According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

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prsvrnc
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According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by prsvrnc » Tue May 08, 2018 2:50 am

According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object? Jeffrey Hopkins in "Meditation on Emptiness" says that the assertion that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object is a false statement and a misunderstanding of the Prasangika.

My understanding is that what distinguishes a conventional truth and an ultimate truth is the way the object is ascertained by the mind. Something ascertained by a conventional consciousness or analyzed by a conventional mind is a conventional truth and something ascertained by an ultimate consciousness or analyzed by an ultimate mind (which sees the lack of inherent existence of the object) is an ultimate truth. Within every existent thing or event there are two aspects — the aspect found by ‘perceivers of reality’ and the aspect found by ‘perceivers of falsities.’ All things and events have these two aspects.

Why can't we call these two ways of ascertaining objects be two ways of looking at one object?

In "Relative Truth, Ultimate Truth," Geshe Tashi Tsering says the following: "It’s not that there are two modes of existence of consciousness, each perceiving the object differently, one consciousness existing conventionally and one ultimately. Here, we are referring to the mind’s mode of enquiry, not its mode of existence."

Maybe the above quote explains why the statement is false? In that case, it almost seems like they're talking about the basis of the two truths -- what constitutes the division -- whether it is consciousnesses or objects, or something like that. I'm confused.

Can anyone tell me why it's false to say that the two truths are two ways of viewing one object? It's not WAYS of viewing, it's just perceiving certain aspects of an object......? Is that a legitimate distinction?

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Jeff H » Tue May 08, 2018 2:48 pm

I think you need to share more of Hopkins’ context because, on the surface, what you are saying sounds correct. Perhaps he is making a different point.

Geshe Tashi’s core teaching about the two truths is simply stated as one entity with different isolates. Isolates are explained as different connotative references to one particular thing. My wife calls me “Jeff” and my son calls me “Dad”. In the case of conventional truth and emptiness, they are necessarily one entity but at the same time mutually exclusive. That is more like the well known "duck/rabbit illusion"; there is only one drawing, but when you see the duck you can't see the rabbit and vice versa.
DuckRabbit.png
DuckRabbit.png (59.3 KiB) Viewed 880 times
Geshe Tashi (in an old edition of that book) wrote:What the Madhyamaka philosophers are saying is that conventional truth and ultimate truth are different only because the mind perceives that difference. Objectively, they exist as one entity; subjectively, at the same time, they are perceived as different isolates. … Ultimate truth cannot be posited without connection to the object. That is how close the relationship is. The absence of inherent existence of an object relies on the object – the difference is in the mind perceiving it, not the actual object. To talk about the redness of a flower, we need to talk about the actual flower.
Nagarjuna wrote:Suchness is not observed
As a different [entity] from conventionalities,
Because conventionalities are explained as emptinesses
And just as emptinesses are
[Posited in relation to] conventionalities,
It being definite that without one, the other does not occur,
Like product and impermanent thing.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Josef » Tue May 08, 2018 3:14 pm

prsvrnc wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 2:50 am
According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object? Jeffrey Hopkins in "Meditation on Emptiness" says that the assertion that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object is a false statement and a misunderstanding of the Prasangika.

My understanding is that what distinguishes a conventional truth and an ultimate truth is the way the object is ascertained by the mind. Something ascertained by a conventional consciousness or analyzed by a conventional mind is a conventional truth and something ascertained by an ultimate consciousness or analyzed by an ultimate mind (which sees the lack of inherent existence of the object) is an ultimate truth. Within every existent thing or event there are two aspects — the aspect found by ‘perceivers of reality’ and the aspect found by ‘perceivers of falsities.’ All things and events have these two aspects.

Why can't we call these two ways of ascertaining objects be two ways of looking at one object?

In "Relative Truth, Ultimate Truth," Geshe Tashi Tsering says the following: "It’s not that there are two modes of existence of consciousness, each perceiving the object differently, one consciousness existing conventionally and one ultimately. Here, we are referring to the mind’s mode of enquiry, not its mode of existence."

Maybe the above quote explains why the statement is false? In that case, it almost seems like they're talking about the basis of the two truths -- what constitutes the division -- whether it is consciousnesses or objects, or something like that. I'm confused.

Can anyone tell me why it's false to say that the two truths are two ways of viewing one object? It's not WAYS of viewing, it's just perceiving certain aspects of an object......? Is that a legitimate distinction?
Because it doesnt really matter how an object is ascertained by mind. The nature of the object and its relationship with sensory perceptions of sentient beings has no bearing on the relative or ultimate condition of an inanimate object. The failure to recognize the ultimate has impacts on the perceiver.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Queequeg » Tue May 08, 2018 4:49 pm

I'm sorry if I am barging in - not Gelug, or even Tibetan Buddhist, but this question is interesting to me. TBH, I don't know the significance of Prasangika, but the question itself seem like a general Madhyamika question, so to that extent I'd like to contribute.

I think the problem is the assumption of an object. Without an object, there actually can't be any views, at least one that is anything but a conjuration. Subject (viewer) only arises in relation to an object. Without subject, there is no view. Take away either subject or object and the other is also nullified. Subject and object are dependently originated. As I understand, this is the fundamental origination that concatenates into samsara.

As I understand, there are also two types of conventional truth - one is the conventional that is conceived by deluded beings which is more or less mistaken and speculative - to the extent it coincides with reality, its like a termite carving the letter A in a piece of wood. The other is the conventional conjured by awakened beings as artful devices for the sake of awakening others - upaya. These are without reality, but, once pointed out, can resonate in the deluded minds of beings in such a way that it leads them out of the thicket of views.

Either way, these conventional views are tentative. They're not nothing, but they're not substantial, either.

Relevant to this question, though, is the implication here that views are really a distorted experience of the absolute. Subject and object are in reality seamlessly integrated such that what is supposed as object is really just an estranged or alienated aspect of what is distinguished as the subject, in perfect compliment. Its explains why it is so hard to see the falsity of the self, why we have to infer the truth through careful examination.

The absolute is not a view, ie. a way of looking at an object. Its beyond a view because its beyond subject and object. The absolute is, in conventional terms and experience, inconceivable. This is why only direct knowledge is true.

The concern is that this precludes an "objective" world, ie. a concrete something that anchors all samsara. And that's true. The real problem we have with neutralizing the object is that we are afraid we ourselves will be neutralized, oblilterated. That's the fundamental grasping, the desperate seizing of "I" that prevents us from being free.

The further implications seem to be where the real fun starts. If subject and object are conjurations, what is really going on? What does this mean for who/what we really are? What does this mean for our relationship to each other? ie. if there is no common object for us to relate to each other through, then what is going on when we meet and interact?

I think I might have gone off the rails.

TL:DR

Object is illusory, so how can there really be any views, let alone two or more views of the same object.
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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by kalden yungdrung » Tue May 08, 2018 5:05 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Object is illusory, so how can there really be any views, let alone two or more views of the same object.
Guess we have here the relative and ultimate truth.

The object is always in relation to the subject in Madyamika so the meditation.
For me this is a normal fact regarding Madyamika, it avoids eternalism and nihilism which is the general problem of humans.

later on regarding personal emancipation there is no difference between object and subject.
Then the main point of difference between these meditations is the different approach to emptiness and this leads then automatic to different understandings of meditation about emptiness.

But it is all done by the mind and so it is a valid experience.
The best meditation is no meditation

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Queequeg » Tue May 08, 2018 7:33 pm

kalden yungdrung wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 5:05 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Object is illusory, so how can there really be any views, let alone two or more views of the same object.
Guess we have here the relative and ultimate truth.
Right. It sounds like the confusion in the original question is that: two truths = two views (of the same object). Truth is not a view. The nominal two truths are descriptions of the way things are, not views.
The object is always in relation to the subject in Madyamika so the meditation.
For me this is a normal fact regarding Madyamika, it avoids eternalism and nihilism which is the general problem of humans.

later on regarding personal emancipation there is no difference between object and subject.
Then the main point of difference between these meditations is the different approach to emptiness and this leads then automatic to different understandings of meditation about emptiness.
That's how I understand the place of Madhyamika in the context of the broader Buddhist path. Madhyamika is basically a dialectic approach that undermines our conditioned views. It is in a sense negative. False views having been neutralized, the training then continues in a positive way.
But it is all done by the mind and so it is a valid experience.
Yes - that is a critical point.
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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Malcolm
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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Malcolm » Tue May 08, 2018 8:14 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:33 pm
kalden yungdrung wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 5:05 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Object is illusory, so how can there really be any views, let alone two or more views of the same object.
Guess we have here the relative and ultimate truth.
Right. It sounds like the confusion in the original question is that: two truths = two views (of the same object). Truth is not a view. The nominal two truths are descriptions of the way things are, not views.
The two truths (satyas) are cognitions, actually.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Bristollad » Tue May 08, 2018 8:15 pm

Take a look at p405 of Meditation on Emptiness on the two truths and on p406 where it starts to lay out 6 positions that Jamyang Shaypa refutes in regard to them. The Gelugpa position is rooted in their understanding of a quote from the Meeting of Father and Son Sutra:

"Objects of knowledge are exhausted in the two truths."

"Since those which are divided into the two truths are phenomena (and the synonyms of 'phenomena'), each member of either division is a phenomenon, an object, an existent, and an object of knowledge."

This is what Jeff was indicating when he said
Jeff H wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 2:48 pm
In the case of conventional truth and emptiness, they are necessarily one entity but at the same time mutually exclusive.
The table and the emptiness of the table are explained as two phenomena, not one phenomenon seen in two ways. But these two phenomena though not the same (one) are necessarily one entity.

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Queequeg » Tue May 08, 2018 8:33 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 8:14 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:33 pm
kalden yungdrung wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 5:05 pm


Guess we have here the relative and ultimate truth.
Right. It sounds like the confusion in the original question is that: two truths = two views (of the same object). Truth is not a view. The nominal two truths are descriptions of the way things are, not views.
The two truths (satyas) are cognitions, actually.
What does that mean?
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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Malcolm » Tue May 08, 2018 8:48 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 8:33 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 8:14 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:33 pm


Right. It sounds like the confusion in the original question is that: two truths = two views (of the same object). Truth is not a view. The nominal two truths are descriptions of the way things are, not views.
The two truths (satyas) are cognitions, actually.
What does that mean?
An ultimate truth is an ultimately veridical cognition. Among the two kinds of relative truth, both are degrees of false cognitions: true relative truth is a cognition which is conventionally unmistaken but is mistaken about the true nature if it's object; a false relative truth is completely mistaken.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Queequeg » Tue May 08, 2018 8:56 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 8:48 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 8:33 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 8:14 pm


The two truths (satyas) are cognitions, actually.
What does that mean?
An ultimate truth is an ultimately veridical cognition. Among the two kinds of relative truth, both are degrees of false cognitions: true relative truth is a cognition which is conventionally unmistaken but is mistaken about the true nature if it's object; a false relative truth is completely mistaken.
Is cognition the same or different than view? Let me know if I need to flesh that question out a little more.
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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Malcolm
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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Malcolm » Tue May 08, 2018 9:04 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 8:56 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 8:48 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 8:33 pm


What does that mean?
An ultimate truth is an ultimately veridical cognition. Among the two kinds of relative truth, both are degrees of false cognitions: true relative truth is a cognition which is conventionally unmistaken but is mistaken about the true nature if it's object; a false relative truth is completely mistaken.
Is cognition the same or different than view? Let me know if I need to flesh that question out a little more.
A false view is a false cognition. A correct view is a correct cognition.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Queequeg » Tue May 08, 2018 9:24 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 9:04 pm
A false view is a false cognition. A correct view is a correct cognition.
Had to think about it a little, but I grok. Thanks.
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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by prsvrnc » Wed May 09, 2018 12:08 am

Jeff H wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 2:48 pm
I think you need to share more of Hopkins’ context because, on the surface, what you are saying sounds correct. Perhaps he is making a different point.
I wasn't able to attach a picture of the page but on pages 16 and 17 it lists out 32 positions that are refuted in the book. He prefaces the list by saying that "Almost all contemporary renderings of Madhyamika run contrary to Ge-luk-ba authors such as Jam-yang-shay-ba on many central points. It should be clear by the end of this book that the traditional interpretation given here does not agree with, and in fact refuges, all of the following positions with respect to Prasangika-Madhyamika..."

#9: The two truths are two ways of viewing the same object.

So I guess that means #9 is a position that I might not be able to find support for elsewhere, outside of Jam-yang-shay-ba (among others) for instance.

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by prsvrnc » Wed May 09, 2018 12:14 am

Bristollad wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 8:15 pm
The table and the emptiness of the table are explained as two phenomena, not one phenomenon seen in two ways. But these two phenomena though not the same (one) are necessarily one entity.
Oh yeah, that was another question. So the table and the emptiness of the table -- these are two different objects of knowledge, two different phenomena. How is something like "entity" defined in this case? Is it referring to the basis of imputation?

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Malcolm » Wed May 09, 2018 2:32 am

prsvrnc wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 12:08 am
Jeff H wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 2:48 pm
I think you need to share more of Hopkins’ context because, on the surface, what you are saying sounds correct. Perhaps he is making a different point.
I wasn't able to attach a picture of the page but on pages 16 and 17 it lists out 32 positions that are refuted in the book. He prefaces the list by saying that "Almost all contemporary renderings of Madhyamika run contrary to Ge-luk-ba authors such as Jam-yang-shay-ba on many central points. It should be clear by the end of this book that the traditional interpretation given here does not agree with, and in fact refuges, all of the following positions with respect to Prasangika-Madhyamika..."

#9: The two truths are two ways of viewing the same object.

So I guess that means #9 is a position that I might not be able to find support for elsewhere, outside of Jam-yang-shay-ba (among others) for instance.
This directly contradicts Chandrakirti, "All entities have two natures, one false, the other true."


So how can it be Prasanga at all?
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Bristollad » Wed May 09, 2018 8:19 am

prsvrnc wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 12:14 am
Bristollad wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 8:15 pm
The table and the emptiness of the table are explained as two phenomena, not one phenomenon seen in two ways. But these two phenomena though not the same (one) are necessarily one entity.
Oh yeah, that was another question. So the table and the emptiness of the table -- these are two different objects of knowledge, two different phenomena. How is something like "entity" defined in this case? Is it referring to the basis of imputation?
In Insight into Emptiness, p234 Khensur Jampa Tegchok explains:
"Each conventional phenomenon - permanent or impermanent - is empty of inherent existence. The conventional phenomenon and its emptiness are one nature; one cannot exist without the other. Furthermore an ultimate nature cannot be posited or identified separate from a conventional nature and vice versa. In other words, a table and the table's emptiness are one nature.
However, they are not the same. They have different names and are different phenomena. The names conventional truth and ultimate truth are different, and a conceptual consciousness understands them to be different. In addition, a conventional truth is not an ultimate truth and vice versa. While a table is empty, it is not emptiness. This is because a table is a conventional truth and the emptiness of the table is an ultimate truth. What is one truth cannot be the other.
Any phenomenon - a conventional truth or an ultimate truth - has both an ultimate nature and a conventional nature. Its conventional nature is that it exists conventionally, by mere name. Its ultimate nature is that is is empty of self-existence."

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by prsvrnc » Fri May 11, 2018 3:14 am

I found the below passage online (I can no longer locate the source) and it makes me wonder if what is false about the statement is that no, the two truths do not refer to two ways of viewing an object. Rather, it refers to the phenomena themselves, however what divides them is primarily the perspective of the type of mind that apprehend them.

“All Buddhist tenet holders assert that whatever exists must be either a conventional or an ultimate truth, and that there is nothing which is both. Thus, conventional and ultimate truths do not refer to ideas or perspectives, nor to two levels of reality or truths; they refer to the phenomena themselves.

Moreover, ‘truths’ are divided into two categories primarily from the perspective of the types of mind that apprehend them. Although the two truths do not refer to the types of mind that perceive them but to the objects of the minds, the fact that they are defined in relation to these awarenesses demonstrates the close connection between awarenesses and their objects. This inter-connectedness becomes more evident in the higher tenet schools.”

Bristollad wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 8:19 am
In other words, a table and the table's emptiness are one nature.
Yeah, I guess I still have the same question but I just need to consider it further. It’s a question of terminology. We can say that a table and the table’s emptiness are one nature, or we can say they are one entity. Can we say they are one object even though they are different objects of knowledge? I guess it just makes me curious about the technical definition of entity. Maybe understanding the Tibetan would help.

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Sherab » Fri May 11, 2018 9:29 am

Malcolm wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 8:14 pm
The two truths (satyas) are cognitions, actually.
Malcolm wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 2:32 am
.... "All entities have two natures, one false, the other true."
Did Chandrakirti use the words "truth", "cognition" and "nature" interchangeably?

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Bristollad » Fri May 11, 2018 12:13 pm

Doing a quick web search, your quote seems to come from here:

http://tushita.info/doc/The%20Four%20Te ... ited).docx

From the introduction to the Sautrantika tenets. Oops, no from the intro to the two lower tenet systems.
Last edited by Bristollad on Fri May 11, 2018 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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