Non-memory is convention’s truth
and mind which has become no-mind is ultimate truth.
Tantra divides truth in two ways: the first it calls hypothetical truth, vyavharika; the second it calls ultimate truth, parmarthika. Hypothetical truth is called truth only for the name’s sake, it is called truth because it looks like truth. It is so just in practice; it has a certain glimpse of the truth.
It is almost like this: if somebody shows you a picture of me and you say, “Yes, it is a true picture,” what do you mean by a “true picture”? How can the picture be true? The statement that the picture is true simply means that it resembles the original. The picture in itself is untrue – all pictures are untrue, it is just a paper. How can I be on the paper, how can I be the paper, how can I be the lines? Even a true photograph is just a photograph. But by saying, “It is a true photograph,” we say that, yes, it resembles the original.
I have heard one anecdote….
A very beautiful but talkative woman once came to see Pablo Picasso, and she talked too much. Pablo Picasso was bored, but she was very rich so he could not throw her out either. She was a great customer of his paintings, so he had to listen. And she was going on and on and on.
Then finally she said, “Just the other day I saw your photograph in a friend’s house. It was so alive and I loved it so much that I kissed it.”
Picasso said, “Wait! Did it kiss back?”
The woman said, “What are you saying? Have you gone mad? How can a picture kiss back?”
Picasso said, “Then it was not me. It was certainly not me!”
A picture is true because it resembles. It is untrue because it is a picture. This is what Tantra calls vyavharika truth.
Non-memory is convention’s truth…it is just so-so, it is just called truth conventionally. Memory you know; non-memory happens sometimes in the presence of a master, or while meditating or praying. But even non-memory is just a hypothetical truth; it is a photograph. Yes, it resembles the true no-mind, but only in resemblance. It is not yet the true no-mind.