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Paramārtha (T. don dam pa དོན་དམ་པ་) - the highest or whole truth; spiritual knowledge; the way things are.

Buswell states:

The term paramārtha is variously defined in the Buddhist philosophical schools but refers in general to phenomena that do not appear falsely when directly perceived and that are the objects of wisdom, that is, those dharmas the understanding of which leads to liberation. Thus, Buddhist philosophical schools do not speak simply of a single “ultimate truth” but of ultimate truths. For example, according to Vaibhāṣika school of Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma, an ultimate truth is anything that cannot be broken into parts, such as particles or atoms (paramāṇu), and persists only for the shortest unit of time, an instant (KṢAṆA). The term paramārtha is especially associated with the Madhyamaka school, where the ultimate truth is emptiness (śūnyatā); the object qualified by emptiness is a conventional truth (saṃvṛtisatya).[1]

Related terms

  • Paramārthasatya


  1. Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. Paramārthasatya.


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