Author Topic: Relative Truth vs. Ultimate Truth?  (Read 453 times)

Offline spark

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Relative Truth vs. Ultimate Truth?
« on: September 12, 2017, 02:44:58 pm »
I've compiled a table that compares and contrasts the relative and the ultimate truth, which are said to be two sides of the same coin. I'm not sure if I'm understanding emptiness correctly. Any feedback or comments would be appreciated. See attached.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 06:19:52 pm by spark »

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Relative Truth vs. Ultimate Truth?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2017, 03:58:49 pm »
You don't really need a table - there are two truths:  Relative and Absolute.  Abolute Truth is Emptiness and Relative Truth is everything else.

I would advise against placing  word docs on line for people to download.  They can contain all sorts of nasty chit that will wreck computers and networks.

Offline Samana Johann

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Re: Relative Truth vs. Ultimate Truth?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2017, 06:04:15 pm »
Phenomena have two natures.
..........................................................................................................................................
Conventional (Relative)
Absolute (Ultimate)
Assumption/hypothesis: self-existenceFoundation: Laws of Logic
a. Law of non-contradiction  ~(A & ~A)
Nothing can both have a property and lack it at the same time.

b. Law of identity  A=A
Everything is identical to itself.

C. Law of excluded middle  A v ~A
For any particular property, everything either has it or lacks it.

(H.S. philosophy class notes based on the book, How to Think About Weird Things)

Assumption/hypothesis: inter-dependence

Foundation: karma, middle way, emptiness

a. Karma: cause, condition, and effect
“If something were inherent, it would mean it existed without depending on anything [i.e. no cause]” (13, Courtin). Karma is interdependence.

b. The Middle Way (MW):
Extreme--------------Truth-------------Extreme
(Faith)           (MD)      (Nihilism)
Truth is non-dual. Align the mind with non-dualism so that we don’t grasp and put too much on either extreme; this way, we could hear properly.

Emptiness: there’s nothing from the side of a thing that makes that thing.



Things exist by agreement on:
a. Characteristics and substance
b. Function

Example:  A cup

a. it’s a flat-bottomed clay container with a handle on it.
b. It holds tea.
If everybody agrees, then it’s a cup
(8, Courtin).

“The object, the superstition [of] giving it a name and the name itself – is all that’s needed for a relative phenomenon to exist” (17, Lama Yeshe).

“[Things] are mere [names] on a collection of parts” (18, Lama Yeshe).

Things exist in dependence upon:
a. causes and conditions
b. parts
c. the mind that labels them.

Example: Absence of inherent cup
a. “There is a cup that does exist – in dependence upon countless causes and conditions. But you will not find a cup among any one of those causes and conditions. […] Therefore there’s no cup from its own side. You see the absence of the inherent cup.” (9, Courtin)
Causes and conditions make up a cup. A cup doesn’t exist without causes and conditions (independently). P, Q; ~Q, ~P
It exists interdependently, i.e. empty of inherent existence.*


b-1. If the cup existed inherently, i.e. not dependent on anything, then there’d be a cup once we break down the parts. Where’s it?
Another Ex: “I have a foot. […] There’s my foot – cut it off! […] Now, where’s the I? Where is the I that is not the nose, not the hand, and not the foot...” (10, Courtin).

b-2. The inherent cup can’t be a combination of all the parts either because that would mean the cup is dependent on its parts, which are constantly undergoing change (impermanence). If the parts have changed, then is it still that original cup?

c. The concept of “cup” would not be possible without the mind defining and inputting it. The very word, “phenomenon, means the object of a person’s perception, what the mind notices.


...

...


...

...

Is a little bugy, the table code
Code: [Select]
[table]
[tr]
[td]colum1[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]colum 2[/td]
[/tr]
[/table]

You (who ever inspired and generous, sympatetic torward fearing people) can contionue to complete the table.

Offtopic u hover me.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 06:28:49 pm by Samana Johann »
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Offline spark

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Re: Relative Truth vs. Ultimate Truth?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2017, 06:40:05 pm »
You don't really need a table - there are two truths:  Relative and Absolute.  Abolute Truth is Emptiness and Relative Truth is everything else.

I would advise against placing  word docs on line for people to download.  They can contain all sorts of nasty chit that will wreck computers and networks.

Good point about the attachment. That was rather inconsiderate of me.
The part below is where I wasn't sure if I got it right. I tried to come up with rationale for arguing for and against. I wanted to know if my thinking in either argument was sound.

** “Is there any phenomenon that has inherent existence?
If something were inherent, it would mean it existed without depending on anything” (13, Courtin).
As an extension to this question, what about abstractions and concepts such as Plato’s Theory of Forms? We call something a cup based on its definition (abstraction of what a cup is). Argument: The Cup, as a Form/concept, would have existed without its physical substance; therefore, existing independently. Counter-argument: The concept of Cup exists in dependence on our perceptions and mental formations (?). If there weren’t perceptions, how could we describe it? If there weren’t physical substance, how could we perceive? Concept, The Cup, depends on perceptions, which depends on physical substance; therefore, it is dependent arising.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Relative Truth vs. Ultimate Truth?
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2017, 07:05:51 pm »
Phenomena have two natures.
..........................................................................................................................................
Conventional (Relative)
Absolute (Ultimate)
Assumption/hypothesis: self-existenceFoundation: Laws of Logic
a. Law of non-contradiction  ~(A & ~A)
Nothing can both have a property and lack it at the same time.

b. Law of identity  A=A
Everything is identical to itself.

C. Law of excluded middle  A v ~A
For any particular property, everything either has it or lacks it.

(H.S. philosophy class notes based on the book, How to Think About Weird Things)

Assumption/hypothesis: inter-dependence

Foundation: karma, middle way, emptiness

a. Karma: cause, condition, and effect
“If something were inherent, it would mean it existed without depending on anything [i.e. no cause]” (13, Courtin). Karma is interdependence.

b. The Middle Way (MW):
Extreme--------------Truth-------------Extreme
(Faith)           (MD)      (Nihilism)
Truth is non-dual. Align the mind with non-dualism so that we don’t grasp and put too much on either extreme; this way, we could hear properly.

Emptiness: there’s nothing from the side of a thing that makes that thing.



Things exist by agreement on:
a. Characteristics and substance
b. Function

Example:  A cup

a. it’s a flat-bottomed clay container with a handle on it.
b. It holds tea.
If everybody agrees, then it’s a cup
(8, Courtin).

“The object, the superstition [of] giving it a name and the name itself – is all that’s needed for a relative phenomenon to exist” (17, Lama Yeshe).

“[Things] are mere [names] on a collection of parts” (18, Lama Yeshe).

Things exist in dependence upon:
a. causes and conditions
b. parts
c. the mind that labels them.

Example: Absence of inherent cup
a. “There is a cup that does exist – in dependence upon countless causes and conditions. But you will not find a cup among any one of those causes and conditions. […] Therefore there’s no cup from its own side. You see the absence of the inherent cup.” (9, Courtin)
Causes and conditions make up a cup. A cup doesn’t exist without causes and conditions (independently). P, Q; ~Q, ~P
It exists interdependently, i.e. empty of inherent existence.*


b-1. If the cup existed inherently, i.e. not dependent on anything, then there’d be a cup once we break down the parts. Where’s it?
Another Ex: “I have a foot. […] There’s my foot – cut it off! […] Now, where’s the I? Where is the I that is not the nose, not the hand, and not the foot...” (10, Courtin).

b-2. The inherent cup can’t be a combination of all the parts either because that would mean the cup is dependent on its parts, which are constantly undergoing change (impermanence). If the parts have changed, then is it still that original cup?

c. The concept of “cup” would not be possible without the mind defining and inputting it. The very word, “phenomenon, means the object of a person’s perception, what the mind notices.


...

...


...

...

Is a little bugy, the table code
Code: [Select]
[table]
[tr]
[td]colum1[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]colum 2[/td]
[/tr]
[/table]

You (who ever inspired and generous, sympatetic torward fearing people) can contionue to complete the table.

Offtopic u hover me.


That's fine, but the Buddha's teachings still state (and I paraphrase) , Absolute Truth is emptiness and Relative Truth is everything else.

Now, you can jump through all the philosophical hoops you like,  but that won't really change anything.

Good luck.


Offline Samana Johann

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Re: Relative Truth vs. Ultimate Truth?
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2017, 07:50:37 pm »
Offtopic to hover
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Offline ground

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Re: Relative Truth vs. Ultimate Truth?
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2017, 10:53:48 pm »
there are two truths:  Relative and Absolute.  Abolute Truth is Emptiness and Relative Truth is everything else.
This statement however and its expression 'absolute truth' are again necessarily 'relative truths' due to being conventional linguistic expressions and since 'relative truth' actually means 'falsity' because 'relative truth' is only a truth for the concealer ordinary consciousness which does not directly perceive emptiness there is no truth at all for one directly perceiving emptiness.

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Relative Truth vs. Ultimate Truth?
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2017, 11:02:42 pm »
I've compiled a table that compares and contrasts the relative and the ultimate truth, which are said to be two sides of the same coin. I'm not sure if I'm understanding emptiness correctly. Any feedback or comments would be appreciated. See attached.


This is a good article on the two truths doctrine in early Buddhism:

Quote
In studying and speaking the Dharma, we especially need to be aware of the conventional (or worldly or cultural) level and the ultimate (param’attha) or spiritual or Dharma) level of teaching. The conventional language is only useful and wholesome when they point, even remotely, to the true Dharma. And at the proper time, this reference should be clarified to the follower or practitioner. The point is that the spiritual should in due course transcend the worldly and cultural.

1.2 The Neyy’attha Nīt’attha Sutta (A 2.3.5-6) records an important reminder by the Buddha on how we should approach every sutta and text, that is, we must carefully consider whether the language is conventional (based on everyday language describing causes and conditions) or ultimate (that is, Dharma language, pointing to the fact that things have no intrinsic nature or abiding essence).

Those suttas or teachings that tell stories, describe ritual acts, or that talk of “beings,” “gods,” etc, need to have their meaning drawn out (neyy’attha), as they do not directly refer to true reality. They use language and words in the form of a story or images to talk about true reality. Their meaning is indirect.
They are provisional (pariyāya) teachings, unlike say some Abhidhamma doctrines, which are said to be explicit (nippariyāyena).1
http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/2.6b_Neyyattha_Nitattha_S_a2.3.5-6_piya.pdf

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Relative Truth vs. Ultimate Truth?
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2017, 11:03:44 pm »
That's fine, but the Buddha's teachings still state (and I paraphrase) , Absolute Truth is emptiness and Relative Truth is everything else.

While some Mahayana philosophers taught that the ultimate truth is emptiness, others taught the ultimate truth is pure consciousness:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight_Consciousnesses

Offline ground

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Re: Relative Truth vs. Ultimate Truth?
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2017, 11:34:06 pm »
That's fine, but the Buddha's teachings still state (and I paraphrase) , Absolute Truth is emptiness and Relative Truth is everything else.

While some Mahayana philosophers taught that the ultimate truth is emptiness, others taught the ultimate truth is pure consciousness:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight_Consciousnesses

Which shows that the expression 'ultimate truth' is only a conventional linguistic expression since its definition is dependent on the community of believers that provides it.
There is no 'ultimate truth' that is ultimately or absolutely true since what is called 'truth' is only true for the concealer ordinary consciousness.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 11:37:08 pm by ground »

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Relative Truth vs. Ultimate Truth?
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2017, 12:06:16 am »
That's fine, but the Buddha's teachings still state (and I paraphrase) , Absolute Truth is emptiness and Relative Truth is everything else.

While some Mahayana philosophers taught that the ultimate truth is emptiness, others taught the ultimate truth is pure consciousness:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight_Consciousnesses

Which shows that the expression 'ultimate truth' is only a conventional linguistic expression since its definition is dependent on the community of believers that provides it.
There is no 'ultimate truth' that is ultimately or absolutely true since what is called 'truth' is only true for the concealer ordinary consciousness.

It's more like different ways of describing the same ultimate reality, like the Buddha's parable of the blind men and the elephant.

Offline ground

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Re: Relative Truth vs. Ultimate Truth?
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2017, 05:09:56 am »
That's fine, but the Buddha's teachings still state (and I paraphrase) , Absolute Truth is emptiness and Relative Truth is everything else.

While some Mahayana philosophers taught that the ultimate truth is emptiness, others taught the ultimate truth is pure consciousness:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight_Consciousnesses

Which shows that the expression 'ultimate truth' is only a conventional linguistic expression since its definition is dependent on the community of believers that provides it.
There is no 'ultimate truth' that is ultimately or absolutely true since what is called 'truth' is only true for the concealer ordinary consciousness.

It's more like different ways of describing the same ultimate reality, like the Buddha's parable of the blind men and the elephant.

your statement is based on your belief that a so called 'ultimate reality' exists but that the different communities of believers just can't see it because of being blind which is why they insist on their definition, i.e. fabrication.

But why should your belief outweigh the beliefs of others? your statement is just a variant of the pretentiousness common to all believers.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 05:19:43 am by ground »

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Relative Truth vs. Ultimate Truth?
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2017, 05:22:15 pm »
That's fine, but the Buddha's teachings still state (and I paraphrase) , Absolute Truth is emptiness and Relative Truth is everything else.

While some Mahayana philosophers taught that the ultimate truth is emptiness, others taught the ultimate truth is pure consciousness:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight_Consciousnesses

Which shows that the expression 'ultimate truth' is only a conventional linguistic expression since its definition is dependent on the community of believers that provides it.
There is no 'ultimate truth' that is ultimately or absolutely true since what is called 'truth' is only true for the concealer ordinary consciousness.

It's more like different ways of describing the same ultimate reality, like the Buddha's parable of the blind men and the elephant.

your statement is based on your belief that a so called 'ultimate reality' exists but that the different communities of believers just can't see it because of being blind which is why they insist on their definition, i.e. fabrication.

But why should your belief outweigh the beliefs of others? your statement is just a variant of the pretentiousness common to all believers.

And your statement is based on beiefs of a similar nature - untested and not independantly verified.  You believe you are right and averyone else is wrong.  You believe you've attained somethin the rest of us are to clueless to see. 

Beliefs.  Just like everyone else's.

So why don't you quit ragging on people?

Offline Solodris

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Re: Relative Truth vs. Ultimate Truth?
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2017, 09:37:56 pm »
That's fine, but the Buddha's teachings still state (and I paraphrase) , Absolute Truth is emptiness and Relative Truth is everything else.

While some Mahayana philosophers taught that the ultimate truth is emptiness, others taught the ultimate truth is pure consciousness:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight_Consciousnesses

Which shows that the expression 'ultimate truth' is only a conventional linguistic expression since its definition is dependent on the community of believers that provides it.
There is no 'ultimate truth' that is ultimately or absolutely true since what is called 'truth' is only true for the concealer ordinary consciousness.

It's more like different ways of describing the same ultimate reality, like the Buddha's parable of the blind men and the elephant.

your statement is based on your belief that a so called 'ultimate reality' exists but that the different communities of believers just can't see it because of being blind which is why they insist on their definition, i.e. fabrication.

But why should your belief outweigh the beliefs of others? your statement is just a variant of the pretentiousness common to all believers.

And your statement is based on beiefs of a similar nature - untested and not independantly verified.  You believe you are right and averyone else is wrong.  You believe you've attained somethin the rest of us are to clueless to see. 

Beliefs.  Just like everyone else's.

So why don't you quit ragging on people?

Even though it would seem I would have a right to hold a personal belief, I wouldn't believe in holding one if the cost is a nonsensical conscience. Most of the time I'm as clueless as you, even though I am the one doing the talking. Using controversy as spiritual improvement and call it buddhist practice would be like going to a christian confession booth to be forgiven for being an atheist, the math just doesn't add up.

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Relative Truth vs. Ultimate Truth?
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2017, 04:42:04 am »
Beliefs.  Just like everyone else's.

Yes, we all have them.  In any case this is a discussion forum, and it's helpful when people can explain themselves clearly, rather than hiding behind cryptic jargon and deepity.

 


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