Abhidharma And Madhyamaka Essay

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Abhidharma and Madhyamaka use different conceptions of the Buddhist notion of two realities and truths. This notion posits an ultimate version of reality and truth, the realization of which leads to liberation from suffering. Abhidharma and Madhyamaka both accept this theory, but they approach it in different ways. This paper will outline approaches both schools take to interpret this notion. Following this, I will consider an Abhidharma objection to the approach of Madhyamaka and a response to that objection from Madhyamaka. Finally, I will argue that while at first the Madhyamaka approach to the notion of two truths seems to be much stronger and more coherent than the Abhidharma approach, the Abhidharma approach is stronger in the end. Notably, Abhidharma argues that ultimate reality consists solely of things which contain svabhāva. A thing…show more content…
One view of reality is the view that things have intrinsic essences. If accepted, this view gives one the conventional view of reality, which then causes them to remain in suffering. In contrast, Madhyamaka holds that one can view reality as entirely lacking intrinsic essences. To realize this is to thoroughly realize that everything is dependently originated and thus lacking svabhāva. This is the liberating realization in Madhyamaka. It is the ultimate and liberating truth because it releases one from suffering. Moreover, to see reality in an ultimate way is a non-conceptual awareness. It is impossible to fully express ultimate reality in words or language then, as these are conceptual. Instead, concepts can only point in the direction of ultimate reality. Madhyamaka argues that dependent origination itself is even conceptual. Thus, it only points to ultimate reality. At this point, it should be obvious that Madhyamaka almost completely rejects the Abhidharma approach to ultimate and conventional reality and
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