Madhyamaka



The middle view, "Madhyamaka" in Sanskrit, is free of any extreme views and teaches us that relatively appearances validly exist and that ultimately appearances lack independent existence, i.e., are empty of inherent existence. A Madhyamaka practitioner realizes that the two truths - the validity of relative appearances and experiences and of their ultimate, true nature - are indivisible.

We see that there are two truths, two values of being. The word "relative" was translated as "deceptive" from Sanskrit into Tibetan and describes our non-reflective and erroneous apprehension of phenomena. We simply accept the presence of appearances and define anything that exists in reliance upon our restricted beliefs. If a practitioner investigates and reflects relative existents, as the Buddha suggested and taught, he will find that nothing by nature possesses an own identity, i.e., all things are actually empty of an own existence. The relative view means seeing that things appear; the ultimate view is realizing that all apprehended appearances are devoid of independent existence.

I think everyone understands the relative and ultimate truths and only spoke of them because we cling to an apprehending subject and apprehended objects as discordant and real. Our erroneous cognition distracts us from engaging in practices to progress spiritually. We hear about the Buddhadharma,
falsely shun the apparent world, calling it "bad," and chase after "the absolute," calling it "good." Clinging to appearances as true existents is an extreme; clinging to an ultimate reality is another extreme. We need to be free of clinging to either the one or the other, altogether.

-- His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche the Third, Karma Lodro Chökyi Senge, 1987


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