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 acinteyyo » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:21 pm

Ah... okay thanks Mike, Chris and Alex, finally I got it.
And yet already time for me to leave the fields of hairsplitting...

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

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Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:26 pm

daverupa wrote:So it's used a lot in the abhidhamma, and not at all in the SuttaVinaya, is that the gist

If by "it" you mean the paricular words (paramattha/Sammuti), then yes, those originate in the abhidhamma.

To me the basic ideas are very clear in the suttas, so I can't actually see why there should be any controversy... :thinking:

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Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby daverupa » Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:01 pm

mikenz66 wrote:If by "it" you mean the paricular words (paramattha/Sammuti), then yes, those originate in the abhidhamma.

To me the basic ideas are very clear in the suttas, so I can't actually see why there should be any controversy...


Of course, there is discussion of the conventionality of language and such, but in every case the Buddha didn't see fit to explain things using these terms: this specific bifurcation is clearly absent from the Suttas. Therefore, that the later tradition felt the need to introduce them strikes me as intriguing. I'm not certain there is a controversy, but when "two truths" are brought up in the future, I shall be carefully noting the uses to which it is put, and the arguments which rely on it.

:toast:
    "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]
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Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:13 pm

Greetings,

:goodpost:

A decent summary, particularly when one takes account of the Simsapa Sutta etc.

SN 56.31 wrote:...why haven't I taught them? Because they are not connected with the goal, do not relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That is why I have not taught them.


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


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Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:23 pm

Hi Dave,
daverupa wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:If by "it" you mean the paricular words (paramattha/Sammuti), then yes, those originate in the abhidhamma.

To me the basic ideas are very clear in the suttas, so I can't actually see why there should be any controversy...

Of course, there is discussion of the conventionality of language and such, but in every case the Buddha didn't see fit to explain things using these terms: this specific bifurcation is clearly absent from the Suttas.

I am not talking about discussion of the conventionality of language, I'm talking about the way experience is described is quite different ways.

I can only presume we are talking at cross purposes since what I'm concerned about (different ways of describing phenomena) is (to me) very clearly present in the suttas.

Since you've not addressed any of the sutta examples I gave viewtopic.php?f=29&t=10184#p155954 I have no idea where we differ.

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Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby daverupa » Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:48 pm

mikenz66 wrote: Since you've not addressed...


Where you see ultimate truth and conventional truth, I see simile and metaphor. :shrug:
    "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]
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Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:49 pm

... and I see different frames of reference...

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


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Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:42 am

And it is not at all clear what rertro and daverupa are talking about.
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.

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Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby daverupa » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:05 am

tiltbillings wrote:And it is not at all clear what rertro and daverupa are talking about.


Let's investigate this "two truths" idea, to see what sorts of things it supports.

Nyanaponika Thera wrote:The Suttas, serving mainly the purpose of offering guidance for the actual daily life of the disciple, are mostly (though not entirely) couched in terms of conventional language (//vohara-vacana//), making reference to persons, their qualities, possessions, etc. In the Abhidhamma, this Sutta terminology is turned into correct functional forms of thought, which accord with the true 'impersonal' and everchanging nature of actuality; and in that strict, or highest, sense (//paramattha//) the main tenets of the Dhamma are explained.

While vague definitions and loosely used terms are like blunt tools unfit to do the work they are meant for, while concepts based on wrong notions will necessarily beg the question to be scrutinized and will thus prejudice the issue, the use of appropriate and carefully tempered conceptual tools will greatly facilitate the quest for liberating knowledge, and is an indispensable condition of success in that quest.

Hence the fact that Abhidhamma literature is a rich source of exact terminology, is a feature not to be underestimated.


The bold portion I agree with: appropriate and carefully tempered conceptual tools are indeed greatly faciliatory.

Now, it's these orange bits which concern me. It seems the abhidhammikas needed to 'correct' the language of the Suttas? Are the Suttas here being referred to as "vague" and "wrong notions"? The 'appropriate and carefully tempered conceptual tools' are in fact perhaps not even to be sought the Suttas? We are... we are to prefer the language of the abhidhamma for its exactitude? Because it is... paramattha?

It is even admitted that the Buddha had command of this language, and yet the way he chose to teach for over four decades was second-best.

:jawdrop:

SN 16.13 wrote:But there is no disappearance of the true Dhamma, Kassapa, till a counterfeit Dhamma arises in the world; but when a counterfeit Dhamma arises, then there is a disappearance of the true Dhamma, just as there is no disappearing of gold so long as no counterfeit gold has arisen in the world...


:soap:

:heart:
    "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]
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Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:17 am

:jawdrop:

:goodpost:

Out of interest, what is the antonym of the "abhi" prefix... would it be "hina"?

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


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Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:27 am

tiltbillings wrote:And it is not at all clear what rertro and daverupa are talking about.

What seems odd to me is that, for all the bluster about the sutta-vinaya there seems to be little effort to discuss the suttas themselves.
daverupa wrote:Where you see ultimate truth and conventional truth, I see simile and metaphor. :shrug:

Which parts are the similes and metaphors: the khandhas/sense bases/elements or the "beings"?
retrofuturist wrote:... and I see different frames of reference...

An alternative terminology that means basically the same to me. Truths, frames of reference, modes of description, whatever...

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Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:43 am

Greetings,

"Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?" (OP question)

“Truth is one and there is no second truth.” (Buddha, Sn 884)

So much for that "theory" then... well said, Buddha.

:buddha1:

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


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Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby cooran » Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:02 am

Hello Retrofuturist,

Could you please give a link to where you found this, and which Vagga it is from? Please also give the whole sutta.

with metta
Chris
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Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:09 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

"Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?" (OP question)

“Truth is one and there is no second truth.” (Buddha, Sn 884)

So much for that "theory" then... well said, Buddha.

:buddha1:

Metta,
Retro. :)
Would you, now, be kind enough to tell us what you think the two truth notion is saying that you think that the Buddha would reject it, as you just tried to imply?
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
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Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:15 am

daverupa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And it is not at all clear what rertro and daverupa are talking about.


Let's investigate this "two truths" idea, to see what sorts of things it supports. . . .
Still waiting for you to tell us just what the two truth notion actually is saying. The above stuff from Ven Nyanaponika does not do that. Basically, with the Ven N quote you are trying to tell us how the two truth notion is supposedly applied without telling what it is saying.
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
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Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:31 am

mikenz66 wrote: Since you've not addressed any of the sutta examples I gave viewtopic.php?f=29&t=10184#p155954 I have no idea where we differ.
The because that he yet to give us his understanding/definition of the two truth notion. He is taking around it, but not at all addressing it directly.
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
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Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:56 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

"Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?" (OP question)

“Truth is one and there is no second truth.” (Buddha, Sn 884)

So much for that "theory" then... well said, Buddha.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"What some say is true
— 'That's how it is' —
others say is 'falsehood, a lie.'
Thus quarreling, they dispute.
Why can't contemplatives
say one thing & the same?"

"The truth is one,[1]
there is no second
about which a person who knows it
would argue with one who knows.
Contemplatives promote
their various personal truths,
that's why they don't say
one thing & the same."

Seems to me to have little relevance to the OP, apart from the word "truth".

:anjali:
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Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:03 am

mikenz66 wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:. . . .
. . . Seems to me to have little relevance to the OP, apart from the word "truth".
The problem is that we have no idea how retro understands the two truth notion.
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
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Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:34 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:The problem is that we have no idea how retro understands the two truth notion.

As Daverupa did earlier when he said (the bolding is mine)...

"Of course, there is discussion [in the Sutta Pitaka] of the conventionality of language and such, but in every case the Buddha didn't see fit to explain things using these terms: this specific bifurcation is clearly absent from the Suttas."

Since the Buddha didn't teach it, and didn't see fit to explain the Dhamma in this bifurcated way... I don't really care to know it and I certainly don't intend to take it upon myself to artificially bifurcate the Buddha's teachings on his behalf. There's been too much of this needless scholastic papanca (i.e. classification, reclassification) throughout the evolution of Buddhism already. It's that kind of endeavour which led to the prevalence of so many divergent and schismatic sects in the first place.

Therefore "how retro understands the two truth notion" is irrelevent, because Retro discards it and sees absolutely no danger or loss in doing so. If it was important or relevant, the Buddha would have made the distinction himself - he didn't, so it's not. Retro does not want to create more sects - rather, Retro rejoices in the Blessed One's words.

(and to pre-empt the inevitable, "you've dodged the question", "you haven't answered the question", "you're being unclear" etc. let me make it as blunt as blunt could be...)

the two truth notion = papanca

:toast:

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


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Re: Two truths theory. Did Buddha teach it?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:51 am

retrofuturist wrote:. . .
Again, we really do not have idea of what you are actually criticizing, since refuse to spell it out. Knowing, however, how you understand the two truth notion is directly to the point of understanding your dismissal of it, and whether or not your dismissal is well grounded or not. Let me make this simple and ask two questions:

Are you saying that the two truth notion says there are two actual and distinct truths, as you seems to be saying? Yes or no?

And if they are two actual distinct truths, is one higher, more true than the other? Yes or no?
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
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