The concept of Sunyata is central to Buddhism. As we know, it is usually translated as ‘emptiness’. It seems a problematic enough translation, suggesting a kind of nihilism that is very far from the heart of the teaching. I’ve also seen it translated as ‘voidness’, which is worse. Does anyone have a better translation out there?
Part of the complexity of the idea is that ‘emptiness’ can mean a lack of substance (insubstantiality), but it also indicates conditioned existence: that everything is made of bits and pieces of other stuff … thus the interrelated nature of reality …which leads to the ethical precepts of Buddhism.
I wonder if these two concepts are in fact one concept? I suppose, modern science has shown us that everything else is made of smaller bits and pieces of something else. So, indeed all existence is conditioned.
But does our inquiry lead us down and down into the sub-atomic realm until there is … emptiness? Is that emptiness indeed the void mentioned above? That is the mystery…
It seems like I need ‘wisdom beyond wisdom’ to deal with this one!
Better sit more Zazen.
Any thoughts anyone?