Concepts II - Absolute truth & conventional truth

When one studies paramattha dhammas one should remember that they are real, that they are not beings, people or self; that they are not women, men, or different things. The dhammas, that are true, can be verified. One may have often heard the words that paramattha dhammas are real, that they are not beings, people or self, and one may have repeated these words oneself. However, panna should be developed to the stage that the truth can be directly understood. Flavour and hardness are realities that appear and then, on account of these realities, there is a concept of grapes. The rupas that arise and then fall away are real but there are, in the absolute sense, no grapes, no beings, or people. There are only rupa dhammas and nama dhammas that arise and fall away, succeeding one another very rapidly. Paramattha dhammas are real; they are not concepts.

From the beginning, the practice of the Dhamma should correspond to the theoretical knowledge acquired through listening and through study. The practice should be in accordance with the true characteristics of realities. We have, for example, learned that paramattha dhammas are anatta (not self), and thus we should try to understand the meaning of this, even on the theoretical level. We should consider it and develop panna so that we can realise the truth in accordance with what we have learned before.

Question: Someone asked before whether concepts are real. There is, as you said, absolute truth (paramattha sacca) and conventional truth (sammutti sacca). Could one not say that concepts are real in the conventional sense?

Sujin: One can, but one should remember that concepts are not paramattha dhammas. The idea of grape has no flavour at all. Flavour is a reality and when it has appeared we have a concept on account of it. We have a concept of flavour of grapes and we call it the flavour of grapes.

Topic ID  289