The Mahayana Theory of Emptiness

Published: 2021-07-07 00:18:15
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Emptiness is one of the core teachings of the Mahayana Buddhism available in both Sanskrit texts and Pali. Buddhism doctrine historically has been presented as broad and narrow interpretation, which has varied frequently from one Buddhism school to another. Generally, emptiness is like a mode of perception. Buddhism believe that emptiness is a way in which we perceive things, we view experience or things. Looking at activities in one’s mind including the sense without a sense of anything lying behind this activities or things (Burton 12). This manner of view is called emptiness since it is empty based on the prepositions usually added to our experience in order to make sense of the stories plus the worldviews fashioned to what we really are and the kind of world we are living in. Despite the fact that these views and stories have uses, Buddha found a question to raise on the identity of us and reality of the universe at large.Pulling away the attention of direct experience on how events influence people in the immediate present make them get along in the way when human beings try to understand and come up with a solution to the problem of suffering. A typical example is a condition where you are meditating and suddenly some feeling of anger towards your parent, maybe mother appears. The immediate impact of this on your mind will the reflex of identifying the fact that you are angry. Elaboration on the feeling of anger then comes where your mind works out on the relationship between you and your mother or sometimes the general view of when and where the anger towards your mother can be justified.From Buddha’s perspective, the problem that this stories and views entail is all about suffering. The more one gets involved in these stories and views the more he or she gets in to them and further, the more you get distracted from picturing the actual suffering (Burton 12). Label of I and mine sets all these procedure in motion. These bring a confusion making you not to be able to unravel the root cause of the suffering and do away with it. The conceptual theory of emptiness is regarded as solitarily the most imperative in Mahayana Buddhism. “Sunyata” is a Sanskrit term for emptiness and it is the soul considered empty. The importance of this theory is established in three approaches on the ways of how we think. These characteristics are known as Tilakkhana in Buddhism and they are very essential for one to realize Nirvana. These characteristics are in the method of insight. During the time of Buddha, understanding of the soul being in existence happened deep in the hearts of people and when Budha preached first discourse, only one listener out of the five gained entry to the sainthood because them being Brahmins, they believe in the existence of the soul.Western philosophy has contributed much into the misunderstanding of emptiness and its misconstruction. According to these philosophers, emptiness can only be related to skeptical outset. This notion of emptiness has been for a long time mistaken as nihilism where the reality is taken as unknowable, meaning nothing exists and nothing can be communicated about the world. According to Buddhists practice and knowledge of emptiness, nihilism is right the opposite. Emptiness portrays the ultimate reality being knowable and a clear cut ontological exists on the phenomenal basis and through communication, useful knowledge can be derived from the word. A typical example of what emptiness implies in Buddhism is situation where we look at a simple object like a glass. Many people always believe that a glass is empty if it contains neither a solid in it nor a liquid (Shonin et al. 123). That is actually the ordinary meaning of emptiness or something being empty. The glass is only empty of solid and liquid but it is a fact that air is completely full in the glass. In this case, if we want to be precise on the glass being empty, then we have to say whatever the cup is empty of. From that perception, a cup can never be empty. Even if you put the cup in a vacuum, it will still be full of light space and even radiation. This makes it clear from that particular point of view; a glass is ever full of something.This is directly the reverse of what Buddhist perceive as ever being empty. Buddhist’s understanding of reality in this case emptiness is quite different from the physical meaning of the word itself. To them, the glass being empty means it is exactly devoid of any kind of inherent existence. Non-inherent here in this case means the glass exists yes but just like any other thing in the world, its existence depends on other factors. Characteristics like being hollow, cylindrical and spherical are considered non-intrinsic to glasses. Properties of the glass and its components do not imply at any chance the act of being glassines and they are not the glass itself. Meaning the material is not the glass and the shape is not the glass. The function is as well not a glass but all this components come up and make the glass. From this, we can deduce that we need a whole component of conditions to be met before we come up with a glass. A glass will come from a combination of functions, shape, the base materials, use and other aspects. The existence of all these conditions is what triggers the mind to impute an object being a glass (Shonin et al. 123). When just one of all the conditions making up the glass ceases to exist like when it breaks it forfeit the idea of being a glass since its shape, functions and the imputation of being a glass through perception freaks out. It is therefore very correct when a Buddhist say the existence of a cup depends on some external circumstances and it being physically present is an illusion.One would always wonder why such an ambiguous word was taught in Buddhism schools. The importance of this word was really the importance it holds in its profound insight as to why we do suffer. From this word, we learn that we suffer just because we grasp right after objects thinking they solid fixed, real, capable and substantial of being owned by ego. Seeing through the illusion by opening ourselves to the reality of fluidity and flux, which cannot be ultimately ungraspable and inconceivable by the fact that human beings can relax into clarity, courage and compassion. That is why Buddhists insists on making the meaning of emptiness such a great that must just be taught in such a critical way as they do (William et al. 309). We realize that based on what Buddha is saying about emptiness, all things in earth are conditioned and are related in one way or another. They are empty to mean they are not independent at all. This is why from the Hearth of Sutra, Bodhisattva speaks out that form feeling, consciousness and volition are always in their own being empty and void. This is just to implicate that everything according to Mahayana Buddhism is empty meaning all that is in earth is empty of soul. From the fact that nothing exists independently, as Buddhists say about all are void of the so called bhava and abhava dharma. Soul exists neither inside nor outside by, which do they mean there is no soul in an ordinary world even in Nirvana.Finally, the perception of not self /self and the dependence arising were fundamental and permanent. Not- self type of teaching is one of the teachings regarded by Buddhists as the special breakthrough of Buddha, his discovery solidifying his superiority upon other teachings. In Buddha’s own ideas, anything considered Self cannot lead to suffering and would remain permanent and as well it would on the other end obey the individual to whom it is Self (William et al. 309). Meaning anything, self is certainly controllable and would be conducive to excitement and not conducive to suffering.In summary, ones insight on the nature of what reality is, is enhanced/deepened and one would grow the acuity of reality, and thereafter, you can perceive events and phenomenon as illusion and such kind of reality perception soon pervade ones connections with utmost reality. The emptiness, considered, as the eventual nature of realism is actually not the utter reality neither do the word occur. Emptiness cannot be conceived as sovereign from the basis of the phenomena since close examination on reality, it is found to be empty of the inherent existence. Taking the emptiness to be an object that object again becomes empty according to Buddha making us conclude that everything is empty, which is empty. Buddha is important for all Buddhists since it is believed that the only way to knowing the reality is emptiness.Work CitedBurton, David F. Emptiness appraised: A critical study of Nâgârjuna’s philosophy. Routledge, 2015: Pp 12.Shonin, Edo, William Van Gordon, and Mark D. Griffiths. “The emerging role of Buddhism in clinical psychology: Toward effective integration.” Psychology of Religion and Spirituality6.2 (2014): Pp 123.Van Gordon, William, Edo Shonin, and Mark D. Griffiths. “Buddhist emptiness theory: Implications for psychology.” Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 9.4 (2017): Pp 309.

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