Thursday, October 29, 2020

Two models of the Two Truths -- Douglas Duckworth - 012

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Two models of the Two Truths --

(I. Union appearances <==> emptiness, and
II. Union relative <==> absolute).

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From: Jamgon Mipam, His Life and Teachings,
By Douglas Duckworth and Jamgon Mipham,
Shambhala Publication 2011 -- Section 5.2
https://www.shambhala.com/jamgon-mipam-838.html 

Note: To understand emptiness one needs to understand it in the context of the Two Truths.
The presentation varies from one school to another.



 

5.2 TWO MODELS OF THE TWO TRUTHS

“A key to comprehending Mipham’s interpretation of Buddhist thought and practice is to understand the two truths—the ultimate and the relative. He clearly outlines two models and shows how the two truths should be understood in two distinct ways.

  1. In one model, he represents the two truths as EMPTINESS AND APPEARANCE;

  2. in his other model, he depicts them as two modes of experience
    (i.e. the two truths as the way things appear / the RELATIVE and the way things really are / the ABSOLUTE).

 


[First Model]

I. In the first model, emptiness alone is the ultimate truth, and any appearance is the relative truth. 

This model primarily relates to the domain of deconstructive analysis, that is, analysis that seeks to determine the ultimate nature of reality. When the nature of a phenomenon is analyzed in terms of its ultimate status, how it really is, nothing whatsoever is found. This is the ultimate truth. In contrast, the appearing mode of things—any phenomena that may appear—is the relative truth. Thus, in this model, appearing phenomena are necessarily the relative truth in contrast to the ultimate truth, which is exclusively emptiness.

Within this first model, the ultimate truth is not qualitatively different from the relative truth. In fact, the two truths are actually inseparable (i.e. Union of the Two Truths); they are not really different, but are only conceptually distinct. The relationship is something like two sides of the same coin; whatever appears is empty, and whatever is empty necessarily appears (i.e. one implies the other : <==>). In this way, being empty and appearing are just two aspects of what is an inseparable unity/union in reality.

This UNITY/UNION cannot be directly known by analyzing the two truths separately, where appearance and emptiness are mutually exclusive. Nevertheless, a conceptual semblance of this Unity/union can be brought to mind as a means to evoke the experiential insight of unity/union, which is disclosed in the non-conceptual experience of meditative equipoise.

 


[Second Model]

II. In his other model of the two truths, Mipham represents the ultimate truth as authentic experience and the relative truth as inauthentic experience

In this model, authentic experience—or more literally, perception that accords with reality (gnas snang mthun) —is ultimate, and perceptions that do not accord with reality are relative. In contrast to the former model in which only emptiness is the ultimate truth and all appearances are relative, in this latter model, the experience of meditative WISDOM is ultimate. Rather than being driven by a deconstructive analysis to establish that phenomena are empty, this model concerns the process of experience. Significantly, both the content of WISDOM’s vision and WISDOM itself are ultimate in this context, not just the negation of distortion.

  • As such, both the subjective cognition of wisdom (PURE SUBJECT & actions / relations / perceptions / cognition / experiences) (yul can ye shes)

  • and the objective expanse of phenomena (PURE OBJECTS / world) (yul chos kyi dbyings)

  • are ULTIMATE REALITY [unity/Union]; 

  • -

  • and conversely, distorted perceptions of reality (IMPURE OBJECTS)

  • and the mind (IMPURE SUBJECT) that perceives dualistically (impure actions / relations / perceptions / cognition / experiences)

  • are RELATIVE TRUTHS. 

Moreover, the two truths in this latter authentic/inauthentic model have a different relationship than in the case of the two truths as appearance/emptiness. 

In this latter model, the two truths are such that the ultimate truth is reality experienced without duality or reification, while the relative truth is reality experienced within a distorted framework. We can see that the ultimate truth here is thus something positive, and the relative truth is something negative; they are two qualitatively different ways of experiencing reality. That is, the experience of the undistorted nature of reality (nirvana) is ultimate in contrast to mistaken modes of being (samsara). Therefore, THE ULTIMATE TRUTH IN THIS CONTEXT IS NOT SIMPLY EMPTINESS (the lack of true existence in things -- mere emptiness), because here the experiential presence of reality, known as it is, is the ultimate.

We can see how Mipham lays out both of these models of the two truths based on two different ways of arriving at the ultimate truth.

  • The ultimate truth in the first model of appearance/emptiness is arrived at by ultimate analysis, which seeks to identify the true nature of things. With this type of analysis, the mind does not find any essence whatsoever in any phenomena. That lack of essence is the ultimate truth.

  • In contrast, the ultimate truth in the authentic/inauthentic model highlights an experiential dimension. When reality is perceived without distortion in the context of meditative experience, this authentic experience of WISDOM is the ultimate truth. 

  • According to Mipham, these two models need not conflict; they represent different contexts, or perspectives, for relating to the two truths. These two perspectives correspond to

    • (1) when the two truths (appearance and emptiness) are divided in post-meditation and

    • (2) when there is no division of two truths (unity/union) in meditative equipoise.

Mipham describes the two truths in his latter model based on a distinction between the domain of conceptual consciousness (inauthentic experience) and the domain of non-conceptual WISDOM (authentic experience). It is significant that, in this model, he affirms that WISDOM is ultimate in contrast to consciousness. The distinction between WISDOM and consciousness, or awareness (rig pa) and mind (sems), has a central place in the tradition of the Great Perfection. Also, the division of authentic/inauthentic experience is the way the two truths are represented in traditions that affirm other-emptiness, in contrast to the two truths as appearance/emptiness, which is primarily associated with the view of self-emptiness.

“Other-emptiness” refers to a phenomenon’s lack (its emptiness) with respect to something else, like WISDOM’s lack of defilements. It is empty of what is other. In contrast, “self-emptiness” can be understood as a phenomenon’s lack with respect to itself, like a chariot’s lack of real existence. It is empty in and of itself.

Traditions that affirm other-emptiness, such as the Jonang, tend to emphasize the experiential dimension of meditative equipoise and hence highlight the model of the two truths based on authentic and inauthentic experience.

On the other hand, the predominant way in which the two truths are set forth in traditions that emphasize a deconstructive analysis of reality, like the Geluk, is through the appearance/emptiness model, in which the ultimate is simply emptiness and the relative is appearance.

Mipham brings both of these traditions together by showing how both models and both approaches to experience (in meditative equipoise and post-meditation) are important means of relating to the two truths in Buddhist scriptures.

Moreover, both of these models of the two truths play a key role in the way Mipham brings together the middle and last wheels of Dharma.

The primary way in which the two truths are expressed in the middle wheel of Dharma (such as in the Perfection of WISDOM Sutras) is through the appearance/emptiness model, in which emptiness is the ultimate truth and any appearance is necessarily the relative truth.

In contrast, the primary way in which the two truths are expressed in the last wheel of Dharma (in the Mind-Only and Buddha-Nature Sutras) is through the authentic/inauthentic experience model, in which non-dual experience is the ultimate truth and dualistic experience is the relative truth. UNITY/UNION EMPTY ASPECT is the primary subject matter of the middle wheel of Dharma, while its aspect of appearance, or clarity, is the primary subject matter of the last wheel of Dharma.

While the middle wheel is the definitive meaning according to the Geluk tradition, the Jonang tradition emphasizes the last wheel as the definitive meaning. In general, the definitive meaning (Tib. nges don, Skt. nītārtha) represents the ultimate truth, distinct from the provisional meaning (Tib. drang don, Skt. neyārtha), which is only considered to be true provisionally or as an expedient means to reach an understanding of the ultimate truth. In contrast to the Geluk and Jonang traditions, Mipham emphasizes the way that both the middle wheel and the BUDDHA-NATURE Sutras of the last wheel of Dharma are the definitive meaning. Such a synthesis is an important part of understanding his tradition (see translations 3 and 13).”

 

See also: https://sites.temple.edu/duckworth/files/2013/07/Duckworth_TwoModelsTwoTruths.pdf 

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[01. The Madhyamaka Machine about all dharmas: Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T].]

(i.e. Version 2021-12-30: Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T]:
The true nature & dynamic of any & all dharmas -- ex. all appearances / fabrications / composites (the five aggregates; body, speech, mind; physical, conceptual, mental fabrications; individual, collective, cosmic; of samsara / impure and nirvana / pure), the three spheres (subject, relation / action, object for any type of relation or action), the opposites of any duality / triad / quad /etc, even the two truths themselves --
is indescribable / inconceivable for our flawed conditioned dualistic conceptual mind(s) based on two erroneous basic assumptions -- inherent existence and opposition / duality --;
it has to be spontaneously personally non-conceptually non-dualistically directly perceived / realised / experienced / abided in.
--
[Uall: ALL DHARMAS ARE EQUAL PURE PERFECT INSEPARABLE MANIFESTATIONS OF THE GROUND:]
All dharmas are spontaneous natural non-dual manifestations of the Ground, inseparable from the Ground: this inconceivable unique all-pervasive unborn unchanging unconditioned unceasing pristine Ground / Basis / Source / Suchness / Dharmata / Dharmadhatu / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness / Ati / Dzogchen / Mahamudra / Intrinsic-awareness / Primordial-empty-awareness / Awakened-mind / Naturally-coemergent-timeless-awareness / Union of the Two Truths [U2T] … the inconceivable unique true nature & dynamic of all dharmas beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all limits, beyond all conditioning / karma; beyond all views, methods and goals; beyond all desciption / conceptualisation, discrimination / dualities, causality / production, matter-energy, space & time; beyond both samsara & nirvana.
--
[U2T-All: UNION OF THE TWO TRUTHS ABOUT ANY & ALL DHARMAS:]
[Uopp] Apparent opposites are not really in opposition, but more like inseparable (one cannot exists without the other(s)), interdependent (one implies the other(s)), co-defined (the definition of one defines the other(s)), co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent (they arise together), co-evolving (they change together), co-ceasing / co-transcended (they cease together), in harmony (not in real opposition) (in the non-dual sense of those terms: ex. not this, not non-this, not both together, not neither).
The true nature & dynamic of any & all dharmas -- ex. the three spheres (subject / mind, relation / action, object / phenomena) [U3S], the opposites of any duality / triad / quad /etc. [Uopp], even the two truths themselves [U2T-2T] --
is like an ineffable / inconceivable Union of being conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1 - first truth], co-dependent with their parts (when applicable), with their causes & conditions (when applicable), their conceptual opposite(s) (always), and especially co-dependent with the mind merely labelling / imputing / conceptualising / classifying them [U3S] in dependence of its past / conditioning / karma, not completely non-dependently-arising / non-existent / non-changing / non-functional / non-ceasing / useless / meaningless
<==> and being empty of inherent existence [T2 - second truth], never fixed / independent / separate / universal / absolute, but more like open / free, not really dependently-co-arisen / co-existent / co-changing / co-functional / co-ceasing.
One aspect / truth implies the other (<==>) [U2T], one aspect / truth proves the other (<==>).
’They are there but not there’, like dreams / magical illusions / tricks of the sight / mirages / reflections / echos / Cities of Gandharvas / emanated apparitions. They are 'like them in some aspect(s)' but not exactly the same; all metaphors have their limits.
All dharmas are dependently co-appearing & relatively functional <==> but still empty of inherent existence; empty of inherent existence <==> but still conventionally dependently co-appearing & relatively functional. And that is not grasping at the conventional / relative, or at the ultimate / emptiness, or both together, or neither.
[TETRALEMMA:] All dharmas are not inherently existent (still empty of inherent existence) <==> but still not completely non-existent (still conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances), not both existent & non-existent together, not neither existent nor non-existent, and there is no fifth. This is another way to express the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T].
[BEYOND:] Meaning their true nature is indescribable / inconceivable, beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all limits, beyond all conditioning / karma (physical, conceptual, mental) x (individual, collective, cosmic).
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[U2T-2T:] Theses two aspects / truths -- dependent co-origination & functionality [T1] and emptiness of inherent existence [T2] --, like any group of apparent opposites, are inseparable (one cannot exists without the other), interdependent (one implies the other), co-defined (the definition of one defines the other), co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent (they arise together), co-evolving (they change together), co-ceasing / co-transcended (they cease together), in harmony (not in real opposition) (in the non-dual sense of those terms: not this, not non-this, not both together, not neither) [T1-2T] <==> thus themselves empty of inherent existence [T2-2T].
The two truths are not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth. So all dharmas are not really arising [T1] or not, not really empty of inherent existence [T2] or not, not really both together [2T], not really neither [1T], and there is no fifth.
The two truths themselves and their Union are mere pointers to the inconceivable, mere tools, mere imperfect temporary adapted skillful means. So there is nothing left here to grasp as independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing. Everything is like luminous space, a limitless & centerless ocean of interdependence and emptiness.
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[The three inseparable qualities of the Ground:] The emptiness of inherent existence [T2] is called the essence of the Ground; the conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1] is called the nature of the Ground; the inseparability / interdependence / harmony / Union between those two aspects [U2T] is called the dynamic-energy / compassionate-energy of the Ground.
This primordial unborn unchanging unceasing ‘dynamic-energy’, or inseparability of the two aspects / truths, is the creative potential that accounts for everything in both samsara & nirvana.
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[With/without wisdom:] When directly seen as they really are [U2T], appearances (all dharmas) are said to be pure like the three inseparable pure kayas; this is nirvana. But when seen with ignorance of their true nature & dynamic [U2T], appearances are said to be impure, dependent on karma, and causing more karma; this is the limitless karmic cycle. But, ultimately, Reality is beyond all dualities like: pure & impure, wisdom & ignorance, samsara & nirvana.
--
[Best Approximation / Pointers to their inconceivable true nature & dynamic:]
The true nature & dynamic of any & all dharmas -- ex. the three spheres (subject / mind, relation / action, object / phenomena), the opposites of any duality / triad / quad /etc, even the two truths themselves --
is pointed by concepts like:
– the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T],
– the inconceivable Union of the three spheres about all dharmas [U3S / U2T-3S],
– the inconceivable Union of opposites about all dharmas [Non-duality / Oneness / Uopp / U2T-opp],
– the inconceivable Middle Way about all dharmas,
– the tetralemma about all dharmas,
– freedom from all extremes & middle, freedom from all dualistic conceptual proliferations, freedom from all limits, freedom from all conditioning / karma,
– the Ground / Basis / Source / Suchness / Dharmata / Dharmadhatu / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness / Ati / Dzogchen / Mahamudra /
– Enlightened-mind / Intrinsic-awareness / Primordial-empty-awareness.
--
[TETRALEMMA:] All dharmas -- ex. the three spheres (subject / mind, relation / action, object / phenomena), the opposites of any duality / triad / quad /etc., even the two truths themselves -- are
-- not inherently existent, not completely non-existent, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not permanent / continuous / eternal, not impermanent / discontinuous / annihilated, and there is no fifth;
-- not purely objective / physical / body, not purely subjective / mental / mind, not purely relational / process / conceptual / speech, not two or three of them together, not none of them, and there is no other possibility;
-- not dependent / caused / produced / functional, not independent / uncaused/spontaneous / unproduced / non-functional, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not composite / contextual / conditioned, not non-composite / non-contextual / unconditioned, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not merely labelled / imputed / conceptualised by the mind, not not-merely labelled / imputed / conceptualised by the mind, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not self-caused, not other-caused, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not changing / evolving, not completely non-changing / evolving, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not empty, not non-empty, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not conventional / relative / false, not absolute / universal / true, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not dependently co-arisen / interdependent / mere-interdependence [T1], not empty of inherent existence / mere-emptiness [T2], not both together [2T], not neither [1T], and there is no fifth;
-- not unequal / impure / imperfect / ordinary / incomplete / bad, not equal / pure / perfect / divine / complete / good, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not unreal / identical to illusions / dreams / mirage / magic tricks, not real / different from illusions / dreams / mirage / magic tricks, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not describable / conceivable / meaningful, not indescribable / inconceivable / meaningless, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not this, not non-this, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth -- for whatever ‘this’ could be -- (this could be generalised for groups of more than two apparent opposites; ex. the three spheres, the three kayas, the three gems, the three times, the four cardinal directions, the five …, the six ...).
-
Meaning their true nature (Ground / Suchness / U2T) is indescribable / inconceivable (in absolute terms) for our flawed conditioned dualistic conceptual mind(s), beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all limits, beyond all conditioning / karma; beyond all description / conceptualisation, discrimination / differentiation, causality / production, matter-energy, space & time.
So there is no independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing basis for any discrimination / differentiation in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
And there is nothing to accept / affirm / seek / add / do in absolute terms, nothing to reject / negate / abandon / eliminate / subtract / not-do in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps someone get closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T], the Union of the three spheres [U3S / U2T-3S], the Union of apparent opposites [Uopp / U2T-opp], the Middle Way in everything, the tetralemma, the primordial spontaneity / equality / purity / perfection / divinity / completeness of all dharmas.
In that sense everything is primordially spontaneous, equal, pure, perfect, divine, complete. Everything is like the pristine display of the Ground / Suchness / Union of the Two Truths [U2T].
It may look complicated but all of this can be resumed into one thing: The Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas. Everything else, all these words, is just to help us to stay away from all possible extremes & middle, and create enough room for a possible inconceivable spontaneous individual non-dualistic non-conceptual direct perception / realisation / experience of the true nature of Reality as it is here & now: U2T.
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[MIDDLE WAY:]
So the best attitude toward all dharmas is the Middle Way free from all extremes & middle:
nothing to accept / affirm / seek / add / do / cause / produce / change / improve / cultivate / perceive / know / experience / acquire / possess / purify / liberate / achieve ... in absolute terms,
nothing to reject / negate / abandon / eliminate / subtract / not-do / not-cause / not-produce / not-change / not-improve or deteriorate / not-cultivate / not-perceive / not-know / not-experience / not-acquire / not-possess / not-purify or stain / not-liberate or enslave / not-achieve ... in absolute terms,
just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps someone to get closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the Union of the Two Truths [U2T].
-
Extremes like:
i) existence / realism / causality / dependent origination / karma / relative-truth-only [T1],
ii) non-existence / nihilism / mere-nothingness / mere-emptiness / ultimate-truth-only [T2],
iii) both existence & non-existence together / a form of dualism / the two truths together, in opposition / duality of the two truths [2T],
iv) neither existence nor non-existence /  a form of monism / neither of the two truths / oneness of the two truths [1T];
or extremes like
v) subject-only / mind-only / idealism / subjectivism,
vi) object-only / naïve realism / objectivism,
vii) relation-only / process-only / action-only / relationism / processism,
viii) two or three of them together / pluralism,
ix) none to them / monism.
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For the latest version of this box see:
Madhyamaka Machine - Blog Post #158
https://www.gilehtblog.com/2021/11/madhyamaka-machine.html)

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[02. If we put apparent opposites like ‘opposite-1, opposite-2 ...’ into the Madhyamaka Machine we get: the Union of opposites [Uopp] // the Union of the Two Truths about opposites in general [U2T-opp].]

(i.e. Version 2021-12-30 - Union of  apparent opposite like 'opposite-1, opposite-2 ...' [Uopp]:
The true nature & dynamic of apparent opposites like 'opposite-1, opposite-2 ...' is indescribable / inconceivable for our flawed conditioned dualistic conceptual mind(s) based on two erroneous basic assumptions -- inherent existence and opposition / duality --;
it has to be spontaneously personally non-conceptually non-dualistically directly perceived / realised / experienced / abided in.
--
[Uopp: APPARENT OPPOSITES LIKE 'OPPOSITE-1, OPPOSITE-2 ...' ARE EQUAL PURE PERFECT INSEPARABLE MANIFESTATIONS OF THE GROUND:]
Apparent opposites like 'opposite-1, opposite-2 ...' are spontaneous natural non-dual manifestations of the Ground, inseparable from the Ground: this inconceivable unique all-pervasive unborn unchanging unconditioned unceasing pristine Ground / Basis / Source / Suchness / Dharmata / Dharmadhatu / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness / Ati / Dzogchen / Mahamudra / Intrinsic-awareness / Primordial-empty-awareness / Awakened-mind / Naturally-coemergent-timeless-awareness / Union of the Two Truths [U2T] … the inconceivable unique true nature & dynamic of all dharmas beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all limits, beyond all conditioning / karma; beyond all views, methods and goals; beyond all desciption / conceptualisation, discrimination / dualities, causality / production, matter-energy, space & time; beyond both samsara & nirvana.
--
[U2T-opp: UNION OF THE TWO TRUTHS ABOUT APPARENT OPPOSITES LIKE 'OPPOSITE-1, OPPOSITE-2 ...':]
[Uopp] Apparent opposites are not really in opposition, but more like inseparable (one cannot exists without the other(s)), interdependent (one implies the other(s)), co-defined (the definition of one defines the other(s)), co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent (they arise together), co-evolving (they change together), co-ceasing / co-transcended (they cease together), in harmony (not in real opposition) (in the non-dual sense of those terms: ex. not this, not non-this, not both together, not neither).
The true nature & dynamic of apparent opposites like 'opposite-1, opposite-2 ...'
is like an ineffable / inconceivable Union of being conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1 - first truth], co-dependent with their parts (when applicable), with their causes & conditions (when applicable), their conceptual opposite(s) (always), and especially co-dependent with the mind merely labelling / imputing / conceptualising / classifying them [U3S] in dependence of its past / conditioning / karma, not completely non-dependently-arising / non-existent / non-changing / non-functional / non-ceasing / useless / meaningless
<==> and being empty of inherent existence [T2 - second truth], never fixed / independent / separate / universal / absolute, but more like open / free, not really dependently-co-arisen / co-existent / co-changing / co-functional / co-ceasing.
One aspect / truth implies the other (<==>) [U2T], one aspect / truth proves the other (<==>).
’They are there but not there’, like dreams / magical illusions / tricks of the sight / mirages / reflections / echos / Cities of Gandharvas / emanated apparitions. They are 'like them in some aspect(s)' but not exactly the same; all metaphors have their limits.
Apparent opposites like 'opposite-1, opposite-2 ...' are dependently co-appearing & relatively functional <==> but still empty of inherent existence; empty of inherent existence <==> but still conventionally dependently co-appearing & relatively functional. And that is not grasping at the conventional / relative, or at the ultimate / emptiness, or both together, or neither.
[TETRALEMMA:] Apparent opposites like 'opposite-1, opposite-2 ...' are not inherently existent (still empty of inherent existence) <==> but still not completely non-existent (still conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances), not both existent & non-existent together, not neither existent nor non-existent, and there is no fifth. This is another way to express the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T].
[BEYOND:] Meaning their true nature is indescribable / inconceivable, beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all limits, beyond all conditioning / karma (physical, conceptual, mental) x (individual, collective, cosmic).
-
[U2T-2T:] Theses two aspects / truths -- dependent co-origination & functionality [T1] and emptiness of inherent existence [T2] --, like any group of apparent opposites, are inseparable (one cannot exists without the other), interdependent (one implies the other), co-defined (the definition of one defines the other), co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent (they arise together), co-evolving (they change together), co-ceasing / co-transcended (they cease together), in harmony (not in real opposition) (in the non-dual sense of those terms: not this, not non-this, not both together, not neither) [T1-2T] <==> thus themselves empty of inherent existence [T2-2T].
The two truths are not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth. So apparent opposites like 'opposite-1, opposite-2 ...' are not really arising [T1] or not, not really empty of inherent existence [T2] or not, not really both together [2T], not really neither [1T], and there is no fifth.
The two truths themselves and their Union are mere pointers to the inconceivable, mere tools, mere imperfect temporary adapted skillful means. So there is nothing left here to grasp as independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing. Everything is like luminous space, a limitless & centerless ocean of interdependence and emptiness.
-
[The three inseparable qualities of the Ground:] The emptiness of inherent existence [T2] is called the essence of the Ground; the conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1] is called the nature of the Ground; the inseparability / interdependence / harmony / Union between those two aspects [U2T] is called the dynamic-energy / compassionate-energy of the Ground.
This primordial unborn unchanging unceasing ‘dynamic-energy’, or inseparability of the two aspects / truths, is the creative potential that accounts for everything in both samsara & nirvana.
-
[With/without wisdom:] When directly seen as they really are [U2T], appearances (apparent opposites like 'opposite-1, opposite-2 ...') are said to be pure like the three inseparable pure kayas; this is nirvana. But when seen with ignorance of their true nature & dynamic [U2T], appearances are said to be impure, dependent on karma, and causing more karma; this is the limitless karmic cycle. But, ultimately, Reality is beyond all dualities like: pure & impure, wisdom & ignorance, samsara & nirvana.
--
[Best Approximation / Pointers to their inconceivable true nature & dynamic:]
The true nature & dynamic of apparent opposites like 'opposite-1, opposite-2 ...' is pointed by concepts like:
– the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths about apparent opposites like 'opposite-1, opposite-2 ...' [U2T-opp],
– the inconceivable Union of the three spheres about apparent opposites like 'opposite-1, opposite-2 ...' [U3S / U2T-3S-opp],
– the inconceivable Union of opposites about apparent opposites like 'opposite-1, opposite-2 ...' [Non-duality / Oneness / Uopp / U2T-opp],
– the inconceivable Middle Way about apparent opposites like 'opposite-1, opposite-2 ...',
– the tetralemma about apparent opposites like 'opposite-1, opposite-2 ...',
– freedom from all extremes & middle, freedom from all dualistic conceptual proliferations, freedom from all limits, freedom from all conditioning / karma,
– the Ground / Basis / Source / Suchness / Dharmata / Dharmadhatu / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness / Ati / Dzogchen / Mahamudra /
– Enlightened-mind / Intrinsic-awareness / Primordial-empty-awareness.
--
[TETRALEMMA:] Apparent opposites like 'opposite-1, opposite-2 ...' are
-- not inherently existent, not completely non-existent, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not permanent / continuous / eternal, not impermanent / discontinuous / annihilated, and there is no fifth;
-- not purely objective / physical / body, not purely subjective / mental / mind, not purely relational / process / conceptual / speech, not two or three of them together, not none of them, and there is no other possibility;
-- not dependent / caused / produced / functional, not independent / uncaused/spontaneous / unproduced / non-functional, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not composite / contextual / conditioned, not non-composite / non-contextual / unconditioned, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not merely labelled / imputed / conceptualised by the mind, not not-merely labelled / imputed / conceptualised by the mind, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not self-caused, not other-caused, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not changing / evolving, not completely non-changing / evolving, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not empty, not non-empty, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not conventional / relative / false, not absolute / universal / true, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not dependently co-arisen / interdependent / mere-interdependence [T1], not empty of inherent existence / mere-emptiness [T2], not both together [2T], not neither [1T], and there is no fifth;
-- not unequal / impure / imperfect / ordinary / incomplete / bad, not equal / pure / perfect / divine / complete / good, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not unreal / identical to illusions / dreams / mirage / magic tricks, not real / different from illusions / dreams / mirage / magic tricks, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not describable / conceivable / meaningful, not indescribable / inconceivable / meaningless, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not this, not non-this, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth -- for whatever ‘this’ could be -- (this could be generalised for groups of more than two apparent opposites; ex. the three spheres, the three kayas, the three gems, the three times, the four cardinal directions, the five …, the six ...).
-
Meaning their true nature (Ground / Suchness / U2T) is indescribable / inconceivable (in absolute terms) for our flawed conditioned dualistic conceptual mind(s), beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all limits, beyond all conditioning / karma; beyond all description / conceptualisation, discrimination / differentiation, causality / production, matter-energy, space & time.
So there is no independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing basis for any discrimination / differentiation in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
And there is nothing to accept / affirm / seek / add / do in absolute terms, nothing to reject / negate / abandon / eliminate / subtract / not-do in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps someone get closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T], the Union of the three spheres [U3S / U2T-3S], the Union of apparent opposites [Uopp / U2T-opp], the Middle Way in everything, the tetralemma, the primordial spontaneity / equality / purity / perfection / divinity / completeness of all dharmas.
In that sense everything is primordially spontaneous, equal, pure, perfect, divine, complete. Everything is like the pristine display of the Ground / Suchness / Union of the Two Truths [U2T].
It may look complicated but all of this can be resumed into one thing: The Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas. Everything else, all these words, is just to help us to stay away from all possible extremes & middle, and create enough room for a possible inconceivable spontaneous individual non-dualistic non-conceptual direct perception / realisation / experience of the true nature of Reality as it is here & now: U2T.
-
[MIDDLE WAY:]
So the best attitude toward all dharmas is the Middle Way free from all extremes & middle:
nothing to accept / affirm / seek / add / do / cause / produce / change / improve / cultivate / perceive / know / experience / acquire / possess / purify / liberate / achieve ... in absolute terms,
nothing to reject / negate / abandon / eliminate / subtract / not-do / not-cause / not-produce / not-change / not-improve or deteriorate / not-cultivate / not-perceive / not-know / not-experience / not-acquire / not-possess / not-purify or stain / not-liberate or enslave / not-achieve ... in absolute terms,
just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps someone to get closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the Union of the Two Truths [U2T].
-
Extremes like:
i) existence / realism / causality / dependent origination / karma / relative-truth-only [T1],
ii) non-existence / nihilism / mere-nothingness / mere-emptiness / ultimate-truth-only [T2],
iii) both existence & non-existence together / a form of dualism / the two truths together, in opposition / duality of the two truths [2T],
iv) neither existence nor non-existence /  a form of monism / neither of the two truths / oneness of the two truths [1T];
or extremes like
v) subject-only / mind-only / idealism / subjectivism,
vi) object-only / naïve realism / objectivism,
vii) relation-only / process-only / action-only / relationism / processism,
viii) two or three of them together / pluralism,
ix) none to them / monism.
-
For the latest version of this box see:
Madhyamaka Machine - Blog Post #158
https://www.gilehtblog.com/2021/11/madhyamaka-machine.html)

.

[03. If we put apparent opposites like ‘the three spheres -- ex. subject / mind, relation / action / awareness, object / phenomena --’ into the Madhyamaka Machine we get: the Union of the three spheres [U3S] // the Union of the Two Truths about the three spheres [U2T-3S].]

(i.e. Version 2021-12-30 - Union of apparent opposites like 'the three spheres -- ex. subject / mind, relation / action / awareness, object / phenomena --' [U3S]:
The true nature & dynamic of apparent opposites like 'the three spheres -- ex. subject / mind, relation / action / awareness, object / phenomena --' is indescribable / inconceivable for our flawed conditioned dualistic conceptual mind(s) based on two erroneous basic assumptions -- inherent existence and opposition / duality --;
it has to be spontaneously personally non-conceptually non-dualistically directly perceived / realised / experienced / abided in.
--
[U3S: APPARENT OPPOSITES LIKE 'THE THREE SPHERES -- EX. SUBJECT / MIND, RELATION / ACTION / AWARENESS, OBJECT / PHENOMENA --' ARE EQUAL PURE PERFECT INSEPARABLE MANIFESTATIONS OF THE GROUND:]
Apparent opposites like 'the three spheres -- ex. subject / mind, relation / action / awareness, object / phenomena --' are spontaneous natural non-dual manifestations of the Ground, inseparable from the Ground: this inconceivable unique all-pervasive unborn unchanging unconditioned unceasing pristine Ground / Basis / Source / Suchness / Dharmata / Dharmadhatu / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness / Ati / Dzogchen / Mahamudra / Intrinsic-awareness / Primordial-empty-awareness / Awakened-mind / Naturally-coemergent-timeless-awareness / Union of the Two Truths [U2T] … the inconceivable unique true nature & dynamic of all dharmas beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all limits, beyond all conditioning / karma; beyond all views, methods and goals; beyond all desciption / conceptualisation, discrimination / dualities, causality / production, matter-energy, space & time; beyond both samsara & nirvana.
--
[U2T-3S: UNION OF THE TWO TRUTHS ABOUT APPARENT OPPOSITES LIKE 'THE THREE SPHERES -- EX. SUBJECT / MIND, RELATION / ACTION / AWARENESS, OBJECT / PHENOMENA --':]
[Uopp] Apparent opposites are not really in opposition, but more like inseparable (one cannot exists without the other(s)), interdependent (one implies the other(s)), co-defined (the definition of one defines the other(s)), co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent (they arise together), co-evolving (they change together), co-ceasing / co-transcended (they cease together), in harmony (not in real opposition) (in the non-dual sense of those terms: ex. not this, not non-this, not both together, not neither).
The true nature & dynamic of apparent opposites like 'the three spheres -- ex. subject / mind, relation / action / awareness, object / phenomena --'
is like an ineffable / inconceivable Union of being conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1 - first truth], co-dependent with their parts (when applicable), with their causes & conditions (when applicable), their conceptual opposite(s) (always), and especially co-dependent with the mind merely labelling / imputing / conceptualising / classifying them [U3S] in dependence of its past / conditioning / karma, not completely non-dependently-arising / non-existent / non-changing / non-functional / non-ceasing / useless / meaningless
<==> and being empty of inherent existence [T2 - second truth], never fixed / independent / separate / universal / absolute, but more like open / free, not really dependently-co-arisen / co-existent / co-changing / co-functional / co-ceasing.
One aspect / truth implies the other (<==>) [U2T], one aspect / truth proves the other (<==>).
’They are there but not there’, like dreams / magical illusions / tricks of the sight / mirages / reflections / echos / Cities of Gandharvas / emanated apparitions. They are 'like them in some aspect(s)' but not exactly the same; all metaphors have their limits.
Apparent opposites like 'the three spheres -- ex. subject / mind, relation / action / awareness, object / phenomena --' are dependently co-appearing & relatively functional <==> but still empty of inherent existence; empty of inherent existence <==> but still conventionally dependently co-appearing & relatively functional. And that is not grasping at the conventional / relative, or at the ultimate / emptiness, or both together, or neither.
[TETRALEMMA:] Apparent opposites like 'the three spheres -- ex. subject / mind, relation / action / awareness, object / phenomena --' are not inherently existent (still empty of inherent existence) <==> but still not completely non-existent (still conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances), not both existent & non-existent together, not neither existent nor non-existent, and there is no fifth. This is another way to express the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T].
[BEYOND:] Meaning their true nature is indescribable / inconceivable, beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all limits, beyond all conditioning / karma (physical, conceptual, mental) x (individual, collective, cosmic).
-
[U2T-2T:] Theses two aspects / truths -- dependent co-origination & functionality [T1] and emptiness of inherent existence [T2] --, like any group of apparent opposites, are inseparable (one cannot exists without the other), interdependent (one implies the other), co-defined (the definition of one defines the other), co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent (they arise together), co-evolving (they change together), co-ceasing / co-transcended (they cease together), in harmony (not in real opposition) (in the non-dual sense of those terms: not this, not non-this, not both together, not neither) [T1-2T] <==> thus themselves empty of inherent existence [T2-2T].
The two truths are not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth. So apparent opposites like 'the three spheres -- ex. subject / mind, relation / action / awareness, object / phenomena --' are not really arising [T1] or not, not really empty of inherent existence [T2] or not, not really both together [2T], not really neither [1T], and there is no fifth.
The two truths themselves and their Union are mere pointers to the inconceivable, mere tools, mere imperfect temporary adapted skillful means. So there is nothing left here to grasp as independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing. Everything is like luminous space, a limitless & centerless ocean of interdependence and emptiness.
-
[The three inseparable qualities of the Ground:] The emptiness of inherent existence [T2] is called the essence of the Ground; the conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1] is called the nature of the Ground; the inseparability / interdependence / harmony / Union between those two aspects [U2T] is called the dynamic-energy / compassionate-energy of the Ground.
This primordial unborn unchanging unceasing ‘dynamic-energy’, or inseparability of the two aspects / truths, is the creative potential that accounts for everything in both samsara & nirvana.
-
[With/without wisdom:] When directly seen as they really are [U2T], appearances (apparent opposites like 'the three spheres -- ex. subject / mind, relation / action / awareness, object / phenomena --') are said to be pure like the three inseparable pure kayas; this is nirvana. But when seen with ignorance of their true nature & dynamic [U2T], appearances are said to be impure, dependent on karma, and causing more karma; this is the limitless karmic cycle. But, ultimately, Reality is beyond all dualities like: pure & impure, wisdom & ignorance, samsara & nirvana.
--
[Best Approximation / Pointers to their inconceivable true nature & dynamic:]
The true nature & dynamic of apparent opposites like 'the three spheres -- ex. subject / mind, relation / action / awareness, object / phenomena --' is pointed by concepts like:
– the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths about apparent opposites like 'the three spheres -- ex. subject / mind, relation / action / awareness, object / phenomena --' [U2T-3S],
– the inconceivable Union of the three spheres about apparent opposites like 'the three spheres -- ex. subject / mind, relation / action / awareness, object / phenomena --' [U3S / U2T-3S-3S],
– the inconceivable Union of opposites about apparent opposites like 'the three spheres -- ex. subject / mind, relation / action / awareness, object / phenomena --' [Non-duality / Oneness / Uopp / U2T-opp-3S],
– the inconceivable Middle Way about apparent opposites like 'the three spheres -- ex. subject / mind, relation / action / awareness, object / phenomena --',
– the tetralemma about apparent opposites like 'the three spheres -- ex. subject / mind, relation / action / awareness, object / phenomena --',
– freedom from all extremes & middle, freedom from all dualistic conceptual proliferations, freedom from all limits, freedom from all conditioning / karma,
– the Ground / Basis / Source / Suchness / Dharmata / Dharmadhatu / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness / Ati / Dzogchen / Mahamudra /
– Enlightened-mind / Intrinsic-awareness / Primordial-empty-awareness.
--
[TETRALEMMA:] Apparent opposites like 'the three spheres -- ex. subject / mind, relation / action / awareness, object / phenomena --' are
-- not inherently existent, not completely non-existent, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not permanent / continuous / eternal, not impermanent / discontinuous / annihilated, and there is no fifth;
-- not purely objective / physical / body, not purely subjective / mental / mind, not purely relational / process / conceptual / speech, not two or three of them together, not none of them, and there is no other possibility;
-- not dependent / caused / produced / functional, not independent / uncaused/spontaneous / unproduced / non-functional, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not composite / contextual / conditioned, not non-composite / non-contextual / unconditioned, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not merely labelled / imputed / conceptualised by the mind, not not-merely labelled / imputed / conceptualised by the mind, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not self-caused, not other-caused, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not changing / evolving, not completely non-changing / evolving, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not empty, not non-empty, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not conventional / relative / false, not absolute / universal / true, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not dependently co-arisen / interdependent / mere-interdependence [T1], not empty of inherent existence / mere-emptiness [T2], not both together [2T], not neither [1T], and there is no fifth;
-- not unequal / impure / imperfect / ordinary / incomplete / bad, not equal / pure / perfect / divine / complete / good, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not unreal / identical to illusions / dreams / mirage / magic tricks, not real / different from illusions / dreams / mirage / magic tricks, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not describable / conceivable / meaningful, not indescribable / inconceivable / meaningless, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not this, not non-this, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth -- for whatever ‘this’ could be -- (this could be generalised for groups of more than two apparent opposites; ex. the three spheres, the three kayas, the three gems, the three times, the four cardinal directions, the five …, the six ...).
-
Meaning their true nature (Ground / Suchness / U2T) is indescribable / inconceivable (in absolute terms) for our flawed conditioned dualistic conceptual mind(s), beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all limits, beyond all conditioning / karma; beyond all description / conceptualisation, discrimination / differentiation, causality / production, matter-energy, space & time.
So there is no independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing basis for any discrimination / differentiation in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
And there is nothing to accept / affirm / seek / add / do in absolute terms, nothing to reject / negate / abandon / eliminate / subtract / not-do in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps someone get closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T], the Union of the three spheres [U3S / U2T-3S], the Union of apparent opposites [Uopp / U2T-opp], the Middle Way in everything, the tetralemma, the primordial spontaneity / equality / purity / perfection / divinity / completeness of all dharmas.
In that sense everything is primordially spontaneous, equal, pure, perfect, divine, complete. Everything is like the pristine display of the Ground / Suchness / Union of the Two Truths [U2T].
It may look complicated but all of this can be resumed into one thing: The Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas. Everything else, all these words, is just to help us to stay away from all possible extremes & middle, and create enough room for a possible inconceivable spontaneous individual non-dualistic non-conceptual direct perception / realisation / experience of the true nature of Reality as it is here & now: U2T.
-
[MIDDLE WAY:]
So the best attitude toward all dharmas is the Middle Way free from all extremes & middle:
nothing to accept / affirm / seek / add / do / cause / produce / change / improve / cultivate / perceive / know / experience / acquire / possess / purify / liberate / achieve ... in absolute terms,
nothing to reject / negate / abandon / eliminate / subtract / not-do / not-cause / not-produce / not-change / not-improve or deteriorate / not-cultivate / not-perceive / not-know / not-experience / not-acquire / not-possess / not-purify or stain / not-liberate or enslave / not-achieve ... in absolute terms,
just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps someone to get closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the Union of the Two Truths [U2T].
-
Extremes like:
i) existence / realism / causality / dependent origination / karma / relative-truth-only [T1],
ii) non-existence / nihilism / mere-nothingness / mere-emptiness / ultimate-truth-only [T2],
iii) both existence & non-existence together / a form of dualism / the two truths together, in opposition / duality of the two truths [2T],
iv) neither existence nor non-existence /  a form of monism / neither of the two truths / oneness of the two truths [1T];
or extremes like
v) subject-only / mind-only / idealism / subjectivism,
vi) object-only / naïve realism / objectivism,
vii) relation-only / process-only / action-only / relationism / processism,
viii) two or three of them together / pluralism,
ix) none to them / monism.
-
For the latest version of this box see:
Madhyamaka Machine - Blog Post #158
https://www.gilehtblog.com/2021/11/madhyamaka-machine.html)

.

[04. If we put apparent opposites like ‘the two truths -- dependent origination / relative functionality and emptiness of inherent existence --’ into the Madhyamaka Machine we get: the Union of the Two Truths about the two truths themselves [U2T-2T].]

(i.e. Version 2021-12-30 - Union of apparent opposites like ‘the two truths’ -- dependent origination & relative functionality and emptiness of inherent existence -- [U2T-2T]:
The true nature & dynamic of apparent opposites like ‘the two truths’ -- dependent origination / relative functionality and emptiness of inherent existence -- is indescribable / inconceivable for our flawed conditioned dualistic conceptual mind(s) based on two erroneous basic assumptions -- inherent existence and opposition / duality --;
it has to be spontaneously personally non-conceptually non-dualistically directly perceived / realised / experienced / abided in.
--
[U2T-2T: APPARENT OPPOSITES LIKE ‘THE TWO TRUTHS’ -- DEPENDENT ORIGINATION / RELATIVE FUNCTIONALITY AND EMPTINESS OF INHERENT EXISTENCE -- ARE EQUAL PURE PERFECT INSEPARABLE MANIFESTATIONS OF THE GROUND:]
Apparent opposites like ‘the two truths’ -- dependent origination / relative functionality and emptiness of inherent existence -- are spontaneous natural non-dual manifestations of the Ground, inseparable from the Ground: this inconceivable unique all-pervasive unborn unchanging unconditioned unceasing pristine Ground / Basis / Source / Suchness / Dharmata / Dharmadhatu / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness / Ati / Dzogchen / Mahamudra / Intrinsic-awareness / Primordial-empty-awareness / Awakened-mind / Naturally-coemergent-timeless-awareness / Union of the Two Truths [U2T] … the inconceivable unique true nature & dynamic of all dharmas beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all limits, beyond all conditioning / karma; beyond all views, methods and goals; beyond all desciption / conceptualisation, discrimination / dualities, causality / production, matter-energy, space & time; beyond both samsara & nirvana.
--
[U2T-2T: UNION OF THE TWO TRUTHS ABOUT APPARENT OPPOSITES LIKE ‘THE TWO TRUTHS’ -- DEPENDENT ORIGINATION / RELATIVE FUNCTIONALITY AND EMPTINESS OF INHERENT EXISTENCE --:]
[Uopp] Apparent opposites are not really in opposition, but more like inseparable (one cannot exists without the other(s)), interdependent (one implies the other(s)), co-defined (the definition of one defines the other(s)), co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent (they arise together), co-evolving (they change together), co-ceasing / co-transcended (they cease together), in harmony (not in real opposition) (in the non-dual sense of those terms: ex. not this, not non-this, not both together, not neither).
The true nature & dynamic of apparent opposites like ‘the two truths’ -- dependent origination / relative functionality and emptiness of inherent existence --
is like an ineffable / inconceivable Union of being conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1 - first truth], co-dependent with their parts (when applicable), with their causes & conditions (when applicable), their conceptual opposite(s) (always), and especially co-dependent with the mind merely labelling / imputing / conceptualising / classifying them [U3S] in dependence of its past / conditioning / karma, not completely non-dependently-arising / non-existent / non-changing / non-functional / non-ceasing / useless / meaningless
<==> and being empty of inherent existence [T2 - second truth], never fixed / independent / separate / universal / absolute, but more like open / free, not really dependently-co-arisen / co-existent / co-changing / co-functional / co-ceasing.
One aspect / truth implies the other (<==>) [U2T], one aspect / truth proves the other (<==>).
’They are there but not there’, like dreams / magical illusions / tricks of the sight / mirages / reflections / echos / Cities of Gandharvas / emanated apparitions. They are 'like them in some aspect(s)' but not exactly the same; all metaphors have their limits.
Apparent opposites like ‘the two truths’ -- dependent origination / relative functionality and emptiness of inherent existence -- are dependently co-appearing & relatively functional <==> but still empty of inherent existence; empty of inherent existence <==> but still conventionally dependently co-appearing & relatively functional. And that is not grasping at the conventional / relative, or at the ultimate / emptiness, or both together, or neither.
[TETRALEMMA:] Apparent opposites like ‘the two truths’ -- dependent origination / relative functionality and emptiness of inherent existence -- are not inherently existent (still empty of inherent existence) <==> but still not completely non-existent (still conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances), not both existent & non-existent together, not neither existent nor non-existent, and there is no fifth. This is another way to express the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T].
[BEYOND:] Meaning their true nature is indescribable / inconceivable, beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all limits, beyond all conditioning / karma (physical, conceptual, mental) x (individual, collective, cosmic).
-
[U2T-2T:] Theses two aspects / truths -- dependent co-origination & functionality [T1] and emptiness of inherent existence [T2] --, like any group of apparent opposites, are inseparable (one cannot exists without the other), interdependent (one implies the other), co-defined (the definition of one defines the other), co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent (they arise together), co-evolving (they change together), co-ceasing / co-transcended (they cease together), in harmony (not in real opposition) (in the non-dual sense of those terms: not this, not non-this, not both together, not neither) [T1-2T] <==> thus themselves empty of inherent existence [T2-2T].
The two truths are not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth. So the two truths -- dependent origination / relative functionality and emptiness of inherent existence -- are not really arising [T1] or not, not really empty of inherent existence [T2] or not, not really both together [2T], not really neither [1T], and there is no fifth.
Apparent opposites like ‘the two truths’ themselves and their Union are mere pointers to the inconceivable, mere tools, mere imperfect temporary adapted skillful means. So there is nothing left here to grasp as independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing. Everything is like luminous space, a limitless & centerless ocean of interdependence and emptiness.
-
[The three inseparable qualities of the Ground:] The emptiness of inherent existence [T2] is called the essence of the Ground; the conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1] is called the nature of the Ground; the inseparability / interdependence / harmony / Union between those two aspects [U2T] is called the dynamic-energy / compassionate-energy of the Ground.
This primordial unborn unchanging unceasing ‘dynamic-energy’, or inseparability of the two aspects / truths, is the creative potential that accounts for everything in both samsara & nirvana.
-
[With/without wisdom:] When directly seen as they really are [U2T], appearances (apparent opposites like ‘the two truths’ -- dependent origination / relative functionality and emptiness of inherent existence --) are said to be pure like the three inseparable pure kayas; this is nirvana. But when seen with ignorance of their true nature & dynamic [U2T], appearances are said to be impure, dependent on karma, and causing more karma; this is the limitless karmic cycle. But, ultimately, Reality is beyond all dualities like: pure & impure, wisdom & ignorance, samsara & nirvana.
--
[Best Approximation / Pointers to their inconceivable true nature & dynamic:]
The true nature & dynamic of apparent opposites like ‘the two truths’ -- dependent origination / relative functionality and emptiness of inherent existence -- is pointed by concepts like:
– the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths about apparent opposites like ‘the two truths’ -- dependent origination / relative functionality and emptiness of inherent existence -- [U2T-2T],
– the inconceivable Union of the three spheres about apparent opposites like ‘the two truths’ -- dependent origination / relative functionality and emptiness of inherent existence -- [U3S / U2T-3S-2T],
– the inconceivable Union of opposites about apparent opposites like ‘the two truths’ -- dependent origination / relative functionality and emptiness of inherent existence -- [Non-duality / Oneness / Uopp / U2T-opp-2T],
– the inconceivable Middle Way about apparent opposites like ‘the two truths’ -- dependent origination / relative functionality and emptiness of inherent existence --,
– the tetralemma about apparent opposites like ‘the two truths’ -- dependent origination / relative functionality and emptiness of inherent existence --,
– freedom from all extremes & middle, freedom from all dualistic conceptual proliferations, freedom from all limits, freedom from all conditioning / karma,
– the Ground / Basis / Source / Suchness / Dharmata / Dharmadhatu / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness / Ati / Dzogchen / Mahamudra /
– Enlightened-mind / Intrinsic-awareness / Primordial-empty-awareness.
--
[TETRALEMMA:] Apparent opposites like ‘the two truths’ -- dependent origination / relative functionality and emptiness of inherent existence -- are
-- not inherently existent, not completely non-existent, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not permanent / continuous / eternal, not impermanent / discontinuous / annihilated, and there is no fifth;
-- not purely objective / physical / body, not purely subjective / mental / mind, not purely relational / process / conceptual / speech, not two or three of them together, not none of them, and there is no other possibility;
-- not dependent / caused / produced / functional, not independent / uncaused/spontaneous / unproduced / non-functional, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not composite / contextual / conditioned, not non-composite / non-contextual / unconditioned, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not merely labelled / imputed / conceptualised by the mind, not not-merely labelled / imputed / conceptualised by the mind, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not self-caused, not other-caused, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not changing / evolving, not completely non-changing / evolving, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not empty, not non-empty, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not conventional / relative / false, not absolute / universal / true, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not dependently co-arisen / interdependent / mere-interdependence [T1], not empty of inherent existence / mere-emptiness [T2], not both together [2T], not neither [1T], and there is no fifth;
-- not unequal / impure / imperfect / ordinary / incomplete / bad, not equal / pure / perfect / divine / complete / good, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not unreal / identical to illusions / dreams / mirage / magic tricks, not real / different from illusions / dreams / mirage / magic tricks, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not describable / conceivable / meaningful, not indescribable / inconceivable / meaningless, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth;
-- not this, not non-this, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth -- for whatever ‘this’ could be -- (this could be generalised for groups of more than two apparent opposites; ex. the three spheres, the three kayas, the three gems, the three times, the four cardinal directions, the five …, the six ...).
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Meaning their true nature (Ground / Suchness / U2T) is indescribable / inconceivable (in absolute terms) for our flawed conditioned dualistic conceptual mind(s), beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all limits, beyond all conditioning / karma; beyond all description / conceptualisation, discrimination / differentiation, causality / production, matter-energy, space & time.
So there is no independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing basis for any discrimination / differentiation in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
And there is nothing to accept / affirm / seek / add / do in absolute terms, nothing to reject / negate / abandon / eliminate / subtract / not-do in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps someone get closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T], the Union of the three spheres [U3S / U2T-3S], the Union of apparent opposites [Uopp / U2T-opp], the Middle Way in everything, the tetralemma, the primordial spontaneity / equality / purity / perfection / divinity / completeness of all dharmas.
In that sense everything is primordially spontaneous, equal, pure, perfect, divine, complete. Everything is like the pristine display of the Ground / Suchness / Union of the Two Truths [U2T].
It may look complicated but all of this can be resumed into one thing: The Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas. Everything else, all these words, is just to help us to stay away from all possible extremes & middle, and create enough room for a possible inconceivable spontaneous individual non-dualistic non-conceptual direct perception / realisation / experience of the true nature of Reality as it is here & now: U2T.
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[MIDDLE WAY:]
So the best attitude toward all dharmas is the Middle Way free from all extremes & middle:
nothing to accept / affirm / seek / add / do / cause / produce / change / improve / cultivate / perceive / know / experience / acquire / possess / purify / liberate / achieve ... in absolute terms,
nothing to reject / negate / abandon / eliminate / subtract / not-do / not-cause / not-produce / not-change / not-improve or deteriorate / not-cultivate / not-perceive / not-know / not-experience / not-acquire / not-possess / not-purify or stain / not-liberate or enslave / not-achieve ... in absolute terms,
just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps someone to get closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the Union of the Two Truths [U2T].
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Extremes like:
i) existence / realism / causality / dependent origination / karma / relative-truth-only [T1],
ii) non-existence / nihilism / mere-nothingness / mere-emptiness / ultimate-truth-only [T2],
iii) both existence & non-existence together / a form of dualism / the two truths together, in opposition / duality of the two truths [2T],
iv) neither existence nor non-existence /  a form of monism / neither of the two truths / oneness of the two truths [1T];
or extremes like
v) subject-only / mind-only / idealism / subjectivism,
vi) object-only / naïve realism / objectivism,
vii) relation-only / process-only / action-only / relationism / processism,
viii) two or three of them together / pluralism,
ix) none to them / monism.
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For the latest version of this box see:
Madhyamaka Machine - Blog Post #158
https://www.gilehtblog.com/2021/11/madhyamaka-machine.html)

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