Namaste all, in my tradition, we say it like this: Two truths we declare there to be, relative (samvriti satya) and absolute (paramartha satya). relative or worldly truth (samvriti satya) is the manner in which we enter the door of practice. we recognize the presence of happiness and the presence of suffering, and we try to go in the direction of increased happiness. every day we go a little further in that direction, and one day we realize that suffering and happiness are "not two." it can be expressed in a poem, to an extent, by a ancient Vietnamese poet: People talk endlessly about their suffering and their joy. But what is there to suffer to be joyful about? Joy from sensual pleasure always leads to pain, and suffering while practicing the Way always brings joy. Wherever there is joy, there is suffering. If you want to have no-suffering, you must accept no-joy. the poet is trying to leap into absolute truth without walking the path of relative truth. many people think that in order to avoid suffering, they have to give up joy, and they call this "transcending joy and suffering." this is not correct. if you recognize and accept your pain without running away from it, you will discover that although pain exists, joy also exists. without experiencing relative joy, you will not know what to do when you are face-to-face with absolute joy. don't get caught in theories or ideas, such as saying that suffering is an illusion or that we have to "transcend" both suffering and joy. just stay in touch with what is actually going on, and you will touch the true nature of suffering and the true nature of joy. in the Discourse on Turning the Wheel of the Dharma, the Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths of dhukka, the cause of dhukka, the cessation of dhukka and the path. this is an example of the relative truth. in the Heart Sutra, Bodhisattva Avolekiteshavara tells us that there is no dhukka, no cause of dhukka, no cessation of dhukka and no path. this is teaching in terms of absolute truth. perhaps this gatha (verse) can elucidate the meaning more clearly: All conditioned things are impermanent. They are phenomena, subject to birth and death. When birth and death no longer are, the complete silencing is joy. the first two lines express relative truth, while the third and forth lines express absolute truth. "all conditioned things" includes physical, physiological, and psychological phenomena. "complete silencing" means nirvana, the extinction of all concepts. when the Buddha say, "The complete silencing is joy." he means that thinking, conceptualizing and speaking have come to and end. this is the Thrid Noble Truth in absolute terms. let me provide a convient simile to facilitate understanding, that of the relationship between a wave and water. a wave can be recognized by signs - high or low, beginning or ending, beautiful or ugly. but in the world of water, there are no signs. in the world of relative truth, the wave feels happy as she swells, and she feels sad when she falls. she may think, "I am high" or "I am low," and develop a superiority or inferiority complex. but when the wave touches her true nature - which is water - all her complexes will cease, and she will transcend birth and death. we become arrogant when things go well, and we are afraid of falling or being low or inadequate. but these are relative ideas, and when they end, a feeling of completeness and satisfaction arises. liberation is the ability to go from the world of signs to the world of true nature. we need the relative world of the wave, but we also need to touch the water, the ground of our being, to have real peace and joy. we shouldn't allow relative truth to imprison us and keep us from touching absolute truth. looking deeply into relative truth, we penetrate the absolute. relative and absolute truths inter-embrace. both truths, relative and absolute, have a value.