Suññata and Anattā

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Suññata and Anattā

Postby cooran » Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:09 am

Hello all,

I'm wondering in which way the terms Suññata and Anattā are saying the same thing, and in which way they are not. There seems to be a wide belief that Anattā refers only to 'beings'.

SN 35.85 Suñña Sutta Empty
Then Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, "It is said that the world is empty, the world is empty, lord. In what respect is it said that the world is empty?"
"Insofar as it is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self: Thus it is said, Ananda, that the world is empty. And what is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self? The eye is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Forms... Eye-consciousness... Eye-contact is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self.
"The ear is empty...
"The nose is empty...
"The tongue is empty...
"The body is empty...
"The intellect is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Ideas... Intellect-consciousness... Intellect-contact is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Thus it is said that the world is empty."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... tml#answer

Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found;
The deeds are, but no doer of the deeds is there;
Nibbāna is, but not the man that enters it;
The path is, but no traveler on it is seen." Vis.M. XVI
The contemplation of not-self (anattānupassanā) leads to the emptiness liberation (suññatā-vimokkha, s. vimokkha). (Nyanatiloka Thera. A Buddhsit Dictionary)

metta
Chris
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Re: Suññata and Anattā

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:39 am

Greetings Chris,

Chris wrote:I'm wondering in which way the terms Suññata and Anattā are saying the same thing, and in which way they are not. There seems to be a wide belief that Anattā refers only to 'beings'.


I understand suññata to simultaneously represent both anattā and anicca.

I would be interested to know if this conforms with the Classical Theravadin position.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Suññata and Anattā

Postby Jason » Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:51 pm

Chris,

My understanding is that the term "emptiness" (adj. sunna, noun sunnata) is used in a couple of different but related ways. In one context, as Thanissaro notes, emptiness is used as a mode of perception, a way of looking at experience that is utilized in meditation (e.g., MN 121, MN 122).

In another context, emptiness refers to the unsubstantiality of the five clinging-aggregates (khandhas) and the six sense media (ayatanas) (e.g., SN 2295, SN 35.85). In this sense, it is synonymous with not-self (anatta).

Beyond that, I am not sure.

Jason
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Suññata and Anattā

Postby kc2dpt » Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:59 pm

Chris wrote:There seems to be a wide belief that Anattā refers only to 'beings'.

I would say anatta relates to beings, as it is beings who take things as atta - me, mine, or myself. But they can end up taking anything as atta - my arm, my personality, my car.
- Peter

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