Guide to Tipitaka

Conventional Truth (Sammuti Sacca) and Ultimate Truth (Paramattha Sacca)

Two kinds of Truth are recognised in the Abhidhamma according to which only four categories of things namely, mind (consciousness), mental concomitants, Materiality and Nibbæna are classed as the Ultimate Truth; all the rest are regarded as apparent truth. When we use such expressions as ‘I’, ‘you’, ‘man’, ‘woman’, ‘person’, ‘individual’, we are speaking about things which do not exist in reality. By using such expressions about things which exist only in designation, we are not telling a lie; we are merely speaking an apparent truth, making use of conventional language, without which no communication will be possible.

But the Ultimate Truth is that there is no ‘person’, ‘individual’ or ‘I’ in reality. There exist only khandhas made up of corporeality, mind (consciousness) and mental concomitants. These are real in that they are not just designations, they actually exist in us or around us.

© Buddha Dharma Education Association > home > back