Are there uses for the two truths model

Reposting as a separate thread.

[edit: the above was in response to someone wishing to see their gender identity reflected in the texts]

See, this is personally why I appreciate the later development of the Two Truths model. The one that deals with the every day societal issues (the conventional self as a gendered, sexual, racialized being in a society where racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, etc. exist) and the more transcendental truth that seeks to go beyond the fleeting and agonizing delusion of personhood. It’s not like we stop saying “I” in everyday speech just because we have attained enlightenment.

I would love to hear from @sujato , whom I know dislikes using the two truth model, on what might be a better EBT based model. To me, it just seems like a useful way to not spiritually bypass every day issues, like gender, race, sexuality in our society when we understand that there is a conventional validity to these constructs. Sometimes later developments are useful to help sort through these thorny issues.


As many philosophers have noted, usually when a distinction is made, a value judgement comes close on its heels: cream and whey, old and new, or black and white.

In the case of the two truths theory, many people will take “absolute and relative” to mean that “absolute truth” is somehow better or more important than relative truth, and then use this interpretation to justify doing-nothing-about (that is to say, actively—if subconsciously—perpetuating) sexism, etc.

This odious interpretation of the two truths theory is so irresistable for many that others (myself included) tend to avoid invoking it, even though (as you point out) it does have some place in (even Early) Buddhist Philosophy.