Shel, Buddhist philosophy through the ages has taken
great pains to distinguish sunyata from "nothingness".
As Robert Thurman puts it "there's no such thing as nothing".
It's a fantasy.
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Emptiness is actually everything, and has no beginning, end, center etc. it's not nothingness or the opposite of existence.
In my experience, nothingness seems a good label for the fantasy/nightmare projected by ego as a perspective in which to hide -either permanently (c.f. 'desire for non-existence') or temporarily (if 'somethingness' is still the ideal)- when its maintenance becomes problematic. This concept of an impermeable 'fuzziness' that excludes everything -perhaps triggered by the delusion that one is fundamentally conscious of nothing but being conscious
- is logicaly opposed to the emptiness that 'permeates' and in
cludes everything: If there are no inherent identities or substances making up 'things', then both the 'things' and their absence are empty and there is therefore no backdrop that might otherwise override the 'things' in an ontological sense. This means there's no ultimate way of distinguishing a 'subjective' from an 'objective'.
This might all be off-topic if not for the confusion typically generated in beginners by the mahayana emphasis on emptiness that's rightly apparent on Dharmawheel. When understood, emptiness brings you down to earth, and -I'm told- this intellectual understanding is merely the beginning _ _