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See also: Śūnyatā


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From Sanskrit शून्यता (śūnyatā), from शून्य (śūnya, zero, nothing) + ता (-tā, generalizing suffix). Cognate with Pali suññatā


sunyata (plural sunyatas)

  1. (psychology) Emptiness, in terms of a meditative state; an Eastern concept of a high meditative state of calm and freedom from distraction.
    • 1975, Herbert V. Guenther, Chögyam Trungpa, The Dawn of Tantra, 2001, Shambhala Publications, pages not numbered,
      Shunyata can be explained in a very simple way. [] In the shunyata experience, the attention is on the field rather than on its contents.
    • 1986, White Lotus Sutra - Unchecked by Sangharakshita; STUDY LEADERS SEMINAR 1986 Padmaloka.
      all dharmas were reducible to sunyata. So in a sense you have got a sort of merging of the particular in the universal.
    • 1996, Steve Odin, The social self in Zen and American pragmatism, page 112:
      In his treatment of Zen Buddhism, Abe emphasizes that the true self of Zen Buddhism is dynamic śūnyatā: "That is to say, true Sunyata is nothing but the true self and the true self is nothing but true Sunyata"
  2. (philosophy) The cosmic void; in the East-West dialogue, an Eastern term for metaphysics of nothingness.
    • 1993, Sunyata, Emptiness and Self-emptying, Kenosis by Ven. Dr. Rewata Dhamma published in Buddhist - Christian Dialogue London, 27th March
      However since emptiness empties itself and so cannot itself be an object of attachment, dynamic 'sunyata' empties itself out as just the things themselves.


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