Silence is the Perfect Companion to Budddhist Emptiness.,,

Emptiness, shunyata, is one of the prime tenets of the Mahayana school of Buddhism, of course, and arguably the defining one, the one without which it would not exist. But it has always been of slippery definition itself, it born of the zero-principle, shunya, and conceived at that very same epoch of history, such that the two developments are impossible to separate…

And the brief definition of emptiness is that it is an extension of the Buddhist concept of non-self, anatta, so that now we are postulating that not only is the self empty of substance, but so is everything empty of substance. That is not to say that it is not real, necessarily, but that it is not real in any enduring permanent way. So in that sense, nothing is real…

And this fits in well with the modern physics conception of reality as composed of sub-microscopic particles that are better defined mathematically than physically, even chemically. So that’s the back-story and the sales pitch, but how does that make anyone’s life any better? But in fact, there is much more to it than the sublime metaphysics or the arcane math and physics…

In fact, I propose, there are lessons for life in there. For one thing, aren’t our lives too often defined by our possessions? A philosophy of emptiness discourages that. Secondly, referring back to the title, emptiness does encourage silence, and meditation, which I not only encourage everyone to practice, but which has been proven many times over to be a safe and salient benefit to health, especially mental health…

(And despite the fact that ‘guided meditation’ has many fans, especially in the West, who just can’t stand the silence, I suppose, I still maintain that silent meditation is the best, and in fact the only practice that I would consider true meditation. ‘Guided meditation’ should be called something else)…

Most importantly, though, emptiness facilitates a view of self and the universe that is non-dualistic (while I readily acknowledge that any dichotomy of self and universe is itself dualistic). And this may very well be the origin of modern consciousness, i.e. linguistic consciousness. Before that there was only a non-linguistic kind, which, for all the benefits of language, may have been better in many ways…

At the very least, it is worth returning to, on a regular basis, and hence the value of meditation. Philosophy leads everywhere at one and the same time. Do you prefer the conundrum of the One versus the Many? Or do you prefer the vastness of Infinity? Duality is an illusion. The One is Many. But only Emptiness is Infinite…