empty,without self-nature ( svabhava ) or essence. This was a radical restatement of the central Buddhist teaching of non-self ( anatman ). It was declared that not only ordinary objects, but the Buddha, nirvana , and also emptiness itself are all
empty.The teaching attempts to eradicate mental attachment and the perception of duality, which, since it is a basis for aversion to bondage in birth-and-death ( samsara ) and desire for nirvana, may obstruct the bodhisattva's compassionate vow to save all beings before entering nirvana himself. Wisdom ( prajna ), or direct insight into emptiness, is the sixth perfection ( paramita ) of a bodhisattva. It is stressed by both Buddhist writers and Western scholars that emptiness is not an entity nor a metaphysical or cosmological absolute, nor is it nothingness or annihilation.
Emptythings are neither existent nor nonexistent, and their true nature is thus called not only emptiness but also suchness ( tathata ).
See E. Conze, Buddhist Wisdom Books (1958). F. J. Streng, Emptiness (1967).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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