The Buddha stated that all realities experienced by beings could be summed up into two: 

  • the realities created and then experienced by delusion and, 
  • the realities experienced by non-delusion. 

These two realities are quite different from each other, but each reality is true within its own sphere, that is, is true for the beings experiencing that reality. 

Therefore, the Buddha called these two levels of reality, "the two truths". 

  • The reality that appears to the deluded beings is nothing but a product of their own obscuration.
  • The reality that appears to non-deluded beings is not a mistake that comes because of obscuration but is a fact. 

The latter is a superior version of reality compared to the former mistaken reality; the beings who experience the latter are more advanced spiritually than these ordinary, obscured beings who create and experience the former.

There are two terms that are crucial to any discussion of the view in Buddhism. 

They are the terms used when speaking of the "The Two Truths". 

The Buddha gave a name to each type of reality that reflected the meanings just given: 

Using a terminology that was common in India at that time, He called the first "saṃvṛti" and the second type "paramārtha", 

ཀུན་རྫོབ། Kün-Dzob” - Fictional - "saṃvṛiti"

The first word "saṃvṛti" is made of two parts:

  • "vṛiti" means "veiled" or "obscured".
  • “Sam” as part of “saṃyak” means "really and truly so". 

The complete word means: “It really and truly is a product of obscuration". 

  • When taken in the context of the two truths taught by the Buddha, it means that the reality which appears to the deluded mind is nothing but a product of the obscurationthat is present in that mind.
  • However, the meaning of usage in Tibet translated it as "being dressed up in a way that makes it look other than it is". In short, having the meaning of "a total fiction". 

In spiritual terms, that fiction refers to the fact that the realities experienced by deluded beings are not the fact of reality as it is but are, through and through, false versions of that reality which appear to the deluded beings because of the two types of obscuration present in their own mind stream: 

 ཉོན་མོངས་པའི་སྒྲིབ་པ། - ‘Nyön-mong-pa’I Drib-pa’ - “emotional obscuration"; and,

ཤེས་བྱའི་སྒྲིབ་པ། - ‘Shey-ja’i Drib-pa’ - “cognitional obscuration";

དོན་དམ། - “Dön-Dam” – As-it-is - Paramartha

The second term, "paramārtha" described what the mind perceives for itself as "that which is known to the mind of beings with spiritually superior knowledge compared to what would be known by beings who have not advanced spiritually". 

The Sanskrit parāmartha was translated into Tibetan as དམ་པའི་དོན། - “Dam-pa'i Dön” or དོན་དམ། - “Dön-dam” where:

  • “Dam-pa’i” is the exact equivalent of ‘parama’ meaning superior or eminent; and,
  • “Dönis the exact equivalent of “artha”, meaning factual, true, very much so.