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What is the nature of a true cognition in Buddhism, or what Buddhism considers as truth? Is it the same as what people consider a logical conclusion made with an empirical process? I feel it cannot be exactly that as various truths exist in Buddhism that aren't easily verifiable with mere deduction.

In addition, how important is truthful cognition/perception in Buddhism? How far can you get practicing things like mindfulness, compassion, etc. without being capable of ascertaining things as 'true' for oneself.

Finally, and I guess I should've asked this before, what effects/qualities does true information have in Buddhism? Is it timeless? Universal? Beyond doubt?

So to clarify, these three questions are respectively asking the nature, the importance, and the consequences of truth in Buddhism.

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The true cognition in Buddhism is tautologically defined as directly knowing and seeing things as they are.

The explanation of this is threefold.

First, this means a mode of cognition without a contradiction, not prone to contradicting evidence.

Second, it means a mode of cognition which, when taken as a basis for decision-making and action, does not lead to conflict or suffering, but to peace.

Third, it is cognition that is an extension of the ontological nature beyond words, beyond generalizations and concepts, beyond discrete representation.

This last point means, this cognition is so featureless that it may seem like there's none, and yet it is actually a lot more accurate than our naive crude models we take for the truth.

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What is the nature of a true cognition in Buddhism, or what Buddhism considers as truth? Is it the same as what people consider a logical conclusion made with an empirical process? I feel it cannot be exactly that as various truths exist in Buddhism that aren't easily verifiable with mere deduction.

The epistemology in buddhism is a tricky one, and does not easily lend itself to western philosophical concepts as far as i can tell. However, i see no claims within buddhism that the path to enlightenment is a strictly deductive practice. The onus is on the practicioner to verify dhamma through empirical (if you will) observations. For the latter, right mindfulness and right concentration plays a huge part.

In addition, how important is truthful cognition/perception in Buddhism? How far can you get practicing things like mindfulness, compassion, etc. without being capable of ascertaining things as 'true' for oneself.

It is increasingly important depending on what stage of enlightenment you are representing. However, true understanding is not the primary goal, but rather a consequence of relinquishing the fetters binding us to suffering.

Finally, and I guess I should've asked this before, what effects/qualities does true information have in Buddhism? Is it timeless? Universal? Beyond doubt?

I think it's hard, perhaps impossible to understand the immaterial realms/arupa dhyanas with concepts based on the material realms/rupa dhyanas. To nuance this, one can of course look into the several stages of dhyana for a more detailed rundown of the different progressive characteristics of concentration.

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The truth of Buddhism is directly verifiable in the context of its objective, which is the end of suffering. Indeed, this is laid out in the Four Noble Truths.

SN56.15:1.5: “Sir, I remember that suffering is the first noble truth you’ve taught; the origin of suffering is the second;the cessation of suffering is the third; and the practice that leads to the cessation of suffering is the fourth.

Within this system of axioms, truth is indeed verifiable and deducible.

Conventional belief systems are rooted in identity view, which is incompatible with the four Noble Truths. In other words, if one assumes the truth of identity view, then it is a struggle to have faith in the four Noble Truths.

In mathematics, we must declare our axioms in any proof of truth. For certain sets of axioms, we end up with Euclidean, flat geometry. For other sets of axioms, we end up with hyperbolic geometry. Truth is therefore experienced relative to an axiomatic basis, which is nothing but a set of asserted beliefs. Truth is really about consistency and applicability. The utility and scope of any system of beliefs is its ability to predict outcomes verifiable through direct experience.

Cognition is therefore dependent on axioms, core beliefs held to be truths. And the fruit of that cognition is completely bound up with those beliefs. For those who believe in materialism, the fruit is that which killed King Midas. For those who believe in eternal life, death awaits unconquered. For those who believe in the four Noble Truths, the end of suffering is directly verifiable.

Indeed the practice of Buddhism is basically the gentle erasure of false cognition based on identity view. For if identity is nothing but continued existence of cravings, then one might skillfully wish and practice for the truth of:

AN4.198:15.5: living without wishes in the present life, extinguished, cooled, experiencing bliss, having become holy in themselves.

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What is the nature of a true cognition in Buddhism, or what Buddhism considers as truth?

Upper-case Truth would be Being. As Aristotle notes, the only certain form of knowledge is 'knowledge by identity'. We can know what we are. All else is speculation.

Is it the same as what people consider a logical conclusion made with an empirical process?

Definitely not. You might have made a calculation error or misperceived the empirical facts.

I feel it cannot be exactly that as various truths exist in Buddhism that aren't easily verifiable with mere deduction.

No absolute truths are verifiable by deduction. This would be the reason why any purely scholastic metaphysics is hopeless, as history shows.

In addition, how important is truthful cognition/perception in Buddhism? How far can you get practicing things like mindfulness, compassion, etc. without being capable of ascertaining things as 'true' for oneself.

Well, we have not made much progress if we have not ascertained to some extent the truth of the teachings. As time goes by truthful cognition would be vital but it would not be possible at the start, prior to understanding something of the nature of Reality and the relationship between cognition and consciousness, so the best course is to not worry about deduction and just sit and wait to find out, much as the Buddha advises. I prefer to do the sums, but this does not bring 'true' knowledge, only good arguments for dealing with sceptics.

The proviso would be that it is possible, as Nagarjuna demonstrates, to demonstrate in logic that a neutral metaphysical theory is the only one consistent with reason. This is lower-case knowledge, but valuable and important nevertheless. It surprises me that more Buddhists do not realise that the teachings solve all formal metaphysical problems.

Finally, and I guess I should've asked this before, what effects/qualities does true information have in Buddhism? Is it timeless? Universal? Beyond doubt?

Yes, timeless, universal and beyond doubt. But only when we know it is. If we do not know then it is not knowledge. Think of it as an immediate knowledge of pain. When we have an immediate knowledge of pain we do not doubt it. Immediate knowledge of truth is incapable of doubt, only of incorrect interpretation. For the true sage their Knowledge is their living Reality, no more questionable than 2=2=4 and possibly less so.

So to clarify, these three questions are respectively asking the nature, the importance, and the consequences of truth in Buddhism.

It's a good question and much more could usefully be said. The essential point is that Knowledge is not a relative phenomenon. Rather. it is attained by a collapse of the knower-known distinction. Thus the Oracle's advice to 'Know Thyself' since then, apart from trivia, we will know everything there is to know.

Bear in mind that this is in some ways a Mahayana answer. Other traditions pay less attention to logic and metaphysics. In Buddhism we either know or we don't, and while performing calculations may tell us where the knowledge lies and give us confidence in the practice it cannot produce upper-case Knowledge.

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The unfortunate truth about Buddhism is that the more you study it, the more it seems that no one can really figure out what is real anymore. Every expert has a philosophy that leads further away from the core and the core never seems to satisfy much because it contents itself to turn your quest for answers into a shell game, especially where celebrity experts on the subject concern themselves with your destiny. Why else would you entertain Zen when it doesn’t agree much with Mahayana? Are there at least two versions of Siddartha? More than one version of his revelations?

Hokkien Buddhists graft all sorts of rituals and gods into their Chinese religion. So do Tibetans, who received the religion after conquering China with the Mongols. They colour their Buddhas dark blue for their good luck and protection car stickers. So many people claim to be the next Buddha until they are caught in a scandal or fade into obscurity. It is whatever you want it to be as long as you don’t take anything to final conclusions. Just focus on getting a better karma score before your last breath, no matter how loose the definition.

Why not go to family court and see if you want to know what the nature of cognition is? There is so much that happens there, everyone there wants the truth.

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