conventions.

The Three Truths address the wellspring of conventional teachings from the Buddha (upaya). Your explanation does not bridge that. Perhaps its as you wrote - Candra, which I take to be TB's lens on Madhyamaka - says nothing at all about upaya. I don't know. Have not gotten around to studying it yet - not for having my mind closed to it as you suggest, though.
This passage has nothing at all to do with the two truths, or even ultimate truth. The Saddharmapundarika does have a few nice passages on the nature of reality, but that is not the main point of sūtra, and definitely not the point of the parable of the burning house.
:popcorn:

Edify us, sir.

It's not confusing, but to someone schooled in Indian Buddhism, it seems tendentious, besides the point, and based on flawed definitions.
Perhaps. Not really a concern of mine. I'd like to understand why that is to an extent.
That's the pot calling the kettle black.
OK.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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