The role of truth in Buddhism?

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
Malcolm
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Malcolm » Wed Mar 11, 2020 7:00 am

Queequeg wrote:
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.
They talk and perform deeds.

The Three Truths address the wellspring of conventional teachings from the Buddha (upaya). Your explanation does not bridge that.
Yes, it does. Buddhas talk, perform deeds, and they are omniscient. No third truth is needed to explain upaya, since all upaya is in the domain of relative truth.
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.
The main point of the Sutra, among its various themes, is ekayana, though that is not unique to the lotus, nor is primordial buddhahood unique to the lotus. A recounting of all its themes is beyond the scope of this forum.


[
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.
Often, when one finds themes of concern to Tibetans, the very same themes are of no interest to OG Indian Buddhists. The same can be said of the Chinese.

For example, until the tantric period, 650 onward, Indian Buddhists expressed virtually no systematic interest in tathagatagarbha.

haha
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by haha » Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:53 am

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:26 pm

Zhiyi would not have read the Sūtralāṃkāra, it was not translated into Chinese until 630.
Then he might not have aware about Mahayanasutralamkara’s version of explanation of emptiness and prajnaparamita.

There are several Mahayana texts which talk about tri-svabhava. However, Mahayanasutralamkara has synthesized tri-svabhava with three Samadhis (i.e. tri-vimoksah) and many other ways.

Thank you for the explanation on tri-svabhava. _/\_

Just the reference for above post:
(34) When one has realized the vacuity of inexistence (abhava-sunyata), and also vacuity of such and such existence(tathabhava-sunyata), and has known the natural vacuity (prakritya sunyata), one can say that one is the knower of the void.

Commentary

It is said that the Bodhisattva is the knower of the void (sunyajna) because he knows the three kinds of vacuities. The vacuity of inexistence has an imaginary nature because it is inexistence by its own indice. Vacuity of such and such exist (tathabhava), is that of relative nature because there is no such and such existence, as one imagines it; by one’s own indice is exists. The natural vacuity is the absolute (parinispanna) nature, as it has vacuity as its proper nature.

Asanga, tr Surekha Vijaya Limaye, (2000), Mahayanasutralamkara, Sri Satguru Publications, Chapter XIV, pp 272-273

Sanskrit words are added.

tkp67
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by tkp67 » Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:38 pm

Caoimhghín wrote:
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

: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.
you mentioned the word eternal. I can only assume why you attached it to my interpretation. Eternalism is not an ugly word in the Lotus Sutra. It isn't meant to define out individual state but the nature of consciousness through the three time periods. This has distinct purpose.

Either way exact and verbose linguistics does not definitively define dharma. I find it interesting this phenomenon of literal exactness, the typical demographic that experiences it and the perceived benefit. I believe I can produce many commentary and sutra/sutta evidences that say otherwise.

Do not doubt that many people here already know of the references I mention which makes it even more ironic.

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Caoimhghín
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Caoimhghín » Wed Mar 11, 2020 1:04 pm

tkp67 wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:38 pm
you mentioned the word eternal. I can only assume why you attached it to my interpretation.
Ah, I see. I just meant "eternal" by "eternal."
tkp67 wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:38 pm
I find it interesting this phenomenon of literal exactness, the typical demographic that experiences it and the perceived benefit. I believe I can produce many commentary and sutra/sutta evidences that say otherwise.
Actually, reading the thread, it looks like you are the one who is being criticized for literal exactness and being hung up on dharmas of enumeration (two vs three truths, etc.), but that is just how I read it. I searched the term "enumeration" in this thread to check just now.

What are some of your evidences, but more importantly, what would you be trying to prove if you produced those evidences? That there isn't a typical demographic that experiences literal exactness and perceives benefit?
tkp67 wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:38 pm
Do not doubt that many people here already know of the references I mention which makes it even more ironic.
Are you sure? Which references are you talking about particularly here? All 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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Queequeg
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Queequeg » Thu Mar 12, 2020 1:18 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 7:00 am
They talk and perform deeds.
You talk and perform deeds. I talk and perform deeds. They're not often enlightening. Upaya is more than that.
The Three Truths address the wellspring of conventional teachings from the Buddha (upaya). Your explanation does not bridge that.
Yes, it does. Buddhas talk, perform deeds, and they are omniscient. No third truth is needed to explain upaya, since all upaya is in the domain of relative truth.
Again, The Three Truths is not a response to the Two Truths in some sort of one-upmanship. It pivots to address other things.
The main point of the Sutra, among its various themes, is ekayana, though that is not unique to the lotus, nor is primordial buddhahood unique to the lotus. A recounting of all its themes is beyond the scope of this forum.
Oh. Is that it?
OG Indian Buddhists.
I notice you've gotten on an originalist bent. That's quite a ride. Where does it stop for you?
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

tkp67
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by tkp67 » Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:13 pm

Caoimhghín wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 1:04 pm
tkp67 wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:38 pm
you mentioned the word eternal. I can only assume why you attached it to my interpretation.
Ah, I see. I just meant "eternal" by "eternal."
tkp67 wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:38 pm
I find it interesting this phenomenon of literal exactness, the typical demographic that experiences it and the perceived benefit. I believe I can produce many commentary and sutra/sutta evidences that say otherwise.
Actually, reading the thread, it looks like you are the one who is being criticized for literal exactness and being hung up on dharmas of enumeration (two vs three truths, etc.), but that is just how I read it. I searched the term "enumeration" in this thread to check just now.

What are some of your evidences, but more importantly, what would you be trying to prove if you produced those evidences? That there isn't a typical demographic that experiences literal exactness and perceives benefit?
tkp67 wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:38 pm
Do not doubt that many people here already know of the references I mention which makes it even more ironic.
Are you sure? Which references are you talking about particularly here? All of them?
Let me cut to the heart of the matter.

The two truths where perfect in Nagarjuna's time as are the three truths where in Zhiyi's time. There is no contest regarding appropriation when correlating to time, place, capacity, conditions and causes.

When it comes to interpreting them contextually according to the capacity, conditions and causes there is going to be a natural variation.

Enforcing linguist orthodoxy in regards to the proliferation of dharma concepts does not accommodate all capacities, conditions and causes which denies equanimity in regards to opening the doors of buddhism for all sentient beings here and now. The main directive of the Lotus Sutra and the final teaching of the buddha.

haha
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by haha » Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:21 pm

Threefold Truth has nothing to do with Indian model of two truths. It has its own meaning and intention; it shows Zhiyi's deeper understanding of the Dharma. Here is an example:
The Middle Path of the Lotus Sutra
The foregoing explains the implications of the Middle Path from various points of view. However, in contrast to the partial treatment
given the Middle Path by various earlier sutras, the Middle Path expounded in the Lotus Sutra, which completely clarifies the Middle
Path of Buddhism, is the Perfectly Melded Middle Path of the Threefold Truth (kutai, ketai and chutai).

In the Maka Shikan, the Great Master T’ien-t’ai explains the Threefold Truth as follows:
A polished mirror could be used as a metaphor for the [Three Perfectly Melded Truths]: the mirror’s clarity can be likened to nature or potential (kutai), the image reflected in the mirror is but temporal existence (ketai), and the mirror itself can be compared to
entity (chutai). Though the three are neither combined nor disparate, their differences fit together gracefully.

In other words, T’ien-t’ai explains that the situation in which nothing is reflected in the mirror is the mirror’s natural or potential state
(kutai), while the image of all that is reflected in the mirror represents temporal existence (ketai), and the mirror itself possesses both potential and temporal existence, which represents the entity of the Middle Path (chutai).

From the perspective of the Threefold Truth of the Lotus Sutra, the Great Master T’ien-t’ai explained that the mind of a common mortal
is the object for the practice of observing one’s mind, and considered the truth of the genuine Middle Path found within the minds of
common mortals to be the [entity] of the Mystic Law.

But in the Latter Day of the Law, even if we common mortals were to make our common mortal minds the objects for practice of
observance of the mind as T’ien-t’ai espoused during his day, we would not be able to obtain the benefit of the Mystic Law.
Observance of the mind in the Latter Day of the Law includes both our direct belief in the Dai-Gohonzon, which is the embodiment of the
True Buddha, and our chanting of the Daimoku of the True Buddhism of Sowing.

In the Ongi Kuden (Orally Transmitted Teachings), the Daishonin explains:
[The nature of] ‘one’ is entity (chutai), ‘ultimate’ is nature or potential (kutai) and ‘phenomenon’ is temporal existence (ketai). These Three Perfectly Melded Truths are none other than Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. These five characters are the True Entity, and the reason for
Nichiren’s advent in this world. (Shinpen, p. 1729) The Daishonin explains here that it is the very practice that reveres the Middle Path founded in the Dai-Gohonzon that is the correct path to the attainment of Buddhahood.

Source for full Article: The Middle Path

tkp67
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by tkp67 » Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:40 pm

Not Zhiyi but the similarity is interesting to me. Am I the only one? (rhetorical)
Meditation on Equanimity

The nine-round meditation is comprised of training the mind in equanimity with a mental outlook based on the dual nature of things and events: the conventional and the ultimate. Based on different perspectives, the first in turn is divided into two sections, one from the viewpoint of others and the second from the viewpoint of oneself.
https://www.lionsroar.com/developing-th ... -capacity/

round meditation / round contemplation ?

Malcolm
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Malcolm » Thu Mar 12, 2020 4:56 pm

tkp67 wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:40 pm
Not Zhiyi but the similarity is interesting to me. Am I the only one? (rhetorical)
Meditation on Equanimity

The nine-round meditation is comprised of training the mind in equanimity with a mental outlook based on the dual nature of things and events: the conventional and the ultimate. Based on different perspectives, the first in turn is divided into two sections, one from the viewpoint of others and the second from the viewpoint of oneself.
https://www.lionsroar.com/developing-th ... -capacity/

round meditation / round contemplation ?
Um, no. Here "round" means "section."

Malcolm
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Malcolm » Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:07 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 1:18 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 7:00 am
They talk and perform deeds.
You talk and perform deeds. I talk and perform deeds. They're not often enlightening. Upaya is more than that.
Upaya comes from the actions of a bodhisattva who has clairvoyance and is capable of directly knowing (abhijñā) the minds of others, and what they need. So they talk and act in response to that. We, at least I, do not have direct knowledge of the minds of others, so our means are not so skillful.
The Three Truths address the wellspring of conventional teachings from the Buddha (upaya). Your explanation does not bridge that.
Yes, it does. Buddhas talk, perform deeds, and they are omniscient. No third truth is needed to explain upaya, since all upaya is in the domain of relative truth.
Again, The Three Truths...pivots to address other things.
Now you are just contradicting yourself. No third truth is needed to address how the Buddha and ārya bodhisattvas act skillfully for the benefit of sentient beings. Buddhas have no need to benefit themselves, having realized the dharmakāya (ultimate truth). They manifest the rūpakāya (relative truth) to benefit others. No third truth is needed to explain this. There is nothing other for the Buddha to address other than benefitting oneself and benefiting others.
The main point of the Sutra, among its various themes, is ekayana, though that is not unique to the lotus, nor is primordial buddhahood unique to the lotus. A recounting of all its themes is beyond the scope of this forum.
Oh. Is that it?
Yup. When the Lotus Sūtra is referenced in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist sources, the principle themes invoked are a) one vehicle b) primordial buddhahood. Apart from that, the Lotus as a doctrinal source is not given much airtime.
OG Indian Buddhists.
I notice you've gotten on an originalist bent. That's quite a ride. Where does it stop for you?
I have always had an originalist bent when it comes to common Mahāyāna.

Malcolm
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Malcolm » Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:08 pm

haha wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:21 pm

In other words, T’ien-t’ai explains that the situation in which nothing is reflected in the mirror is the mirror’s natural or potential state
(kutai), while the image of all that is reflected in the mirror represents temporal existence (ketai), and the mirror itself possesses both potential and temporal existence, which represents the entity of the Middle Path (chutai).
This is all within the domain of relative truth.

Malcolm
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Malcolm » Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:09 pm

tkp67 wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:13 pm


The two truths where perfect in Nagarjuna's time as are the three truths where in Zhiyi's time. There is no contest regarding appropriation when correlating to time, place, capacity, conditions and causes.
This kind of teleology is silly and unwarranted.

tkp67
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by tkp67 » Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:12 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 4:56 pm
tkp67 wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:40 pm
Not Zhiyi but the similarity is interesting to me. Am I the only one? (rhetorical)
Meditation on Equanimity

The nine-round meditation is comprised of training the mind in equanimity with a mental outlook based on the dual nature of things and events: the conventional and the ultimate. Based on different perspectives, the first in turn is divided into two sections, one from the viewpoint of others and the second from the viewpoint of oneself.
https://www.lionsroar.com/developing-th ... -capacity/

round meditation / round contemplation ?
Um, no. Here "round" means "section."
How does that change the similar nature?

Language can be proprietary, nature not so much.

Malcolm
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Malcolm » Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:14 pm

tkp67 wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:12 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 4:56 pm
tkp67 wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:40 pm
Not Zhiyi but the similarity is interesting to me. Am I the only one? (rhetorical)



https://www.lionsroar.com/developing-th ... -capacity/

round meditation / round contemplation ?
Um, no. Here "round" means "section."
How does that change the similar nature?

Language can be proprietary, nature not so much.
It means there are nine sections to the meditation. Jeez.

tkp67
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by tkp67 » Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:17 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:09 pm
tkp67 wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:13 pm


The two truths where perfect in Nagarjuna's time as are the three truths where in Zhiyi's time. There is no contest regarding appropriation when correlating to time, place, capacity, conditions and causes.
This kind of teleology is silly and unwarranted.
Chronographical context is empty until you put something in it like teleological intent. I think that is one of the points of EA contemplation.

In this way the LS is a proof of practice and not meant to be a doctrine based. Why do you deny the benefit. Seems silly and IS unwarranted.

Malcolm
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Malcolm » Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:07 pm

tkp67 wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:17 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:09 pm
tkp67 wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:13 pm


The two truths where perfect in Nagarjuna's time as are the three truths where in Zhiyi's time. There is no contest regarding appropriation when correlating to time, place, capacity, conditions and causes.
This kind of teleology is silly and unwarranted.
Chronographical context is empty until you put something in it like teleological intent. I think that is one of the points of EA contemplation.

In this way the LS is a proof of practice and not meant to be a doctrine based. Why do you deny the benefit. Seems silly and IS unwarranted.

It might be medicine you need, it is not medicine I need.

tkp67
Posts: 1392
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 5:42 am

Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by tkp67 » Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:17 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:07 pm
tkp67 wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:17 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:09 pm


This kind of teleology is silly and unwarranted.
Chronographical context is empty until you put something in it like teleological intent. I think that is one of the points of EA contemplation.

In this way the LS is a proof of practice and not meant to be a doctrine based. Why do you deny the benefit. Seems silly and IS unwarranted.

It might be medicine you need, it is not medicine I need.
So you can see based on even our small sampling that sentient beings need them both equally and both are deserving of respect.

I vs Us

tkp67
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by tkp67 » Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:19 pm

The buddha never seemed to begrudge the differing capacities of others but rather sought to liberate them all the same, without slight or bias.

Malcolm
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Malcolm » Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:23 pm

tkp67 wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:17 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:07 pm
tkp67 wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:17 pm


Chronographical context is empty until you put something in it like teleological intent. I think that is one of the points of EA contemplation.

In this way the LS is a proof of practice and not meant to be a doctrine based. Why do you deny the benefit. Seems silly and IS unwarranted.

It might be medicine you need, it is not medicine I need.
So you can see based on even our small sampling that sentient beings need them both equally and both are deserving of respect.

I vs Us
This is thread is not about upaya, it is about truth. You lotus folks constantly conflate these two issues. Upaya only belongs to relative truth. There is only one ultimate truth.
Last edited by Malcolm on Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Malcolm
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Malcolm » Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:24 pm

tkp67 wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:19 pm
The buddha never seemed to begrudge the differing capacities of others but rather sought to liberate them all the same, without slight or bias.

Yes, but your so-called "three truths" were not taught by the Buddha. As for the Buddha himself, he only taught two truths, not three.

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