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"Reality" in everyday usage means "everything that exists". The term ''reality'', in its widest sense, includes everything that is, whether it is observable, comprehensible, or self-contradictory by science, philosophy, or any other system of analysis. Reality in this sense may include both being and nothingness, whereas ''existence'' is often restricted to being (compare with ''nature'').

In the strict sense of Western philosophy, there are levels or gradation to the nature and conception of reality. These levels include, from the most subjective to the most rigorous: phenomenological reality, truth, fact, and axiom.

Other philosophies, particularly those founded in eastern religions like ''Hinduism'' and ''Buddhism'' have different explications of reality. Conceptions of reality in Buddhism include: ''dharma'', ''paramattha dhamma'', ''samsara'' and ''maya'' (illusion in ''Sanskrit'').

On a much broader and more subjective level, the private experiences, curiosity, inquiry, and selectivity involved in the personal interpretation of an event shapes reality as seen by one and only one individual and hence is called phenomenological. This form of reality migh...

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