The "Emptiness" and "Empty Void" in Buddhist philosophy

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The "Emptiness" and "Empty Void" in Buddhist philosophy

Postby Wesley1982 » Wed May 30, 2012 1:54 am

Could someone explain or clarify what is meant by "Emptiness" or "Empty void" in some of the sutras and suttas of Buddhist philosophy? thanks.
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Re: The "Emptiness" and "Empty Void" in Buddhist philosophy

Postby Andrew108 » Wed May 30, 2012 2:00 pm

You can look into what the term 'emptiness' means for you by trying to understand the term 'interdependence'. So what does 'interdependence' mean?
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: The "Emptiness" and "Empty Void" in Buddhist philosophy

Postby Wesley1982 » Wed May 30, 2012 4:15 pm

Andrew108 wrote:what does 'interdependence' mean?


A community or set of principles mutually dependent upon each other
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Re: The "Emptiness" and "Empty Void" in Buddhist philosophy

Postby Andrew108 » Wed May 30, 2012 4:55 pm

Hi Wesley. You are not allowed to look up the meaning on the internet. :tongue:
What does interdependence mean for you?
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: The "Emptiness" and "Empty Void" in Buddhist philosophy

Postby Wesley1982 » Wed May 30, 2012 5:16 pm

Andrew108 wrote:What does interdependence mean for you?


Depending on something or someone as a result of basic economic law
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Re: The "Emptiness" and "Empty Void" in Buddhist philosophy

Postby conebeckham » Wed May 30, 2012 6:59 pm

Expand that definition by removing "economic," and think of it in terms of all phenomena, and the law being the law of Dependant Origination.

"Emptiness" means the lack of existence, or ontological status, for phenomena--including sentient beings. Anything which depends on causes and conditions, by definition, lacks existence. We impute existence when there is none.

This topic is huge, and has myriad dimensions, as well as myriad ways of explanation. As noted, Google is your friend.
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Re: The "Emptiness" and "Empty Void" in Buddhist philosophy

Postby Wayfarer » Thu May 31, 2012 3:15 am

As said above, a vast topic

I think one of the problems we have with it is that in the West, emptiness is associated with anomie, or with alienation and meaninglessness. 'I feel so empty' is associated with feelings of disillusionment and abandonment, perhaps after the loss of a relationship or a loved one. But it means something quite different in Buddhist philosophy. In Buddhism 'realizing emptiness' means realizing that nothing has any absolute, fixed or unchanging reality. The main point of this is to overcome the ego's instinctive dependence on external things as sources of security. We generally identify with such things and invest them with great significance. However we start to see that all of the things that we usually invest with such significance, are also dependent on causes and conditions, in other words, they come together and fall apart in time, as does everything and everyone else. That is the key message of emptiness, but it needs to be tempered with compassion. Through compassion the sense of the 'otherness' of those around us is dissolved. This leads to a sense of being together with others, rather than withdrawal into some kind of emotional vacuity. That is the active side of emptiness, namely, bodhicitta. The teachings say that when bodhicitta arises, then the insubstantiality of things is not threatening or alienating, but appears as a sense of non-attachment or naturalness (as per this talk by Lama Yeshe).

So that is a very good question to ask. 'Realizing emptiness' is something that can be accomplished spontaneously and intuitively, through meditation and the other means, such as studying the teachings and indeed there are many very profound sutras and teachings about this question, so it is a matter of meditating on them and reflecting constantly on their meaning. It is not necessarily an easy thing to grasp, but well worth the effort.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: The "Emptiness" and "Empty Void" in Buddhist philosophy

Postby Wesley1982 » Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:50 pm

conebeckham wrote:Expand that definition by removing "economic," and think of it in terms of all phenomena, and the law being the law of Dependant Origination.

"Emptiness" means the lack of existence, or ontological status, for phenomena--including sentient beings. Anything which depends on causes and conditions, by definition, lacks existence. We impute existence when there is none.

This topic is huge, and has myriad dimensions, as well as myriad ways of explanation. As noted, Google is your friend.


It was traditionally understood from the Christian POV, that God or Jesus would fill this "Emptiness" . . .
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Re: The "Emptiness" and "Empty Void" in Buddhist philosophy

Postby conebeckham » Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:43 pm

Wesley

I don't think so...at least not in a "traditional" sense, but....I could be wrong. Try to understand Buddhism on it's own terms, to the best of your abilities. :shrug:
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Re: The "Emptiness" and "Empty Void" in Buddhist philosophy

Postby Spirituality » Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:09 pm

Wesley1982 wrote:
conebeckham wrote:Expand that definition by removing "economic," and think of it in terms of all phenomena, and the law being the law of Dependant Origination.

"Emptiness" means the lack of existence, or ontological status, for phenomena--including sentient beings. Anything which depends on causes and conditions, by definition, lacks existence. We impute existence when there is none.

This topic is huge, and has myriad dimensions, as well as myriad ways of explanation. As noted, Google is your friend.


It was traditionally understood from the Christian POV, that God or Jesus would fill this "Emptiness" . . .

That really has no relation to the Buddhist philosophy of emptiness. It's a technical philosophical term. Check out my website below for more if you insist, but I really think you should take the Dalai Lama's advice to most Christians and just stick with that. It will save you a lot of confusion as well as culture shock.
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