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Questions tagged [sunyata]

Sūnyatā (Sanskrit, also shunyata; Pali: suññatā), translated into English as emptiness, voidness,openness, spaciousness, or vacuity, is a Buddhist concept which has multiple meanings depending on its doctrinal context.

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Dependent Origination and "vast emptiness"

Can emptiness due to dependent origination be logically connected to the "vast emptiness" of Bodhidharma and Huineng? A possible connection is that "vast emptiness" of space is the ...
exp8j's user avatar
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A geometric analogy for understanding emptiness. Is it a valid one?

Segments in a straight line have non-zero lengths but all of them have zero area i.e. they are "empty" when viewed as embedded in 2-dimensional plane. Similarly, all 2-dimensional shapes ...
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Does AN 3.47 refer to only single standalone sankhara?

This question concerns the proper understanding of AN 3.47: “Mendicants, conditioned phenomena have these three characteristics. What three? Arising is evident, vanishing is evident, and change while ...
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8 answers
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Is there a real contradiction between AN 3.47 and SN 15.9?

The setup ... Mendicants, conditioned phenomena have these three characteristics. What three? Arising is evident, vanishing is evident, and change while persisting is evident. These are the three ...
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3 answers
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Is the conventional existence of 'a being' just an agreement?

It is said by the bhikkhuni Vajira: “Just as, with an assemblage of parts, The word ‘chariot’ is used, So, when the aggregates exist, There is the convention ‘a being.’ SN 5.10 The pali translated ...
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4 answers
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To what extent does right view deny mother and father?

Believing that 'there is mother and father' is listed as right view affected by the taints. “And what, bhikkhus, is right view that is affected by the taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the ...
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Is there a true contradiction between SN 5.10 and SN 22.85?

It is said by the bhikkhuni Vajira: “Just as, with an assemblage of parts, The word ‘chariot’ is used, So, when the aggregates exist, There is the convention ‘a being.’ SN 5.10 However, in the ...
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Is Emptiness empty of meaning?

I believe Emptiness is a Dhamma. But here is an observation which arose: Emptiness is empty of meaning. My question is: Is Emptiness empty of meaning?
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Is there a possibility of a *real* temporary self?

It can be understood that the self is not some real permanent thing, but I wish to know whether we can find a real temporary self? We can define a temporary self, which lasts for some small duration, ...
Dheeraj Verma's user avatar
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Is Emptiness (Sunyata) a dhamma?

This question arises from a comment in a related post. Is there any mention in the sutras on the Buddha speaking of sunyata as a dhamma? How is sunyata defined? As a phenomena by itself or is it an ...
Desmon's user avatar
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Is Emptiness empty of Dhammas?

In this forum, while discussing emptiness as supreme truth, I came across following comment which may be relevant from Mahayana point of view: "The realisation that things are not as how they ...
Dheeraj Verma's user avatar
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Is Cūḷa Suññata Sutta a prelude to Bahiya Sutta?

The Cūḷa Suññata Sutta gives a progressive means of experiencing sunyata. The Bahiya Sutta (UD) tells of an interaction between Buddha and the Brahmin Bahiya - Buddha advises Bahiya to get right on ...
blue_ego's user avatar
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Is it necessary to be Buddhist to reach enlightenment?

Is it plausible or possible in Buddhist thought for a being to experience nirvana, enlightenment, without adhering to Buddhist thoughts or viewpoints? It it possible for people to receive true dharma ...
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Why does "not existing from its own side" make something a "conceptual construction"?

Why does "not existing from its own side" make something a "conceptual construction"? I believe, from memory, the former phrase in quotes is Tibetan, but that all Buddhists think ...
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Is the emptiness of final nirvana an illusion?

Is the emptiness of final nirvana an illusion? When we misplace a box with nothing at all inside we haven't really lost its contents. I am convinced, based on this, nothingness is only really inside ...
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Emptiness and consciousness

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 ...
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Most efficient practices you will quickly do to recover/re-generate Bodhicitta and/or right view of Śūnyatā if realizing losing mindfulness of?

In daily (secular) life, if you realize that you are being or have been losing (or forgetting) mindfulness of Bodhicitta and/or right view of Śūnyatā, what (most efficient practices) you will quickly ...
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What is the difference between Theravada "papanca" with regard to objects and Mahayana "selflessness of phenomena"?

In a previous question I asked whether the Theravada posits the selflessness of phenomena? Where the best answer I understood to essentially state that it does not. At least, it did sound like there ...
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7 answers
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Is Chögyal Namkhai Norbu correct when he says our life is unreal and that Buddha taught that life is just like a dream?

In this video clip you can see renowned Tibetan master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu saying that life is unreal and that the Buddha taught it is just like a dream. Is he correct? I've transcribed below: ...
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1 vote
8 answers
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Does reality exist?

Does reality exist? Carlo Rovelli (a famous theoretical physicist) doesn't think so and he cites Nagarjuna as believing the same: Rovelli has a different idea. He says reality doesn’t exist. The ...
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Logic of Emptiness still unconvincing. Please help explain

I've been a practitioner of Vipassana and Mahamudra for 2 years now. One thing quite bothering me is various explanations from different teachers on emptiness logically disturbing... Usually, it goes ...
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Dwelling Upon Seeming Levels of Emptiness?

Note: the term sunyata here is being used from the Mahayana context. Not too long ago, I asked this question about concentration and openness where I suggested that concentration was a hindrance to my ...
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6 answers
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What's the meaning of the Buddhist boy's message to Neo in the movie The Matrix?

In this scene from the first movie in The Matric trilogy, when Neo goes to meet the Oracle he meets the Buddhist boy who shows him that he can bend the spoon and then tells him that he can do the same ...
The White Cloud's user avatar
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The paradox of the Bodhisattva Path (Bodhisattvayāna)

Everybody is born under his own Karma. Indeed, while respecting the Dharma, we need to follow our own paths. Monks live an undisturbed life inside closed communities apart from samsaric suffering. And ...
Doubtful Monk's user avatar
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Is emptiness conventionally non-empty?

Is emptiness conventionally / provisionally non-empty? Please include reference to whose perspective you are replying from. By empty I mean non-substantial, how dharmas are constantly arising and ...
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3 answers
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Do we perceive the whole?

According to I think all Buddhists, the whole is nothing more than its parts. I've read it claimed that, given everything is partite, nothing exists. Perhaps Being means something more than its parts, ...
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4 votes
7 answers
330 views

Sunyata is the truth and compassion is not an illusion?

It’s curious that if you study Buddhism you need to understand that Maya is an illusion and life is a product of cause and effect of past karma, so is deceptive. All my emotions are deceptive but ...
Doubtful Monk's user avatar
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8 answers
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Is nirvana a conceptual construction?

Is nirvana a conceptual construction - empty in that way? For any / only some Buddhists. I'm just trying to figure out how extinction can avoid the extremes of eternalism and annihilation. If it is a ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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The Simultaneity of Cause and Effect

The conventional Buddhist view of causality is that the present negative and positive effects we see in our lives are a result of negative and positive causes that we created in the past. So in order ...
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7 answers
120 views

In Buddhism, is the effect ontologically independent of the cause?

In Buddhism, is the effect ontologically independent of the cause? I'm not asking if the effect makes the cause, which I think would amount to "ontic" dependence; but if the effect can exist ...
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3 answers
314 views

Does 'karma' mean that everything that happens to us is under our control, or only that we are responsible for it?

Does 'karma' mean that everything that happens to us is under our control, or only that we are responsible for it? I thought that only substantial beings could be completely in control of everything ...
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Are absences empty / conceptual constructions, according to all Buddhists?

Are absences empty / conceptual constructions, according to all Buddhists? Or is it -- perhaps -- a fact independent of language that there is no elephant in this room? Does anyone know? A key ...
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2 votes
5 answers
403 views

Sunyata and Void. How can be the void without a super consciousness?

Vedantist calls it Sunya or Sunyata. Buddhists calls it Void . If you once perceive that voidness , is “something”. They both get inside there and return back, saying that was Samadhi. How can be ...
Doubtful Monk's user avatar
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3 answers
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So what is left? It is the true realization of Śūnyatā, or Ultimate Truth, a realm in which “reason is used to destroy itself”

The above is a quote from 'Humphreys, Christmas. Buddhism: An Introduction and Guide'p145. Is it true that the main aim of Buddhism (Mahayana) is for reason to destroy itself? That really sound ...
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What is the "meditation on emptiness" in MN 121?

What is the "meditation on emptiness" in MN 121? What does "emptiness" refer to in this sutta? Also, what does "oneness dependent on the perception of ..." mean in this sutta? “Indeed, Ānanda, ...
ruben2020's user avatar
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Are the four characteristics -- production, abiding, change and destruction -- empty, conceptual constructions?

Are the four characteristics -- production, abiding, change and destruction -- empty, conceptual constructions? Does this make production etc., perhaps even impermanence, an illusion, especially ...
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1 vote
3 answers
112 views

Deep emptiness (nothingness) while meditating

When meditating mom claims that she enters in to deep emptiness and she would reside in that emptiness for the whole period. She also says she can’t even feel her breath or her self. She’s bit lost ...
Explorer's user avatar
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7 answers
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Is uncertainty incompatible with the doctrine of emptiness?

For purposes of this question I define “uncertainty” as a willingness to entertain doubt or acknowledge incomplete knowledge with regards to the truth of the matter about what one knows of a ...
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6 answers
325 views

Emptiness in mind and in reality

Recent exchange here got me thinking. Nagarjuna's karika, 1.3 (Batchelor) Na hi svabhāvo bhāvānāṃ pratyayādiṣu vidyate Avidyamāne svabhāve parabhāvo na vidyate The essence of things ...
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4 answers
585 views

What arguments are there for "karma" -- that the agent inevitably experiences the result of their actions?

There are philosophical arguments for e.g. 'emptiness', as evidenced by it having sections in philosophy encyclopedias. Whether or not you agree with them, probably depends on your language and pre-...
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1 vote
11 answers
382 views

Emptiness and physical pain

How can an understanding of emptiness help when experiencing physical pain, i have some understanding of emptiness from a mental viewpoint, and I understand that I can direct my mind to perceive the ...
Molly's user avatar
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4 answers
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Is suchness, tathata, as a concept always something in addition to phenomena?

Is suchness, tathata, as a concept always something in addition to phenomena? If not, when we talk about the suchness of phenomena we could mean what they are like, the qualitative experience of a ...
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1 vote
5 answers
129 views

Buddhism and Integrative Complexity

I noticed a coincidence between something I read in a book by Thich Nhat Hanh, and an article on research about a psychological phenomenon known to facilitate inner and outer peace. My question is: ...
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Can the change due to impermanence be considered intelligent?

What is the nature of the change due to impermanence ,is it just a random change or intelligent change ?,are the actions resulting from it considered right action or that depends on the degree of ...
Omar Boshra's user avatar
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3 answers
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In the doctrine of no arising does the past and future still exist?

In the doctrine of no arising does the past and future still exist, and if so do they exist in the same way as the present does? And if not, why? From Dogen's Genjo-koan: Firewood becomes ash. ...
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2 answers
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Does emptiness & no-self work together?

Emptiness seems to be very prevalent in Dhamma after Theravada. But I have seen that it still exists in Theravada, it has just been ignored compared to other teachings. Why is emptiness ignored so ...
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2 votes
7 answers
149 views

Virtual things that emerge from interaction and exist as interaction

According to this comment: "Form is like a lump of foam ... And consciousness like an illusion" (SN 22.95) means something more subtle and interesting, much more deep than just "empty of self". ...
ruben2020's user avatar
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Silence and emptiness

I never understood silence or emptiness in Buddhism and how is experiencing them beneficial?.Is it a way for experiencing the arising of experience ?
Omar Boshra's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
230 views

Implementing Emptiness Practically

What is the manner in which those meditating on emptiness actually bring their contemplations into a practical, experienced form? In other words, how does insight (on emptiness) become effective in ...
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2 answers
207 views

What could go wrong if one misconstrue Buddhism with nihilism?

I see that Buddhism is absolutely not nihilism, but I wonder what could go wrong if one misconstrue one with another. This is especially true with people with psychological issues, because they have ...
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