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Buddhadharma : Spring 2018
30 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER'S QUARTERLY ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS many of us hear about Buddhism is that nothing exists; everything is shunyata, emptiness, nothing ness. This is the ultimate truth, the absolute or final truth expressed in the view of Madhyamaka, the school of Buddhist thought based on the writings of secondcentury Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna. When we begin traveling along the path of realization, this teaching receives a great deal of emphasis. This truth of shunyata can be difficult to accept because we are completely steeped in the conventional view of reality. We assume without question that everything exists. This more familiar and comfortable way of perceiving our world is known as the relative truth in Buddhist thought. To help us experience the deeper and less apparent ultimate truth, the emptiness of all phenomena, Madhya maka logic uses the tool of nonaffirming negation. Whereas estab lished logic tells us that when we negate one idea we must replace it with another—“not this, but that”—nonaffirming negation is a statement that negates or refutes something but does not posit any thing else in its place. Through the Lens of Madhyamaka Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche opposite | The Cloud, 2014 Installation view from: Leandro ERLICH—The Ordinary, 2014 Organized by 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa PHOTOKEIZOKIOKU|COURTESY21STCENTURYMUSEUMOFCONTEMPORARYART,KANAZAWA SCULPTURES by LEANDRO ERLICH