The Two Truths Debate: Tsongkhapa and Gorampa on the Middle by Sonam Thakchoe

By Sonam Thakchoe

The center method is a primary proposal for all Buddhists, but its definition varies throughout Buddhist cultures. In Tibetan Buddhism, the translation of what are known as the 2 truths — the reality of traditional appearances and the last word fact of vacancy — is mainly contentious. This comparative research examines the differing ways towards the center means taken through the 2 nice Buddhist students, Tsongkhapa and Gorampa. It demonstrates how philosophical positions have dramatic implications either for the way one techniques Buddhist perform and for a way one eventually knows enlightenment itself.

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Extra info for The Two Truths Debate: Tsongkhapa and Gorampa on the Middle Way

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The real answer within the ordinary worldly convention (and therefore not from the Madhyamaka standpoint) must be something like this: “Entities such as illusions, mirages, reflections, and so forth are real, but they do not exist the way they appear to us. ” It is the inconsistency between the appear­ ance and the mode of existence that marks these entities as false, and since even the ordinary worldly consciousness understands this inconsistency, so visual illusions, mirages, mirror images, and so forth are described as false and deceptive phenomena.

Therefore, despite the fact that whatever is dependently arisen is primordially devoid of essence, it nonetheless appears. 123 In the Lam gtso mam gsum (The Three Principal Pathways), Tsongkhapa varies his argument slightly to establish this unity. “Appearance avoids the extreme of existence, and empty [phenomena] avoids the extreme of nonex­ istence. ” 124 As indicated in Nagarjuna and Candraklrtis arguments, the efficacy of empty phenomena, the bearers of cause and effect, is particularly significant to this view.

The One and Only Truth Let us now turn to Gorampa. In his view the two truths are binary oppo­ sites. Moreover, for Gorampa, whatever is false and deceptive cannot be truth— nondeception is thus the mark of truth. With this in mind, he argues: “Truth, in the end, cannot be divided into two. It therefore makes no sense to enumerate it.

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The Two Truths Debate: Tsongkhapa and Gorampa on the Middle by Sonam Thakchoe
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