This paper mainly sets out the understanding of the term “differentiation of the Two Truths” and the connection between that term and the “three points of Emptiness.” These discussion ideas were indicated in the commentary of the twenty-forth chapter in Prasannapadā, one of the most significant book written by Candrakīrti.
Professor Teruyoshi Tanji believes that in Prasannapadā, Candrakīrti overlooks the link between the context of the seventh verse and the eighth verse. This means that he overlooked the association between “differentiation of the Two Truths” and the “three points of Emptiness.” Professor Tanji also clarifies the meaning of the term “differentiation between the Two Truths,” which is mentioned by Candrakīrti. Tanji explains that the term is depicting the deviation, the cut off, and even the contradictory of the relationship between the truth that can be expressed and taught with language (the conventional truth) and the truth which is beyond words (the ultimate truth). Because the ultimate truth is unspeakable and indescribable with words, once it gets to the limit where it can be reached by language and thought, any spiritual realm would no longer be the ultimate truth but become the conventional truth. Therefore, the Two Truths have no connection with one another. This point distinguishes the Two Truths.
However, according to my research on Prasannapadā and “The Complementary of Entering the Middle Way” (Madhyamakāvatāra-bhāṣya), I found out that the term “differentiation of the Two Truths” is not what professor Tanji thought it was. He believes that the term is only used to depict the deviation, the cut off and the contradictory of the relationship between the conventional truth and the ultimate truth. Candrakīrti had used the term “establishment of the Two Truths” (satyadvayavyavasthā) as a synonym of “differentiation of the Two Truths.” He emphasized that the Two Truths has an order and valued the positive function of the conventional truth. He also emphasized that only through the conventional truth can one properly understand Emptiness, which is understanding the ultimate truth. Therefore, the term “differentiation of the Two Truths” is linked with the establishment of the middle way school’s view on the concept of Truth. In the discussion The term is mentioned many times on the occasion when Candrakīrti holds discussions of the Truth with other schools.
Furthermore, Candrakīrti did not neglect the correlation between “differentiation of the Two Truths” and the “three points of Emptiness.” This statement can be proved by the following points he mentioned in one of his articles: because people misinterpret the “establishment of the Two Truths” (“differentiation of the Two Truths”), they would not be able to correctly understand “Emptiness,” “the meaning of Emptiness” and “the function of Emptiness,” which is the “three points of Emptiness.”
Candrakīrti; satyadvayavibhāga; śūnyatārtha; Prasannapadā; Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya