What is Truth?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Prasadachitta
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Re: What is Truth?

Post by Prasadachitta » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:10 pm

The Canki Sutta is a superb exposition of how to establish truth. Here is an excerpt but I recommend reading and studying the whole thing as an excerpt does not do it justice.

Metta

Gabe

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
When, on observing that the monk is purified with regard to qualities based on delusion, he places conviction in him. With the arising of conviction, he visits him & grows close to him. Growing close to him, he lends ear. Lending ear, he hears the Dhamma. Hearing the Dhamma, he remembers it. Remembering it, he penetrates the meaning of those dhammas. Penetrating the meaning, he comes to an agreement through pondering those dhammas. There being an agreement through pondering those dhammas, desire arises. With the arising of desire, he becomes willing. Willing, he contemplates (lit: "weighs," "compares"). Contemplating, he makes an exertion. Exerting himself, he both realizes the ultimate meaning of the truth with his body and sees by penetrating it with discernment.

"To this extent, Bharadvaja, there is an awakening to the truth. To this extent one awakens to the truth. I describe this as an awakening to the truth. But it is not yet the final attainment of the truth.

"Yes, Master Gotama, to this extent there is an awakening to the truth. To this extent one awakens to the truth. We regard this as an awakening to the truth. But to what extent is there the final attainment of the truth? To what extent does one finally attain the truth? We ask Master Gotama about the final attainment of the truth."

"The cultivation, development, & pursuit of those very same qualities: to this extent, Bharadvaja, there is the final attainment of the truth. To this extent one finally attains the truth. I describe this as the final attainment of the truth."
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

lojong1
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Re: What is Truth?

Post by lojong1 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:15 pm

gabrielbranbury wrote:there is the final attainment of the truth
This here truth being what in Paali? I get confused easily.

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Re: What is Truth?

Post by Prasadachitta » Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:42 pm

lojong1 wrote:
gabrielbranbury wrote:there is the final attainment of the truth
This here truth being what in Paali? I get confused easily.
Hi Lojong,

Yes.

From the Pali Tipitika.

Metta

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: What is Truth?

Post by lojong1 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:45 pm

@ gabrielbranbury

Hey there. I meant what is the paali original of the word 'truth' used throughout this Canki sutta excerpt?
I think there are a few, and we call them all truth, yet I'm sure there are subtle distinctions between them.
Maybe the OP only wants to know what the English word refers to, but by the looks of the responses it doesn't really go anywhere.

Buddha's "doesn't apply."

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Re: What is Truth?

Post by Prasadachitta » Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:56 pm

lojong1 wrote:@ gabrielbranbury

Hey there. I meant what is the paali original of the word 'truth' used throughout this Canki sutta excerpt?
I think there are a few, and we call them all truth, yet I'm sure there are subtle distinctions between them.
Maybe the OP only wants to know what the English word refers to, but by the looks of the responses it doesn't really go anywhere.

Buddha's "doesn't apply."
OH,

Sorry,

I dont know.

Ill bet someone else here does...

Metta

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: What is Truth?

Post by lojong1 » Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:46 am

Okay, in the Canki Sutta at the link, sacca is what they translated into Truth.
Sacca is an adjectictive, isn't it? I wonder if this could make a difference. Nouns are so darned hard and unchanging. :pig: :jedi:

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Re: What is Truth?

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:11 am

I'm no Pali expert, but from http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... :2866.pali" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; sacca is the adjective, saccaṃ the noun.
Typically glossaries such as this: http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... .htm#sacca" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; list just sacca, but that's just for convenience, I think.

Whether one uses a noun or an adjective is going to depend on the the construction of the sentence.
So, for example, here it is a noun: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... discourses" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Idaṃ kho pana bhikkhave dukkhaṃ ariya-saccaṃ,
Now this, monks, is the noble truth of stress:
Mike

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Re: What is Truth?

Post by simplemind » Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:47 am

I think with questions like 'What is Truth?' it doesn't hurt to consider that we use 'truth' in several ordinary ways. The thing to note is that they aren't necessarily equivalent. Here's just a few of them off the top of my head:

1) Something can be 'true' insofar as it matches our experiences with the way we perceive the world to be. False if not.
2) A statement can be vacuously 'true' if it is impossible for it to be false. Tautologies fall into this category (i.e. The Buddha is the Buddha).
3) A substance or material can be 'true' if it is seen as lacking impurities.
4) 'Truth' can also be used as an affirmation. Sometimes people say things like, "That is the truth man, or True dat!" In this sense, they are just standing behind an assertion.
5) There's another sense of Truth (the one I suppose Pilate was framing) which is something like, "What is the definitive definition of Truth, or what is the definition that overrides all the others, the Absolute definition if you like.' If that is the question, then I submit that it cannot be answered. I think we can only enumerate various uses. This by the way, is my interpretation of Ludwig Wittgenstein's approach in his later philosophy (read his Philosophical Investigations if you are interested).

A lot of 20th century linguistic philosophy was interested in the analysis of our language to avoid philosophical confusions. It does not follow that this is just needless conceptual grasping, rather this process of analysis can help us clarify what is causing philosophical problems. In my opinion, it is often misleading questions and concepts. I see this process as quite liberating, especially in an online world where we increasingly rely on communication without the subtleties (and quick feedback) that we have in face to face communication.

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Re: What is Truth?

Post by lojong1 » Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:05 am

mikenz66 wrote: So, for example, here it is a noun: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... discourses" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Idaṃ kho pana bhikkhave dukkhaṃ ariya-saccaṃ,
Now this, monks, is the noble truth of stress:
I see that it is rendered as a noun in English in many places, but the reason I keep asking these Paali questions is that after short examinations of anapanasutta, satipatthanasutta and other bits and pieces, it looks to me like the English can get kinda sloppy, as if the translated terms aren't fully understood by the translators, or the source materials disagree.
:pig: :spy: :toilet: A horrible thought...I accept the consequences.

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mikenz66
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Re: What is Truth?

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:19 am

Hi lojong1,

You may be right in some cases. Which translations are you reading?
But remember that Pali is a reasonably complicated language with a very different word order from English, so a word-for-word translation is not usually going to work in "subject object verb" sentences like:
  • buddhaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi
    Buddha refuge go
See this thread for some more analysis: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=4369" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Mike

lojong1
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Re: What is Truth?

Post by lojong1 » Thu Aug 05, 2010 7:11 am

mikenz66 wrote:You may be right in some cases. Which translations are you reading?
The two I have in my hands this second are Vipassana Research Institute's MahasatipatthanaSutta Paali/English, and Nanamoli's MN.
VRI's translation has: none of the 'vaa'/either/or's of the Paali; "with the bodily activities [plural] calmed, I shall breathe in," which makes sense to me. I don't see how the Paali past participle here could be mistaken for a present or future construction, or the need for any conscious intervention in the process beyond tying observations to the breath, so why does it happen?
Nanamoli has half the 'vaa'/either/or's; and "I shall breathe in tranquilizing the bodily formation [singular]."

Ajahn Passano writes: "Then the next stage is calming the body (passambhayam Kayasamkharam) – to consciously calm the body...". Is that not a completely different experience than observing what is already calmed of itself? Maybe some of y'all who tend to stay in Jhanas much of the time can say if it makes more difference as concentration improves.

Buddhadasa Bhikkhu wrote: "Note the specific wording of this step. "Calming the body­-conditioner" refers to calming the breath-body."
:focus:
What is truth? Why yes, it certainly is. :alien:

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