Monday, April 17, 2006

STONG PA NYID - Emptiness

Ok, sooner or later you encounter the word stong pa nyid , emptiness. Now, how it has been retranslated here in the West is interesting, intrinsic lack of self-existence and so on. The has been tons and tons of debates in ancient India, Tibet, and here in West what this really means.

One way to look at this is to correlate this with the opposite, positive definition, dependent origination, rten 'brel. Dependent origination is that anything is dependent on something else. Even the final non-splittable particle that some of the ancient Buddhist philosophical schools defined was the foundation of the universe has dependencies, the particle is dependent on the top and bottom part, back and front side, and so on. So this partless particle has parts, after all.

So if you see the positive side of anything being dependent on something else, the negative side of things lacking any self-existence should also then become clear. Ultimately these two definitions are exactly the same thing!

stong means empty, nyid means just, or just empty. It's not emptiness per se, rather things are just empty from their own side, they are not self-existent. This is true of both physical things, the mind, phenomena, and actually anything. Still, things work just fine!

In Sanskrit emptiness is shunyata.

Next let's do a fun Nagarjuna verse related to emptiness.


Rumour said...

Well your very good... but you crushed my dream of being an amateur tibetan translator.

Kent Sandvik said...

Hehehe, in the realm of emptiness you could become anything!

Kent Sandvik said...

Forgot to add, this is the topic Nagarjuna will talk about in the verse we will go through.