Emptiness as a condition for Enlightenment

Do you think that understanding Emptiness as a condition for Enlightenment, there may be a secret realization that Emptiness as a phenomena itself, Sunyata, is a condition for Enlightenment? By that I mean, without Sunyata, without Emptiness, there would be actual self-grasping, an actual inability to truly have full Compassion. Without Sunyata sustaining Compassion, without at least letting go of the idea of self a little bit, how can there be real Compassion? A heart that focuses on an illusory self is miserable in an illusion, but, I am speaking hypothetically in this statement, what if there were a real self? Then Emptiness would have to functionally become manifest in it’s unmanifest form to renew Metta. I am talking hypothetically, but what if Sunyata were not a factor in the Universe? All would certainly be miserable, as the basis for Sunyata is Love, and the basis for Love is Sunyata. Sunyata is Real Love. And I think it is one of the conditions and bases for Enlightenment.

Also, as a side question, if one wants to answer or has an idea, what do you think of the correlation between Emptiness and the concept of God in the unmanifest form?

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You seem to be reifying emptiness. Even emptiness itself is empty. There is no possible what if there’s no emptiness. The world doesn’t work that way.

When you use the word Real in Real love, you might get into trouble with @yeshe.tenley

No such thing as God, so no need to speculate on that front.

Only thing not empty would mean a permanent thing, which isn’t nothing that doesn’t change and is unconditioned, that’s a soul. It is not found. Nibbāna is the closest, but Nibbāna is not a thing, not an entity. And nibbāna is empty, empty of self, of the 6 sense bases, empty of suffering, empty of 5 aggregates, empty of experiences.


"Mendicants, it would make sense to be possessive about something that’s permanent, everlasting, eternal, imperishable, and will last forever and ever.

But do you see any such possession?”

“No, sir.” MN22

I think emptiness and it not appearing so is actually the cause of our problems. If there was a permanent thing, it would be a great source of joy, a stable abode, a safe harbour. As is now, nothingness is the second best thing we have. :slight_smile:

Emptiness is a source of joy and torment both, as emptiness seeks substance. This is suffering. Emptiness is source of hatred and love, good and bad. Emptiness doesn’t care. It’s empty. It is beyond proliferations, imo.

In permanence there’s peace, see nibbāna. So emptiness is only the answer because it is the problem to begin with. Emptiness resolves emptiness. Why else does it give birth to suffering? What else could give birth to suffering but emptiness?

Don’t speak hurriedly. Don’t insist on local terminology and don’t override common usage. And how do you insist on local terminology and override common usage? It’s when in different localities the same thing is known as a ‘plate’, a ‘bowl’, a ‘cup’, a ‘dish’, a ‘basin’, a ‘tureen’, or a ‘porringer’. (…) And however it is known in those various localities, you speak accordingly, thinking: ‘It seems that the venerables are referring to this.’ MN139

I think saying “God doesn’t exist” straightforward might be wrong and right depending on context. When someone else is using a creative language to redefine God and seeking harmony across different teachings, that is only commendable.


Agree, with respect to final nibbāna, (but not nibbāna with remainder while an awakened one is alive since senses and khandhas are still present).


This is consistent with many teachings in the Mahayana tradition, not in the EBTs.

I’m not posting to suggest which view is correct, but rather to point out that emptiness in the Nikāyas indicates absence rather than any kind of “thing.”
Another way to put it: “empty of…” rather than any sort of reified essence or domain.

Dhammas are empty of: any inherent, permanent essence, or self. In other words, complete absence of that…

In this way, what’s not there is not an ineffable thing or Real Love, but the absence of all defilements for what we call an arahant – and the absence of defilements and the prior cultivation of mettā and karunā, for example, becomes the natural manifestation and enjoyment of these beautiful qualities.


Thank you all for your wonderful replies. I personally believe that Emptiness isn’t an absence of Love. For example, Love is not a Soul, a Self, or a Life Span, it is much greater than that. Love itself is the non-existentce of Reality and that is what I call Emptiness. That Love is so profound to me that I can call it a Deity.


I wonder, how do you explain emergence of suffering, of hatred, from emptiness?

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Suffering is a phenomena that is a great mystery, even suffering can be full of Metta towards others, it is not all uniform bad. And the same with hatred, it can be righteous, and utilized to even save many lives against injustice. So the Metta experienced in these cases would come from a Heart experiencing Emptiness.

But the suffering and hatred of a cruel nature, this is of a lower form. Suffering in order to harm someone and hatred felt towards the Holy Ones is also Empty, but the gift of Emptiness is that these things are Empty, and because they are Empty we can have Love and Compassion on them.

Everything is Empty, such is Real Love and to me that is a great gift.

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Emptiness is dependent arising.

If you can’t understand that, you don’t understand emptiness. There is no void in Buddhism. DT Suzuki introduced Buddhism as a type of mysticism into the West, as well as the lexicon “void.” Many people have been working very hard, now, for a long time to manage his influence over Western understanding of Buddhism so as to maintain the productive things he did while improving understanding to get away from the bad.

Secondly, there is no difference between conventional and ultimate wisdom, hence Emptiness is dependent arising. The two mean exactly the same thing. Dependent arising is Empty of existence. There is nothing but dependency conditions all the way down. And when those cease - there is nothing. No existence, not non-existence. There is no such thing as non-existence.

You’re welcome to believe what you like, but I think the spirituality of someone like Ralph Waldo Emerson is far more suitable to your needs and desires than Buddhism is. I strongly encourage you to go check him out.


Meggers, I will stick with Buddhism, but thank you for your kindness. Perhaps you were Ralph Waldo Emerson in a past life and you are drawing me to your poems. I will check them out.

Dependant Arising is a conventional wisdom, like you mention it, and it does not exist either, it is Empty as this Reality. Dependant arising itself is dependant on causes and conditions, and this is what I was discussing.

But you say there is no difference between conventional and ultimate wisdom. Preparing to abandon the Raft of the Dhamma, the first step may be meditating on the difference between the conventional truths that the Buddha preaches as Dhamma, and the ultimate Truth, Emptiness, which posits that there is no Dhamma, therefore it can be said that there is a Dhamma, one we greatly benefit from, it would not be otherwise.

Thank you for your wisdom.

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I believe we can see emptiness as the domain without conceiving.

I feel the EBT are clear that conceiving is what really leads us into delusion. It might be conceiving the khandha’s as me, mine, my self or conceiving a good and bad doer self in other people. Or conceiving the world as empty. Or conceiving Nibbana, conceiving emptiness. Conceiving distorts the nature of things, i feel. It is not direct knowledge. One is not really in contact with reality yet.
The understanding that guides conceiving is very different from that of direct knowledge.

I believe we live in both worlds. We all live in a non conceptual world, free of ideas, views, conceptions, conceivings but we also live a world of ideas, concepts, conceiving. I am sure that the first is our natural home. This is most close to us too. This is what we all know best! But often this is not seen, ignored. We always touch stilling, always. But the power of conceiving is great. And the domain of the not conceived is easily ignored. And we can also live in a conceived world, in a cinematic world, a stream of pictures, images, thoughts, ideas in our head. Lost, totally lost in conceiving.

Both worlds we know. This also means that we humans know ourself in different ways. In a not-conceived way and in a conceived way. We know both worlds and that is also why the human existence can be quit confusing and many people ask…in godsname who am I? Very normal. I can appreciate this because this people are still sensitive for the not conceived.

Buddha saw conceiving as a disease because the involvement in conceiving distorts. It is like being absorbed by a movie and forgetting it is all mere a movie, not reality. It is so easy to be totally absorbed in a mental stream of ideas, images, concepts. As if that is reality. Being absorbed in something it temporary becomes our reality. This is one meaning of grasping bhava, i believe.
We can make things our world.

The amazing thing about our situation, we can just step out of the story and cut the stream of images in the head. This is according EBT one function of mindfulness directed towards the body.
The EBT really praise this mindfulness directed to the body. I have seen this. I believe its great fruits especially relate to cutting the stream of constant conceiving. Not letting the mind be swept away by the tides of conceiving. There is no greater addiction then to become involved in conceiving. I have seen this for myself. And i also see that many problems are related to conceiving.

I feel this is first of all our task. To see this difference between a conceived reality and the not conceived reality. The not conceived reality is like an empty world even with visuals, sounds etc. If it does not become a base for conceiving the world remains empty and vinnana anidassana.

We people tend to live in a conceived reality, also in religious practices, i believe. We are not really in touch with reality yet and that is our prime task, i believe. We are in touch with images, pictures, concepts, ideas and not reality.

I tend to believe that religion can easliy lead to even greater involvement in conceiving but i do not think this is the Path of Dhamma.


Sorry I don’t believe in rebirth and I’m not part of the sangha, so you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t participate in the group-think rituals.

Dependent arising is the causes and conditions. There is no need to see causes and conditions in causes and conditions.

I gave you an exact description of the relationship between Emptiness and dependent arising. If you don’t want to accept it, that’s fine. I’ve been called stupid many times before, and it’s bound to happen again.

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You’re really smart Meggers, and you opened my mind a bit. I think I will always evolve my views. That is the beauty of Buddhism.

Also, Green, thank you for your input. When you say “conceiving” do you mean having a formation? I certainly see the wisdom in what you are saying. A mind free of formations can certainly bring us to Nibbana, but first we have to build the ladder to get there, and that may involve having some level of understanding concepts. I want to give you value though for your insight. Thank you!

Not perse. A formation can arise but does not have to lead to conceiving. But often a proces of mental proliferation upon what we experience start quickly.

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Okay thank you for clarifying. I agree with you.

I think when you say there is no possibility of there being no Emptiness, you strengthen the spectrum of Emptiness being Love. It is in fact wonderful that there is Emptiness.

I can’t posit a world without Emptiness, I think Emptiness is the basis for this world. I am not actually reifying Emptiness, I am implying it is of a Higher nature. It’s own nonexistence is what it is, and therefore it is the uniform principle. There is Emptiness, but Emptiness does not exist, because Emptiness itself means that there is no real Reality, but at the same time this principle is the Metta or Love given to us by Emptiness. It is more than real. Asking if it is real or if it exists doesn’t do it justice. Namaste.

If I may be so bold as to say: the nonexistence of Reality is Emptinessbut Love existing is this Emptiness, therefore the fact of Love being the basis for Emptiness, and Emptiness being the basis for our Love, we all have the chance to attain Enlightenment because of Love, and that Love being shown in Emptiness strengthens the Buddhadhamma.

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Why does emptiness need to be anything other than the absence it is? Why equate love with emptiness, but not hatred?

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Because in Buddhism people find a philosophy that rejects God as Supreme outwardly. Buddha is the wisest and most skilled philosopher that there can be. He takes the bar and explains in ordinary terms how to attain Enlightenment. These days things are changing, but a large part of Dhamma has indirect and nontheistic explanations. There is no mention of a Spiritual Kingdom for example in most of Buddhism. So Buddha came up with the process of Dependant Origination to explain how to get out of the Saha World and cease birth and death. It is not an easy to understand process.

But with insight into Emptiness, one can ascertain the true meaning of Buddha. There is in fact no Saha World. It is like a mirage, a bubble of dew, or like a single drop of rain. It’s here temporarily and soon to be gone. Love shows us that because Emptiness posits there is nothing except what in the cup? There is something in the cup. So, there is Love. Real Love is imperishable and Supreme. It has the nature of the Tathagata. The Tathagata certainly Loves, He has great Metta and Maitri, that is what guides Him. Emptiness is what guides Him. In the Spiritual Kingdom that is not of this world, there exists Love. Love is Empty, but Love is filling up the entirety of that Emptiness in that Kingdom, and that’s why I move to say that Love completes Sunyata, and Sunyata is a gift and aspect of Love. If there is a God, in the unmanifest form, God would have been the basis for non-being and Emptiness, which is also found in the World beyond the Saha World, fully fulfilled.

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A side note:
Love in platonic terms does not equal goodness per se. It is intrinsically a kind of deficiency that is born out of being deficient, being incomplete, imperfect. It is a mere motivation to seek perfection. And perfection is beyond concepts such as love and hate, or such dualities. It is kind of like the number zero, which is sum of opposites, so in zero, the concepts of love and hate are dissolved. Hence it is not exactly nothingness either.

(This perspective of the notion of Love is central to Sufism)