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paramārthasatya (P. paramatthasacca; T. don dam bden pa དོན་དམ་བདེན་པ་; C. zhendi/diyiyi di) is translated as "ultimate truth," "absolute truth," "genuine truth," etc. It is one of the two truths, the other being conventional truth (saṃvṛtisatya).

Ultimate truth (paramārthasatya) refers to the way things are, as opposed to way they appear (conventional truth, saṃvṛtisatya).

The 84000 Glossary states:

Paramārtha satya literally means “the highest-object truth,” because it is what is realized by wisdom (prajñā) as the highest form of mind. It refers to the absolute understanding of phenomena and reality as it is perceived by a mind that is purified of all delusion, in contrast to the relative truth that is perceived by ordinary unenlightened beings.[1]


Jeffery Hopkins states:

The Sanskrit for "ultimate truth," paramārthasatya, is etymologized three ways within identifying parama as "highest" or "ultimate," artha as "object," and satya as "truth."
  • In the first way, parama (highest, ultimate) refers to a consciousness of meditative equipoise directly realizing emptiness; artha (object) refers to the object of that consciousness, emptiness; and satya (truth) also refers to emptiness in that in direct perception emptiness appears the way it exists; that is, there is no discrepancy between the mode of appearance and the mode of being. In this interpretation, a paramārthasatya is a "truth-that-is-an-object-of-the-highest-consciousness."
  • In the second way, both parama (highest, ultimate) and artha (object) refer to a consciousness of meditative equipoise directly realizing emptiness in that, in the broadest meaning of "object," both objects and subjects are objects, and a consciousness of meditative equipoise directly realizing emptiness is the highest consciousness and thus highest object; satya (truth), as before, refers to emptiness. In this second interpretation, a paramārthasatya is an emptiness that exists the way it appears to a highest consciousness, a "truth-of-a-highest-object."
  • In the third etymology, all three parts refer to emptiness in that an emptiness is the highest (the ultimate) and is also an object and a truth, a "truth-that-is-the-highest-object."
Candrakīrti, the chief Consequentialist, favors the third etymology in his Clear Words.[1]


Patrul Rinpoche states:

In essence, the absolute is the basic space of phenomena (dharmadhatu), devoid of all conceptual elaboration. In its essence, it is without any divisions, but still it is possible to speak of ‘divisions’ according to whether or not this reality has been realized. Thus, there are divisions into the absolute which is the basic nature itself and the absolute which is the realization (or ‘making evident’) of this basic nature.
Then again, there is the division into the absolute that is clarified through study and reflection and the absolute that is experienced through meditation practice; or the absolute that is conceptually inferred by ordinary beings versus the absolute that is experienced directly by noble beings. There is also a division into the conceptual absolute (namdrangpé döndam) and the absolute that is beyond conceptualization (namdrang mayinpé döndam).[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Internet-icon.svg དོན་དམ་བདེན་པ་, Christian-Steinert Dictionary
  2. LotsawaHouse-tag.png Clarifying the Two Truths, Lotsawa House