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Where does buddha's truth lie within the universal TRUTH?? It it ultimate truth?

zenmystezenmyste Veteran
edited December 2012 in Buddhism for Beginners
What i mean is;

What kind of truth is it????

Is it the Ultimate truth of the universe?

Or are there other things someone can learn anout life?

Did he find the ultimate answer to 'everything'
Or was his truth a truth based on 'something'
For example; did he just figure out why we suffer??

I hope you understand what i am asking? Lol
Cheers in advance!

Comments

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman Possibly imaginary giant hedgehog Chasing dinsdale Veteran
    zenmyste said:

    Is it the Ultimate truth of the universe?

    So is there an "Ultimate truth"?
  • zenmyste said:

    Is it the Ultimate truth of the universe?

    So is there an "Ultimate truth"?
    Yeah, I reckon so.

    I don't know that we really understand it until we're super advanced though.
  • JayanthaJayantha | Student of the Path | New Jersey Veteran
    edited December 2012
    The Buddha said that he taught dukkha.. and the cessation of dukkha

    he did not speak of the beginning or end of existence or any kind of " ultimate answer to everything". You can spend an eternity of lifetimes going mad thinking about these "imponderable" or "unconjecturable" things.

    He was very pragmatic in that way.. he saw how people were born, grew old, grew sick, and died, and he wanted to find a way out of that... which he did.

    what exactly IS "ultimate truth" anyways? maybe there is one out there but we can only know an "ultimate truth" through our 6 senses(the totality of all we know)... and that ultimate truth would be that all conditioned phenomena have the three characteristics of existence " Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta" or " impermenance, unsatisfactoriness, not-self.
    howJason
  • zenmyste said:


    I hope you understand what i am asking? Lol

    Nah, not really!
    But this is interesting... the Buddha didn't tell us everything about everything. He told us a little tiny bit, the relevant stuff. Other stuff he knew, but he didn't teach.
    The Blessed One was once living at Kosambi in a wood of simsapa trees. He picked up a few leaves in his hand, and he asked the bhikkhus, ‘How do you conceive this, bhikkhus, which is more, the few leaves that I have picked up in my hand or those on the trees in the wood?

    ‘The leaves that the Blessed One has picked up in his hand are few, Lord; those in the wood are far more.’

    ‘So too, bhikkhus, the things that I have known by direct knowledge are more; the things that I have told you are only a few.
    http://www.buddhanet.net/4noble1.htm
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman Possibly imaginary giant hedgehog Chasing dinsdale Veteran
    edited December 2012

    ‘So too, bhikkhus, the things that I have known by direct knowledge are more; the things that I have told you are only a few.

    I bet all the other stuff was really interesting though. ;)
    Jeffrey
  • I'd say the Dharma is the universal truth of what it means to be human. It holds true for all people, in all cultures, throughout our long history. When the first tear was shed for the first broken heart, the Dharma was born in this world. When the last person surviving in the far future lays down a weary head for the last time the Dharma will accompany them to whatever awaits.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    The 4 Noble Truths cover it.
    That's why they are referred to as 'Noble'.
    It indicates that they are indisputable, and cannot be argued against.

    Other than that - it's up to you.
  • footiamfootiam Veteran
    edited December 2012
    zenmyste said:

    What i mean is;

    What kind of truth is it????

    Is it the Ultimate truth of the universe?

    Or are there other things someone can learn anout life?

    Did he find the ultimate answer to 'everything'
    Or was his truth a truth based on 'something'
    For example; did he just figure out why we suffer??

    I hope you understand what i am asking? Lol
    Cheers in advance!

    I don't really understand your question, being always very confused. Sometimes, I wonder if Science,too review to mankind the ultimate truth, in which case, I wonder too if it makes one happy.

    Now, come to think about it, most probably Buddha does not reveal the ultimate truth. If I am not mistaken, it had been written that what he preaches is just a leaf from a forest.
  • zenmyste said:

    What i mean is;

    What kind of truth is it????

    Is it the Ultimate truth of the universe?

    Or are there other things someone can learn anout life?

    Did he find the ultimate answer to 'everything'
    Or was his truth a truth based on 'something'
    For example; did he just figure out why we suffer??

    I hope you understand what i am asking? Lol
    Cheers in advance!

    This is actually something I have thought about often in recent months. I kinda think that Buddha's wisdom, great at it was, addressed primarily the cessation of dukkha and other related matters.

    I am leaning more toward not believing that his wisdom answered all the great questions of life.

  • Jayantha said:

    The Buddha said that he taught dukkha.. and the cessation of dukkha

    he did not speak of the beginning or end of existence or any kind of " ultimate answer to everything". You can spend an eternity of lifetimes going mad thinking about these "imponderable" or "unconjecturable" things.

    He was very pragmatic in that way.. he saw how people were born, grew old, grew sick, and died, and he wanted to find a way out of that... which he did.

    what exactly IS "ultimate truth" anyways? maybe there is one out there but we can only know an "ultimate truth" through our 6 senses(the totality of all we know)... and that ultimate truth would be that all conditioned phenomena have the three characteristics of existence " Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta" or " impermenance, unsatisfactoriness, not-self.

    Overall I like your post. Except one of my pet peeves is this idea that if you ponder the imponderables you "go mad". I know many people who have, and know of many people who have...and none of them have "gone mad".
  • footiam said:

    ...
    Now, come to think about it, most probably Buddha does not reveal the ultimate truth. If I am not mistaken, it had been written that what he preaches is just a leaf from a forest.

    Interesting. Is there a reference for that?

  • zenmyste said:


    I hope you understand what i am asking? Lol

    Nah, not really!
    But this is interesting... the Buddha didn't tell us everything about everything. He told us a little tiny bit, the relevant stuff. Other stuff he knew, but he didn't teach.
    The Blessed One was once living at Kosambi in a wood of simsapa trees. He picked up a few leaves in his hand, and he asked the bhikkhus, ‘How do you conceive this, bhikkhus, which is more, the few leaves that I have picked up in my hand or those on the trees in the wood?

    ‘The leaves that the Blessed One has picked up in his hand are few, Lord; those in the wood are far more.’

    ‘So too, bhikkhus, the things that I have known by direct knowledge are more; the things that I have told you are only a few.
    http://www.buddhanet.net/4noble1.htm
    Thank you for this reference.

  • JayanthaJayantha | Student of the Path | New Jersey Veteran
    vinlyn said:

    Jayantha said:

    The Buddha said that he taught dukkha.. and the cessation of dukkha

    he did not speak of the beginning or end of existence or any kind of " ultimate answer to everything". You can spend an eternity of lifetimes going mad thinking about these "imponderable" or "unconjecturable" things.

    He was very pragmatic in that way.. he saw how people were born, grew old, grew sick, and died, and he wanted to find a way out of that... which he did.

    what exactly IS "ultimate truth" anyways? maybe there is one out there but we can only know an "ultimate truth" through our 6 senses(the totality of all we know)... and that ultimate truth would be that all conditioned phenomena have the three characteristics of existence " Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta" or " impermenance, unsatisfactoriness, not-self.

    Overall I like your post. Except one of my pet peeves is this idea that if you ponder the imponderables you "go mad". I know many people who have, and know of many people who have...and none of them have "gone mad".
    Ok, I'll give a further explanation... those who ponder "thinking they will find something from it".. will go mad :P. If you want to ponder for the fun of it, then I suppose it's not such a bad thing, just don't expect to get anything out of it but wasted time that could of been used in practice.
  • Its definitely nothing we can truly speak about.

    But the Buddha's truth is something we can all experience.

    His truth was that of suffering. How it is "constructed" and how it is "deconstructed". He taught the vehicle of cause and effect.

    This is a very profound statement.

    In regards to anything other than suffering I am pretty sure the Buddha was silent. The immediate and most apparent problem is suffering. Any other question is the result of suffering lol.

    For instance:

    Is there a heaven? Hell? Is there a God? Is there an ultimate ground? Etc.

    And just to be a little mean:

    There is no ultimate truth and that is the ultimate truth. And that. And that. ETC for infinity.

    But how many people can find comfort in that? LOL!!
  • RebeccaSRebeccaS Veteran
    edited December 2012
    I think that if he didn't answer the question it's because it isn''t worth knowing the answer anyway.
  • howhow to wrassle a wild zafu. Vancouver BC Veteran
    edited December 2012
    imho today...
    Ultimate is the conceived limitation of linear thought.
    Universal is it's cousin.
    Truth has always been another spelling for hubris.
    &
    Buddha is awakening beyond the perceived and the perceiver.
  • But if someone (buddha) hasnt awakened to the ultimate truth of 'everything' then how can we call him 'enlightened'???

    What was he enlightened in ???

    What truth does he know?
    That there is suffering in the world?? Well we all know that dont we!

    But to say someone is enlightened , surely they need to be enlightened about ALL things..?

    Thats why i ask, where does his truth lie within the universe truth of reality??

    Does he know how the world works as in how it began?
    How we all got here?
    What 'are' we doing here???

    If he couldnt answer these questions then what was he enlightened in???

    What catorgory would his "knowledge and wisdom" come under???
  • JayanthaJayantha | Student of the Path | New Jersey Veteran
    edited December 2012
    zenmyste said:


    That there is suffering in the world?? Well we all know that dont we!

    we do eh?......doesn't look like it to me.


    also.. who ever said enlightenment is the same as omnipotence?
  • Jayantha said:

    also.. who ever said enlightenment is the same as omnipotence?

    Exactly!

    Thank you.
  • Does he know how the world works as in how it began?
    How we all got here?
    What 'are' we doing here???
    The way the world works is being worked out, as is how we got here . . . and not by Buddhism or its offspring. Science does a much more authentic job.
    What we are doing here in Buddhism is not answered with purpose. You would have to apply humanism, mysticism or another alternative.
    So Buddhism does not complete or round the individual. It is a partial dharma . . . that most of us are partial to. It is a good place to start.
  • Jayantha said:

    zenmyste said:


    That there is suffering in the world?? Well we all know that dont we!

    we do eh?......doesn't look like it to me.


    also.. who ever said enlightenment is the same as omnipotence?
    I haven't heard anyone say that specifically, but it often seems implied. But you make a good point.

  • howhow to wrassle a wild zafu. Vancouver BC Veteran
    edited December 2012
    @zenmyste
    This seems to be a question that arises more for the devotionally inclined than the meditative.
    What think u?
    Jayantha
  • JamestheGiantJamestheGiant Veteran
    edited December 2012
    zenmyste said:


    If he couldnt answer these questions then what was he enlightened in???

    He was enlightened in suffering and the end of suffering.
    zenmyste said:

    What catorgory would his "knowledge and wisdom" come under???

    The category his knowledge and wisdom came under was Suffering, and the end of suffering.

    See here, he said it himself:
    "What I teach now as before, O monks, is suffering and the cessation of suffering.
    From the Alagaddupama Sutta
    lobster
  • how said:

    @zenmyste
    This seems to be a question that arises more for the devotionally inclined than the meditative.
    What think u?

    To some extent, yes, although I wouldn't divide those two groups very stringently.

  • zenmyste said:


    If he couldnt answer these questions then what was he enlightened in???

    He was enlightened in suffering and the end of suffering.
    zenmyste said:

    What catorgory would his "knowledge and wisdom" come under???

    The category his knowledge and wisdom came under was Suffering, and the end of suffering.

    See here, he said it himself:
    "What I teach now as before, O monks, is suffering and the cessation of suffering.
    From the Alagaddupama Sutta
    Thank you
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited December 2012
    vinlyn said:

    Jayantha said:

    The Buddha said that he taught dukkha.. and the cessation of dukkha

    he did not speak of the beginning or end of existence or any kind of " ultimate answer to everything". You can spend an eternity of lifetimes going mad thinking about these "imponderable" or "unconjecturable" things.

    He was very pragmatic in that way.. he saw how people were born, grew old, grew sick, and died, and he wanted to find a way out of that... which he did.

    what exactly IS "ultimate truth" anyways? maybe there is one out there but we can only know an "ultimate truth" through our 6 senses(the totality of all we know)... and that ultimate truth would be that all conditioned phenomena have the three characteristics of existence " Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta" or " impermenance, unsatisfactoriness, not-self.

    Overall I like your post. Except one of my pet peeves is this idea that if you ponder the imponderables you "go mad". I know many people who have, and know of many people who have...and none of them have "gone mad".
    I think the general idea is that it's unprofitable to speculate about these things, and that spending all of one's time doing so leads to vexation rather than knowledge or peace, not that one literally goes insane.
    lobster
  • Jason said:


    Overall I like your post. Except one of my pet peeves is this idea that if you ponder the imponderables you "go mad". I know many people who have, and know of many people who have...and none of them have "gone mad".

    I think the general idea is that it's unprofitable to speculate about these things, and that spending all of one's time doing so leads to vexation rather than knowledge or peace, not that one literally goes insane.

    And that's fine, Jason. But that is not what is said almost all the time that this issue is raised. If they mean people will suffer from vexation, then it would be wise to use that term. If somebody said, "If you ponder the imponderables, you may become annoyed or frustrated", then I would say that's reasonable.

  • Did he find the ultimate answer to 'everything'
    :confused:
    Being partial, particular, aggregated beings, we can connect, align and experience the everything running through us. Knowing everything in a sense but not in an infinite totality.

    The Buddha made it clear he was not a 'god man', he was awake. Dreaming is for dreamers . . .
    http://www.eaglespiritministry.com/teaching/buddha/stbawake.htm
    how
  • JayanthaJayantha | Student of the Path | New Jersey Veteran
    edited December 2012
    vinlyn said:

    Jason said:


    Overall I like your post. Except one of my pet peeves is this idea that if you ponder the imponderables you "go mad". I know many people who have, and know of many people who have...and none of them have "gone mad".

    I think the general idea is that it's unprofitable to speculate about these things, and that spending all of one's time doing so leads to vexation rather than knowledge or peace, not that one literally goes insane.\

    And that's fine, Jason. But that is not what is said almost all the time that this issue is raised. If they mean people will suffer from vexation, then it would be wise to use that term. If somebody said, "If you ponder the imponderables, you may become annoyed or frustrated", then I would say that's reasonable.

    well the "go mad" thing comes from the translation.. but so does vexation. I think most people understand what " go mad" is more then vexation so it's more often used.

    here is the sutta translated by Thanissaro

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.077.than.html

    AN 4.77 PTS: A ii 80
    Acintita Sutta: Unconjecturable

    "There are these four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them. Which four?

    "The Buddha-range of the Buddhas[1] is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

    "The jhana-range of a person in jhana...[2]

    "The [precise working out of the] results of kamma...

    "Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

    "These are the four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them."

    Notes

    1.
    I.e., the range of powers a Buddha develops as a result of becoming a Buddha.
    2.
    I.e., the range of powers that one may obtain while absorbed in jhana.
  • Here is what my teacher said about the truth
    At the heart of reality is a hidden truth which is reflected within each one of us but unrealized. To realize this truth takes courage, persistence, and training. It changes our world and ourselves eventually igniting the fire of vision, love, and creative power. This truth is not an affair of the intellect but a living presence that lays a demand for its fulfillment on the totality of our being. The quest for it having begun we can never give it up or rather it never gives us up.
    There are four qualities:

    *Fluxional
    *Not an amorphous non-conceptual blob, rather a more precise vision than the conceptual
    *Emotional, not dead (someone else might use different words, but in this usage everything is emotional).
    *Neither manifest nor non-manifest
    taiyaki
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited December 2012
    1nothing to grasp
    2nothing is needed to add to that
  • My opinion Zenmyste.

    I like your question, and regret to say that I disgree with most answers given here.

    Yes. The Buddha taught 'ultimate truth'. Primarily he teaches the end of suffering. The four noble truths are true because of the way the world is. That is, in order for his teachings to be true the world has to be a certain way, and he must have known the way it is in order to inform those teachings. He must have known that materialism is false, for one example, and theism for another. This is knowledge of metaphysical truths at least, and they might be called ultimate. Without a knowledge of ultimate truths it would be impossible for him to know whether his own teachings were true. Nagarjuna shows us how to interpret his teachings in a philosophically extended way if we wish, and speaks directly about conventional and ultimate truth. The Buddha was not concerned with such issues but much of what he leaves unsaid can be inferred.

    The problem with the phrase 'ultimate truth' is that it is an epistemilogical phrase. A 'truth' requires a knower of the truth. But we are asked to look beyond this distinction to ontology and identity. Al-Halaj was crucified not for saying that he knew the truth, but for saying that he is the truth. Not at all the same thing, and this adds a complication. As the Upanishads ask, how can there be knowledge of truth when there is no distinction between knower and known?

    But yes, of course the Buddha knew 'the ultimate truth', speaking loosely. In Buddhism there is much discussion of the nature of his omniscience. His soteriological teachings can only be true if certain fundamental truths relating to the nature of reality are true, and to suggest he did not know these deep truths yet still taught correctly is implausible and a rejection of the teachings as conjectural.
  • FlorianFlorian Veteran
    edited December 2012
    PS. I see that my post might be misread. So I'll add that I endorse the view of Jeffrey's teacher, who seems to speak very well.

    "At the heart of reality is a hidden truth which is reflected within each one of us but unrealized. To realize this truth takes courage, persistence, and training. It changes our world and ourselves eventually igniting the fire of vision, love, and creative power. This truth is not an affair of the intellect but a living presence that lays a demand for its fulfillment on the totality of our being. The quest for it having begun we can never give it up or rather it never gives us up."
  • A universal truth implies that is can be applied to all situations. what i believe buddhism is about is about clearing the mind during meditation to make way for wisdom then we can use this to find our own truths but these truths will constantly be changing coz change is inevitable and our life circumstances. it must also be noted that even if two people lived identical lives each would have their own truths. we cannot really speak of universal truths simply what we have seen

    hope this helps
    Jeffrey
  • I'm not sure how one can hold this view, Wisdom. It appears to be a dismissal of the teachings. Are you suggesting that the truth is relative to the person and changes all the time? What sort of truth is that? How could the Buddha have taught what is true for everybody unless he knew? Your view seems to reduce the dhamma to mere conjecture. Of have I misread it? It is so easy to do.

    I know yours is not an uncommon view but I cannot see how anyone could reach it. Of course we all come from different directions and will have our own revelations and intuitions, but ultimate truths are true for everybody and never change. If we think such truths cannot be known then we must think that the Buddha was making up a lot of what he said and had no right to be so unequivocal in his speech. The four noble truths are true for everyone at all times and places, and they cannot be true unless many other things are absolutely true.That is, in order to know that the 4NT are always true for everybody one would have to know many other things that are true for everybody, including certain fundamental truths about the the nature of reality.

    My view would be that discovering ultimate truths is what the practice is all about. Otherwise our view will never be more than a theory.
    Jeffrey
  • Any assertion of truth is always conceptual.

    Being that it is conceptual then as a symbol it points to a referent.

    In Buddhism there are no freestanding referents. Everything is dependent upon everything else.

    For instance emptiness is dependent upon designation and an object to negate. There is no freestanding emptiness. It is a medicine for a certain sickness, without establishing an ontological ground (non-affirming negation).

    The truths in Buddhism are pointers to end the proliferation of giving inherent existence to self and phenomena. They themselves are not absolute truths for that would basically undermine the whole purpose of ending fabrication.

    The dharma is traceless without establishing absolutes and relatives.

    Taking this into account each individual has their own unique journey and path towards liberation. And in the Buddhist sense liberation only occurs when the mind apphrends the lack of inherent existence of self and other. But that non-affirming negation doesn't imply an ultimate truth, but it is the damn closest you'll get.

    "If I had any thesis, that fault would apply to me. But I do not have any thesis, so there is indeed no fault for me."

    -- Nagarjuna, Vigrahavyāvartanī, Verse 29
  • Florian said:

    I'm not sure how one can hold this view, Wisdom. It appears to be a dismissal of the teachings. Are you suggesting that the truth is relative to the person and changes all the time? What sort of truth is that? How could the Buddha have taught what is true for everybody unless he knew? Your view seems to reduce the dhamma to mere conjecture. Of have I misread it? It is so easy to do.

    I know yours is not an uncommon view but I cannot see how anyone could reach it. Of course we all come from different directions and will have our own revelations and intuitions, but ultimate truths are true for everybody and never change. If we think such truths cannot be known then we must think that the Buddha was making up a lot of what he said and had no right to be so unequivocal in his speech. The four noble truths are true for everyone at all times and places, and they cannot be true unless many other things are absolutely true.That is, in order to know that the 4NT are always true for everybody one would have to know many other things that are true for everybody, including certain fundamental truths about the the nature of reality.

    My view would be that discovering ultimate truths is what the practice is all about. Otherwise our view will never be more than a theory.

    You're off on several wrong tracks here.

    First, I didn't read anything where @Wisdom23 said any such things. He didn't suggest truth is relative to the person, or that truth changes all the time, and he didn't reduce the Dhamma to mere conjecture (as you put it). What he did do was define "universal truth".

    But look what you have done. You have stated quite clearly that Buddhism is not a universal truth. Which I happen to agree with...at least that "all of Buddhist thought" is not a universal truth.

    To me, the value in what @Wisdom23 wrote is that he focused down to one area where one aspect of Buddhism may be a universal truth.

  • Florian said:

    I'm not sure how one can hold this view, Wisdom. It appears to be a dismissal of the teachings. Are you suggesting that the truth is relative to the person and changes all the time? What sort of truth is that? How could the Buddha have taught what is true for everybody unless he knew? Your view seems to reduce the dhamma to mere conjecture. Of have I misread it? It is so easy to do.

    I know yours is not an uncommon view but I cannot see how anyone could reach it. Of course we all come from different directions and will have our own revelations and intuitions, but ultimate truths are true for everybody and never change. If we think such truths cannot be known then we must think that the Buddha was making up a lot of what he said and had no right to be so unequivocal in his speech. The four noble truths are true for everyone at all times and places, and they cannot be true unless many other things are absolutely true.That is, in order to know that the 4NT are always true for everybody one would have to know many other things that are true for everybody, including certain fundamental truths about the the nature of reality.

    My view would be that discovering ultimate truths is what the practice is all about. Otherwise our view will never be more than a theory.

    I was speaking very broadly and i do have trouble putting my point across sometimes i was jus speaking of universal truths if i asked all my students to name a universal truth there may be some discrepency amoungst them which cancels out them being absolute or unicersal. we buddhists on the other hand are buddhists because we all believe in the same universal truths othereise we wouldnt be buddhists.
  • Yes, I see what you mean. But we are not supposed to believe universal truths, we are supposed to find out what they are. The OP is not asking about what the Buddha believed but what he knew. Universal truths, after all, cannot contain discrepencies and cancel out, while our beliefs about universal truths are highly likely to cancel out.
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