What is truth?

Is truth absolute or is it relative? is life black & white or is it a myriad shade of grays.

The Tao says in all black there is white, and in all white there is black. In all truth, there are lies and in all lies, lie some truths.

Buddha says that everything is relative, including truth. In his various teachings, he provides a few conditions:  1. Is it really true? 2. Is it kind to others? 3. Is it needed? 4. Is it for common good?

The Rotary has adopted this as its 4 Way Test with a few modifications.

The Hindu scriptures talk of a universal truth that is eternal and immutable. Everything else is maya or illusion, because everything material changes in time and space. Only energy is constant. Therefore, the ultimate and only truth is the intelligent energy of Cosmos.

What about the daily reality of problems, aches, pains and excitements? Aren’t they real, you may ask. What about my stomach pain? If i consider it an illusion, will it go away? Well, it may or it may not, but we don’t live in the truth of a stomach pain all the time. We do things that lead to the stomach pain. This leads to an entirely different discussion of karma, of cause and consequences.

Buddha spoke of impermanence or aniccha, as the way to look at life. Everything in this world, he said, is impermanent and that too shall change. What we call change management is a Buddhist doctrine. I remember enduring intense pain as i sat through a 10 day Vipassana course for the first few days and suddenly as if miraculously the pain vanished. Then, i realized the power of impermanence.

We call list honesty and integrity as our prime virtues. Sometimes, we swear to die for them. Whose honesty and whose integrity are we defending? If my honesty, my truth and my integrity differ from my neighbor, is it right for me to kill him or for him to kill me? Isn’t that what we see in many parts of the world everyday?

What gives us the right to impose our truths on someone else? One culture bans eating of pigs. Another reveres cows. Another demolishes everything that moves. So, what is right? What is true?

Nothing is.

Quantum Physics has stood classical Physics on its head on this issue. There is no certainty from the QP standpoint. Everything that happens in this universe, happens as a probability, not certainty. All laws of classical Physics have exceptions. When we say exception prove the rule, we recognize that there is no rule to start with.

We now know through QP that sub atomic particles behave totally in a random way. What amazes scientists is that sub atomic particles put on a show that is different to each observer. Over a thousand years ago, a Hindu philosopher Shankara said: The seer defines what he sees.

Truth lies in the eyes of the beholder. So does fraud. Nothing is inherently right or wrong. Once we accept this , most of our conflicts will cease.

Below is a clip from ‘What the bleep do we know?’, a documentary put together by Quantum Physicists. One can love it and one can hate it, bit no one can ignore its message.  There are a number of clips on Youtube or you can buy the video at your friendly neighborhood retailer.