Depths of Sunyata Attainment

Yutang Lin

The definition of Sunyata is just non-self;
How could the three Yanas differ on this?
Their practices center on varying scopes;
Depths of attainment of course different.


Regarding the teaching of Patriarch Tsong Khapa that Sunyata of Hinayana and that of Mahayana are the same Yogi Chen criticized in some of his Chinese articles. From the logical point of view, within a Buddhist theory that unifies the three Yanas Sunyata has only one definition, that of non-self, and consequently cannot have two or even three meanings. As regards the kinds of practices adopted and emphasized, the three Yanas vary to large extent; consequently their practitioners would attain various depths of realization of Sunyata. Patriarch Tsong Khapa and Yogi Chen agreed on this point. Logically speaking, in order to explain such differences in depths of attainment of Sunyata one can employ only notions other than the definition of Sunyata. Therefore, Patriarch Tsong Khapa could only use "merits" or "means" to account for it.

If one could understand the situation as explained above, then there is no substantial controversy between the two teachers?views. As to various analytical theories on Sunyata found in the history of each Yana, they constitute the sphere of study for Buddhist scholars only, practitioners in general have no need to probe into such discussions.

Written in Chinese on January 26, 2001
Translated on January 27, 2001
El Cerrito, California

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