Does Buddha refer Consciousness as emptiness?

Consciousness, Emptiness and Self are the same things. Self can't exist independently hence it's an illusion. That is that which doesn't exist is identical to emptiness.

2 Answers 2


Your concept of consciousness seems hyped.

and also this sentence is completely wrong

Consciousness, Emptiness and Self are the same things

consciousness as per buddha is same as consciousness as per modern neuroscience. which is an neural phenomena. when we are asleep there is no consciousness. some says consciousness is sleeping. some say basic consciousness exist. But its just playing with words.

Even Vijnana is one of the 5 aggregate and hence of impermanent nature. In fact it rises and fall every moment.

Self is a n mental construct or concept. so there is no need to explain it more.

However emptiness is real stuff we need to understand. There are various names in fashion now.

  • pure consciousness.
  • Luminous mind
  • absolute awareness.

There exist a lot of discussion on difference between awareness and consciousness. And it seems awareness is nothing but that primordial existence which was before consciousness rise and will be after it demises every moment.

The reason consciousness is different from awareness /emptiness is its name itself. consciousness. means conscious of something. the ability to discriminate mainly between observer and no object. whereas in primordial state there is no observer and there is no object. absolute non duality.

  • if there is no observer then what is it that confirms the existence of the object? I think instead there is an observer devoid of any content which turns onto itself, making observer the observed will be a more accurate phenomenal explanation of emptiness...probably that might go with pure consciousness.. Nov 13, 2021 at 14:05
  • 1
    Sorry.. Typing mistake.... In that primodial state there is no observer and there is no object. Only pure awareness free from all perception and concepts. And what you said is also true and same.. Thevobserver beccomes the obserced... But thrn it also drops later.. There exist pure suchness.
    – enRaiser
    Nov 13, 2021 at 14:11
  • cool...makes sense Nov 13, 2021 at 14:44

Putting aside conventional notions of consciousness, emptiness and self, we can take a careful look at the Buddha's own precise definitions of these three terms:

The Buddha lays out seven planes of consciousness. Note that the seventh plane of consciousness is the dimension of nothingness (v.s. emptiness):

DN34:1.8.22: There are sentient beings that have gone totally beyond the dimension of infinite space. Aware that ‘consciousness is infinite’, they have been reborn in the dimension of infinite consciousness.
DN34:1.8.23: This is the sixth plane of consciousness.
DN34:1.8.24: There are sentient beings that have gone totally beyond the dimension of infinite consciousness. Aware that ‘there is nothing at all’, they have been reborn in the dimension of nothingness.
DN34:1.8.25: This is the seventh plane of consciousness.

The Buddha discusses emptiness separately from the dimension of nothingness:

MN121:12.4: They understand: ‘This field of perception is empty of the perception of the defilements of sensuality, desire to be reborn, and ignorance.
MN121:12.5: There is only this that is not emptiness, namely that associated with the six sense fields dependent on this body and conditioned by life.’
MN121:12.6: And so they regard it as empty of what is not there, but as to what remains they understand that it is present.

And the Buddha discusses self here:

MN62:3.2: “Rāhula, you should truly see any kind of form at all—past, future, or present; internal or external; coarse or fine; inferior or superior; far or near: all form—with right understanding: ‘This is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self.’”

Conflating the three is inadvisable. The suttas do not conflate them and are quite precise in their usage.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .