' Why the Notion of a Gradual Path is Delusion '...


A basic idea in Tibetan Buddhism is that of "two truths": the ultimate truth as emptiness and the conventional truth as relative appearances.

The gradualist school would claim, erroneously, that while our ultimate nature is already in its state of Buddhahood, our conventional nature or self, as mind, vasanas (karmic traces) and afflictions, have yet to be resolved and purified.

But the mistake here is in the belief that the conventional nature has an ontological or objective reality that is more substantial than the ultimate truth as emptiness, and that the "impure conventional nature" has to be transformed through some means.

That would imply that half of reality is empty by nature and the other half isn't. And that means that we are imputing some modicum of inherent existence to conventional "reality" that differentiates it from being naturally self-empty!

The imputation or belief is that aspects of conventional "reality" have intrinsic characteristics of their own, on their own side, that can be "transformed" or purified.

It's believed a conventional "appearance" has an ontological or existing status, independent of and preceding it's being conceptually constructed and conventionally labelled.

This applies to a "being" or a self as an active agent on the subject side as well as to karma traces, afflictions, mental formations, a physical body, and universe on the objective side.

It is this false belief that subjects and objects exist PRIOR to their being conceptually constructed, that propels efforts by a conceptually constructed, "conventional" practitioner to attempt to eliminate or purify its conceptually constructed afflictions, karmic traces and obstacles to liberation.

The practitioner is a conceptual construction and its afflictions and obstacles are mere conceptual constructions; all beliefs and fictional stories.

Conceptual constructions, thoughts, beliefs and stories are all, already empty by nature. That means "conventional reality" is already empty by nature as its only true substance isn't any "substance" at all!

This means the two truths are inseparable.
The ultimate reality is 100% emptiness (nothing findable) and conventional reality is 100% emptiness (nothing graspable). When this praj├▒a wisdom of universal emptiness dawns; the "sudden liberation" is simultaneous. But in this total liberation, no one was liberated and no bindings released.


-Jackson Peterson

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