This universe really cannot be said as anything, not even as universe.
This is clearly shown by Bodhidharma, when he asked his final disciples. The final disciple can just come forward and bow down to him.
Bodhidharma asked, “Can each of you say something to demonstrate your understanding?”
Dao Fu stepped forward and said, “It is not bound by words and phrases, nor is it separate from words and phrases. This is the function of the Tao.”
Bodhidharma: “You have attained my skin.”
The nun Zong Chi stepped up and said, “It is like a glorious glimpse of the realm of Akshobhya Buddha . Seen once, it need not be seen again.”
Bodhidharma; “You have attained my flesh.”
Dao Yu said, “The four elements are all empty. The five skandhas are without actual existence. Not a single dharma can be grasped.” Bodhidharma: “You have attained my bones.”
Finally, Huike came forth, bowed deeply in silence and stood up straight.
Bodhidharma said, “You have attained my marrow.”
See this at minutes- 11:20
Pali sutta put this issue nicely:
When you can see this is not this, this is not that, you reach the final conclusion that it has no criterion. It makes you mute.
Why it makes us mute?
Because of rootlessness and baselessness, lack of inherent existence, lack of any possible basis, that makes whatever assertion you propose becoming invalid.
Whatever you assert - it just doesn't exist.
Even nihilism doesn't exist.
There is no criterion in rootlessness and baselessness.
Shantideva and Nagarjuna put all this "NO CRITERION" very nicely in explaining why Buddha can be at peace at all time:
Eventually, when both the true existence of things and the true existence of emptiness no longer appear to the mind,
the mind will abide in the resultant pacified state, in which all conceptuality has ceased.
With the absence of all projections is the innate nature attained.
Such is the way followed by all the Victors of the three times.