The Two Truths.
To understand the Dharma – and our existence – we must understand our two sides: relative and ultimate. If it helps to see this a body/mind and spirit, that’s fine. Westerners come some sort of theistic or non-theistic background, which will have a subtle influence on the language they use.
The two truths: one is a projection, and the other the light. One is real, while the other is temporary, and seemingly real. There are many ways to describe this duality. However, we have to understand them separately, to then see them as a unity. One reflects the other. By virtue of one, the other is known. In fact, when they arise and are seen simultaneously, one is the expression of the other. That is when inspiration occurs, as we cannot ignore the projection as it is the basis for our compassion.
This is reflected in our true nature, which is emptiness and awareness.
Emptiness is our ultimate nature.
Awareness is our relative nature. Yes, Awareness! Awareness can be seen two ways, either to create a ‘me,’ or to recognise our essential Buddha nature. Awareness is relative truth (when I first heard this, like other students, I was shocked! On analysis, this makes sense).
When we talk about the “dark side,” we are talking about our self-cherishing – our likes and our dislikes, or our hopes and our fears. There are also the hopes and fears of others around us, which influence us.
To wish to be just in the light and to fear the dark is a mistake. This is still being stuck in a duality, as it creates a separation into extremes. Our true nature is a combination of the two, and therefore non-dualistic.
If we get caught up in thinking, “I am for the good, and ‘they’ are for the bad,” we are living in the projection. Until enlightenment, we will have both natures, the dark and the light. We have to accept this, and this is exactly how we can empathise with, and be compassionate towards all other beings, without exception. Maybe enlightenment still has a dark side to contend with…who knows?!
Too many times, I have witnessed ‘spiritual’ people projecting their light, to mask their dark.
When we can admit our own darkness, we are no longer governed by fear…or by hope. We cannot be ‘outed’ as we have outed ourselves, and so there is nothing to protect! By recognising our negative emotions, the true nature of these emotions will reveal wisdom.
At one level, the two truths have to be seen as separate in order to see them clearly: at a higher level, they are seen as inseparable.
Understanding the inseparability of the two truths is of paramount importance, in order to achieve freedom.