Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.

Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:12 pm

Here is the slanderous commentarial passage again:

Herein references to living beings, gods, Brahma, etc., are sammuti-kathā [“relative truth”], whereas references to impermanence, suffering, egolessness, the aggregates of the empiric individuality, the spheres and elements of sense perception and mind-cognition, bases of mindfulness, right effort, etc., are paramattha-kathā ["highest truth"].

One who is capable of understanding and penetrating to the truth and hoisting the flag of Arahantship when the teaching is set out in terms of generally accepted conventions, to him the Buddha preaches the doctrine based on sammuti-kathā.

One who is capable of understanding and penetrating to the truth and hoisting the flag of Arahantship when the teaching is set out in terms of ultimate categories, to him the Buddha preaches the doctrine based on paramattha-kathā.

To one who is capable of awakening to the truth through sammuti-kathā , the teaching is not presented on the basis of paramattha-kathā, and conversely, to one who is capable of awakening to the truth through paramattha-kathā, the teaching is not presented on the basis of sammuti-kathā.

There is this simile on this matter: Just as a teacher of the three Vedas who is capable of explaining their meaning in different dialects might teach his pupils, adopting the particular dialect, which each pupil understands, even so the Buddha preaches the doctrine adopting, according to the suitability of the occasion, either the sammuti- or the paramattha-kathā.

It is by taking into consideration the ability of each individual to understand the Four Noble Truths, that the Buddha presents his teaching, either by way of sammuti, or by way of paramattha, or by way of both. Whatever the method adopted the purpose is the same, to show the way to Immortality through the analysis of mental and physical phenomena.
AA. Vol. I, pp.54-55


What is interesting is to contrast this with Nagarjuna (MMK 24:8-11):

The Buddha’s teaching of the Dharma
Is based on two truths:
A truth of worldly convention
And an ultimate truth.

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

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.

By misperception of emptiness
A person of little intelligence is destroyed
Like a snake incorrectly seized
Or like a spell incorrectly cast.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19632
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby daverupa » Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:46 pm

mikenz66 wrote:As I said, different ways of expressing Dhamma seemed quite obvious to me in the quotes I gave above: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 84#p155954 (and hundreds of others I could quote...).


That the Buddha phrased things in various ways is not in dispute here; that the Buddha never referred to a double-truth idea is somehow glossed over as unimportant, and when the double-truth idea is brought up, we find that it is used as an added description, rather than an explanation. In other words, it is an additional layer of descriptive rhetoric overtop the Suttas. It is a subtle distinction, perhaps, but very significant.

"The Noble Truth of Suffering (dukkha), monks, is this: Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, association with the unpleasant is suffering, dissociation from the pleasant is suffering, not to receive what one desires is suffering in brief the five aggregates subject to grasping are suffering.


Here is a fine example which you've provided. If I understand you correctly, you would like to say that the green text is sammuti sacca, and that the red text is paramattha sacca. Well, before I agree or disagree with this, I want to find out why you're bothering to bifurcate this Sutta text in this way in the first place.

Why is this being done? What purpose does it serve? How does it add to an understanding of this passage?

I contend it adds nothing, and no one has yet shown otherwise (which could be shown by answering the questions I've just posed). As such, the proliferation is useless - it is merely additional description which postdates the Buddha, and it is without function. We could tabulate the verbs and the nouns the Buddha spoke, to the same effect. Therefore, I conclude that this colored text component is an example of papanca, a useless proliferation which contributes zero to our understanding of the Dhamma.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4195
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:51 pm

daverupa wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:As I said, different ways of expressing Dhamma seemed quite obvious to me in the quotes I gave above: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=10184#p155954 (and hundreds of others I could quote...).


That the Buddha phrased things in various ways is not in dispute here; that the Buddha never referred to a double-truth idea is somehow glossed over as unimportant, and when the double-truth idea is brought up, we find that it is used as an added description, rather than an explanation. In other words, it is an additional layer of descriptive rhetoric overtop the Suttas. It is a subtle distinction, perhaps, but very significant.
That certainly does not address the commentarial passage I quoted.

Therefore, I conclude that this colored text component is an example of papanca, a useless proliferation which contributes zero to our understanding of the Dhamma.
Our understanding? You do not speak for me or anyone else other than you that I have seen.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19632
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:54 pm

Greetings Dave,

Your final sentence flows well into your signature...

daverupa wrote:an example of papanca, a useless proliferation which contributes zero to our understanding of the Dhamma.

"There are these ten topics of conversation. Which ten? Talk on modesty, on contentment, on seclusion, on non-entanglement, on arousing persistence, on virtue, on concentration, on discernment, on release, and on the knowledge & vision of release. These are the ten topics of conversation." (AN 10.69; see also SN 56.9)

I struggle to see which of the ten topics of conversation the establishment of an additional layer of descriptive rhetoric overtop the Suttas falls into.

Therefore......

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14679
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:55 pm

Greetings,

This topic is temporarily closed.

I will be in contact with the Alex123 to determine whether recent developments in this topic are deemed to be of relevance to his topic.

In the meantime, for those interested in discussion of Tilt's quote, he has established a parallel topic in the Classical Theravada forum...

Double Truth aka Two Truths
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=10222

Feel free to do likewise if there is something specific from this topic which you would like to pursue in the appropriate sub-forum.

Thanks.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14679
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:40 pm

retrofuturist wrote:I struggle to see which of the ten topics of conversation the establishment of an additional layer of descriptive rhetoric overtop the Suttas falls into.

"Descriptive rhetoric" is your interpretation...

daverupa wrote:
"The Noble Truth of Suffering (dukkha), monks, is this: Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, association with the unpleasant is suffering, dissociation from the pleasant is suffering, not to receive what one desires is suffering in brief the five aggregates subject to grasping are suffering.


Here is a fine example which you've provided. If I understand you correctly, you would like to say that the green text is sammuti sacca, and that the red text is paramattha sacca. Well, before I agree or disagree with this, I want to find out why you're bothering to bifurcate this Sutta text in this way in the first place.

Why is this being done? What purpose does it serve? How does it add to an understanding of this passage?

What I take from passages like that is something like:

We see that we are suffering in gross ways: "Sickness, associating with the unpleasant, ..."
With wisdom we can also see that if we drill down into these experiences we have the:
"five aggregates subject to grasping are suffering"
These are elaborated upon in the "Second Discourse": http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html which allows the group of five to see that all those phenomena are anicca, dukkha, anatta, and leads them to liberation.
So these experiences of dukkha from "associating with the unpleasant" can be re-oriented into:
"feelings, impermanent, ... painful since subject to change, [not] fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"

That our phenomenological world can be viewed in these different ways, either in terms of "beings" or as "khandhas, etc" seems to me to be central to the Buddha's liberation teachings.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10420
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:16 am

Greetings all,

After discussion with Alex123, this topic will remain closed.

Thank you for your contributions and if you wish to discuss some aspect of this closed topic then please do so in a new topic in the appropriate sub-forum.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14679
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Previous

Return to Early Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests