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The ‘three natures’—the dependent (paratantra), the imagined (parikalpita) and the consummate (pariniṣpanna). A key Yogācāra theory first mentioned in the Sandhi-nirmocana Sūtra, the concept of the three natures serves to explain the relationship between the experiences of saṃsāra andnirvāṇa. The theory may have arisen as a means to counter perceived shortcomings in the Madhyamaka theory of the Two Truths.which seems to create an unbridgeable hiatus between enlightenment (bodhi) and everyday experience. According to the tri-svabhāva theory, parikalpita corresponds to the mundane saṃvṛti-satya and pariniṣpanna to the supramundane paramārtha-satya.but the two are linked by paratantra, the conditioned process of experience itself, which acts as a common pivotal factor between those two. Though the three natures theory has sometimes been viewed as an ontological statement, it should more properly be understood as a model of the epistemological process—itself a major concern of the Yogācāra school. See also grāhya-grāhaka.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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