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Buddhadharma : Spring 2018
40 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER'S QUARTERLY logic cannot prove simultaneously that things exist and that they do not exist. Chandrakirti said that if both of these were correct, then emptiness would be something that acts like an antidote to the exis tence of relative truth. From this perspective, because our experience of relative truth is so solidly real for us, we would have to bring in emptiness, a distinctly separate and ultimate truth, to destroy rela tive truth so it could then become empty. This in turn would mean emptiness is not the nature of phenomena, that the absolute truth is not the nature of relative truth. If you separate the two truths in this way, you lose ultimate reality, and that’s a problem. Therefore, the Prasangika school asserts the inseparability of the two truths and cautions against drawing too sharp a distinction between them. They are of one nature right from the beginning. When you see relative truth, its nature is absolute truth. Nothing separates the two. We can’t find any instance of relative truth, no matter how solid and real it seems, that exists separate from or out side of the absolute truth. To the extent that we see a form, hear a sound, or experience a thought as being vividly clear and real, to that same degree we can also experience them as empty. wheRe to begin When we begin to practice according to the Madhyamaka view, we needn’t worry too much about shunyata. Rather we should try to see clearly how we solidify and cling to experiences. This is very impor tant. When we look deeply at our own clinging, how we solidify our subjective experiences—our pain, our happiness, our desire—we find that these mind states can seem so real, so significant, and so bother some that sometimes we can’t even get a good night’s sleep.