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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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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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 ...
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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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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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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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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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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 ...
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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, ...
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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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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 ...
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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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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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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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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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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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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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". ...
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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 ?
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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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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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Did any Indian Mahayana Buddhists have non-cognition as a goal?

I have found a page in which a sravaka seems to object to a mahayanist that, if those that aren't ordinary people have no cognition, then it's ultimately correct to have sexual relations with a ...
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What is the purpose of the Mahayana 'emptiness' doctrine?

Another naive question... Further to e.g. this answer, which may be an overview of what Mahayana teaches about emptiness, my question is why does Mahayana teach that? I gather that the purpose of ...
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The Cula-suññata Sutta - Pali Canon and emptiness [duplicate]

I've closed the question. No need to answer It's a sore and sensitive subject, emptiness. The Cula-suññata Sutta: The Lesser Discourse on Emptiness. What else is there in the Pali canon that has a ...
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Vijñāna and Śūnyatā… How are they seen as different?

Consciousness is often used to describe Śūnyatā by some teachers but in Buddhism consciousness is one of the aggregates.
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For what reason did Dharmakirti argue that absences are conceptual constructions?

For what reason did Dharmakirti argue that absences are conceptual constructions? I wondered if it was because real absences would have svabhava, would be essences, because they do not change in time? ...
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Of the two extremes (eternalism vs nihilism) the latter is more harmful. Reference?

A common teaching in Mahayana is that of the two extremes it is better to fall into eternalism rather than nihilism. This advice is given by many Mahayana or Middle Way teachers. I'm looking for Sutra ...
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Linking Madhyamaka emptiness to Theravada emptiness through papanca

From the different answers that I have received on various questions that I've asked, I have come to the following ideas: According to Mahayana Madhyamaka emptiness (shunyata), all phenomena is empty ...
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Is Scientific Realism/Materialism and/or Historicity compatible with Mahayana?

In my estimation the answer is decidely no, but I am interested to hear what others think from a Mahayana or Madhyamaka perspective. First, to try and clarify terms I am using scientific realism/...
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Is the Mahayana shunyata same as the Theravada papanca?

I originally wondered whether the Mahayana shunyata (emptiness) is same as the Theravada sankhara (conditioned and compounded phenomena). The problem here is that Mahayana shunyata says even Nibbana ...
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Mahayana view on why Theravada's anatta is insufficient to uproot ignorance?

A Mahayana-practising member wrote this comment: With respect, the Theravada generally has a much more coarse understanding of emptiness and anatta and is confused as to the object of negation. ...
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If Theravada doesn't posit the selflessness of phenomena, then how to interpret SN 22.95?

This question is closely related to this question and this question and this question. There is a Sutta in the Pali Canon that seems to explicitly reject that any of the aggregates is real or ...
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Difference between Theravada's self and Mahayana's intrinsic essence

With reference to this comment: An intrinsic nature, essence or characteristic that is unique to some phenomena that can be described as that phenomena's self. The self of chair would be that ...
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Does the absence of the son of a barren woman truly exist?

In Je Tsongkhapa's, Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path Volume 3 pages 343-344 we have this: Therefore, as I explained before, the sword of reasoning cuts through phenomena, revealing that ...
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Does truth of emptiness imply that nothing existent ever ends?

Can emptiness be understood as a conservation law? In other words, is it true that to posit a true end to any existent is to necessarily presuppose that it truly existed before it ended? Another way ...
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Can knowledge of suchness or emptiness be achieved through cessation of conceptualization?

Inspired by this comment and this answer I wonder, can the first bhumi be gained via the complete cessation of conceptualization? ie, if one achieves the complete cessation of all concepts is this ...
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What is papañca

One word in Pali Canon seems to be especially challenging for translators to convey. This word is "papañca" (e.g. MN18, DN21, Sn 4.11, AN4.173). Some attempts at translating papañca include "...
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Difference between Buddhist and materialist views of no self?

This question follows from a discussion on the materialist, scientific reductionist understanding of no self, and was posted in a comment: In what way does the materialist view differ from Buddhism ...
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What *is* intrinsically real? Is the “unconditioned”, “absolute”, or “ultimate” intrinsically real?

To better see the relative, insubstantial nature of phenomena, maybe it is helpful to think about this another way, that is, seeing what is not relative, not conditioned, not empty. It has been said ...
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Is a dream object an existent? How about the face in the mirror?

The context for this question is contemporary Tibetan Buddhist Monastic debate and associated definitions as practiced at Sera Je Monastic University. I'm looking for answers according to the specific ...
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Earliest usage of “rope or snake” allegory in Buddhist literature?

The allegory of a rope being mistaken for a snake to explain subtle metaphysical points is widespread in Buddhist literature. In particular, Je Tsongkhapa uses this allegory many times in his works to ...
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Judgment, Stereotyping, and Empathic Compassion

I am somewhat curious, following an answer to a previous question of mine, as to why understanding a person's background might inhibit judging them in a stereotypical way. I perceived this in my ...
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If no sentient being exists, for whom is there compassion? 'A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life' by Santideva

Quoted below is from 'A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life' by Santideva, Chapter IX: The Perfection of Wisdom. I'm struggling to follow the line of thought, can someone please decipher what it ...
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How can the concept of Anicca be linked to Sunyata?

Sunyata is more commonly used to explain Anatta, but how about Anicca?
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Emptiness and Mental Disposition

Upon reading Andrei Volkov's answer on this post, I am stricken by a deep questioning. My two questions are: (1) can emptiness be unsuitable for some dispositions? and (2) can emptiness be partially ...
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Why should Mahayana practitioners strive for anything at all?

In the Theravada tradition: There is no self in all phenomena (including the five aggregates). The five aggregates and the rest of nature and the world is always changing and not permanent (anicca). ...