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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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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2 votes
1 answer
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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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3 answers
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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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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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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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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 ...
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6 answers
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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 ...
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6 answers
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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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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
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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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3 votes
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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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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2 votes
5 answers
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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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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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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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11 answers
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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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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
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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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3 votes
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
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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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3 votes
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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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3 votes
3 answers
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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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6 votes
3 answers
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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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2 votes
2 answers
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Is Scientific Realism/Materialism and/or Historicity compatible with Mahayana?

In my estimation the answer is decidedly 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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3 votes
3 answers
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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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