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Analysis of Two truths. Samvrti satya (Conventional Truth) Paramrtha satya (absolute Truth). Two Truths. Dve satye samupasritya Buddhanam dharma desana Loka samvrti satyan ca Satyan ca paramarthatah 24; 08

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analysis of two truths

Analysis of Two truths

Samvrti satya (Conventional Truth) Paramrtha satya (absolute Truth)

two truths
Two Truths
  • Dve satye samupasritya

Buddhanam dharma desana

Loka samvrti satyan ca

Satyan ca paramarthatah 24; 08

(The teaching of the doctrine by the Buddha is based on two truths: truth relating to worldly convention and truth in terms of

ultimate fruit)

two truths1
Two Truths
  • According to this statement the Buddha teaches Doctrine in relation to Two truths. Everybody accept as to the truth is one. In the early Buddhism it is mentioned that the truth is one. Ekam hi saccam na dutiyamatthi (Suttanipata). (Truth is one there is no second). Then there is a question how we can accept two truths?
two truths2
Two truths
  • This has been accepted by every philosophy that there cannot be two truths. Therefore this statement of Nagrjuna with regard to the two truths is very important.
  • At the same time we must keep in our mind that if we investigate carefully the religious and philosophical traditions of
two truths3
Two Truths
  • In Indian traditions we come across various stages and layers of truths in the explanation of those traditions. Therefore

the multiplicity of the Truth is not a strange thing in Indian tradition. As an

example it is possible to show the Anekantavada (non-absolutism) of Jina

Philosophy. By this theory they have

two truths4
Two Truths
  • Prevented forwarding one stand of truth.

Jain’s Anekantavada (non-absolutism) has

seven members. It is called Saptabhangi


1. It is possible that it is (syad asti).

2. It is possible that it is not (syad nasti)

3. It is possible that it is and it is not (syad

asti ca nasti ca).

4. It is possibly indescribable (syad


two truths5
Two Truths
  • 5. It is possible that it exists and is

indescribable (syad asti ca avktavyam).

6. It is possible that it does not exist and

is indescribable (syad nasti ca


7. It is possible that it exists and does not

exist and is indescribable (syad asti ca

nasti ca avaktavyam).

two truths6
Two truths
  • In this manner Jinas have accepted many ways of looking at one thing. Skeptics

(Samsayavadi) Sanjaya Belatthi putta rejected any of the possibilities and given

five types of ambiguous answers.

1. I do not agree with it (Evam pi me no).

2. I do not say it is true (Tatha ti pi me no).

3. I do not say it is otherwise (Annatha ti pi

me no).

two truths7
Two Truths

4. I do not say it is not so (No ti pi me no).

5. I do not say it is not not so (No no ti pi

me no)

Sanjaya replied with this five negations for

04 types of major questions which can be all togther 16 questions.

1.Atthi paro loko = Does the other world exist?

2. Atthi satta opapatika = Are there beings

which born spontaneously?

two truths8
Two Truths

3. Does the result of good and bad karma exist? (atthi sukata dukkatanam kammanam phalam vipako?

4. Does the thus-gone exist after death (Hoti tathagato parammarana)?

Each one can be divided into four.

1.Atthi? 2 Natthi? 3 Atthi ca Natthi ca?

4. Neva atthi na na natthi

two truths9
Two Truths
  • Jainas explain this in a story of elephant and the blind men. That means the explanations they have given on elephant is not valid but partially valid.
  • In a way Buddhists also accept truth and partial truth in the names of Sammuti/

samvrti (Conventional) and Paramttha/

Paramartha (Ultimate).

two truths10
Two truths
  • The two truths later accepted by Buddhists have a basis in early Buddhist

Nikayas. This is in the Anguttara Nikaya.

“Dve me bhikkhave tathagatam abbhaci-kkhanti. Katame dve? Yo ca neyyattham suttam nitattho suttanto ti dipeti. Yo ca nitattham suttantam neyyattho suttanto

ti dipeti”. ( Monks, there are two, who blame the Tathagata. Who are those two?

two truths11
Two truths
  • The one who takes the suttas which the meaning is to be carried or inferred as the suttas given meaning and one who takes the suttas given meaning as meaning is to be carried or inferred).
  • But in the Suttapitaka cannot find any

interpretation given for this Neyyattha and

Nitattha. But in the Commentary to Anguttara Nikaya gives an interpretation

two truths12
Two Truths
  • Here neyyattha means The Buddha says

‘One person exists’ (Eka puggalo) “There

are two persons” etc, but though Buddha says one person etc, that has to be understood as neyyattha, means in the ultimate sense there is no person. In that manner the meaning has to be inferrred.

But a person who has taken If there is no

two truths13
Two truths
  • Person in ultimate sense the Buddha will not say ‘There is a Person’ thinking that he may take a person in ultimate sense. This is taking Neyyattha as Nitattha. Nitartha means the sutras explained as ‘Anitya, dukkha and Anatma. The meaning of those words do not change and they remain as the same. But un-intelligent
two truths14
Two truths
  • Person take it as Neyyattha and thinking to infer meaning he takes ‘there is a permanent thing’, there is a happiness, and there is Atman’. Etc he takes Nitartha sutra as Neyyartha.
  • This division Neyyattha and Nitattha seems to be not a division of truth but a kind of mode of instruction, but later in

the time of commentaries this became a

two truths15
Two truths
  • Two truths. Specially this division of two truths arisen in the Nikaya volumes individual person has analysed in order to
  • Explaine the non-soul (Anatma) in Buddhism. Specially these analysis were necesitated for the Insight meditation

(Vipassna). Normally insight meditation individual has analyzed to show there is no person or Atman, there only Khandhas

two truths16
Two truths
  • (aggregates), Ayatana ( sense bases) or

elements (dhatu) remains. Then in order to identify these two separate sections of an individual two names have to be given. Those two names have given as Sammuti and Paramttha.

This word sammuti with its meaning we can find in the Samyutta Nikaya in the

vajra sutta. There when a person

two truths17
Two Truths
  • Analyised according to aggregates this


Yatha hi anga sambhara

Hoti saddo ratho iti

Evam khandhesu santesu

Hoti sattoti sammuti.

(When the parts are rightly set, then there is a name of vehicle. In the same way when there are aggregates rightly set

two truths18
Two truths
  • Then there is a Sammuti (Convention) as

a being (Satto). Here the word Sammuti

has taken in the Atthakathas to differentiate the two kinds of mode of

advices of the Buddha. This kind of two modes of teachings were necessitated in

order to show the difference of the Buddha

and the Pacceka Buddha (Solitary Buddha).

two truths19
Two Truths
  • The Buddha could teach what he has realized but paccekabuddha could not teach what he has realized. It is said in the Commentaries the Buddha is only able to teach the Paramttha dhamma he has realized converting to Sammuti where as Pacceka Buddha does not have such ability.
two truths20
Two Truths
  • In this manner these two truths have been understood. It seems that one truth is not really a truth, but only one truth is the real truth.

But Theravadi commentators were very careful not to give one truth more value than the other. If it is so then only one will become the Truth the other will become a false.

two truths21
Two truths
  • Therefore Both the truths were given equal status saying these two truths are the truths admonished by the Buddha. That has been said in the commentary of Kathavatthu:
  • Duve saccani akkhasi

Sambuddho vadatam varo

Sammutim paramtthan ca

Tatiyam nupalabbhati

two truths22
Two truths
  • (The Buddha, the best of speakers, expressed two truths only. Those are Sammuti and Paramattha, there is no third one).
  • Sanketa vacanam saccam

Loka sammutikaranam

Paramattha vacanam saccam

Dhammanam tathalakkhanam

two truths23
Two Truths
  • (According to worldly convention the words, which have been used as symbols, are true (Sammuti sacca). The word paramttha, which have been used to denote the reality of Dharmas also true

(Paramattha Sacca).).

In the same way as explained in the Kathavatthu Atthakatha Arya Nagarjuna

  • Also explained in the Madhyamka Karika
two truths24
Two Truths
  • Chap.24: 08 Gatha
  • Dve satye samupasritya

Buddhanam Dharma desana

Loka samvrti satyam ca

Satyam ca paramarthatah.

(The teaching of the doctrine of the Buddhas

is based upon two truths: truth relating to worldly convention and truth in terms of ultimate fruit). In this manner Nagrjuna accepted the two truths.

two truths25
Two Truths
  • This is something very important, because this samvrti and Paramartha divisions relates on the language. Nagarjuna specially used the language to explain the his Madhyamaka theory. His Madhyamaka theory is the Sunyata. This is a philosophical discussion based on laguage.
two truths26
Two Truths
  • Cha.24;09 Gatha
  • Yo’nayorna vijanati

Vibhagam satyayordvayoh

Te tattvam na vijananti

Gambhiram buddhasasane

(Those who do not understand the distinction between the two truths do not

understand the profound truth embodied

in the Buddha’s message).

two truths27
Two Truths
  • We have only one language. Using this language we have to talk about Samvrti Satya and Paramartha Satya both.
  • Vyavaharam anasritya

Paramartho na desyate

Paramartham anagamya

Nirvanam nadhigamyate

two truths28
Two Truths
  • (Without relying upon convention, the

ultimate truth is not taught. Without understanding the ultimate truth, freedom is not attained).

This is the crucial point of talking about Dhamma. To talk about Dhamma we have to use the conventional language. The

language is convention. Therefore to

two truths29
Two truths
  • Talk about ultimate Truth we have to use the conventinal languge. This is very difficult part as well as not only the person who talk about the ultimate truth but also listener also have to have proper


If someone takes these Samvrti and Paramartha in wrong way that is something similar to taking a serpent in

a wrong way.

two truths30
Two Truths
  • Here in the Madhyamaka Karika mentioned that to teach Paramartha

Sammuti has been used. It is accepted that Paramartha cannot be expressed but

using the sammuti paramartha is taught.

Here clearly shows there are two truths, but it seems that here two sides of one truth. This is the Madhyamaka explanation

two trurhs
Two Trurhs
  • But in Pali commentaries explain these

two truths to show they are two separate truths and teachings of the Buddha can be mixed with these two truths.

In the Dighanikaya Atthakatha (Sumangala Vilasini) gives this explanation: “Tatha sammutikathaya bujjhanaka sattassapi na

pathamam paramatthakatham katheti.

Sammutikathaya pana bodhetva paccha

two truths31
Two Truths
  • Paramatthakatham katheti. Paramatthakathaya bujjhanakasattassapi na pathamam sammutikatham katheti. Paramatthakathaya pana bodhetva paccha

sammutikatham katheti” DA.II.383. (In the same way, for the beings who realize the teachings on the basis of Sammuti katha even, not at the beginning teachings will be (on the basis of) Paramattha katha. After the realization on the way

two truths32
Two Truths

Of sammuti katha then after that teachings will be on paramattha. For the beings who

realize the teachings on the way of Paramattha even at first there will be no sammutikatha. After the realization of Dhamma on the basis of paramattha katha then after that only there will be sammuti

katha.) It says here for the beings who realize Dhamma on the teachings of conventional truth, at the beginning there will not be the teachings on Paramattha.

two truths33
Two Truths
  • After the realization of Dhamma on the teachings of convention, then after that the teachings will be based on ultimate truth. For the beings who realize the Dhamma on the basis of ultimate truth, at first there will be no conventional teachings. After the realization on the way of ultimate truth then the teachings conventional truth will follow.
two truths34
Two Truths
  • According to DA, some beings realize Dhamma on the teachings on sammuti

(Sammuti desana). Some beings realize Dhamma on the basis of ultimate truth

(Paramattha desana). This is the speciality of the clarification of Pali commentators.

This explanation of Commentary is some-

what different from the interpretation

given in the Mulamadhyamakakarika.

two truths35
Two Truths
  • With the sloka of “Vyvaharamansrtya” very special idea may come to someone’s knowledge to say that with the meaning of this sloka it shows that Arya Nagarjuna accepts that there are Sravakas who realizes truths. He accepted Sravakas realization of the truth after listening the
  • sermons of the Buddha.
two truths36
Two truths
  • It indicates with this line of the sloka:

“vyavaharamanartya paramartho nadesyate, paramrthamanagamya nirvanam nadhigamyate”. In that case Arya Nagarjuna cannot be a Mahayanists. Because of his support for the Sthaviravada. (Hinayana).