Concerning the “Two Truths”:
In the Pali canon, the distinction is not made between a lower truth and a higher truth, but rather between two kinds of expressions of the same truth, which must be interpreted differently. Thus a phrase or passage, or a whole sutta, might be classed as neyyattha or samuti or vohāra, but it is not regarded at this stage as expressing or conveying a different level of truth.
Thoughts? How are these terms, neyyattha or samuti or vohāra, used in the Pāli Canon? Does the above seem accurate/correct?
Yes, that seems fair enough.
EBTs do however make a distinction between ignorance (avijja) and wisdom (vijja).
This sutta makes the distinction between those two:
"Monks, there are these four perversions (vipallasa) of perception, perversions of mind, perversions of view. Which four? ‘Constant’ with regard to the inconstant is a perversion of perception, a perversion of mind, a perversion of view. ‘Pleasant’ with regard to the stressful… ‘Self’ with regard to not-self… ‘Attractive’ with regard to the unattractive is a perversion of perception, a perversion of mind, a perversion of view. AN4.49 -Vipallasa sutta
It does also use the term conventional, I believe.
I wouldn’t agree thought that it is ‘two ways of seeing the same truth’ as it places the same value on both those truths, if that makes sense. One leads to Nibbana, the other not. But having said that, they are both describing the same phenomenon. In addition, each is appropriately true in its own context. Attempts to mix the two up can lead to a lot of confusion (I can kill you because you are just aggregates- …not that anyone said that but… ).
On the idea that some suttas have a ‘meaning to be drawn out’ I think is applicable to those short discourses the Buddha made and subsequently the ‘meaning had to be drawn out’ by Ven Mahakaccaya (and monks of such a degree of wisdom) who then expanded on it, often using aggregates, sense doors and elements (skandha, ayatana, dhatu). This should not mean however that every such discourse should be ‘drawn out’ this way (some should remain conventional to retain their meaning) or that it is suitable to develop new fundamental concepts which are not in line with the Buddha’s original teachings.