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What's the deal with emptiness?

edited September 2012 in Philosophy
I know emptiness isn't nothingness, and that it refers to things having no permanent essence or self owing to dependent origination. But my question is, in what way does that help? Let's say I experience a certain emotion now - the emotion doesn't have an essence, isn't permanent. In this sense, it is empty. But this knowledge is not going to stop the emotion from occurring, or stop me from reacting. Things go on as they always did, and knowledge of emptiness hasnt changed anythjng.

So why do some schools emphasize it so much?

Comments

  • If you had a 'bad' emotion you could start grasping to needing it to go away.

    It is like the bad emotion is in brer rabbit and the tar baby. The harder you punch the tar baby the more and more you get stuck.

    But when you realize that there is no substance to the 'bad' emotion all of the emotional 'world' that is conjured by your mind loses its hold on you.

    I once told myself this whole story about how my car insurance company screwed me over and I was so angry. When I talked to them I just let all of that go. And I was more able to problem solve with them which is good because the 'screwing over' was a distorted perception. Even if they are really screwing over you can disempower negativity by realizing that it is just sensitivity of your mind that is sensing that you are hurt. Fear and anxiety.

    So it helps dismantle this 'klesha' that I am having a realy bad day and the whole world is against me.
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think The Void Veteran
    The root cause of our suffering is in the way we percieve the world (as solid and independent) and an integrated view of emptiness is the antidote.

    Imagine a negative emotion or situation if it is something solid like a brick your mind can grab onto it and give it meaning. If on the other hand we viewed these things as being empty then they are like a cloud of smoke, our minds have nothing to hold onto and spin into suffering.

    Supposedly this unencumbered state of mind is immensly peaceful. Personally I've had a few scattered experiences of a profoundly peaceful mind so I can say it exists, unfortunately for me nothing lasting or regular though.
  • SonghillSonghill Veteran
    edited September 2012
    Music:

    The first use of emptiness, which is relative emptiness, describes phenomena, or empirical reality. This finite, empirical reality is a derivative reality, the result of dependent origination. Such reality is devoid (sunya) of independent, substantial reality of its own (svabhâva). The second use of emptiness is from the pov of the absolute. The absolute is devoid of thought constructions and plurality. Emptiness is the symbol of the inexpressible, non-conceptual nature of the absolute.

    Jeffreylobster
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    music said:

    I know emptiness isn't nothingness, and that it refers to things having no permanent essence or self owing to dependent origination. But my question is, in what way does that help? Let's say I experience a certain emotion now - the emotion doesn't have an essence, isn't permanent. In this sense, it is empty. But this knowledge is not going to stop the emotion from occurring, or stop me from reacting. Things go on as they always did, and knowledge of emptiness hasnt changed anythjng.

    So why do some schools emphasize it so much?

    The way I see it, emptiness is an important tool in removing the vast net of clinging that gives rise to suffering; and like most tools in Buddhism, it takes time and repeated reflection to realize the benefits, especially when used as a mode of perception utilized in meditation (e.g., see MN 121 and MN 122).
    Jeffrey
  • SabreSabre Veteran
    edited September 2012
    Hi!

    It isn't a tool, it's a sign. Like a sign tells you to turn left or right; you don't hold onto the sign or use the sign for anything else but get a direction. The sign saying 'emptiness' tells you what to look for, or rather, what not to look for. In your experience, do you feel there is a center of experience? Something everything swirls around? Something that chooses or something that experiences?

    How still can you get those things? The more silent the mind, the more these things disappear. Now, when really still (I mean really really still), how deep inside the mind can you look? Is there something there? Look real deep and you'll see there is nothing. That's emptiness. It means the mind (and body) is empty. Not just of a self, but of everything. Not only is it empty inside, but also outside and everywhere, it is nothing but empty.

    So an emotion arises, but in what does it arise? In nothing. Not only is an emotion empty, it also plays out in emptiness. Realizing the latter is way more important and more useful than the former. Now you can't get this by thinking things out. You have to follow the sign. And if you ever arrive at 'emptiness', you don't need the signs no more. You've found what you're looking for all that time and it turns out it was nothing.

    To do this you have to see into the seeing, the mind in the mind, or the mind steadied right within. The seeing which is empty. This is what the Buddha called the jhanas:
    "So, Ananda, if a monk should wish, 'May I enter & remain in internal emptiness,' then he should get the mind steadied right within, settled, unified, & concentrated. And how does the monk get the mind steadied right within, settled, unified, & concentrated? There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana... the second jhana... the third jhana... the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain. That is how a monk gets the mind steadied right within, settled, unified, & concentrated.

    "He attends to internal emptiness. While he is attending to internal emptiness, his mind does not take pleasure, find satisfaction, grow steady, or indulge in internal emptiness. When this is the case, he discerns, 'While I am attending to internal emptiness, my mind does not take pleasure, find satisfaction, grow steady, or indulge in internal emptiness.' In this way he is alert there.

    "He attends to external emptiness...

    "He attends to internal & external emptiness...

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.122.than.html#fn-3
    I hope you'll find it one day.


    With metta,
    Sabre
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited September 2012
    Sabre said:

    It isn't a tool, it's a sign. Like a sign tells you to turn left or right; you don't hold onto the sign or use the sign for anything else but get a direction. The sign saying 'emptiness' tells you what to look for, or rather, what not to look for.

    That's definitely a useful way of looking at it; but I think both analogies are equally valid and simply illustrate different approaches to framing the practice. When speaking of emptiness as a tool, for example, I had in mind the simile in MN 22 where the Buddha likens his teachings to a raft, a tool or means for crossing over to safety on the other shore "secure & free from risk." I take a similar approach to the teaching on not-self as well; and am of the opinion that the more we reflect upon and utilize these teachings and modes of training in our practice, the more useful they'll become and the more insights that'll arise. Of course, one could just as easily suggest that these teachings are signs to tell us what to look for (or not to look for) instead of a raft to take us there, and I wouldn't disagree. Just different ways of saying the same thing, in my opinion. :)
  • SabreSabre Veteran
    edited September 2012
    Yeah, in that way a sign is a tool. :)

    Because in the end, of course, it also isn't a sign. It's the way things are, which is neither a tool or a sign. But it isn't that either, because 'emptiness', it's just a word. It just all depends on how we interpret it. Is it a tool or a sign or both or neither? It really makes no difference how we call it, as long as we approach it wisely.

    What I mainly meant is that it isn't a tool that one just applies whenever an emotion arises that we don't like, or similar things. So I gave another way of using the 'tool' of emptiness as a 'sign' ;) At that moment I didn't yet see (or forgot) you already used the word tool, so it wasn't a response to your post. It was really directed at music.

    Sorry if it was confusing.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    Sabre said:

    Yeah, in that way a sign is a tool. :)

    Because in the end, of course, it also isn't a sign. It's the way things are, which is neither a tool or a sign. But it isn't that either, because 'emptiness', it's just a word. It just all depends on how we interpret it. Is it a tool or a sign or both or neither? It really makes no difference how we call it, as long as we approach it wisely.

    What I mainly meant is that it isn't a tool that one just applies whenever an emotion arises that we don't like, or similar things. So I gave another way of using the 'tool' of emptiness as a 'sign' ;) At that moment I didn't yet see (or forgot) you already used the word tool, so it wasn't a response to your post. It was really directed at music.

    Sorry if it was confusing.

    Ah, just a bit of a misunderstanding on my part then. Glad to see we're on the same page. :)
  • The realization of Emptiness is a state of being where all phenomena are experienced as they ultimately are. A deluded or ignorant mind must make a conscious effort to switch between seeing things as relatively existing to that of seeing things as they ultimately are - empty of independent intrinsic existence.
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited September 2012
    There are mandalas of emotions among sentient beings. And even our bodies are mandalas of organism, organ systems, organs, tissues, and cells. Even smaller than cells are mitochondria. Then molecules, atoms, and particles of atoms.

    Although the mind and all of the mandalas are empty, like sabre has said, there is still order, I don't know if that is the right word, in a sense. We see a right shoe and a left shoe and we know that they go on our feat and that they are right and left. That is due to our involvement in mandalas. But the mandala itself is empty, we cannot control it we just find our balance. But we do find our balance and that is smirti, mindfulness or openness, along with virya/samahdi (energy/concentration), and prajna/sradda (intelligence/embodying)..

    The prajna is insight into the mandala and the sradda is having our insight go into the mandala. This forum is a mandala for example and we are all finding our place. The word 'emptiness' also is a mandala. Buddhism, emptiness, is a submandala.

    So 'what's the difference with emptiness' is no difference as long as you have sradda and prajna and all of the other viryas balanced. But they are not balanced. Otherwise we would never be upset. I mean one kind of upset, as we cannot get rid of feelings, we can just have trust that we will find our harmony. So I would say Buddhism is all about having confidence and balancing the five indiryas.
    taiyaki
  • Emptiness makes everything workable.
  • BhanteLuckyBhanteLucky Alternative lifestyle person in the South Island of New Zealand New Zealand Veteran
    @music, I never used to be able to understand Emptiness. I thought it was a dumb and impossible idea that Buddhists just talked about. How can there be no self, how can everything be empty!! It obviously ISN'T empty! Bull. shit. Can I say bullshit on here?

    But then one day, after a bunch of meditation retreats and 5 months at a monastery, I had a 10-second experience that changed that. I experienced emptiness, no-self (anatta) and suddenly I was "Oooh! That's what emptiness is! Right, it makes sense now... Huh."

    So, personally, I wouldn't bother trying to understand it intellectually. It's not one of those things which can be grasped by the thinking mind. It's like trying to describe the experience of love, or the smell of coffee, or new-mown grass on a warm day. Can't be done.

    That's probably not a satisfying answer, sorry.
    Cloud
  • @JamestheGiant, I think it's well said and true. Emptiness is rather unsatisfying as a concept, it's the reality of it that brings a smile to your face.
    [Deleted User]
  • I've felt the same way about emptiness and other types of concepts, and I've treated concepts as kinda a reliance or crutch to get me out of an emotion but for me it can sometimes be frustrating because in my mind I think "I get it" so then why doesn't my emotion get better. for me I have to remember to rest my thoughts and all the concepts swirling in my head, to stop trying to get more and more the idea of the concept cause even when I do sometimes it's not what I need. so I just stop thinking, you have to stop and watch or wait or give healing love or whatever works to your emotions. what's worked for me when I'm sitting there in a rotten emotion I will stop and realize I don't actually need anything, then after you've chilled out in the emotion area at least a bit then try to ease back the concepts into your actual experience then you will have both heart and mind working together again. for me, I have to be okay in both heart & mind in order to have a clear perspective and start seeing what's real.
  • Lotus21Lotus21 Indiana Explorer
    As Dalai has put it, first understand intellectually, and having intellectual understanding is not good enough, one must have direct realization or experiential understanding which is not an easy to do by any means.

    There are many good articles on the subject of emptiness.
    I find the concept very fascinating though.

  • CloudCloud Veteran
    edited September 2012
    @music, Here's an introduction to emptiness, which I have to remind myself to read:
    http://www.emptiness.co/intro

    "If the selflessness of phenomena is analyzed
    and if this analysis is cultivated,
    It causes the effect of attaining nirvana.
    Through no other cause does one come to peace.
    —The Samadhiraja Sutra"
    [Deleted User]
  • Nagaruna said, "if someone believes in shunyata (emptiness) he is lost."
    andyrobynlobster
  • CloudCloud Veteran
    edited September 2012
    @Songhill, That's to reify emptiness, to cling to it as a concept or self rather than recognize the absence of self/thing/being-ness in all phenomena. To see it in such a way truly is to be lost, to focus on the finger instead of the moon. Emptiness is merely descriptive of the lack of inherent existence of phenomena, like Not-Self.

    Of course given the information below I'm sure you're going to call Nagarjuna a nihilist or materialist too! Perhaps you should take some time, maybe a good deal of time, to reflect on that. :D
    "Nāgārjuna's primary contribution to Buddhist philosophy is in the use of the concept of śūnyatā, or "emptiness," which brings together other key Buddhist doctrines, particularly anātman (no-self) and pratītyasamutpāda (dependent origination), to refute the metaphysics of Sarvastivāda and Sautrāntika (extinct non-Mahayana schools). For Nāgārjuna, as for the Buddha in the early texts, it is not merely sentient beings that are "selfless" or non-substantial; all phenomena are without any svabhāva, literally "own-being" or "self-nature", and thus without any underlying essence. They are empty of being independently existent; thus the heterodox theories of svabhāva circulating at the time were refuted on the basis of the doctrines of early Buddhism. This is so because all things arise always dependently: not by their own power, but by depending on conditions leading to their coming into existence, as opposed to being."

    (Wikipedia, Underline mine.)
    Robinson (1957: p. 300) in discussing the Buddhist logic of Nāgārjuna, states:

    Svabhāva is by definition the subject of contradictory ascriptions. If it exists, it must belong to an existent entity, which means that it must be conditioned, dependent on other entities, and possessed of causes. But a svabhāva is by definition unconditioned, not dependent on other entities, and not caused. Thus the existence of a svabhāva is impossible.

    (Wikipedia)
    taiyaki[Deleted User]
  • Cloud: According to Nagarjuna this world has originated due to imagination. It is totally unreal. Since it is dependently originated it is empty; it lacks self-nature (svabhâva), in other words. Obviously, one cannot believe in the empty (shunyata) any more than we can believe a mirage is real. In this regard the empty is no different from the illusory things of this world.

    Least one get the impression that Nagarjuna's empty illusory world is the alpha and omega they, obviously, have not read Nagarjuna's Dharmadhâtustava. Its main theme is the "naturally luminous Mind' (prakritiprabhasvaram citta) which has been defiled by adventitious defilements which means that mind's perturbations cause it to lose sight of itself as it really is which is increate and luminous.

    Some Buddhists have mistaken the Buddha's diagnosis of the dependently arisen world, that it is empty, to be also the cure. It is not the cure. Realizing the luminous Mind is the cure. But few, if any Buddhists these days accomplish this realization, except to dumb it down to something silly like being aware of awareness.
    lobster
  • CloudCloud Veteran
    edited September 2012
    @Songhill, This shows that you still don't understand emptiness by a long shot (nor Nagarjuna), so it's no wonder you're so confused, and so frustrated with everyone else who you think are materialists or nihilists. Emptiness is not describing an illusory or unreal world whatsoever, that's not how it's explained or to be understood. The real key to enlightenment is the realization of emptiness, and you're going to fail in this if you keep clinging to misinterpretations. If you don't even have the conceptual understanding of emptiness, how can you expect to know the real thing?
    Whatever is dependently co-arisen,
    That is explained to be emptiness.
    That, being a dependent designation,
    Is itself the middle way. (Treatise, 24.18)

    Something that is not dependently arisen,
    Such a thing does not exist.
    Therefore a nonempty thing
    Does not exist. (Treatise, 24.19)
    Read the information on this site, it may help you if you let it: http://www.emptiness.co/intro
    And here's some helpful information on Nagarjuna: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nagarjuna/
  • music said:

    I know emptiness isn't nothingness, and that it refers to things having no permanent essence or self owing to dependent origination. But my question is, in what way does that help? Let's say I experience a certain emotion now - the emotion doesn't have an essence, isn't permanent. In this sense, it is empty. But this knowledge is not going to stop the emotion from occurring, or stop me from reacting. Things go on as they always did, and knowledge of emptiness hasnt changed anythjng.

    So why do some schools emphasize it so much?

    Let's say someone insulted you. Anger arises and passes. You think the insult was uncalled for. Again the emotion arises and passes. Then another person praises you and you feel pleased. This pleasant feeling also arises and passes.

    "You" react because you have not realised the emptiness of self (anatta). Intellectual knowledge is not the same as experiential/gut(heart) knowledge and therein lies the difference.
    Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, was deep through the Perfection of Wisdom, saw clearly that the five aggregates of human existence are empty, and so released himself from suffering.
    http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/emptiness.html
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited September 2012
    @JamestheGiant

    Bull. shit. Can I say bullshit on here?

    No.

    :D
    BhanteLucky
  • What we want the most is happiness, and I believe the best way to reach that is through wisdom and understanding. Buddhism teaches that these three things are existent, impermanence, suffering, and not-self, but we do not fully believe in them. Not everyone believes in what Buddhism teaches, and not everyone cares that the suffering in this world can be cured. We are born thinking that everything that we can see, touch, taste, and feel is permanent. We have been brought up to turn our heads away from what is unsatisfactory, in a way, keeping ourselves shielded from the idea that it exists. In this type of world, grasping and attaching to everything is normal, not realizing that to grasp the wrong thing will lead to suffering. Knowledge of emptiness is not meant to stop an emotion from occurring or meant for us to be emotionless. I believe knowledge of emptiness is meant for us to reflect on and learn from. Whatever suffering I may have, it is because I have grasped or attached to something. If an emotion causes suffering, than what I have learned about emptiness will be useful. If it is not something that hurts, then it is not necessary to reflect on emptiness.
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    music said:

    I know emptiness isn't nothingness, and that it refers to things having no permanent essence or self owing to dependent origination.

    It's part of trying to see things as they really are, dependently arisen and therefore insubstantial and temporary - and therefore not worth attaching to.
    You might find it helpful to focus initially on impermanence, which can be regarded as a "symptom" of emptiness. A phrase I found very helpful was "There are no things, only processes".
  • I found this quote to be illuminating:


    "Language is naturally dualistic so it's impossible for it to accurately describe that which is being discussed. But to clear up your two messages in a way that points somewhat closely; Experience appears to happen, however there's no experiencer and nothing which is experienced. However the absence of self/phenomena cannot be believed, because the self is reborn in the belief, as that which believes or disbelieves. The experience of a thing is a projection, there is no 'thing itself'(even apart from sensory perception like noumena). So there are no 'things' or objects anywhere in experience(of course there is conventionally). But if this is left on the level of belief then it's a rebirth of the same exact ignorance. A notion of absence is just as imputed as the original notion of appearance. A subject-object split of any nature is a projection of ignorance. Thought creates all separation, the problem is that thoughts are believed, and it's believed that thoughts are merely commenting on a 'thing' which inherently exists apart from the thought. But in truth the thought creates the 'thing'. The thought implies a thinker and that which is thought of. Thought and memory create time, space, everything. If you can start to view thought in it's suchness, as merely a sound, that points to nothing and self-liberates the moment it appears, and then eventually see that there's no one who views the thought but that it is self-originated... and it continues to collapse in from there with a few other possible steps until it's only emptiness."

    -Asunthatneversets


    http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/search/label/asunthatneversets
  • http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2012/03/sun-that-never-sets.html

    Just read the whole thing. Its dense but he makes good experiential examples so that you can investigate for yourself.

    Hope this helps.
  • Cloud: No, the real key to enlightenment is not about the realization of emptiness, it's about the realization of the luminous Mind.

    "Abiding thus in equanimity, the mind of the Bodhisattva was completely pure, perfect, luminous, free from emotionality, free from all the fettering passions, supple, perfectly balanced, unwavering" (Lalitavistara Sutra).

    The Bodhisattva, when he became the awakened one (buddha), said nothing about realizing emptiness. It is about mind. Nagarjuna in the Dharmadhatustava says: "But here, the actual nirvana is mind that's free from any stain."

    When you say things like this:
    Emptiness is not describing an illusory or unreal world whatsoever, that's not how it's explained or to be understood.
    I have to wonder what you've actually read of Nagarjuna. According to Nagarjuna in the Lokatitastava, all phenomena (sarvadharmâ) are without reality (nihsvabhâva). They are inactive, dependent, empty (shunya), dependently arisen like an illusion (mâyâ).


    lobster
  • CloudCloud Veteran
    edited September 2012
    @Songhill, You seem no to have the knack for understanding metaphorical language. :) "Like" an illusion does not mean an actual illusion. Emptiness is Mind. The mind that has realized emptiness is the luminous Mind. It all comes back to emptiness, to removing all the conceptual and discriminatory clutter. There are a thousand synonyms used for the same thing, but it's all pointing to the singular empty reality, and empty does not mean unreal or illusory (those are merely our delusional views).

    Buddha-Nature isn't something within us, not something we "have" or that's a hidden part of us (a soul or sixth aggregate), it's the nature of the very five aggregates. The aggregates, all conditioned phenomena, are Mind. It's not something separate. There's no duality! Mind has never been hidden from us, only obscured by our delusions (of self, permanence, satisfactoriness).
    taiyaki
  • You can say it is a flow. But really since you cannot find anything at any particular time you could say it is a mystery.
  • To learn about the idea of emptiness study the masters. Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti and the like. Develop a view that works for you.
    This type of discussion is not helpful. It has bordered on unskillful speech in my view.
    Denigrating the view or the practice of another wayfarer is inappropriate.
  • CloudCloud Veteran
    edited September 2012
    According to Buddhism, when emptiness is realized, peace ensues. One's experience is transformed so that the self, other beings and the world no longer seem like intrinsically compartmentalized objects, distinct and separate from each other. The self and all things are experienced as free.

    If the selflessness of phenomena is analyzed
    and if this analysis is cultivated,
    It causes the effect of attaining nirvana.
    Through no other cause does one come to peace.
       —The Samadhiraja Sutra
    How to Realize Emptiness

    So how does one actually realize that all things, self and world, are empty? In a nutshell, the realization of emptiness of an object is accomplished through trying to find and validate that object's inherent existence. One narrows down the options and looks everywhere where the object's inherent existence might be found. What happens is that one fails to find inherent existence. What one finds is the simple lack of inherent existence. This lack is the thing's emptiness.

    The Experience of Emptiness

    Experiencing self, other and world as empty is to joyfully experience one's place in a light, free, open-ended, interpenetrating webwork of relations and dependencies. Lightness and joy come from no longer feeling as though reality has or needs a foundation. One no longer suffers from existential commitments, yearnings and anxieties. Life and death are freed up. Nothing seems ultimately stiff, frozen, apart, separate or unchangeable. There are no more conceptions of an inherently existing self that exists on its own yet needs to be defended, propped up, aggrandized and pleasured forever. There are no more conceptions of a metaphysical ground underlying existence that can fulfill you if found or frustrate you if not found. Anxieties pertaining to objectivity and ultimacy have ceased. This opens the heart to the radical contingency of all beings, and brings on the sweet, precious desire and commitment to see them free from suffering as well.

    http://www.emptiness.co/intro
    I highly, highly recommend this site for more information on emptiness. :D
  • "The Buddha-nature is not empty. You should understand that in the past I taught all phenomena as empty in the Prajnaparamita teachings and that it was meant merely to teach the emptiness of phenomena as regards a true nature. But by meditating on emptiness as no thing, the bodies and wisdom of the Buddha will not be developed, since results follow causes" (Mahaprainirvana Sutra). Emphasis added.
  • You're just reifying suchness.

    That is Hinduism. End of story.
    Cloud
  • Is an apple empty of self?

    Well if so is it empty of apple?
    lobster
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited September 2012
    I'm with @robot on this one.

    With all due respect,This is right speech for me:
    Things get divisive when Emptiness and Buddha-nature
    are involved. Just different teachings, thats all.

    One should be pretty confident/knowledgeable in their own path/teachings to
    maybe 'catch-on' to the implications of others here.
    On a forum where diversity is celebrated ( alot of god, jc topics, lately.),
    how else can we even get to the hard shit? The practice, remember?
    It's not the end of the story. Not for me.
    If I am taught Buddha-nature/suchness.....then what?
    I dont get to know how to deal with the lay/householder life?

  • BhanteLuckyBhanteLucky Alternative lifestyle person in the South Island of New Zealand New Zealand Veteran
    edited September 2012
    Interestingly, the Buddha said that cultivating Buddha Nature and cultivating Emptiness, is a baaad idea. I don't know why. Maybe it sets up some paradox in the mind, which can do actual damage.
    He said cultivating one or the other is excellent, but both is madness.

    From the’ Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra’

    By having cultivated non-self in connection with the Buddha nature and having continually cultivated emptiness, suffering will not be eradicated but one will become like a moth in the flame of a lamp.
    Vastmind
  • @Taiyaki, Beautifully put.
  • What is relevant is whatever helps at the times of death and sickness etc.. All the rest gets whiped away.
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited September 2012
    @taiyaki... love received. :) Metta, if you will.

    You definetly display confidence/knowledge of your path.

    May we have many fruitfull conversations to come.


    taiyaki
  • Anything to help my brothers and sisters of the dharma.

    We're one large family!
    lobster
  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Canada Veteran
    The thing about emptiness is this: until you observe it as it operates in your own internal workings/reactions, the concept cannot be grasped.
    Do not be in a hurry to "rush" understanding. These things are not comprehend with our intellect. Just like no one can know what a sneeze feels like by figuring it out intellectually ... until you sneeze, any description of it sounds ... somehow inadequate.
    It comes like the dawn ... at a slow pace, as the result of your practices.
    And it does not come from our intellect, but from the state of raw, pure (thought-silenced) awareness and observation.
  • """""Let's say I experience a certain emotion now - the emotion doesn't have an essence, isn't permanent. In this sense, it is empty. But this knowledge is not going to stop the emotion from occurring, or stop me from reacting. Things go on as they always did, and knowledge of emptiness hasnt changed anythjng.""""""

    I think that the principle of emptiness is best seen as a conduit through which we may experience the profoundly spiritual. Over time this practice can change many things. The problem I see here is that you are making the mistake of isolating one thing or a few things, [in this case negative things,] as being empty. This creates concept frameworks and structures that include some things and exclude others; trying to hold inclusion/exclusion concepts this should be very uncomfortable if you have a measure of understanding. It seems to me like you do.
    About the word emptiness; it means literally empty like the inside of a container.. pure, clean, not really good or bad. It has no connection to any abstract philosophical state: once you have the correct tool, which is the most mundane, practical, neutral version of the word 'empty', you can then try to ascertain the impossible through it's use in the scriptures. It is...quite the experience.. As open and clear as the meaning of the word emptiness.
    In the sandinirmocana sutra, sakyamuni buddha, makes reference to hidden meaning in the teachings of emptiness.. also implying that it is not easily understood by any means. He did know how the principle of emptiness seems to us in the beginning.
    I hope this has given you pause for thought.
  • btw, it is my belief that the limitation of language is largely to blame for certain misunderstandings. We basically need a word that exclusively describes the emptiness of containers, areas, etc. This literal meaning is the ticket...unfortunately the English 'empty' has a dual connotation, also describing various emotional, philosophical, psychological states.... it is almost impossible to escape from the second meaning since we are discussing philosophy and religion.
    Eventually and with practice i managed to force the first, literal meaning of 'empty' into the scriptures, which is extremely difficult in itself, the interference from other meaning of the word not withstanding.
  • """""Let's say I experience a certain emotion now - the emotion doesn't have an essence, isn't permanent. In this sense, it is empty. But this knowledge is not going to stop the emotion from occurring, or stop me from reacting. Things go on as they always did, and knowledge of emptiness hasnt changed anythjng.""""""
    The thing goes on but if we know it is just change we can have fast enough footwork to just accept it fully where 'things' are not coming at you rather you are going towards them. So change is still there and thought in the context of reasoning and creativity are still there. But the attachment and resistance to change ends. The eight worldly winds never cease: pain pleausre praise blame gain loss fame infamy. The difference is that our attachment is reduced. For example we have our favorite car we ever have and we wash it every day detail the interior. We know all about cars and it is our prime
    possession. So then we dent the car. Now the attachment leads to suffering. The pleasure of our hobby is NOT the problem, the nature of life is enjoyment at times. But the attachment we make a mountain out of a mole hill, where we should just have a brief storm of anger at the dent, but then let that go.

    It's hard to explain about the eight worldly winds without giving the idea that we have to be detached in the sense of non-feeling. Rather the sorrow of the car damaged is part of our feast, both sorrow and joy.

  • I rather like the Hindu admonition 'neti, neti' - not this, not this.
    In other words when you have a concept or experience of [insert something] it is nothing of import, empty of suchness, empty of independent being. Can you experience it . . .?
    Paradoxically yes.

    I need to lay down . . . :confused:
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