1

Plato's Parmenides contains the following eight deductions:

(D1) If the G is, then the G is not F and not con-F in relation to itself.

(D2) If the G is, then the G is F and con-F in relation to the others.

(D3) If the G is, then the others are F and con-F in relation to the G.

(D4) If the G is, then the others are not F and not con-F in relation to themselves.

(D5) If the G is not, then the G is F and con-F in relation to the others.

(D6) If the G is not, then the G is not F and not con-F in relation to itself.

(D7) If the G is not, then the others are F and con-F in relation to the G.

(D8) If the G is not, then the others are not F and not con-F in relation to themselves.

(where ‘con-F’ refers to the property contrary to the property of being F):

Do the eight deductions within the dialogue offer a convoluted view of the two truths?

Deductions 1, 4, 6, 8 have conclusions only stated in the negative.

Deductions 2, 3, 5, 7 have conclusions only stated in the positive.

If the classical concept of Form (that from which Essence is acquired) is kept, then:

D1 through D4, which assume "the one is" demonstrate that "the one is not".

D5 through D8, which assume "the one is not" demonstrate that "the one is".

Is this not dissimilar to the duality that the Buddha stated, where "being" and "non-being" 'reinforce' each other - are dependently originated? Are the eight deductions a kind of logical (binary) glimpse of Samsara?

3

The 'two truths' in Pali Buddhism are different to the 'two truths' in Mahayana Buddhism. Possibly, the 'two truths' of Mahayana Buddhism are more relevant to Plato's Parmenides.

In Pali Buddhism, the 'two truths' refers to the difference between how enlightened & unenlightened people interpret certain (mundane/moral) teachings of the Buddha, as follows:

The Awakened One, best of speakers, Spoke two kinds of truths: The conventional and the ultimate. A third truth does not obtain.

Therein: The speech wherewith the world converses is true, on account of its being agreed upon by the world. The speech which describes what is ultimate is also true, through characterizing dhammas as they really are.

Therefore, being skilled in common usage, false speech does not arise in the Teacher, who is Lord of the World, when he speaks according to conventions.

Commentary by Buddhaghosa

In Pali Buddhism, the translations "being" ('bhava') and "non-being" ('vibhava') refer to two kinds of dependently originated 'becoming' ('bhava') based on two kinds of dependently originated craving (as defined in the 2nd noble truth in SN 56.11), namely, 'bhavatanha' (craving to be) and 'vibhavatanha' (craving not to be). Both kinds of craving & becoming involve 'self-view'.

In other words, 'non-being' is not synonymous with the enlightened or unconditioned state of selflessness/emptiness (sunnata).

Some relevant texts that show how the translations 'being' & 'non-being' are used are below:

Idaṃ kho pana, bhikkhave, duk­kha­sa­muda­yaṃ ariyasaccaṃ—yāyaṃ taṇhā ponobbhavikā nandi­rāga­saha­gatā tatra­tat­rā­bhinan­dinī, seyyathidaṃ—kāmataṇhā, bhavataṇhā, vibhavataṇhā

Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving which leads to renewed existence/becoming (bhava), accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there; that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, craving for extermination. SN 56.11

~~

So neva taṃ abhisaṅkharoti, na abhisañ­ceta­yati bhavāya vā vibhavāya vā. So anabhi­saṅ­kha­ronto anabhi­sañ­ceta­yantoanabhisañcetayanto: ? bhavāya vā vibhavāya vā na kiñci loke upādiyati, anupādiyaṃ na paritassati, aparitassaṃ paccattaṃyeva parinibbāyati. ‘Khīṇā jāti, vusitaṃ brahmacariyaṃ, kataṃ karaṇīyaṃ, nāparaṃ itthattāyā’ti pajānāti.

He does not form any condition or generate any volition tending towards either being or non-being. Since he does not form any condition or generate any volition tending towards either being or non-being, he does not cling to anything in this world. When he does not cling, he is not agitated. When he is not agitated, he personally attains Nibbāna. He understands thus: ‘Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming to any state of being.’ MN 140

~~~

sato vā pana sattassa ucchedaṃ vināsaṃ vibhavaṃ paññapenti

Those who describe the...extermination of an existing being (satta)...Just as a dog, tied by a leash to a post or stake, keeps running around and circling around that very post or stake, through fear of identity and disgust with identity keep running & circling around that same identity... MN 102

'Samsara' is defined as the state of the mind circling & running around in ignorance & craving:

From an inconstruable beginning comes samsara. A beginning point is not evident, although beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are running around & wandering on....Just as a dog, tied by a leash to a post or stake, keeps running around and circling around that very post or stake; in the same way, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person...keeps running around and circling around that very form... that very feeling... that very perception... those very fabrications... that very consciousness. He is not set loose from form, not set loose from feeling... from perception... from fabrications... not set loose from consciousness...

SN 22.99

Therefore, dependently originated "being" and "non-being", namely, wanting to be this & not wanting to be that, are certainly characteristics of 'samsara' & probably reinforce each other.

However, whether they relate to Plato's Parmenides is another matter.

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