Monday, January 31, 2005

Is Emptiness Brahman?

From the book Essence of the Heart Sutra by the Dalai Lama, edited and translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, Wisdom Publications, 2002:

It is important to clarify that we are not speaking of emptiness as some kind of absolute strata of reality, akin to, say, the ancient Indian concept of Brahman, which is conceived to be an underlying absolute reality from which the illusory world of multiplicity emerges. Emptiness is not a core reality, lying somehow at the heart of the universe, from which the diversity of phenomena arise.

...emptiness -- is not independent of form, but rather is a characteristic of form; emptiness is form's mode of being. One must understand form and its emptiness in unity; they are not two independent realities.

Thupten Jinpa trained as a Buddhist monk and received his geshe degree from the Shartse College of Ganden monastic university, India and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Cambridge University, England. He has been the Dalai Lama's principal English translator since 1985.