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.)