Variations on the Two Truths: Distinct, Identical, or Coalescent

There's something paradoxical or even ironic about the concept of the conventional (saṃvṛti) being understood as a kind of "truth" (satya), since in some interpretations of the two truths the conventional is understood as false in contrast to the ultimate (paramārtha) which is alone true. Generally, according to these views, often associated with the Sakya …

Bodhi

Bodhi, (which is Sanskrit and Pāli for “awakening”) can be said to be the highest possible attainment for any being, but it cannot be said to be ultimate reality, which itself is categorically inexplicable. Paradoxically and figuratively speaking we can say that Bodhi is the mind who cognizes ultimate reality, and this cognition is a …

On Madhyamaka non-foundationalism

In contemporary Buddhist Studies (which refers to the mostly Western, semi-global academic study of Buddhism, and not the indigenous systems of actually existing Buddhadharma) the Madhyamaka is often rendered as a form of philosophical anti-foundationalism, which is opposed to totalizing, metaphysical forms of thought based on self-sufficient first principles or self-grounding foundations which pretend to, …

Buddhahood at the Terminus of a Thanatropic Humanity

Consummate Buddhahood is like an alien intelligence from the future assembling itself entirely from the past and present afflictions of sentient beings, transforming this afflictive basis into remedial elements more conducive to the eventual and inexorable realization of this perfected body of wisdom and bliss. Cosmically speaking, humanity becomes known as being, and as having …

Madhyamaka and the Problem of Approach

The doctrine of the two truths is a principle tenet of the Madhyamaka path, serving not only to show the non-contradictory coherence of the Buddha's different teachings but also serving as a support for the practice of achieving liberating knowing. The doctrine distinguishes between the conventional truth of phenomena as interdependently originated and the ultimate …

Similarity, or Beyond Identity and Difference

On Identity: Generally today it is often felt that an affirmation of difference and plurality is preferable to an existence based on identity and universality, which is negatively evaluated as being characterized by excessive limitation. This is true, for definition by negation is the underlying basis of any sense of self-identity: what one is, is …