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Emptiness (Suññatā) - Dhamma Wheel

Emptiness (Suññatā)

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Viscid
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Emptiness (Suññatā)

Postby Viscid » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:01 pm

"What holds attention determines action." - William James

Hoo
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Re: Emptiness (Suññatā)

Postby Hoo » Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:46 pm

A book I've enjoyed is "Heartwood of the Bodhi Tree," The Buddha's Teaching on Voidness by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. I'm not a 20 year practitioner - more like 20 months :) but I wanted to share the book title with you.

Hoo

Nyana
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Re: Emptiness (Suññatā)

Postby Nyana » Sat May 14, 2011 5:19 am


Kondanna's Insight
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Re: Emptiness (Suññatā)

Postby Kondanna's Insight » Tue May 24, 2011 2:49 am

I would like to recommend David J. Kalupahana's book Nagarjuna: The Philosophy of the Middle Way. It's a translation of the Mulamadhyamikakarika (or Karika for short), the most important work of Nagarjuna, who is often regarded as the "Martin Luther" of Mahayana. In it Nagarjuna lays out what has usually been viewed as a new, distinctly Mahayana teaching about emptiness. But Kalupahana analyses the Karika from a more Early Buddhist/Theravadin perspective and finds its teachings about emptiness to be entirely compatible with the Pali Canon. (Kalupahana argues the Karika is basically a commentary on the Kaccayanagotta Sutta.) The Karika is by no means an easy read, but I found Kalupahana's introduction to be perhaps the clearest and most cogent explanation of the Buddha's teachings I have ever read, and just for that I recommend it to any Buddhist of whatever persuasion.

Kondanna's Insight

alan
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Re: Emptiness (Suññatā)

Postby alan » Tue May 24, 2011 3:17 am

Hmm. I doubt you'll find fertile ground on DW if your intention is to advertise for Nagarjuna.
I've heard all the arguments and have rejected them. If that is true with me it is also probably true for those who've been doing this a lot longer than I have.

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retrofuturist
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Re: Emptiness (Suññatā)

Postby retrofuturist » Tue May 24, 2011 3:19 am

Greetings Alan,

It's interesting to read what ven. Nanananda has to say about Nagarjuna in "The Heretic Sage" interviews.

(sorry, no link today... in a rush :) )

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Dmytro
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Re: Emptiness (Suññatā)

Postby Dmytro » Tue May 24, 2011 3:41 am



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ground
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Re: Emptiness (Suññatā)

Postby ground » Tue May 24, 2011 4:01 am

IMO if one takes Nagarjuna's karikas as a response to abhidammic substantialism then that's fine and reveals that this work is actually in line with the Buddha's teachings.
And if one takes Nagarjuna's karikas as the starting point of a dialectical philosophy then one has gone astray.

Kind regards

rowyourboat
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Re: Emptiness (Suññatā)

Postby rowyourboat » Tue May 24, 2011 7:21 am

What is the practical application of emptiness? Is it a stepping stone to nibbana (or full emptiness, if you like).

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

Kondanna's Insight
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Re: Emptiness (Suññatā)

Postby Kondanna's Insight » Tue May 24, 2011 6:25 pm

Rowyourboat,

The practical application of emptiness is that it allows us to cultivate non-clinging to all phenomena, both physical and mental. Emptiness has two dimensions: ontological and psychological. Ontological emptiness is the fact that all of the “individual things” in the “exterior” world are shaped by a matrix of causal factors (i.e., dependent arising), and thus do not possess self-nature and are impermanent and cannot be clung to for any lasting happiness. Psychological emptiness is the realization that all of our states of mind, whether good, bad, or indifferent, are likewise causally conditioned and thus impermanent and cannot be clung to for lasting happiness. So insight into emptiness, whether ontological or psychological, allows us to cultivate a non-clinging attitude toward phenomena, leading to a serenity that results in the ceasing of the kamma production that keeps us locked in samsara. So yes, emptiness is definitely a stepping-stone to Nibbana.

And Alan, I’m not trying to shill for Mahayana, if that is what you’re insinuating. In fact, it was reading Kalupahana’s book that ultimately led me to Theravada.

Kondanna’s Insight

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Aloka
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Re: Emptiness (Suññatā)

Postby Aloka » Tue May 24, 2011 6:40 pm


rowyourboat
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Re: Emptiness (Suññatā)

Postby rowyourboat » Tue May 24, 2011 10:27 pm

Thanks for the replies. It is said that sometimes the mind has difficulty letting go of phenomena, just before attainment (into the nibbana dhathu). The simile is that of a bird circling over a mast of a ship because it sees no dry land to land on ie it is unfamiliar with nibbana (seven purifications-Ven Matara Nanarama). I wondered if this practice of sunnata a la culla-sunnata sutta was aimed at making the mind more familiar with that state.

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha


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