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February 20, 2012

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"And what, friend, is the deliverance of mind through voidness? Here a
bhikkhu, gone to the forest or to the root of a tree or to an empty hut, reflects thus: “This is void of a self or of what belongs to a self.” This is called the deliverance of mind
through voidness. (M 1.297-98)

Sunnata. (Skt. Shunyata) "Emptiness" (sunnata) in Pali contexts is not the metaphysical Zero (Nonbeing as the principle of Being, Infinite Possibility as distinguished from Indefinite Actuality), but a characteristic of this world, as in S IV.295 96, where it has been explained that when the Almsman returns from a deathlike Contemplation in which consciousness and feeling have been arrested, "three touches touch him,” "emptiness (sunnato)," "formlessness (animito)" and "making no plans (appanihito phasso)," and he discriminates (viveka) accordingly; and the meaning of "emptiness" 'is explained at M 1.29, "emancipation of the mind by Emptiness (sunnata ceto vimutti) being consequent upon the realization that `this world is empty of spirit or anything spiritual' (sunnam idam attena va attaniyena) "; sunnata is synonymous with anatta; of which it really only paraphrases and isolates the privative AN. It is no doubt in the same sense that in A 1.72, "the texts are coupled with `emptiness' (suttanta . . . sunnata patisannuta) "; there is, in fact, nothing more characteristic of Buddhist teaching that its constant resort to negatives (above all in the sense of the word anatta), which even some contemporary hearers found perplexing. The denial of spirituality to contingent things in particular is a denial of any real essence to these things in themselves, and thus forms the basis of the more sweeping sunyavada doctrine which in the Mahayana denies not any "value" but any essence to even the Buddha's appearance and to the promulgation of the Dhamma itself. If such a doctrine disturbs us, it may be found more palatably expressed in the Vajracchedika Sutra thus, "Those who see me in the body (rupena) and think of me in sounds (ghosaih), their way of thinking is false, they do not see me at all . . . . The Buddha cannot be rightly understood (rjuboddhum) by any means (upayena). Not that "means" are not dispositive to a right understanding, but that if regarded as ends, even the most adequate means are a hindrance. In such a radical iconoclasm as this all traditional teachings are finally agreed. What is true of ethics is also true of the supports of contemplation: as in the well known Parable of the Raft, the means are of no more use when the goal has been reached.
Westerners have most heinously misapprehended common Upanishadic/Vedantic as well as Buddhistic neti-neti (not this not that), and come, erroneously, to a fallacious conclusion that Buddhism in any way whatsoever negated the Absolute, or foundation of absolute being which lies before becoming and antecedent to paticcasamuppada (contingent manifestation), for as Gotama advocated “(Udana 1.81) There is, an unborn, an unoriginated, an unmade, and an unformed. If there were not monks, this unborn, unoriginated, unmade and unformed, there would be no way out for the born, the originated, the made and the formed.” Tibetan stupidity and namely Madhyamika doctrine is notorious for misapprehension of highly esoteric Indian via-negativa philosophical dialectic.

Uparipanna’sa-Att. 4.151 “Having become the very Soul, this is deemed non-emptiness (asuñña)”

MN 1.297 What friend is emancipation of the mind by means of devoidness (sunnata)? Herein a follower has gone to a clearing in the forest and the root of a tree and investigates thusly: ‘This is devoid (sunnamidam) of the Soul and what the Soul subsists upon.” This is called emancipation of the mind by means of devoidness (sunnata cetovimmuti).

Much nicer without all the uncessary resentment and finger-pointing. At its best this blog is one of the most helpful sources for scriptural references. Thanks!

Wonderful breakdown of all that--thanks!

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