ESSAYS Jeffrey Carlson DePaul University Nagarjuna replies: "The teaching by the Buddhas of the dharma has recourse to two truths: / The world-ensconced truth and the truth which is the highest sense. / Those who do not know the distribution (vibhagam) of the two kinds of truth / Do not know the profound `point' (tattva) in the teaching of the Buddha. / The highest sense [of the truth] is not taught apart from practical behavior, / And without having understood the highest sense one cannot understand nirvana. / Emptiness, having been dimly perceived, utterly destroys the slow-witted. / It is like a snake wrongly grasped or [magical] knowledge incorrectly applied." 1 I would like to offer a response to Thich Nhat Hanh's book Living Buddha, Living Christ, a response which suggests that Nhat Hanh embodies and propounds this classical Buddhist notion of "two truths," in a way that sheds much light on the very notion of "religious identity." The fact that Buddhist teachings involve two kinds of truths is a familiar one in Buddhist studies. T.R.V. Murti describes worldly truth as "truth so called; truth as conventionally believed in common parlance. . . . It is the truth
Buddhist-Christian Studies – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jan 1, 2000
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