Somewhere in the Buddhist scriptures, it says “Rupa(matter) is none other than sunnata (emptiness). Sunnata is none other than rupa.” What does this mean?

发布日期:2018-10-06   字体大小:   


It just means that all dhammas are sunnata by nature according to Dependent Origination. “Rupa”, meaning matter or substance, is one of the five aggregates, namely, rupa, vedana, sanna, sankhara and vinnana. Every material phenomenon is a product of the combination of causes and conditions. Though it has its own form and functions, it has no perpetual and unchangeable entity inside as its dominator. Hence it is empty. This emptiness does not refer to the empty space beyond matter (or the emptiness outside an object), nor does it refer to emptiness after existence (or the emptiness after the extinction of an object). In other words, emptiness is not apart from matter, but “the object itself is empty.” Now since matter arises according to the law of Dependent Origination, it can’t posses an unchangeable material existence in each material object. Hence “matter is no different from emptiness”. And since dhammas have no material existence, it can arise upon the meeting of adequate conditions. Therefore, “emptiness is no different from matter”. This is a simple interpretation of the phrase “Rupa is none other than sunnata, and vice versa”.

Likewise, spiritual phenomena such as vedana, sanna, sankhara and vinnana are also emptiness by nature, for they also arise from Dependent Origination. Emptiness, on the basis of Dependent Origination is the true nature (lakkhana) of all that exists in the universe, i.e. the reality of all dhammas. In Mahayana Buddhism this reality is regarded as the impress or seal of truth. This doctrine is called the “One Seal of Dhamma”. All Mahayana doctrines are corroborated with this “One Seal”. The aforesaid Buddhist doctrines—“active nivvana” and Bodhisattas’ “Six Perfections” and “Four all-embracing virtues”—are all on the basis of the theory of Emptiness by nature in terms of Dependent Originaiton. (From Essentials of Buddhism: Questions and Answers)