Shunyata is there a concept in theravadin?

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Shunyata is there a concept in theravadin?

Postby Namu Butsu » Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:12 pm

Namaste,

Is there a concept of emptiness or a realization of emptiness in Theravada buddhism?

:alien:
"It was only when I went to China in 1954-55 that I actually studied Marxist ideology and learned the history of the Chinese revolution. Once I understood Marxism, my attitude changed completely. I was so attracted to Marxism, I even expressed my wish to become a Communist Party member."-Dalai Lama (Time Magazine 1999)
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Re: Shunyata is there a concept in theravadin?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:41 pm

Greetings,

Yes, in Pali it's called suññata

Here are a couple of sutta about it, for you to investigate.

MN 122: Maha-suññata Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

MN 121: Cula-suññata Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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: Shunyata is there a concept in theravadin?

Postby Namu Butsu » Sun Jul 19, 2009 1:45 am

Namaste,

Thanks for that retro. I had asked a theravadan monk but I dont think he quite understood my question because his english was not so good. So i needed some clarification. That helped :toast:
"It was only when I went to China in 1954-55 that I actually studied Marxist ideology and learned the history of the Chinese revolution. Once I understood Marxism, my attitude changed completely. I was so attracted to Marxism, I even expressed my wish to become a Communist Party member."-Dalai Lama (Time Magazine 1999)
http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma3/vegi.html (Meat eating and vegetarianism)
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Re: Shunyata is there a concept in theravadin?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:28 am

See also: http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... %B1%C3%B1a
Suñña: adj., Suññatā: noun: void ness, empty emptiness. As a doctrinal term it refers, in Theravāda, exclusively to the anattā doctrine,.i.e. the unsubstantiality of all phenomena:;Void is the world... because it is void of a self and anything belonging to a self; suññam attena vā attaniyena vā S. XXXV, 85; also stated of the 5 groups of existence khandha in the same text. See also M. 43, M. 106. - In CNidd. quoted in Vis.M XXI, 55, it is said:,Eye... mind, visual objects... mental-objects, visual consciousness... mind-consciousness, materiality... consciousness, etc., are void of self and anything belonging to a self; void of permanency and of anything lasting, eternal or immutable.. They are coreless: without a core of permanency, or core of happiness or core of self.; - In M. 121, the voiding of the mind of the fermentations, in the attainment of Arahatship, is regarded as the;fully purified and incomparably highest concept of voidness. - See Sn. v. 1119; M. 121; M. 122 WHEEL 87; Pts.M. II: Suñña-kathā; Vis.M XXI, 53ff.

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Re: Shunyata is there a concept in theravadin?

Postby Rhino » Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:19 am

Have a look at Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, especially his writing HEART-WOOD FROM THE BO TREE

There is also an active thread about him here on DhammaWheel:
How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?
With best wishes

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Re: Shunyata is there a concept in theravadin?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:41 am

Emptiness
by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
© 1997–2009

Emptiness is a mode of perception, a way of looking at experience. It adds nothing to and takes nothing away from the raw data of physical and mental events. You look at events in the mind and the senses with no thought of whether there's anything lying behind them.

This mode is called emptiness because it's empty of the presuppositions we usually add to experience to make sense of it: the stories and world-views we fashion to explain who we are and the world we live in. Although these stories and views have their uses, the Buddha found that some of the more abstract questions they raise — of our true identity and the reality of the world outside — pull attention away from a direct experience of how events influence one another in the immediate present. Thus they get in the way when we try to understand and solve the problem of suffering.

Say for instance, that you're meditating, and a feeling of anger toward your mother appears. Immediately, the mind's reaction is to identify the anger as "my" anger, or to say that "I'm" angry. It then elaborates on the feeling, either working it into the story of your relationship to your mother, or to your general views about when and where anger toward one's mother can be justified. The problem with all this, from the Buddha's perspective, is that these stories and views entail a lot of suffering. The more you get involved in them, the more you get distracted from seeing the actual cause of the suffering: the labels of "I" and "mine" that set the whole process in motion. As a result, you can't find the way to unravel that cause and bring the suffering to an end.

If, however, you can adopt the emptiness mode — by not acting on or reacting to the anger, but simply watching it as a series of events, in and of themselves — you can see that the anger is empty of anything worth identifying with or possessing. As you master the emptiness mode more consistently, you see that this truth holds not only for such gross emotions as anger, but also for even the most subtle events in the realm of experience. This is the sense in which all things are empty. When you see this, you realize that labels of "I" and "mine" are inappropriate, unnecessary, and cause nothing but stress and pain. You can then drop them. When you drop them totally, you discover a mode of experience that lies deeper still, one that's totally free.

To master the emptiness mode of perception requires training in firm virtue, concentration, and discernment. Without this training, the mind tends to stay in the mode that keeps creating stories and world views. And from the perspective of that mode, the teaching of emptiness sounds simply like another story or world view with new ground rules. In terms of the story of your relationship with your mother, it seems to be saying that there's really no mother, no you. In terms of your views about the world, it seems to be saying either that the world doesn't really exist, or else that emptiness is the great undifferentiated ground of being from which we all came to which someday we'll all return.

These interpretations not only miss the meaning of emptiness but also keep the mind from getting into the proper mode. If the world and the people in the story of your life don't really exist, then all the actions and reactions in that story seem like a mathematics of zeros, and you wonder why there's any point in practicing virtue at all. If, on the other hand, you see emptiness as the ground of being to which we're all going to return, then what need is there to train the mind in concentration and discernment, since we're all going to get there anyway? And even if we need training to get back to our ground of being, what's to keep us from coming out of it and suffering all over again? So in all these scenarios, the whole idea of training the mind seems futile and pointless. By focusing on the question of whether or not there really is something behind experience, they entangle the mind in issues that keep it from getting into the present mode.

Now, stories and world views do serve a purpose. The Buddha employed them when teaching people, but he never used the word emptiness when speaking in these modes. He recounted the stories of people's lives to show how suffering comes from the unskillful perceptions behind their actions, and how freedom from suffering can come from being more perceptive. And he described the basic principles that underlie the round of rebirth to show how bad intentional actions lead to pain within that round, good ones lead to pleasure, while really skillful actions can take you beyond the round altogether. In all these cases, these teachings were aimed at getting people to focus on the quality of the perceptions and intentions in their minds in the present — in other words, to get them into the emptiness mode. Once there, they can use the teachings on emptiness for their intended purpose: to loosen all attachments to views, stories, and assumptions, leaving the mind empty of all greed, anger, and delusion, and thus empty of suffering and stress. And when you come right down to it, that's the emptiness that really counts.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... iness.html
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Re: Shunyata is there a concept in theravadin?

Postby Namu Butsu » Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:41 pm

Namaste,

Thanks for the responses it helps me to learn how to actually put it into practice instead of just making it a mental concept or mental idol.

If we can please discuss this further. Quoting from above

Say for instance, that you're meditating, and a feeling of anger toward your mother appears. Immediately, the mind's reaction is to identify the anger as "my" anger, or to say that "I'm" angry. It then elaborates on the feeling, either working it into the story of your relationship to your mother, or to your general views about when and where anger toward one's mother can be justified. The problem with all this, from the Buddha's perspective, is that these stories and views entail a lot of suffering. The more you get involved in them, the more you get distracted from seeing the actual cause of the suffering: the labels of "I" and "mine" that set the whole process in motion. As a result, you can't find the way to unravel that cause and bring the suffering to an end.

If, however, you can adopt the emptiness mode — by not acting on or reacting to the anger, but simply watching it as a series of events, in and of themselves — you can see that the anger is empty of anything worth identifying with or possessing. As you master the emptiness mode more consistently, you see that this truth holds not only for such gross emotions as anger, but also for even the most subtle events in the realm of experience. This is the sense in which all things are empty. When you see this, you realize that labels of "I" and "mine" are inappropriate, unnecessary, and cause nothing but stress and pain. You can then drop them. When you drop them totally, you discover a mode of experience that lies deeper still, one that's totally free.


I am beginning to understand this more. However, there is a fear that if i keep (or begin practicing it) I will soon become dull or emotionless. Like I will not express joy etc... It would be very good if I can simply watch the anger etc... but will this also cause me to be emotionaless when I am happy or other things? Perhaps I am "thinking" too hard or perhaps "I" am just too caught up in "I" :jedi:
"It was only when I went to China in 1954-55 that I actually studied Marxist ideology and learned the history of the Chinese revolution. Once I understood Marxism, my attitude changed completely. I was so attracted to Marxism, I even expressed my wish to become a Communist Party member."-Dalai Lama (Time Magazine 1999)
http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma3/vegi.html (Meat eating and vegetarianism)
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Re: Shunyata is there a concept in theravadin?

Postby Ben » Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:53 pm

Hi NB
Its actually a common concern regarding Buddhist meditation, that it will just make us apathetic.
But my experience is very different. Just relax, practice, and let the results take care of themselves.
Metta

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Re: Shunyata is there a concept in theravadin?

Postby Jechbi » Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:16 pm

Namu Butsu wrote:... but will this also cause me to be emotionaless when I am happy or other things?


Check this out: The Brahma-viharas. Practice brings joy.

:smile:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: Shunyata is there a concept in theravadin?

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:38 pm

As Ben said, it seems like without grasping to joys and running from pains we'd just be bland zombies. But the surprising thing is that when we stop grasping and running we find a peace that is more exquisite than anything you can imagine.

What cleared my doubts was to spend some time with monks. These are people who devote their lives to this Path and usually I find they are happy, joyful, good humored people. Not zombies at all. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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Re: Shunyata is there a concept in theravadin?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:25 am

I think that learning to be in the present moment with mindfulness can help us to engage in a more sincere or full manner (for lack of a better word).
It can come as a relief, because mindfulness gives you the freedom to see things more clearly and behave in a deliberate manner. It makes you more alert, as opposed to making you too detached or less tuned in.

Just my two cents :)

Kindly,
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