Shunya Pragya
Emptiness (Śūnyatā)

Emptiness (Śūnyatā) – Emptiness is a great understanding

Emptiness (Śūnyatā)

What is it:

Whose existence is its annihilation?

Whose knowing burns the knowledge?

Who cannot be held, though, is always in your hands?

Emptiness is its name.


Emptiness is a great understanding and is most difficult as well. Its nature is non-dualistic and is fundamental for the duality to exist. It is not against any type of thing or thought but is a background beyond any “thingness.” The potentiality of existence exists as acausal in it, makes it difficult to contemplate it—in terms of existence or nonexistence. But, it’s OK not to contemplate, because emptiness is not a hypothetical theory to be studied, and be analyzed, to prove its nature. It is to be understood by seeing the nature of things in terms of their efficient cause, supporting causes, relative effect, and cessation, and looking behind the non-permanence of an involved phenomenon.

What is an efficient cause vs. a supporting cause? It is the primary cause of a phenomenon to occur. For example, for cooking—heat is the primary cause and utensils, stove, etc., are secondary causes. Since caveman to modern man, cooking needs heat, although supporting causes keep changing due to modernization to produce various relative effects. Caveman cooked on the wood fire and modern man prepares on gas appliances, but the heat as the efficient case remained the same. So, one needs to witness the background of efficient cause and effects by seeing their impermanence.

Emptiness is an active principle guiding meditators to go into the root of phenomenal becoming and uproot the efficient cause developing into a relative effect out of it. Because the cause is non-permanent, hence it is possible to eradicate it. For example, if a mindfulness meditator is working on a painful feeling, then he or she should keep going toward the efficient cause of that feeling, and eradicate the cause of that suffering in the body-mind framework.

Emptiness cannot be put in words or language, and, therefore, poses a great challenge to explain academically. The best way to describe it is with the negation principle, what it is not. Consequently, it can be said that it cannot be told but can be heard; it cannot be given but can be received. It seems illogical for an intellectual mind, but not for a mind who is able to see dualism in a phenomenon, and non-duality as its basis.

The primary reason for this difficulty is due to the limitation of our mental apparatus, which understands, remembers, and describes the experiences in terms of names and forms. And, generally, for any conversation to happen, we need a static reference point around which we build our understanding. Whereas, emptiness is a nameless experience, beyond forms, and basis for non-permanence.

Secondly, our learning is comparative, associative, and additive in nature. It is based on cause and effect relationships. Whereas, emptiness is neither the cause nor the effect in a phenomenon, and is beyond comparisons. Hence, the negation of any, thing or thought, is the best way to describe it.

Saying again, don’t philosophize and over-analyze it, which may lead to wrong conclusions. Instead, dissolve into the phenomenon to the extent that the cause and effect chain is witnessed clearly, and free up awareness from both and their contents.

This short poem may sound illogical and against linear thinking because logic is base on inductive and deductive conclusions. It is only a pointer, but not a point itself, regarding emptiness. So, read it very slow to catch the meaning behind words.

Emptiness (Śūnyatā)


Emptiness is not found in the gaps between things.

Emptiness is not created by removing things.

Emptiness is beyond the presence.

Emptiness is beyond the absence.

As absence is merely the sense of non-presence and exists against presence, and it is none.

Emptiness is not a quality of inertia in space.

Emptiness is not a quality of movement in space.

Emptiness is beyond the sense of space.

Emptiness is beyond the qualities of inertia and movement.

As inertia and movement are qualities to sustain a sense of space,
and it is none.

Emptiness is not becoming new.

Emptiness is not remaining old.

Emptiness is beyond transitions.

Emptiness is beyond new and old.

As new is born out of old with its germs transformed, and it is none.

Emptiness is not a destination to pursue.

Emptiness is not holding upon some signs or clue.

Emptiness is beyond time and the path.

Emptiness is beyond calculations to do.

As a path, clues, and destinations are born out of time and its calculations, and it is none.

Emptiness is not a principle of Germination.

Emptiness is not a principle of Operation.

Emptiness is not a principle of Destruction.

Emptiness is beyond the principle of G.O.D.

As the G.O.D., the world has known merely is a personification of a principle, and it is none.

Emptiness is not to be worshiped.

Emptiness is not to be practiced.

Emptiness is beyond prayers.

Emptiness is beyond ritualistic gears.

As the worshiping is the chain of cause and effect and its linear bondage, and it is none.

Emptiness is not in knowing that I am part of a totality.

Emptiness is not in knowing that totality is an expansion of me.

Emptiness is not in knowing the border of self and non-self.

Emptiness is beyond the signs of a sense-sphere of a being.

Senses remember one and forget others, as one is against others, and it is none.

Emptiness does not flourish in the goodness of living.

Emptiness does not blemish with the pain of dying.

Emptiness is beyond living. Emptiness is beyond dying.

As dying and living evolve from each other, and it is none.

Emptiness does not arise by running away from things.

Emptiness does not vaporize by living lush like kings.

Emptiness is beyond fear.

Emptiness is beyond desire. As fear is merely a sense of unfulfillment of desires, and it is none.

Emptiness is not a sweet saying, like “I love you.”

Emptiness is not dead as well, without I and you.

Emptiness is beyond the crystals of I, Love, and You.

Emptiness is beyond the calculation of one plus one equals two.

As the meaning is hanging in words, and words are hanging in the gaps, and where is the gap hanging? And thus, it is none.

Emptiness is not a knowledge that can be transferred.

Emptiness is not a heritage that can be owned.

Emptiness is beyond the composition of one’s effort.

Emptiness is beyond the imposition of a master to a follower.

As knowledge or heritage and to compose or impose are relative and directional, and it is none.

Emptiness is not a result of applied mental vectors.

Emptiness is beyond the application of feeling factors.

Emptiness is not a philosophy to comprehend.

Emptiness is beyond the doer ship of your hands. As an action, this world has known born with “will” and its subjects,
and it is none.

Emptiness can never be known by Your “self.”

Emptiness can never be taught to Your “self.”

Emptiness is beyond knowing.

Emptiness is beyond teaching. Knowing and teaching is merely a library of Your “self’s” consciousness, and it is none.

Emptiness is the essence of happening, empty of self.

Shunya Pragya

Shunya Pragya is a lifelong meditator, poet, and philosopher. With an intense curiosity, he has explored and practiced several forms of yoga and meditative techniques.

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