is there really anything we can call the Truth? and can it be known?
13 Pillars of Enlightenment: How to realize your true nature and end suffering
Some people say that they are in search of the “ultimate truth,” and others claim they have found it. There are also people who have no interest in much more than an endless stream of distractions to fill their lives and minds. And then there are people who say that there is no such thing as truth, because truth is relative to each person’s individual experience and self-interest. The latter is predicated on the idea that it’s not possible to wrest oneself from one’s own ideas, preconceptions, or beliefs. So we have to ask whether there’s anything that is objectively called truth. Or is truth completely subjective? Or is truth neither objective nor subjective?
the dictionary is of little help
What is truth? The dictionary is of little help, as it defines truth as “that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.” It is difficult to find a definition of truth that does not contain the word “true” in it.
What if we entertain the idea that the truth is that which is fundamental, irreducible, and unchangeable? After all, in the world of science, a fact is something that can be proven to be correct over and over again and without a change in outcome according to strict measurement.
But we are not speaking of scientific method when it comes to a spiritual or universal truth. Instead we are considering something fundamental, which is what underlies all that we may call phenomenal. Thus, that which is fundamental is unchangeable, without movement, unaffected by the elements, not subject to thought, unalloyed, cancellable, immeasurable, not bound to time or space, unlimited, and without condition. In a spiritual sense, what could fit such a narrow set of rules?
consciousness is not fundamental
Consciousness is not fundamental, although many teachers insist that it is. That which embodies movement, including birth, aging, sickness, death, travel, and phenomena, cannot be fundamental, because all of these things constantly go through change and transition. Consciousness embodies movement, so how could the Ultimate Truth, which is said to be fundamental, be related to that which changes? If one says, “I am consciousness,” it is only because he makes the statement in ignorance or he is speaking only in relative terms. The “I” is in consciousness and so is the conversation or message, but there is something beyond both the “I” and the conversation or communication.
When one is awake or aware that the sense of self, the me, is not the doer or thinker or experiencer, then it is obvious that consciousness is the actual doer, because all that exists does so in consciousness. As long as we are aware of our lives and all relativity in a dualistic environment then we know we are consciousness experiencing itself in all expressions. Yet beyond consciousness there is no thought and therefore no statement of any sort can be made or conveyed about this no-thought, no-expression reality. So, what is beyond consciousness?
truth is not personal
That which is beyond consciousness is fundamental and words cannot describe it. We nevertheless give it a name such as the Absolute, silent stillness, and Truth. This stateless state is not a version of the truth or a personal truth, because it is unalloyed; unconnected to anything. It cannot be owned, transferred, changed, expanded or contracted, sensed, or diminished, because the stateless state is like the space that is forever present whether or not something occupies the space or moves through it. When a large box filled with an assortment of items is removed from where it was resting, the state in which it rested still exists. Similarly, when the self and consciousness are gone the space in which they existed remains as space, unaffected by anything that happens or appears within it.
How, then, can you know this fundamental Truth? Is it possible to do so? Because it is beyond knowledge and ignorance, the concept of knowing must be applied in a different way. It cannot be known the way a shape, form, action, or expression can be known, because it is formless and motionless. So how can it be known?
Only by the absence of everything does the Truth become evident. Few people have any inclination or desire to find out what happens when all of what is known, what moves, what has form, and what exists is eliminated. But if you were to do this you would realize that emptiness is the ultimate Truth. And this emptiness is the capacity for everything, including consciousness.