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True the world becomes more SPACIOUS when we focus on the moment and thus see that to save one life is to save the world. This is why it is important to translate spaciousness as spaciousness and not emptiness.

Are "spacious" and "empty" words that are confused or mis-translated?

Is "spacious" a word that has a use in Buddhism?

A search for "spacious" on Access to Insight suggests that word is used, but is not used often and not used canonically.

I think "empty" usually means "empty of self", am I right? I.e. when people say "empty" do they mean Anatta?

  • 1
    To the best of my knowledge, the canon's treatment of emptiness is in terms of disturbance, i.e. empty of disturbances.
    – Sadhana
    Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 22:25
  • Try this
    – Sadhana
    Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 22:26

2 Answers 2


More like shunyata instead of anatta. The former has a philosophical as well as an experiential component. It speaks to the inherent emptiness of all things as well as the spacious feelings that often accompany the direct realization of that emptiness. The etymology of the word shunyata also conveys a notion of "hollowness" and has actually been translated as "emptiness", "voidness", and "spaciousness".

Side note - I'd be careful not to confuse the perception of shunyata with the experiences of the formless attainments (namely the base of infinite space and the base of nothingness). Those are very different things; even the Pali/Sanskrit roots of the word are vastly different.

  • wow to all this
    – blue_ego
    Commented Dec 8, 2021 at 14:21

Simplicity is considered virtuous.

Spaciousness is the accompaniment of emptiness.

But all are perceptive; objectively, neither spaciousness nor emptiness exists, because we are filled with space, or we are filled with something else. There is a dimensional zero as much as there is a dimensional one. But in the abstract sense, both are numbers, and therefore the same.

Truly accomplishing yourself means that you understand that the perceptions are illusions; but the illusions are what we have to work with, and so are the only truth we have.

Hope that makes sense.

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