Dictionary of Key Spiritual Terms

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  1. བདེན་​པ།

    Biblical: 1) truth; the correspondence of an idea with an exterior God-created reality; hence in a Bib. sense the ground or basis of truth is the God of truth: ཁྱེད་​ཀྱི་​བཀའ་​བདེན་​པའོ། your word is truth (Jn. 17:17), ཡབ་​ལ་​ཐུགས་​ཉིད་​དང་​བདེན་​པའི་​སྒོ་​ནས་​བསྙེན་​བཀུར་​ཞུ་​བ། worship the Father in spirit and in truth (Jn. 4:23), བདེན་​པ་​དེས་​ཁྱེད་​སྒྲོལ་​བར་​འགྱུར། the truth will set you free (Jn. 8:32), ང་​ནི་​ལམ་​དང་​། བདེན་​པ་​ཉིད་​དང་​། སྲོག་​དེ་​ཡིན། I am the way and the truth and the life (Jn. 14:6), བདེན་​པའི་​ཐུགས་​ཉིད། the Spirit of truth (Jn. 14:17); 2) truth may also be an attribute of persons: དཀོན་​མཆོག་​བདེན་​པ་​ཡིན། God is truthful (Jn. 3:33) see also དྲང་​བ།.

    Buddhist: 1) in daily life, speaking the truth བདེན་​པར་​སྨྲ་​བ། is one of the ten virtues (KTM); 2) doctrines believed to have been taught by the Buddha are considered to be true: ཆོས་​ཉིད་​བདེན་​པ་​བསྟན་​པས་​གྲོལ་​བར་​འགྱུར། [the Buddhas] deliver by teaching this true doctrine (TRC 77); however, the Bst. scriptures are thought to be true only as they apply to spiritual practice; they make no claim to historical or scientific truth (BAL 62); 3) in contrast to the Bib. view of truth above, Bsm. denies any reality and hence meaningful truth to the observable world: སྣང་​ཚད་​འཁྲུལ་​པ་​ལགས་​ཏེ་​བདེན་​པར་​མེད། whatever appears is delusion and has no true existence (HTE 188); འཁོར་​བ་​འདི་​ལ་​རྟག་​པ་​གཅིག་​ཀྱང་​མེད། རྟག་​པ་​མེད་​པ་​བདེན་​པ་​སུ་​ལ་​ཡོད། there is no certainty or permanence in this life; where there is no certainty, who knows the truth? (KPU 6). Such skepticism extends even to the teachings of the Bst. scriptures, leading to the doctrine of two truths བདེན་​པ་​གཉིས། i.e. conventional truth ཀུན་​རྫོབ་​བདེན་​པ། that can be grasped by the ordinary mind (such as the འཕགས་​པའི་​བདེན་​པ་​བཞི། or four noble truths) and ultimate truth དོན་​དམ་​བདེན་​པ། which can only be realized by spiritual practice (TRI 141).