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I recently heard from an Indian Guru that Lord Buddha taught a meditation technique called Shoonya to his closest disciples.

Is there any technique like that or resembling it which is mentioned in the Buddhist scripture?

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Edit: What was meant by close disciples was not that there was some kind of secrecy, but as Lord Buddha was a travelling monk, and this meditation technique takes time to teach, he could only teach it to the close disciples who were travelling with him.

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Ven. Ananda was the Buddha's attendant and literally very close to him. In MN121, the Buddha teaches:

MN121:3.3: ‘Ānanda, these days I usually practice the meditation on emptiness.’

MN121 is a beautiful sutta and very inspiring. MN121 is the Cūḷasuññatasutta, the Shorter Discourse on Emptiness.

MN121 is not secret or hidden, but it can be confusing given that the Buddha teaches about and distinguishes between space, nothingness and emptiness.

MN121:6.7: There is only this that is not emptiness, namely the oneness dependent on the perception of the dimension of infinite space.’

MN121:8.7: There is only this that is not emptiness, namely the oneness dependent on the perception of the dimension of nothingness.’

Yet this sutta can be read by all who seek peace. MN121 is not only an inspiring read but is also an actual instruction for meditation. And as an instruction to meditation, it refers to many concepts taught in other suttas.

In general, the more suttas we read, the better informed we are about which practice will provide a particular benefit for a particular person or situation.

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It is possible that the guru is explaining something called "suññatā cetovimutti" (空心三昧 kōng xīnsānmèi). You can read about it in the Godattasutta (SN 41.7). This sort of meditation is only practiced by the Arhats (i.e. the Buddha's "closest disciples"). From Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, the entry on "cetovimutti:"

'deliverance of mind'. In the highest sense it signifies the fruition of Arahatship (s. ariya-puggala), and in particular, the concentration associated with it. It is often linked with the 'deliverance through wisdom' (paññā-vimutti [...]

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Don't you think that the idea of teaching a technique to his closest disciples seems to contradict the statement in DN 16 about The Closed Fist:

I have preached the truth without making any distinction between exoteric and esoteric doctrine: for in respect of the truths, Ānanda, the Tathāgata has no such thing as the closed fist of a teacher, who keeps some things back.

But "Shunya" or "Shoonya" meditation is presumably "meditation on emptiness" -- the Pali word for emptiness is suññatā -- which is mentioned in MN 121: What is the "meditation on emptiness" in MN 121?

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  • What was meant by close disciples was not that there was some kind of secrecy, but as Lord Buddha was a travelling monk, and this meditation technique takes time to teach, he could only teach it to the close disciples who were travelling with him
    – user20787
    Dec 27, 2021 at 6:17

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