Sunday, July 11, 2004

Mantras, Relative and Ultimate Truth - 4

I must confess that I didn't see what you were getting at in your first mail. It's a very interesting distinction. Can I comment on it using a conventional Kagyu approach, and see where it leads?

When we put a possessive adverb like "my", "our", etc. in front obviously (or maybe, not so obviously, sorry :-) we *relate* some thing to us, so it becomes literally a relative-level view: "our body", "our mind", etc. On the other hand, when we leave out the possessive, we refer to something not related to anything else in particular, and thus on the absolute-level, such as: "mind", "body", "form", etc.

Putting a possessive adverb onto something gives us what? ... it gives us a concept ... the concept of 'my something'. And, all concepts are necessarily of the realm of relative truth. Why? because the 'thing' that the concept points to has no ultimate existence, no concept actually points to a thing which exists in an inherent manner. But what of the concept itself (not the thing it is pointing to or designating)? The concept is indeed relative in the sense that all concepts are necessarily relative - as they arise in the mind, their appearance is a relative truth, or of relative reality. But, as in our previous post, that concept itself has an ultimate nature, or ultimate nature. What is that? It is its emptiness, its lack of inherent existence.

So, concepts have both relative and ultimate existence, and the 'thing' that concepts point to have only ultimate existence. Is this correct? So it's good to be clear when you talk of the adding of possessive pronouns to things equalling a relative view, then there are a number of aspects here, some of which are relative, and some are ultimate.

What about the view that talking about the thing itself, and not relating it to a possessor, of me, mine etc? You mention that that view is ultimate reality, if I understand that correctly? Whilst it's true that it's not 'related' to anything, does the thing such as 'body' truly exist? So is it ultimately existent? Surely not. Mind, body, etc has both relative and ultimate reality, in terms of it's appearance to the mind, and it's emptiness of inherent existence. When you look, body cannot ultimately be found, anywhere, ever. But, and it's a big but, it does appear to the mind, and in that sense, it has a relative existence or reality, one which is dependent on conditions - dependent origination.

And once again, the view of relating to something as 'me' or 'mine' .... there's another sense in which we can analyse or view this. All notions of 'me' or 'mine' are necessarily empty of inherent existence - they is no ultimate basis for a 'me' .... but the concept of 'me' arises to the mind dependent on conditions ... .so it has a relative existence or reality.

Hmm .... a lot of reflections there ..... I wonder what your view is?

very best wishes in the Dharma

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