The pramana teachings highlight the importance of certain or authoritative cognition--understanding or awareness.
The study of these teaching begin with delve first into a classification scheme for the phenomena identified and defined in the abhidharma texts which distinguishes between them depending upon their ontological status and how they function. Existents are distinguished from non-existents, then functioning existents from non-functioning ones. And then the categories of the skandhas as laid out in the abhidharma. Then we proceed to an analysis of awareness that classifies it into various levels depending upon the degree of certainty and then classifies it by various types.
Finally by identifying all of these nuances of awareness and clearly elaborating the characteristics of each one then the means for generating certainty are clearly defined, explained, and utilized to develop certainty about the true nature if reality in the form of the two truths--the relative or conventional level of mere appearances of sensory data and the absolute or Ultimate level which is the very absence of essential true reality. This entails understanding the mechanics of valid proof by inferential reasoning in the form of a three part syllogism made firm by fulfilling the three requirements of a valid syllogism called the three modes and utilizing one of the three forms of proof--dependency, function, and absence or non-observation.
By learning how to generate an inferential valid cognition of the ultimate, emptiness, and repeatedly revisiting that, contemplating it, letting it seep into the fabric of one’s consciousness or being, we can then join it with the state of meditative quiescence as insight. When these two, shamatha and vipashyana, are conjoined upon the inferential understanding of the ultimate repeatedly and skillfully, this gradually gives way to an unmediated or unfabricated experience of the ultimate. This is the goal of the pramana praxis.