Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

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Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby Nyana » Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:14 pm

PeterB wrote:There is therefore no Theravada hook on which to hang concepts like Sunyata. Clearly they have their origin in the concept of Anatta, but developed beyond what is deductible from the Canon. There are therefore widely seen in the Theravada as proliferation of ideas.


Hmmm.... That's true, "emptiness" has been used in all sorts of ways throughout the centuries in support of various views. Nevertheless, there are many teachings on emptiness (suññatā) and related teachings throughout the Pāḷi dhamma. IMO it might be worthwhile to consider how emptiness is used in its various applications in the Pāḷi canon. For example:

    And what is the emptiness awareness-release (suññatā cetovimutti)? There is the case where a monk, having gone into the wilderness, to the root of a tree, or into an empty dwelling, considers this: 'This is empty of self or of anything pertaining to self.' This is called the emptiness awareness-release. [MN 43, SN 41.7]


    “Sāriputta, your faculties are clear. The color of your skin is pure and bright. What abiding do you often abide in now, Sāriputta?”

    “Now, venerable sir, I often abide in voidness (suññatāvihāra).”

    “Good, good, Sāriputta! Now, indeed, you often abide in the abiding of a great man. For this is the abiding of a great man, namely, voidness.

    “So, Sāriputta, if a bhikkhu would wish: ‘May I now often abide in voidness,’ he should consider thus: ‘On the path by which I went to the village for alms, or in the place where I wandered for alms, or on the path by which I returned from the almsround, was there any desire, lust, hate, delusion, or aversion in my mind regarding forms cognizable by the eye?... regarding sounds cognizable by the ear?... regarding odors cognizable by the nose?... regarding flavors cognizable by the tongue?... regarding tangibles cognizable by the body?... regarding mind-objects cognizable by the mind?’ If, by reviewing, he knows thus: ‘On the path by which I went to the village for alms…there was desire, lust, hate, delusion, or aversion in my mind regarding mind-objects cognizable by the mind,’ then he should make an effort to abandon those evil unwholesome states. But if, by reviewing, he knows thus: ‘On the path by which I went to the village for alms…there was no desire, lust, hate, delusion, or aversion in my mind regarding mind-objects cognizable by the mind,’ then he can abide happy and glad, training day and night in wholesome states.” [MN 151]


    'Empty village' (suñña gāma) stands for the six internal sense media. If a wise, competent, intelligent person examines them from the point of view of the eye, they appear abandoned, void, & empty. If he examines them from the point of view of the ear... the nose... the tongue... the body... the intellect, they appear abandoned, void, & empty. [SN 35.197 (CDB SN 35.238)]

And there are entire discourses on emptiness:

MN 121 Cūḷasuññatā Sutta

MN 122 Mahāsuññatā Sutta

MN 122 Mahāsuññatā Sutta & Commentary

SN 35.85 Suñña Sutta

SN 22.95 Pheṇapiṇḍūpama Sutta


And also entire discourses on teaching by the middle (majjhena dhamma):

SN 12.17 Acelakassapa Sutta (Also SN 12.15, SN 12.35, SN 12.48, SN 22.90, etc.)

:buddha1:
Last edited by Nyana on Sat Aug 28, 2010 9:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby Nyana » Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:15 pm

And entire commentaries on emptiness. For example, Paṭisambhidāmagga Suññatākathā (excerpts):

    What is emptiness in [relation to] change?

    Born, form is empty of self-nature (sabhāvena suñña); disappeared, form is both changed and empty.

    Born, feeling is empty of self-nature; disappeared, feeling is both changed and empty.

    Born, perception is empty of self-nature; disappeared, perception is both changed and empty.

    Born, fabrications are empty of self-nature; disappeared, fabrications are both changed and empty.

    Born, consciousness is empty of self-nature; disappeared, consciousness is both changed and empty.

    Born, the eye is empty ... the ear is empty ... the nose is empty ... the tongue is empty ... the body is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, forms are empty ... sounds are empty ... odors are empty ... flavors are empty ... tactile sensations are empty of self-nature; disappeared, they are both changed and empty.

    Born, visual consciousness is empty ... auditory consciousness is empty ... olfactory consciousness is empty ... gustatory consciousness is empty ... tactile consciousness is empty ... mental consciousness is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, eye-contact is empty ... ear-contact is empty ... nose-contact is empty ... tongue-contact is empty ... body-contact is empty ... mind-contact is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, feeling born of eye-contact is empty ... feeling born of ear-contact is empty ... feeling born of nose-contact is empty ... feeling born of tongue-contact is empty ... feeling born of body-contact is empty ... feeling born of mind-contact is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, perception of forms is empty ... perception of sounds is empty ... perception of odors is empty ... perception of flavors is empty ... perception of tactile sensations is empty ... perception of mental phenomena is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, volitional intention pertaining to forms is empty ... volitional intention pertaining to sounds is empty ... volitional intention pertaining to odors is empty ... volitional intention pertaining to flavors is empty ... volitional intention pertaining to tactile sensations is empty ... volitional intention pertaining to mental phenomena is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, craving for forms is empty ... craving for sounds is empty ... craving for odors is empty ... craving for flavors is empty ... craving for tactile sensations is empty ... craving for mental phenomena is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, directed thought pertaining to forms is empty ... directed thought pertaining to sounds is empty ... directed thought pertaining to odors is empty ... directed thought pertaining to flavors is empty ... directed thought pertaining to tactile sensations is empty ... directed thought pertaining to mental phenomena is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, examination pertaining to forms is empty ... examination pertaining to sounds is empty ... examination pertaining to odors is empty ... examination pertaining to flavors is empty ... examination pertaining to tactile sensations is empty ... examination pertaining to mental phenomena is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, the eye sensory sphere is empty ... the form sensory sphere is empty ... the ear sensory sphere is empty ... the sound sensory sphere is empty ... the nose sensory sphere is empty ... the odor sensory sphere is empty ... the tongue sensory sphere is empty ... the flavor sensory sphere is empty ... the body sensory sphere is empty ... the tactile sensation sensory sphere is empty ... the mind sensory sphere is empty ... the mental phenomena sensory sphere is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, the eye element is empty ... the form element is empty ... the visual consciousness element is empty ... the ear element is empty ... the sound element is empty ... the auditory consciousness element is empty ... the nose element is empty ... the odor element is empty ... the olfactory consciousness element is empty ... the tongue element is empty ... the flavor element is empty ... the gustatory consciousness element is empty ... the body element is empty ... the tactile sensation element is empty ... the tactile consciousness element is empty ... the mind element is empty ... the mental phenomena element is empty ... the mental consciousness element is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, the sensual desire element is empty ... the form element is empty ... the formless element is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, ignorance is empty ... fabrications are empty ... consciousness is empty ... name and form are empty ... the sixfold sensory spheres are empty ... contact is empty ... feeling is empty ... craving is empty ... grasping is empty ... becoming is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    What is supreme emptiness?

    This dhamma is supreme, this dhamma is superior, this dhamma is excellent: the calming of all fabrications, the release of all acquisitions, the exhaustion of craving, dispassion, cessation, nibbāna. This is supreme emptiness.

    What is internal emptiness?

    Internally the eye is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the ear is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the nose is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the tongue is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the body is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the mind is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    This is internal emptiness.

    What is external emptiness?

    Externally form is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Externally sound is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Externally odor is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Externally flavor is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Externally tactile sensation is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Externally mental phenomena are empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    This is external emptiness.

    What is emptiness both ways?

    Internally the eye and externally form are both empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the ear and externally sound are both empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the nose and externally odor are both empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the tongue and externally flavor are both empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the body and externally tactile sensation are both empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the mind and externally mental phenomena are both empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    This is emptiness both ways.

    What is the ultimate meaning (paramattha) of emptiness [as it relates to] all kinds of emptiness, which is the terminating of occurrence in one who is fully aware?

    Here, through renunciation one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of sensual desire; through nonaggression one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of aggression; through perception of light one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of dullness and drowsiness; through nondistraction one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of agitation; through understanding phenomena one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of doubt; through knowledge one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of ignorance; through gladness one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of boredom.

    Through the first jhāna one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of the hindrances; through the second jhāna one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of directed thought and examination; through the third jhāna one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of rapture; through the fourth jhāna one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of pleasure; through the attainment of the sphere of infinite space one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of perceptions of form, perceptions of resistance, and perceptions of diversity; through the attainment of the sphere of infinite consciousness one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of perception of the sphere of infinite space; through the attainment of the sphere of nothingness one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of perception of the sphere of infinite consciousness; through the attainment of the sphere of neither-perception-nor-nonperception one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of perception of the sphere of nothingness.

    Through the contemplation of impermanence one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of the perception of permanence; through the contemplation of unsatisfactoriness one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of the perception of satisfactoriness; through the contemplation of not-self one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of the perception of self; through the contemplation of dispassion one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of delight; through the contemplation of fading away one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of greed; through the contemplation of cessation one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of arising; through the contemplation of relinquishment one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of grasping; through the contemplation of decay one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of the perception of compactness; through the contemplation of fall one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of accumulation; through the contemplation of change one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of the perception of everlastingness; through the contemplation of signlessness one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of signs; through the contemplation of desirelessness one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of desire; through the contemplation of emptiness one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of misinterpretation; through the clear seeing of phenomena that is higher discernment one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of misinterpretation due to grasping at a core; through gnosis and seeing one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of misinterpretation due to delusion; through the contemplation of [the] danger [of fabrications] one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of misinterpretation due to reliance [on fabrications]; through the contemplation of reflection one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of non-reflection; through the contemplation of turning away one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of misinterpretation due to bondage.

    Through the stream-entry path one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of defilements associated with wrong view; through the once-returner path one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of gross defilements; through the non-returner path one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of secondary defilements; through the arahant path one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of all defilements [i.e. ignorance].

    Or through the nibbāna element (nibbānadhātu) without any grasping remaining for one who is fully aware this occurrence of eye ends and no further occurrence of eye arises; this occurrence of ear ends and no further occurrence of ear arises; this occurrence of nose ends and no further occurrence of nose arises; this occurrence of tongue ends and no further occurrence of tongue arises; this occurrence of body ends and no further occurrence of body arises; this occurrence of mind ends and no further occurrence of mind arises.

    This is the ultimate meaning of emptiness [as it relates to] all kinds of emptiness, which is the terminating of occurrence in one who is fully aware.

Paṭisambhidāmagga Vimokkhakathā (excerpts):

    Monks, there are these three liberations (vimokkha). What three? Emptiness liberation, signlessness liberation, and desirelessness liberation. These, monks, are three liberations.

    What is emptiness liberation?

    Here, monks, a monk, gone to the forest or to the root of a tree or to an empty place, reflects: 'This is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self.' In this way he construes no misinterpretation [regarding phenomena], therefore it is liberation through emptiness. This is emptiness liberation.

    What is signlessness liberation?

    Here, monks, a monk, gone to the forest or to the root of a tree or to an empty place, reflects: 'This is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self.' In this way he construes no signs [regarding phenomena], therefore it is liberation through signlessness. This is signlessness liberation.

    What is desirelessness liberation?

    Here, monks, a monk, gone to the forest or to the root of a tree or to an empty place, reflects: 'This is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self.' In this way he construes no desire [regarding phenomena], therefore it is liberation through desirelessness. This is desirelessness liberation.

    Knowledge from contemplation of the impermanence of form ... feeling ... perception ... fabrications ... consciousness ... etc., is emptiness liberation because it liberates from misinterpreting [these phenomena] as being permanent.

    Knowledge from contemplation of the unsatisfactoriness of form ... feeling ... perception ... fabrications ... consciousness ... etc., is emptiness liberation because it liberates from misinterpreting [these phenomena] as being satisfactory.

    Knowledge from contemplation of the selflessness of form ... feeling ... perception ... fabrications ... consciousness ... etc., is emptiness liberation because it liberates from misinterpreting [these phenomena] as being a self.

    Knowledge from contemplation of the signlessness of form ... feeling ... perception ... fabrications ... consciousness ... etc., is emptiness liberation because it liberates from misinterpreting [these phenomena] as having signs.

    Knowledge from contemplation of the desirelessness of form ... feeling ... perception ... fabrications ... consciousness ... etc., is emptiness liberation because it liberates from misinterpreting [these phenomena] as being desirable.

    Knowledge from contemplation of the emptiness of form ... feeling ... perception ... fabrications ... consciousness ... etc., is emptiness liberation because it liberates from all misinterpretation.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby PeterB » Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:19 pm

When I used the Sanskrit I did so advisedly. But please feel free to post another huge chunk of stuff that i wont read Geoff.
:anjali:

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Re: Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby Nyana » Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:21 pm

PeterB wrote:When I used the Sanskrit I did so advisedly.

This view is also found in the Sanskrit Āgamas.

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Re: Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby PeterB » Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:22 pm

See my reply above.

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Re: Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby PeterB » Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:28 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
PeterB wrote:When I used the Sanskrit I did so advisedly.

This view is also found in the Sanskrit Āgamas.

You completely missed my point Geoff.

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Re: Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby Shonin » Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:37 pm

What was your point Peter? That Geoff is over-quoting?

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Re: Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby PeterB » Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:43 pm

No Shonin, although Geoff is ....erm.... unrealistic to say the least if he thinks that 98% of his readership including me has the inclination to wade through all that stuff. This is not an academic forum. Neither is the practice of the Dhamma an abstract or academic exercise.
I also wonder why he felt the need to create a new thread around an edited reply taken from context ... But thgats his right. Just as its mine to to say that I am not playing.

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Re: Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby Nyana » Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:54 pm

PeterB wrote:...the inclination to wade through all that stuff. This is not an academic forum. Neither is the practice of the Dhamma an abstract or academic exercise.

There is no dhamma without right view.

PeterB wrote:I also wonder why he felt the need to create a new thread around an edited reply taken from context ... But thgats his right. Just as its mine to to say that I am not playing.

No playing involved. This thread is about suññatā as taught in the Pāḷi dhamma. And suññatā is an important teaching according to the Pāḷi dhamma.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby SDC » Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:04 pm

PeterB wrote:I also wonder why he felt the need to create a new thread around an edited reply taken from context ...


Perhaps in these "call-out" threads, the OP should link to the original discussion in which the quote is from, so the rest of us can fully understand what is being brought up and why.

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Re: Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby Nyana » Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:13 pm

SDC wrote:Perhaps in these "call-out" threads, the OP should link to the original discussion in which the quote is from, so the rest of us can fully understand what is being brought up and why.

My mistake for not framing the quote from Peter more explicitly. The intent wasn't and isn't to "call out" Peter. The intent was to point to what is and is not suññatā according to the Pāḷi dhamma.

:anjali:

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Re: Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby PeterB » Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:15 pm

Or even better perhaps SDC , condescend to partake in the original thread instead of engaging in Bernesian gameplay.
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Re: Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby SDC » Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:26 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:My mistake for not framing the quote from Peter more explicitly. The intent wasn't and isn't to "call out" Peter. The intent was to point to what is and is not suññatā according to the Pāḷi dhamma.

:anjali:


That's fine. But it did start with someone's quote from another thread. If there was no quote I wouldn't have said a word. It would just make it easier on the rest of us to join in the discussion.

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Re: Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby Nyana » Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:29 pm

PeterB wrote:Or even better perhaps SDC , condescend to partake in the original thread instead of engaging in Bernsian gameplay.

You feel insulted Peter?

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Re: Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby SDC » Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:30 pm

PeterB wrote:Or even better perhaps SDC , condescend to partake in the original thread instead of engaging in Bernsian gameplay.


Or that. :tongue:

Perhaps the OP was concerned about going too far off the topic of the other thread. I just was curious about what was being discussed, but without knowing how it started, I didn't want to say anything.

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Re: Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby bodom » Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:42 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
PeterB wrote:Or even better perhaps SDC , condescend to partake in the original thread instead of engaging in Bernsian gameplay.

You feel insulted Peter?


Conflict seem's to follow peter around the forum. If its not with you its with alex or anna.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah

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Re: Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby Nyana » Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:44 pm

bodom wrote:Conflict seem's to follow peter around the forum. If its not with you its with alex or anna.

Ah. Nevertheless I'm interested to hear what strategy Peter feels I was trying to employ?

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Re: Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby PeterB » Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:41 pm

bodom wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:
PeterB wrote:Or even better perhaps SDC , condescend to partake in the original thread instead of engaging in Bernsian gameplay.

You feel insulted Peter?


Conflict seem's to follow peter around the forum. If its not with you its with alex or anna.

:anjali:

I did not start this thread Bodom. neither have I initiated any conversations with Alex123, just responded to his. And I dont start threads by taking posts out of their context.
But perhaps you are right....perhaps the forum would be a more peaceful place without me.

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Re: Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby bodom » Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:49 pm

PeterB wrote:But perhaps you are right....perhaps the forum would be a more peaceful place without me.


Not what im saying in the least bit peter.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah

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Re: Emptiness (suññatā) in the Pāḷi dhamma

Postby PeterB » Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:52 pm

Its what I am saying Bodom.

:anjali:


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