Echoes from an Empty Sky: The Origins of the Buddhist Doctrine of the Two Truths
The important Buddhist doctrine of the two truths—conventional truths and ultimate truths—is the subject of this book. It examines how the doctrine evolved within early Buddhism from efforts to make sense of contradictions within the collected sayings of the Buddha. The two truths, however, came to refer not primarily to statements or language, but to the realities to which statements or language referred. As such, the doctrine of the two truths became one through which Buddhist philosophers focused their efforts to elaborate an abhidharma, a higher teaching which allowed them to explain how the mind apprehends and misapprehends the world, how it attaches itself to objects that do not exist in and of themselves, thereby creating suffering. In effect, the doctrine then evolved into a distinction between different sorts of objects rather than a distinction between different sorts of statements.
The doctrine of the truths understood in this way played a key role in the articulation of the Mahayana by its followers in distinguishing it from what they called Hinayana, especially in defining the central ideas of selflessness and emptiness. Unlike prior books on this topic which concentrate on the doctrine within the context of the Mahayana, Buescher's examines it within the context of the Hinayana. Tibetan Buddhist syntheses of Buddhist doctrine provide a fascinating perspective from which to compare the positions of the major Indian schools. Such works, however, often lack the historical perspective from which to discern the development of these positions.
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Early Buddhist Views on Language Truth
The Buddhas Word
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abhidharma Abhidharmadipa Abhidharmakosa According analysis apprehended bhdva Buddha Buddha's teachings Buddhaghosa Buddhist schools canon Chap Cittamatrins collection color commentary conglomerate atom constituents conventional objects conventional truths dharma disciples doctrine Documents d'Abhidharma emptiness and selflessness etymologies example exist ultimately exists conventionally eye consciousness four noble truths four truths Gelukpa Grammar grammarians Higher Knowledge imputed imputedly existent Indian interpretation Jaini Lamotte language Magadhi Magadhi language Mahasamghikas Mahayana meaning Mimamsakas minute particles monks Nagasena Ngawang Belden nirvana nonexistent Pali Text Society partless perceived Perfection of Wisdom Prakrit recitation referred Samghabhadra Sanskrit Sarvastivadins Sautrantikas Sautrantikas Following scriptures sense consciousness sense faculties shape skandha sound sources Sravaka substance atoms substantially established substantially existent sutras Theravada Theravadins three unconditioned phenomena Tibetan Tibetan Buddhism tion Treasury of Higher treatises true cessation ultimate truth ultimately existent unconditioned things Vaibhasikas Vaibhasikas assert Vallee Poussin Vasubandhu's Explanation says Vasubandhu's Treasury Vedas Vedic verse Vinaya