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Buddhadharma : Spring 2018
DZOGCHEN PONLOP RINPOCHE 37 mind itself and says relative truth can be established through reason ing. According to this view, it is correct to say that, relatively speak ing, there are outer phenomena. Atomic partless particles and tiny, indivisible moments of consciousness—the threads of conscious ness—do exist as true and valid things. Accordingly, there is subject and object. This view is most in accordance with that of the early Buddhist school known as the Sautrantika, from which this move ment took its name. The second view in the Svatantrika Madhyamaka school was put forth by Santiraksita. This view is more in accordance with the Cittamatra, or Mind–Only, school of Mahayana and is therefore known as the Yogacara–Svatantrika Madhyamaka school. (Yogacara is commonly regarded as another name for the Cittamatra school, although some differences emerge when it comes to their views on the ultimate nature of mind.) According to the Yogacara view, everything is the creation of our own mind—all appearances, all the illusions that we experience are reflections of our mind. Therefore, nothing exists beyond our own mind and perceptions. This view says that while objects may appear to be physically distant, far from our mind, in fact the appearances and our mind are of one nature. Neither outer perceived objects nor the perceiving mind itself can be said to exist ultimately. This is contrary to the Cittamatra view that says mind itself does inherently exist. Thus the Yogacara–Svatant rika school says that Cittamatra is correct in its understanding of the relative truth but not in its view of the absolute truth. Conventional logic tells me that if I put my finger into a fire, the fire will burn it. However, if I ask, “What is fire?” I may become aware of a gap—the name “fire” and the thing that is hot and burning are not the same.