What is the Truth?
(Relative / Absolute)


"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."
Albert Einstein

 

Contents


QUOTES

Relative Truth Quotes:

"All truth passes through three stages: first, it is ridiculed; next it is violently attacked; finally, it is held to be self-evident."
-- Schopenhauer

"The truth is always the strongest argument"
Sophocles

Telling the truth to people who misunderstand you is generally promoting a falsehood, isn't it?
Anonymous

"A new scientific truth is not usually presented in a way to convince its opponents. Rather, they die off, and a rising generation is familiarized with the truth from the start"
Max Planck.

Absolute Truth Quotes:

'It is the truth that frees, not your efforts for freedom' Krishnamurti

'As long as you have concepts, you'll never see what is true' Krishnamurti

'In perception of the false is truth' Krishnamurti

The truth cannot be said, but you can be lead to the point from where you can see it. OSHO

"Truth is like a multifaceted diamond. Each human being holds a facet of truth within the human experience. All humans collectively create a truth that embraces each of the individual truths on the planet. No one truth is superior to another, and all truths are neccessary to make up the collective whole."

Truth can be difficult or easy "Truth is always the most difficult thing, and at the same time, the easiest. For ignorant and egoistic people it is the most difficult thing to know, and for those who are inquisitive and have a burning desire to know, it is the easiest."
Maitreya Ishwara

How to express that which cannot be expressed. As Tozan said: "When all is understood, words are forgotten." or in Osho's words:"Truth is known in silence. And when truth is known through silence, it can be expressed only through silence."

Their [Zen master's] dislike of wordy explanation is best expressed in Mumon's famous phrase: "The use of words is like striking out at the moon with a stick or scratching one's shoe because one's foot itches."

 

Doubts and finding your own Truth

Do not believe anything because it is said by an authority, or if it is said to come from angels, or from Gods, or from an inspired source. Believe it only if you have explored it in your own heart and mind and body and found it to be true. Work out your own path, through diligence.
Guatama Buddha

"Neither naked asceticism, matted hair, dirt, fasting, sleeping on the ground,
dust and mud, nor prolonged sitting on one's heels can purify a man who is not
free of doubts. - Gautama Buddha"

Sometime, somewhere you need to take something to be the truth. But if you cling to it too strongly, then even when the truth comes in person and knocks on your door, you will not open it.
~ BUDDHA

Don't ever accept something as Truth just because someone said it is true. Read these words through the eyes of Divine Discerning Intelligence, and ask the Presence of God within your heart to allow you to clearly perceive only the Truth that will set YOU free.

See our related pages on Seeking, Pitfalls on the Path

 


DOUBT

When you are in doubt, be still, and wait. When doubt no longer
exists for you, then go forward with courage. So long as mists
envelop you, be still. Be still until the sunlight pours through and
dispels the mists -- as it surely will. Then act with courage.
-unknown


 

Excerpts by Sogyal Rinpoche

Doubt Your Doubts -

Doubts demand from us a real skillfulness in dealing with them, and I notice how few people have any idea how to pursue doubts or to use them. It seems ironic that in a civilization that so worships the power of deflation and doubt, hardly anyone has the courage to deflate the claims of doubt itself—to do as one Hindu master said: turn the dogs of doubt on doubt itself, to unmask cynicism, and to uncover what fear, despair, hopelessness, and tired conditioning it springs from. Then doubt would no longer be an obstacle, but a door to realization, and whenever doubt appeared in the mind, a seeker would welcome it as a means of going deeper into the truth.

Noble Doubt

The Buddha summons us to a different kind of doubt, “like analyzing gold, scorching, cutting and rubbing it to test its purity.” For this form of doubt really exposes us to the truth if we follow it to the end, but we have neither the insight, the courage, nor the training. We have been schooled in a sterile addiction to contradiction that has robbed us repeatedly of all real openness to any more expansive and ennobling truth.

In the place of our contemporary nihilistic form of doubt I would ask you to put what I call a “noble doubt,” the kind that is an integral part of the path toward enlightenment. The vast truth of the mystical teachings handed down to us is not something that our endangered world can afford to dismiss. Instead of doubting them, why don’t we doubt ourselves: our ignorance, our assumption that we understand everything already, our grasping and evasion, our passion for so-called explanations of reality that have about them nothing of the awe-inspiring and all-encompassing wisdom of what the masters, the messengers of Reality, have told us?

Sogyal Rinpoche, Rigpa.org

 

Doubt is not a disease but merely a symptom of a lack of what we in our tradition call the View, which is the realization of the nature of mind, and so of the nature of reality. When the View is there completely, there will be no possibility for the slightest trace of doubt, for then we’ll be looking at reality through its own eyes. But until we reach enlightenment there will inevitably be doubts, because doubt is a fundamental activity of the unenlightened mind, and the only way to deal with doubts is neither to suppress nor indulge them.

 


 

When we are in a negative frame of mind, it is only natural to doubt rather than to believe.

From a Buddhist point of view, doubt is a sign of a lack of complete understanding and a lack of spiritual education, but it is also seen as a catalyst in the maturing of faith. It is when we face doubts and difficulties that we discover whether our faith is a simplistic, pious, and conceptual one, or whether it is strong, enduring, and anchored in a deep understanding in the heart.

If you have faith, sooner or later it may well be put to the test, and wherever the challenge may come from—from within you or from outside—it is simply part of the process of faith and doubt.



Confined in the dark, narrow cage of our own making that we take for the whole universe, very few of us can even begin to imagine another dimension of mind. Patrul Rinpoche tells the story of an old frog who had lived all his life in a dank well. One day a frog from the sea paid him a visit.

“Where do you come from?” asked the frog in the well.
“From the great ocean,” he replied.
“How big is your ocean?”
“It’s gigantic.”
“You mean about a quarter of the size of my well here?”
“Bigger.”
“Bigger? You mean half as big?”
“No, even bigger.”
“Is it . . . as big as this well?”
“There’s no comparison.” “That’s impossible! I’ve got to see this for myself.”

 

They set off together. When the frog from the well saw the ocean, it was such a shock that his head just exploded into pieces.

Sogyal Rinpoche, Rigpa.org


I often think of the great masters and imagine beings who have their depth of realization as magnificent mountain eagles, who soar above both life and death and see them for what they are, in all their mysterious, intricate interrelation.

To see through the eyes of the mountain eagle, the view of realization, is to look down on a landscape in which the boundaries that we imagined existed between life and death shade into each other and dissolve. The physicist David Bohm has described reality as being “unbroken wholeness in flowing movement.”

What is seen by the masters, then, seen directly and with total understanding, is that flowing movement and that unbroken wholeness. What we, in our ignorance, call “life” and what we, in our ignorance, call “death” are merely different aspects of that wholeness and that movement. Sogyal Rinpoche


 

A very wise teacher was educating a group of kindergarten children when all of a sudden a strong breeze blew into the room two ugly frauds called Doubt and Ignorance . The mindful teacher said, “Now children if you ever lose the truths creation has evolved in you, these two illusions will fill your mind with confusion. That will bring disorder and discredit to you life on earth.

. “Little Jimmy stood up and asked , “How can we lose our truths Miss Solomon.”

“ By forgetting who you are” she tenderly replied.

Forever Wise. By Michael Levy Aug 2002.


 

Using Discernment and Looking for the Truth behind it all

"Since truth is the only meaningful foundation upon which we can make wise decisions, how then can one establish what is really true? Increasingly more people are finding that making wise decisions is becoming more and more difficult because of the ultra-interconnected world in which we live. Constantly forced into our consciousness is an incessant barrage of counsel, advice, and promotions. It is done by a bewildering array of media, Internet, and other means. On a given subject we can receive multiple strongly delivered, carefully crafted messages with solutions. But often two of the solutions can be diametrically opposed. No wonder some are confused and are not sure how to make the right decisions."

"To further complicate matters, others try to persuade us that our decisions must be socially acceptable and politically correct. Some pondering of that approach will reveal how wrong it is. Since social and political structures differ widely over the world and can dramatically change with time, the folly of using that method to make choices is apparent."

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/10/truth-the-foundation-of-correct-decisions?lang=eng

 

 

“the theory-ladenness of evidence”

Palaeontology (Cambridge Introduction to Philosophy and Biology) states that:

“The theory-ladenness of evidence can come in different strengths:

Your background theories might tell you where to look for evidence. For example, geological theories might tell you where to do your fieldwork if you want to study, say, the evolution of early land plants.

Your background theories might tell you why your evidence counts as evidence. For example, suppose you are looking at carbon isotope ratios in rocks in order to draw conclusions about the amount of photosynthetic activity in ancient oceans. You have to rely on background theories that explain how the carbon isotope ratios are related to photosynthetic activity.

Your background theories might tell you how to interpret what you see. Different scientists, with different theoretical commitments, might see the same thing but interpret it differently

Your background theories might influence or even determine what you see. Different scientists, with different theoretical commitments, might look at the same object but (somehow) see different things.”


The Two Truths
by Denmo Lochö Rinpoche

Denmo Lochö Rinpoche, the ex-abbot of Namgyal, His Holiness the Dalai Lama's monastery in Dharamsala, India, taught for two weeks at Root Institute in Bodhgaya, India December 1995. Here is an extract. Translated by Ven Gareth Sparham


I have been asked to give a talk on the Two Truths: the conventional or surface level of truth and the ultimate truth. Looking at it one way it seems as if I've already finished my teaching because there are just these two words: conventional and ultimate, and that's finished! But in fact these two truths subsume within them all of Buddhism, so there is more to talk about than you'd find in a huge beak.
I ask all of you in this special place of Bodhgaya to bring up within you a special motivation. Every living creature, no matter who they are, are living creatures seeking happiness. At the same time they seek happiness, they are unaware of the cause of happiness, so call up this motivation: that to relieve them from their unhappiness, I must myself achieve all the wonderful qualities, all the excellence of an enlightened state, in order to teach them how to free themselves.
Living creatures, just like ourselves, are defined by seeking to avoid unpleasant, suffering situations, and seeking to place themselves in happy situations. Animals, from insects on up, have knowledge of methods to immediately remove suffering, they have this intelligence. The human being differs from the animal as they have the intelligence to take into account a much greater time span. They can begin to do things to alleviate states that they will otherwise experience a long time in the future—for example, getting a good education so we can find a job, make money, and live well in the future. At this point we are talking generally; spirituality hasn't entered into the discussion at all.

If one performs wholesome deeds, one's future will be in a happy state. If one has performed unwholesome deeds, one has set down the causes to find oneself in a state of woe. Spirituality then enters the thought process of a human being contemplating a future that goes beyond simple death.
Everything that the enlightened one spoke of leads back to the understanding of the two levels of truth. (This doesn't mean there is no third truth, for example the Four Noble Truths and so on, so you can have sub-divisions.) Since you have two levels of reality, you have to have something being sub-divided, or categorized in two categories.
So you can ask yourself, "What is being sub-divided?" and the answer is knowables or objects of knowledge (Tibetan, she-ja). Here, a knowable is simply something that is existing. To exist means to be knowable, and to be knowable means to exist.
For example, I could have the idea of antlers on a rabbit—it could come up in my mind. I could fabricate this awareness, and in that sense rabbit's antlers are something known but they certainly don't exist. [The problem] here is that when you equate things that exist and things that are known, they are known by [a valid] awareness but not by [just any] awareness. In other words I could get out of this difficulty by saying that, true, rabbit's antlers are known by [a particular person's] awareness, but this doesn't necessarily mean that they are known by awareness!
Ultimate truth, paramarthasatya, if you take the [Sanskrit] word apart is this: artha refers to that which is known; parama refers to that which knows its object, that is, the mind of a high spiritual being; satya means truth. It is truth because that which is known is true for that which knows its object, the mind of the high spiritual being, therefore, ultimate truth, an ultimate thing that is true.
So what about this other truth, the conventional, surface level of truth: how does one come to understand this second of the two truths if the ultimate reality is understood in this way? This is samvrtisatya. Samvrti is total covering up, and covering here means ordinary awareness covering that which is real. Here again satya is truth, but truth for an ordinary awareness. In other words, all the things that are true for ordinary minds like our own that are taken as real by them—are conventional truths, therefore, truth for an ordinary covering mind.
In the scholastic tradition we say that anything that is known will always be included in one of these two levels of reality. Anything not covered by these two levels is beyond the sphere of what is knowable. There is a deep logic here—that these two categories, the two truths, are an exhaustive description of all that there is.
Here is how it works. Truth and lie go together, don't they? If a person makes a statement that mirrors reality, then that statement is true. However, a statement not mirroring reality is a lie.
The ultimate level of reality is mirrored in the mind of awareness that knows it, in a way that is not lying. This necessarily brings out the situation that all conventional truths are lying to the awareness that knows them, about the way they appear. Similarly, ordinary things appearing to ordinary awareness must be said to be lying to that ordinary awareness. You are, by removing that truth, positively showing the truth of the awareness of the ultimate. That ultimate, appearing to an awareness that knows it is not lying to that awareness, is the suchness of things—the ultimate reality of things.
So you have one being necessitated by another in a see-saw-like fashion, and from that account you can extrapolate out to show that it is a statement that is exhaustive of all knowables, of all that exists..
In Buddhist systems of ideas, there are many interpretations of what exactly these two levels of truth are. They are set forth as the four Buddhist schools of philosophy.
In the most profound school, the Middle Way Consequentialist school, just what is emptiness or the ultimate? It is this: that in fact nobody or nothing, anywhere, has anything that inherently makes it what it is. Nothing has its own personal mark. Everything exists simply through language, through ideas.
The absence of something, the total absence, the total not-being, non-existence of anything that is not there through the power of language and thought is shunyata, emptiness, the ultimate truth.
When one talks of an ultimate truth, of emptiness, one has a focus; one is looking at objects and finding them to be totally empty. What one is looking at and finding to be empty is very important. The identification of things first becomes an important thing to do because the ultimate truth isn't something immediately apprehensible by our senses—we can't see it. We have to arrive at it through our thought processes, and in order to do this we have to use reasoning. This reasoning takes as its point of departure certain things or bases, so we must identify these in the first instance.
Let's start by trying to identify what are classically the most important of these bases, the five aggregates or skandas. In The Heart Sutra it says, "He looked and saw that the five aggregates are empty of inherent existence." So if you don't know what these five are, how can you look into the ultimate truth of them?
The five aggregates are: a great heap of physical things, a great heap of feelings, a great heap of discriminations, a great heap of created things (Sanskrit, samskara) and a great heap of awareness.
So then, one has heaps, aggregates, and these locate living creatures. Let's take the aggregate of physical things, which can be further broken down into the external objective physical things and the internal subjective physical things. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes and sensations are the external or objective physical things in this great heap of physical things, while the five senses are the subjective or internal physical things.
The second heap is that of feelings. What are feelings? They are the experiences one gets out of things: pleasant experiences, neutral experiences and unpleasant ones.
The next heap is discrimination, which is defined as that part of the mind that functions to identify particular things as what they are.
The fourth aggregate of created things has most of the non-associated created things. It's a catch-bag for everything not included in the other four heaps.
And what is the fifth heap? This is all our awarenesses or consciousness or thoughts. This is generally looked at as sense-based awareness coming from a thinking mind.
One can only focus on the reality of emptiness when one has seen the size, the dimensions, of what one is refuting or denying.
The Tibetan saint Tsong Khapa said, "Anything that is produced from conditions is never produced." You can unpack this apparent paradox in this way. What you are saying is that nothing is produced as something that is independent; nothing is produced as something that is there under its own power. That's what you are trying to demonstrate.
For example, a seedling isn't produced as something there under its own power, as something that is inherently what it is. Why? Because it is produced from causes and conditions. That's how you break down the meaning of the statement to formulate it as a reason for the hidden meaning, which is emptiness, to come clear to the mind.
Lama Tsong Khapa writes in his famous Praise to Dependent Arising, "What is more amazing, what better way of expressing a reality has ever been found? Namely that anything that depends on conditions is empty."
There are many different reasons a person can use to come to understand emptiness. But here we meet with the king of all reasonings—dependent arising—because being produced or arising dependently is the reason for everything's emptiness. Using this reason, one avoids the extreme of nihilism, because dependent arising shows something is there; nevertheless, because it is a reason that shows emptiness it also removes eternalism.
As the great Aryadeva said, "Anyone who gets a view into one reality gets a view into all realities." What he is saying is that if one plumbs the depths of reality of anything, one doesn't need to go through the whole process again with another object. Just bringing to the mind the reality you've seen in one object or person, and turning the mind to another, you will look at its reality as well.
That's why every one of our sadhanas without exception starts with the mantra that means "Om, this is purity, all Dharmas are pure, I am that purity." Before doing any sadhana one brings to mind this fact of the ultimate reality—of emptiness.

http://www.lamayeshe.com/other_teachings/locho_r/two_truths.html

 


"At the very outset we have to understand that we cannot create truth, we cannot organize truth. Truth is, was and will be. We cannot cheat truth. We have to reach that point to receive it. It is not a mental achievement. It is not a concept, we cannot change it. Where the seekers of truth are misled, the results have been disastrous."

Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi --

 


The inner Truth cannot be realized unless the ego dies "The ego is the greatest obstacle on your path towards the Truth. The ego has no real existence of its own, for the mind and the ego are false. At present we are under the impression that the mind and ego are our friends, but they are only misleading us, taking us away from our true nature. The mind and the ego have no power of their own; the source of their power is derived from the Atman, our real existence. The Atman is our true Master. But we are presently being controlled and misguided by false masters, namely, the mind and the ego. Not only do they delude us, they also cover the face of our real nature. Know this and try to come out of the limited shell of your mind and ego. The seedling cannot emerge and grow into a large tree unless the outer shell breaks and dies. Likewise, the inner Truth cannot be realized, unless the ego dies."

Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma)

 


Only the Truth is and you are That!

You are the unchanging awareness in which all activity takes place. To deny this is to suffer, to know this is Freedom. It is not difficult to realize this, because it is your True Nature. Simple inquire 'Who am I?' and watch carefully. Do not make effort and do not stir a thought. Look within, approach with all devotions and stay as Heart. Keep vigilant and you will see that nothing will arise. This is the trick of how to keep the mind quiet and how to win Freedom. This doesn't take time because Freedom is always Here. You simply have to watch: Where does mind arise from? Where does thought come from? What is the source of this thought? Then you will see that you have always been Free and that everything has been a dream."

H.W.L Poonja (Papaji)


"Intellectuals never find freedom from the suffering of the human condition by thinking about truth. This is the the trap that those who don't understand the value of silent awareness, beyond all trace of subtle thought, languish in. When the understanding arises that surrender is the door to freedom, then advaita has tremendous value in giving the rational support for let go to happen.

Real Truth is not cheap. It requires the total transformation of all your individual systems. And is much more arduous than the booby prize of intellectual understanding and continued suffering.

More blessed is a simple surrendered soul who lives with the four most potent spiritual words ever spoken:

Thy will be done."

(Excerpted from New Dawn, Maitreya Ishwara)

or how about 'As you wish'

"Pure knowledge is that which kills all desires and attachments. Any work with a particular motive behind it should be given up, it only binds you to the cycle of birth and death. It is harmful for your attaining real knowledge."

Sri Rama

 


Realizing Truth Through Devotion

The absolute truth cannot be realized within the domain of the ordinary mind. And the path beyond the ordinary mind, all the great wisdom traditions have told us, is through the heart. This path of the heart is devotion.

Devotion is the purest, quickest, and simplest way to realize the nature of mind and all things. As we progress in it, the process reveals itself as wonderfully interdependent: We, from our side, try continually to generate devotion, which itself generates glimpses of the nature of mind, and these glimpses only enhance and deepen our devotion to the master who is inspiring us. So in the end devotion springs out of wisdom: devotion and the living experience of the nature of mind become inseparable and inspire each other.

Just as Buddha said that of all the buddhas who attained enlightenment, not one accomplished it without relying on the master, he also said: “It is only through devotion, and devotion alone, that you will realize the absolute truth.”

So then, it is essential to know what real devotion is. It is not mindless adoration; it is not abdication of your responsibility to yourself, nor indiscriminately following of another’s personality or whim. Real devotion is an unbroken receptivity to the truth. Real devotion is rooted in an awed and reverent gratitude, but one that is lucid, grounded, and intelligent.

Sogyal Rinpoche

 


 

Krishnamurti - Truth the Pathless Land

“You may remember the story of how the devil and a friend of his were walking down the street, when they saw ahead of them a man stoop down and pick up something from the ground, look at it, and put it away in his pocket. The friend said to the devil, “What did that man pick up?” “He picked up a piece of Truth,” said the devil. “That is a very bad business for you, then,” said his friend. “Oh, not at all,” the devil replied, “I am going to help him organize it.

“I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path. If you first understand that, then you will see how impossible it is to organize a belief. A belief is purely an individual matter, and you cannot and must not organize it. If you do, it becomes dead, crystallized; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others. This is what everyone throughout the world is attempting to do. Truth is narrowed down and made a plaything for those who are weak, for those who are only momentarily discontented. Truth cannot be brought down, rather the individual must make the effort to ascend to it. You cannot bring the mountain-top to the valley. If you would attain to the mountain-top you must pass through the valley, climb the steeps, unafraid of the dangerous precipices.

© 2002 Krishnamurti Foundation of America [ kfa@kfa.org ]
P.O. Box 1560, Ojai, CA 93024

 


 

TRUTH By Jim Rohn

Very few of us are authorities on the truth. About the closest that any of us can get is what we hope is the truth or what we think is the truth.

That's why the best approach to truth is probably to say, "It seems to me..."

There is nothing wrong with affirmations, provided what you are affirming is the truth. If you are broke, for example, the best thing to affirm is, "I'm broke!" If the truth isn't enough, then you must become stronger at presenting it.

Sincerity is not a test of truth. We must not make this mistake: He must be right; he's so sincere. Because, it is possible to be sincerely wrong. We can only judge truth by truth and sincerity by sincerity. Find someone who is willing to share the truth with you.

Be a student not a follower

Excerpted from The Treasury of Quotes by Jim Rohn. Copyright 1994 Jim Rohn International. These quotes are by Jim Rohn, America's Foremost Business Philosopher.

 


 

Other perspectives:

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. "
Unknown

If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.
-- Anatole France


 

 

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Krishnamurti Site Links

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