I believe the actuality of provisional and definitive meaning is brilliant. Provisional meaning can be used by a master as an aid, helping to teach a student about the truth.
An example of a provisional teaching given by the Buddha is “mind alone”. Even though mind alone is not a definitive truth or teaching, the Buddha taught “mind alone” to those who were too attached to form. This means that the Buddha could identify those who were too attached to form and then dispense upon them the provisional teaching of “mind alone”, instead of the truth, (that objective form does exist), because the provisional teaching of “mind alone” would actually benefit the student more then being told the truth. This weeks reading offers a quotation that is helpful in understanding the Buddha’s use of “mind alone”: “Just as a physician dispenses medicine to one patient or another, so the Buddha also teaches “mind alone” to living beings.” (317) The provisional teaching of mind alone is given to those who need it and not to everyone.
Now i’d like to explore the definitive truth that there is infact objective form and consciousness and not just “mind alone”. The text points out that “If form does not exist, then do not cling to the existence of mind; and if mind exists, then do not cling to the nonexistence of form.” (315) This is an important rule of thumb because when either objective form or pure consciousness is extinguished the other also is. The pure awareness that is consciousness is said to act as a mirror, simply witnessing the world and reflecting it; but this consciousness has nothing to reflect without objective form: physical objects, thoughts, memories. Therefore without objective form, the agency of the mind has no value.
I would like to argue that objective form does not exist without consciousness and conventional truth does not exist without ultimate truth. I would also like to investigate a comparison between objective forms relation to pure consciousness and conventional truths relation to ultimate truth.
This weeks reading connected consciousness and objective form to conventional and ultimate truth, by stating that “In arguing that consciousness (or mind) alone exists without objective form, you destroy the relationship between conventional and ultimate truth”.
When mind is focused on conventional truth, mind also declares the presence of objective form. For example when the mind is engaged in communication about setting up chairs for a performance, its adherence to the conventional truth of the presence of the essence of a chair simultaneously affirms the existence of a chair as objective form. Conventional truth allows for the existence of consciousness in that conventional truth provides consciousness with a landscape in which to express. Objective form grounds the experiences of the mind in conventional truth.. therefore objective form both pays respect to conventional truth, and serves consciousness.
This weeks reading states, “once the reality [of form] is denied, your efforts [to establish consciousness] are pointless. (316) Similar to how objective form grounds the experiences of the mind in conventional truth, and provides consciousness with a landscape in which to express; without the reality of objective form, consciousness has no purpose. Without objective form grounding the experiences of the mind, consciousness is not provided a landscape it which to express its agency.