sunyata vs. anatta

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

sunyata vs. anatta

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:32 pm

First pardon if the answer to this is obvious, beyond my own smattering of readings I have no formal education in Buddhist studies.

What is the difference between sunyata and anatta? When I read the basic definition of sunyata, it just sounds like anatta being applied to everything.

Are they complimentary terms for the same thing, or is there some nuance I am missing?
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2135
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA

Re: sunyata vs. anatta

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:07 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:First pardon if the answer to this is obvious, beyond my own smattering of readings I have no formal education in Buddhist studies.

What is the difference between sunyata and anatta? When I read the basic definition of sunyata, it just sounds like anatta being applied to everything.

Are they complimentary terms for the same thing, or is there some nuance I am missing?

Taken from this thread http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=6948&start=140:

Here is an excerpt from a Buddhist glossary site on the definition of twofold Emptiness:

Two emptinesses (二空) include (1) emptiness of self, the ātman, the soul, in a person composed of the five aggregates, constantly changing with causes and conditions; and (2) emptiness of selves in all dharmas—each of the five aggregates, each of the twelve fields, and each of the eighteen spheres, as well as everything else with no independent existence. No-self in any dharma implies no-self in a person, but the latter is separated out in the first category. Realization of the emptiness of self in a person will lead to attainment of Arhatship or Pratyekabuddhahood. Bodhisattvas who have realized both emptinesses ascend to the First Ground on their Way to Buddhahood.
Lotus_Bitch
 
Posts: 164
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:24 am

Re: sunyata vs. anatta

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:30 pm

Not clear exactly on where you are pointing me...though the lower quote stirs something, thank you for that.

Will I progress some on the question if I examine what is an Arhat vs. what is a Bodhisattva?

I should say also I have not read as much Mahayana sutra as the Pali stuff, should I start with Perfection Of Wisdom, and if I read this (or anything else), will it point me in the right direction, or is the question really just splitting hairs anyway?
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2135
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA

Re: sunyata vs. anatta

Postby viniketa » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:31 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:I should say also I have not read as much Mahayana sutra as the Pali stuff, should I start with Perfection Of Wisdom, and if I read this (or anything else), will it point me in the right direction, or is the question really just splitting hairs anyway?


Although based in the Buddha's teachings which can also be found in the Pali canon (Pali: suññatā), the ''doctrine" of śūnyatā is most fully formed in Mahāyāna teachings, specifically those of Nāgārjuna and the Mādhyamika. Buddha used the logic of suññatā to refute the view (dṛṣṭi) of a "self-essence" (svabhāva, literally, "self-being") or ātman. Basically, by showing the truth of dependent arising (pratītyasamutpāda) that all things that arise are dependent on the arising of other things, there is no such thing as "self-essence". Later, Nāgārjuna extended Buddha's logic to refute renewed and new views of ātman as well as using it to refute other "wrong views". There is also further development after Nāgārjuna by a long line of Buddhist logicians.

It is a lot of 'hair splitting', but many find it useful to develop an ability to follow the logic through the teachings. The Prajñāpāramitā (Perfection of Wisdom) sutras really do not lead through the logic, but rather concentrate on the logical 'outcome' of śūnyatā, which is the development of great compassion.

So, to understand the logic of śūnyatā, you might want to start with the work of Nāgārjuna and the numerous commentaries on his work.

Hope this helps.

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
User avatar
viniketa
 
Posts: 819
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:39 am
Location: USA

Re: sunyata vs. anatta

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:39 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Not clear exactly on where you are pointing me...though the lower quote stirs something, thank you for that.

Will I progress some on the question if I examine what is an Arhat vs. what is a Bodhisattva?

I should say also I have not read as much Mahayana sutra as the Pali stuff, should I start with Perfection Of Wisdom, and if I read this (or anything else), will it point me in the right direction, or is the question really just splitting hairs anyway?

I was just citing the source of where I got the quote from, since I remembered that thread.

The "Berzin Archives" are a good source of information, if you are familiar with the terms being used: http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/sutra/level4_deepening_understanding_path/path/eliminating_2_sets_obscurations.html
Lotus_Bitch
 
Posts: 164
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:24 am

Re: sunyata vs. anatta

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:12 am

Thanks very much for the help, both of you.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2135
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA

Re: sunyata vs. anatta

Postby greentara » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:08 am

Is sunyata or anatta correct concepts of the the Buddha's experience of 'enlightenenment, or a blank mind as some schools of the Buddhist religion claim. Could be quite the opposite in fact. For when the ridgepole shatters and the roof falls, then the view of the sky/space is unobstructed. The suchness of the eternal moment, everything, rushes in unencumbered by the central concept of a “me”. One feels everything, sees everything, is everything - not as an experiencer, but as the thing itself.

'Or said another way, without a “me” to get in the way, the entire universe rushes in to fill the gap. Full to overflowing. The cup runneth over.'
greentara
 
Posts: 891
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:03 am

Re: sunyata vs. anatta

Postby ram peswani » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:43 am

Both are absolute Truths.

Suniata also known as Emptiness is the raw material from which
all visible and invisible universes came out.

Anatta also known as "NO SELF" is the goal of hinayana/ therwada path.
Though it is an absolute truth, yet ignorance in every cell of human being
covers that truth. it is a self created shell of ignorance.
ram peswani
 
Posts: 245
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:53 am

Re: sunyata vs. anatta

Postby xabir » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:15 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:First pardon if the answer to this is obvious, beyond my own smattering of readings I have no formal education in Buddhist studies.

What is the difference between sunyata and anatta? When I read the basic definition of sunyata, it just sounds like anatta being applied to everything.

Are they complimentary terms for the same thing, or is there some nuance I am missing?
Anatta means not self, or emptiness of self.

But usually anatta is used in a way that only points to the emptiness of persons, or a subjective self, especially in the Theravada tradition.

Sunyata or emptiness covers both emptiness of a subjective self and emptiness of dharmas (phenomena) or objects. While Pali suttas does talk about the emptiness of dharmas (e.g. Phena Sutta, Kaccayanagotta Sutta, etc etc), you can see this emphasized much more in the Mahayana Prajnaparamita sutras.

By the way you can say that sunyata is anatta (emptiness of self) applied to everything and not just to a person, agent (perceiver/controller/etc) or soul or atman.
xabir
 
Posts: 182
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:14 pm


Return to Exploring Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ConradTree and 7 guests

>