175 - The Two Truths
    Noah Rasheta

    Welcome to another episode of the Secular Buddhism podcast. This is episode number 175. I am your host, Noah Rasheta. Take a moment to imagine what is the most beautiful thing you've ever seen. Can you picture it? Can you recall? Put that image in your mind for a moment. The most beautiful thing you've ever seen.

    And now imagine someone comes along, they look at the same thing and they think out loud, Wow, that's so ugly. It's true that it's beautiful, and it's also true that it's ugly. Both are true, but how can that be? Today I'm going to share my thoughts about the Buddhist teaching of the two truths. As always, keep in mind you don't need to use what you learn from Buddhism to be a bud.

    You can use what you learn to simply be a better whatever you already are. So jumping right in what is truth? In Buddhist teachings, you'll encounter the concept of the two truths, the teaching of the two truths. The exact meaning of this teaching varies between the various, uh, Bud Buddhist schools and traditions, but they are not to be understood as two separate.

    But rather two separate dimensions of a single reality. I like to think of them as two levels of truth, where perhaps one is superficial and the other is more deep. Or sometimes I like to think of them in the context of truth where one is truth with a capital T, and the other is truth With a lowercase T, the two truths are often referred to as absolute and relative truth, where absolute truth is that capital T truth and relative is the lower case T.

    Absolute truth is how things really are, and relative truth is how things seem to be. So that's it. The teaching of the two truths helps us to understand that there is the truth of how things seem to be, and then there's the truth of how things really.

    and the important thing to know here is that how things seem to be will always be dependent on our perception and on how we perceive. For example, if I were to wear yellow tinted sunglasses, I would see everything with a, with a yellow tint. That's how things would seem to be right? But it's not an indicator of how things really.

    We misunderstand the nature of reality. When we make the assumption that how things seem to be is indeed how things really are, that's what is sometimes referred to as the great misunderstanding. And the goal of the teaching of the two truths is to become aware of our misunderstanding and to become less attached to our perceptions as indicators of absolute truth.

    In other words, if I see yellow, Instead of trying to understand or make sense of why the world is so yellow, I can focus inward and ask myself, Why is it that I see yellow? How is it that I see? Understanding how is more skillful than trying to understand what it is that I perceive, and through the process of introspection and getting to know the how.

    I may conclude that, Oh, the world looks yellow because I'm wearing yellow tinted lense. So relative truth, we live in a world of relative truths. These are the truths that emerge, not based on how things really are, but based on how things seem to be. They are based on perception, and the process of perception begins with our senses.

    From the Buddhist perspective, we have six key sense organs that are responsible for what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and think, or perceive. And the organs that correspond to these are the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. Everything we perceive is based on the current configuration of our sense organ.

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