the so-called "double-truth"

R Srinivasan rsrin at PACIFIC.NET.SG
Wed Dec 27 07:35:41 UTC 2000

"Double-truth" of higher truth and lower truth, Hinayana (Theravada) and
Mahayana, Relativism and Absolutism, Buddhism and Advaita, This and That,
Sunyata and Purnatvam, and the list goes on... Catch one, miss the other.
"He who walks between boundaries is a man; he goes beyond them is a saint.
But he who transcends the notions of both, his state of mind is unfathomable
indeed!", says Kabir, the Sufi mystic! And when that happens, there's no
more the difference between this and that, no more the intervals of time, no
more the ignorance that separates us from anyone or anything.
-----Original Message-----
From: Indology [mailto:INDOLOGY at LISTSERV.LIV.AC.UK]On Behalf Of
Vidyasankar Sundaresan
Sent: Wednesday, December 27, 2000 2:32 PM
Subject: Re: the so-called "double-truth"

I think the comparative approach teaches a few things
otherwise unknown. However, I think one should make a
distinction between accommodation as a purely strategic
process and the kind of ontological and epistemological
commitments made by Buddhist and Vedantin philosophers.
There were many who wrote completely new texts, which
were not meant to be commentaries on existing texts.
Anyone who makes a philosophical statement about change
and continuity, or universals and particulars, could
easily conclude with a hierarchy of two-truths. It
doesn't have to be all hermeneutical in origin.

Now that Galileo has been mentioned, here is an example
of "two truths" in science. Relativistic mechanics holds
true for velocities close to that of light, but Newtonian
mechanics holds true for much smaller speeds. The "higher
truth" of relativity theory itself becomes the "lower
truth" of classical physics, provided certain conditions
are met. This simply falls out of the mathematics involved,
irrespective of any strategic thinking of accommodation.
Indeed, the theory of relativity began by rejecting key
assumptions of Newtonian mechanics, and ended up showing
that the latter was only a special case (therefore, a
lower truth), while the former was a more general one
(thus, a higher truth).


More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list