What is Shunyata in Buddhism

"Everything is empty" - central terms of the Buddhist worldview

By Hans-Jürgen Greschat (Biography)

 

In Buddhism it is of particular importance to exchange ignorance for knowledge. Buddha Gautama does not start from a revelation, but from what he finds. The recognition of Anatman replaces the belief learned by sight that the human being is an "I" with a constant essence (Atman). If the Buddhists recognize emptiness (Shunyata) also in the extinction (nirvana) of delusion, greed and hatred, then everything has become empty for them.

Nothing is permanent! The Indian Gautama, called Shakyamuni, teaches the "sage of the Shakya clan" 500 years before Christ. At the same time, Heraclitus, known as the "sage of Ephesus", lived in Greece. He is reported to have taught that "everything flows". The Indian prefers the negative formulation, the Greek the positive one, but both mean the same thing. Heraclitus did not prevail in the West with his view. In order to understand how Buddhists imagine people, the world, salvation, we should try to look at things from that other perspective. We are used to starting from things that are. But like the Indians, we also know that, for example, a person will not stay the same in the years between birth and death, that he experiences himself differently at twenty than at seventy, that his body changes, in short: nothing remains as it was.

Two questions to understand Buddhist teaching

We should never give up this other perspective as we strive to understand the Buddhist teachings of ANATMAN, NIRVANA and SHUNYATA more closely. First we will learn the answer of Buddha Gautama to two questions: (1) How should one imagine a "flowing" person? His teaching of ANATMAN answers this. And (2): What directs the course of the flow? Then it is important to understand how the goal of salvation NIRVANA can be created for people "in the flow". Eventually we will be concerned with SHUNYATA, the "emptiness". The flow on the process level corresponds to the emptiness on the level of being.

God as creator or God as present

Heraclitus did not want to recognize anyone as a teacher. So he began to research himself. Gautama, too, turned away from his teachers in disappointment and began to explore himself. It is usually the philosophers who start with what they can find and recognize. Here we encounter an important difference between early Buddhism and those religions that begin with divine revelation. Only then do theologians begin to investigate what God created man for and how He wants him to be. Two fundamental theological positions emerge which are mutually exclusive. For some, God faces the world and man. He is its creator, He is the reason, i.e. the cause of the world and man: God made it. For the other, God is in the world and in man. Man becomes, as it were, a garment of God. If God is the ground, ie the basis, the ground for everything that is (in the first position), one comes close to the second when one speaks of man as the "image" of God or when it is called the "breath", that is life, the spirit of man, comes from God and is therefore divine.

The Indian understanding of God

The first position hardly fits into the Indian context. There one believes in the rebirth of beings. A present man has already changed his shape many times, was an animal and God and man. Those who have been born again a hundred thousand times and man as God's creature do not go together. So the second position is that which Gautama found in India. God is in everything that exists. The divine part in man is called Atman. Whoever discovers it in himself is redeemed. The divine is imperishable, the worldly perishes. Gautama Buddha contradicts this teaching by denying Atman and teaching that everything is impermanent. If that is true, then there can be no imperishable part in the perishable human being. With his non-Atman teaching (ANATMAN) the Buddha leads his disciples on a third way, past the view of God as the cause and of God as the reason of all beings.

Me and mine versus not-me and not-mine

In the occidental context, Buddha's teaching says: There is no immortal, no eternal soul. ANATMAN therefore contradicts the beliefs of pious Europeans. But not only theirs, ANATMAN also contradicts the belief of the impious. Because their self, which they want to realize, their self, which also drives them, for which they work and fight, it doesn't really exist! How can that be when everyone is talking about "I" and "mine"? Also Shakyamuni and his disciples! But, says the Buddha later, you shouldn't believe that something really has to exist just because you know a name for it. The name "Pegasus" does exist, but the winged horse only exists in the imagination. There are two levels to be distinguished, says the Buddha; they correspond to two languages, that of everyday life and that of religious knowledge. It's no different than when a chemist says "water" in a coffee house and "H2O "and is understood correctly every time. The personal pronouns

"I", "my", "me" belong to the conventional language and enable people to communicate with one another. "Not-me", "not-mine", "not-me", on the other hand, refer to reality as Buddhists see it.

The ego becomes less important

The consequence of ANATMAN, when you hear it for the first time, seems astonishing. To put it in the classic form: There is suffering, but there is no suffering person. There are deeds, but no perpetrator can be found. There is redemption, but not the redeemed being. There is a path, but you don't see any hikers there. (Visuddhi-Magga XVI) The practical application of this teaching helps our understanding. Take their linguistic expression, for example. In everyday language we say "I am excited"; on the analytical level, this sentence corresponds to the perception "there is excitement". Instead of "I am afraid" one feels "fear rises", instead of "I am happy" one recognizes "Joy spreads". Man perceives immediately what is happening. He also ensures that the idea of ​​an ego is not needed in order to be able to correctly recognize what is going on in himself and in his environment.

The I want security

Everything flows! That means everything will be, nothing is. The ego, the illusion of something permanent in the human being, is nourished by the past; it is its result. People carry the past with them, memories of good times, of merit, of those who caused suffering that one had to endure, of old accounts that still have to be settled. As long as the human being is conditioned by the past, he is not free for the present, and because one can only live in the today, the ego, consuming on what has passed, denies him a living existence in the now. The future preoccupies the ego any less. She scares him. Therefore the ego seeks to protect itself by accumulating money and possessions, by believing in everything that promises it protection and security. The ego wants security. An insecure self feels inferior and depressed. All suffering, the Buddha teaches, arises from a false belief in the self. Liberation from suffering thus coincides with liberation from belief in the ego in general: If you give up your ego, then you no longer cling to the past, then you do not fear what could still come, then you become free to experience the present, that is, free to flow without being jammed by anything.

The human being as an ensemble of different components

The ANATMAN doctrine of course still owes us the explanation of how an ego-less person should function. Like the word "bicycle", the word "human" also designates an ensemble of different components. In Sanskrit, such a part of the human being is called "Skandha", we would say "aggregate". Five such aggregates make up the human being. The body forms the basis. In it there is constant movement, unimaginably fast in the brain, slower ones in the blood circulation, when breathing, in the metabolism, etc. Our physical senses then connect us to the outside world. Another aggregate is perception: what I do not perceive of myself and the outside world does not exist for me. We react to a perception with a feeling. Feelings then form the third aggregate. They change quickly and guide our actions. A fourth unit also controls our behavior. In Sanskrit it is called samskara, which can be translated as "formations" or "designs". Our "formations" that we have acquired in the course of time can lose themselves again or also change, they merely shape our current attitude to something. Controlled by respective formations, some people behave shamefully, others shamelessly, some humble, others greedy, some mindful, others absent-minded.

The element of consciousness

Finally, the fifth aggregate is consciousness. Without awareness, our actions are automatic. For example, when our hands are doing routine work, our minds can wander and we are like mindless robots. For Buddhists, however, awareness is of great importance. You practice again and again to perceive clearly consciously and to act as often and as long as possible. ANATMAN, as demonstrated by the Buddha in humans, applies to everything and everyone on earth, in heaven and in hell. Everything is made up of parts, material and spiritual. The land, the sea, the mountains, the objects consist only of material parts. People and animals from material and spiritual elements, the gods and spirits only from spiritual components. But all change without ceasing. An immutable self can be found in or on nothing or anyone. For Buddhists it follows that it is not worth investing in the impermanent world beyond what is absolutely necessary.

Who is steering our course?

"Reality" only belongs to the present moment. The previous one has already passed, the next one has not yet come. But it doesn't flow all over the place, but more or less consistently in this or that direction. Who or what controls our course as a kind of "captain on the bridge"? ANATMAN says: There is no such thing as an unchangeable self that could direct change. But who or what will steer us then? In the religions one or at least some particular god is known as the omnipotent ruler. He holds everything in his hand, the life of each individual, nature with its changes, the universe. Atheism contradicts this belief in one God. Atheists see no point in change; everything seems absurd to them. As drivers, they call it unpredictable coincidence.

Buddha teaches the law of dependent origination

The Buddha himself teaches a middle way between theism and atheism. He teaches the "law of dependent origination" (Pratitya-sam-utpada). This law says: Because that happened, this happens now, and this in turn will have consequences. For example, the carpenter built the table because he received an order from a customer. He could only build it because he had tools and wood on hand. But he got wood from the timber dealer, tools from the toolmaker. The timber merchant, in turn, received the wood from the forest; it had grown there because forest workers had planted seedlings that had previously been raised from seeds by someone and so on and so on ... In short: conditional origination teaches that nothing and no one can exist for themselves or of themselves. Humans live in a network with others and with things, so they are conditioned by them and, in turn, are conditioned by other and different things.

Buddha contradicts creation out of nothing

As a law, "conditional origination" rules indefinitely. The Buddha contradicts a creation out of nothing, with which world history begins in many religions. The Buddha also declares that later new creations are impossible. The counterpart to the creation out of nothing is the end into nothingness. The law of "conditional creation" does not permit complete abolition either. Once again the Buddha strikes a middle path between two opposites, this time between creation and annihilation.

The "conditional emergence"

Whatever a person recognizes and experiences: why does it actually arise and why does it go away again? The Buddha replies: because everything is conditioned! One appearance arises, another disappears, and yet they all line up without interruption. What one perceives are actually chains of instantaneous events. Let's imagine a person around forty years old. He leafed through the family album and discovered a photo of himself as a three-year-old. Is the forty-year-old the same or different from the child in the photo? It is of course not the same, it has changed considerably in the meantime. But he is not someone else either. Rather, it is like this: Based on his past as an infant, as a schoolchild, as an adolescent and as an adult, he has then become the one who is now looking at the photo from before.

In dying the energy breaks new ground

The "conditional origination" solves a typical Indian problem. It is about the question of how rebirths without Atman can be possible. Buddhists teach that as you die, consciousness gradually ceases to animate a physical body. The released energy collects and leaves the body, but not somewhere, but in a certain "direction" that has been shaped on the previous life path. So it is directed by wholesome or unwholesome spirit formations. Either one is then forever freed from rebirths, or one remains clinging to life and begins a new existence with another conception. In order to be born again in this way, an eternal, unchangeable soul that wandered from one existence to the next is not necessary at all.

How does a human act come about?

Self-observation made the Buddha discover how human activity comes about, i.e. how it is conditioned. This insight is of great practical importance because it exposes a switching point at which one can direct the flow of beings away from the unwholesome and towards the wholesome. New situations arise all the time. The outside world plays its important role in this, as does the inside world of humans or both together. The perception of such impulses leads to contact with them. Such a contact then arouses a feeling, a negative, desiring or neutral one. Each feeling in turn requires an approving or a negative attitude towards the respective situation. Either way, one attitude leads to attachment. But what the thoughts cannot let go of leads to action. You want to get what seems pleasant, you want to avoid what is unpleasant. Buddhists experience such processes consciously.They pay particular attention to those times when a feeling begins to respond to the perception of a new situation. At such transitions the chain of automatically running conditions can be interrupted, one can, so to speak, get out of the perishable direction of flow and interrupt the progress of an unwholesome act.

Where does the afterlife take place?

Life after death is known in all religions. In doing so, man gives up his earthly form of existence and changes over to another. Where one believes in the curse of constant rebirth, there only a final, final transition into a deathless and birthless existence brings redemption. How do you live in the hereafter? The history of religion shows us two contradicting ideas. Some hope for a glorious life. So one imagines paradisiacal conditions in which everyone can live much more comfortably than the richest nabob on earth (but without being plagued by his fears and worries). Others, however, imagine a twilight, shadowy world in which life is not much different than on the sunlit earth. Accordingly, this underworld is not a place of punishment, not a hell, as one will be surrounded by good relatives there. One lives on with the forefathers and forefathers, whose love keeps every descendant warm.

How does salvation come about?

Buddhists also know quite beautiful paradises. They then hope to be reborn as beings of light in one of the heavens: There they are allowed to stay for a very, very long time. But the day will come when healing activities from previous lives will be used up and a new birth will have to be faced. The heavenly skies of the Buddhists do not yet harbor any really redeemed. The final salvation that will not be followed by rebirth is called NIRVANA. But who or what is a redeemed? According to Gautama's teaching, man is not redeemed, he must redeem himself. Since one can only redeem oneself and no one else, Buddhists have no savior. They call a redeemed one the "so-gone". By that they mean someone who has completed the path, who has reached the goal. The goal is achieved as soon as ANATMAN is realized, when a person no longer clings to anything.

How can one understand nirvana?

Contemporaries wanted to know more about this. With Shakyamuni they probed how a perfect person would be in NIRVANA - which in the light of "everything flows" would have to be regarded as a wrongly posed question. Most of the time the Buddha answered wrong questions with silence. This time he found words. So he was asked where a man who had been released would reappear. He replied that it couldn't be said that he would reappear. So does he not appear again? You can't say that either. Then he reappears and does not reappear You can't say that either. Then it is neither true that it reappears nor that it does not reappear? You can't say that either. This categorical "Not like this!" of the Buddha, what does it mean? It means: Nobody can understand NIRVANA unless one has attained it.

The description of nirvana

The teaching of Gautama Buddha was later systematized in Abhidharma, which means "higher teaching". There NIRVANA is described as a state to which nothing material adheres anymore. That is why only the spirit can perceive NIRVANA, the spirit, but not the senses, because they are based on material corporeality, with them we grasp the material world. But the mind experiences NIRVANA as a state of lasting happiness without the slightest trace of suffering. Nothing passes and nothing dies in NIRVANA. The word "mind" (Pali: Citta) is used synonymously in Abhidharma with the word "consciousness" (Pali: Vinnana). So "mind" only means a state of consciousness. Humans are made up of five aggregates, none of which survive death. In death, the so-called dying consciousness also leaves the dead body. This last consciousness merges with a new maternal and a new paternal germ into a new existence. It can no longer be detached from this. The entrance to NIRVANA will have to be imagined in a similar way, but it is purely spiritual, without material involvement.

The shaping of consciousness

Abhidharma systematically states the following: The world is made up of changing combinations of a total of 84 factors. Of them 28 are material, the majority, namely 56, are spiritual. Among the spiritual there are again 54 "spiritual factors" (Pali: Cetasika). So they are called because they qualify consciousness. When they come and go, they connect with consciousness, coloring it, as it were, for the duration of its appearance. A distinction is made between unwholesome, wholesome and neutral mental factors. Over time, a deluded consciousness can be replaced by a knowing one, a greedy one by a frugal one, a hateful one by a loving one. With delusion, greed and hatred, every other disaster factor also disappears, since it was conditioned by ignorance. The reversal of ignorance into knowing thus becomes the key of salvation. NIRVANA therefore experiences a purified mind, i.e. unblinded consciousness. If we subtract the 52 "spirit factors" from the total of 54 non-material factors, then two remain, one worldly and one transcendent. The worldly factor is the "spirit" (citta) just mentioned. It has no independent substance and only serves as a collective name for the 52 different types of consciousness. But the supernatural factor is called NIRVANA. In Abhidharma one teaches NIRVANA as a state of consciousness.

Desire for an order of the teachings

Buddha Gautama had answered questioners and his discourses (sutras) therefore only deal with individual problems. Later one wanted a coherent, systematically ordered teaching. Such a system building was erected in the Abhidharma. Both the sutras of Gautama and their systematization form the explanatory tradition of the so-called southern or Pali Buddhism, which has its home in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka and which calls itself "Theravada", the teaching of Thera, the ancients or the elders.

However, nothing remains as it is, including no religion and no teaching. It is true that the new Buddhism of Mahayana, the "Great Vehicle", did not affect the Shakyamunis sutras. They have simply been translated from Pali into Sanskrit, Chinese, Japanese and Tibetan. There they are respected as the early teaching and taught to this day. However, doctrinal development has eventually overtaken the older Theravada sutras.

A paradigm shift followed

What happened? The teachings of Buddha Gautama are based on facts that everyone can recognize, the conclusions of which everyone can verify. In the place of sober analysis of existence, there was now also revelation, as we encounter it in many other religions. In the history of science one speaks of a "change of perspective" and of a "paradigm shift". In the history of religion, this change almost always takes place in

the reverse order instead: what everyone can determine gradually makes revealed teachings about the invisible superfluous. Another change is related to the above-mentioned change in Buddhism. In place of the purely human Buddha and Bodhisattva figures. The latter are beings (sattva) who already have awakening (the bodhi) within themselves, but who are still "holding back" from becoming Buddha because they want to help the unsaved to salvation beforehand.

From "everything flows" to "everything becomes empty"

A third change becomes visible. First there is the change from "everything flows" to "everything is empty". The image of flowing know and name next to the Greek Heraklit also Shakyamuni and the Buddhists after him. Flow does not allow lingering; whoever flows is not looking for any ground on which to stand. The new Buddhism changes from the level of happening to the level of standing, to being. Of course, the new Buddhists also remain Buddhists. In the realm of being, nothing corresponds to the ceaseless flow to which one could hold on, nothing at all on which one would come to a stand. They call this lack of position SHUNYATA, "emptiness". This word itself is not new. "Everything is empty" (shunya), this is what you can already hear from the mouth of Gautama Buddha when, with ANATMAN, he denies the existence of something permanent that would not be subject to change. What is new is that from now on (i.e. since about the turn of the century) SHUNYATA will dominate the teaching tradition outside of Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka.

The new sutras

The transmission of the teaching of Gautama Buddha consists of his discourses and their systematization. It is no different in the new teaching tradition. There are sutras and there are systematists. The sutras were written in India between 100 BC and 600 AD. Almost forty texts have survived. Gautama wanted to replace the natural delusion of the human mind with insight that everyone must gain for themselves. The new sutras teach transcendent knowledge, "wisdom that has passed over" (Prajna-param-ita).

In Mahayana, the "Heart Sutra" is particularly valued. It explains how the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, dwelling in transcendent wisdom, looks down from high above: What he sees are those five aggregates of which man is made. He sees that they are empty. Sariputra, who was considered the wisest of all the disciples of Gautama Buddha, now teaches: The body, as revealed by this bodhisattva, is SHUNYATA, and emptiness is the body, it is the same. Likewise the perception, the feelings, the mind formations and the consciousness. Every thing (Dharma), the Bodhisattva teaches, is emptiness. So it is neither caused nor terminated, it is not defiled or flawless, it is not imperfect or perfect.

Old and new teachings are shared

Here the old and the new doctrine obviously go somewhat different ways. Gautama taught conditional origination. He taught that there are unwholesome and wholesome formations of the mind, that defective ones can and should be replaced by perfect ones. But the Bodhisattva in the light of transcendent wisdom cancels everything at all, he tears away everything, even the little that Gautama and his systematists still have left as flowing. Voidness, it is said, erases everything that distinguishes things. Because they are empty, there is neither shape nor feeling, neither perception nor consciousness, not even the sensory impressions of the eye, ear, nose, tongue, skin and mind. There is no ignorance and no end of ignorance. There is no decay or death. There is no suffering, no arising and ceasing, no way. There is neither attainment nor non-attainment, so there is also no awakening, no becoming Buddha, no salvation.

All things are empty

The Bodhisattva teaches that there is no essential difference between things, they are all empty. At the same time, emptiness is what unites everyone, because it is essential to everything and everyone. With this the new teaching has returned to the point from which Shakyamuni once started. He had contradicted the belief that God was to be found as the basis of all beings in all beings, that everything changeable has an unchangeable core. The Buddha ANATMAN opposed this. Now his successors had come back to a reason for everything. As heirs to Gautama, however, they do not abandon the ANATMAN doctrine. Therefore they interpret the common ground neither divinely, nor do they otherwise fill it positively, but negatively as emptiness, which, like God, is supposed to be unchangeable, omnipresent and eternal.

Scholar Nagarjuna: Thinking hinders knowledge

Nagarjuna lived in southern India in the 2nd century AD. He built on the teachings of Gautama Buddha. Both distinguish two levels of knowledge: that of everyday conventions and that of authenticity. Both see only becoming and no being. Both also teach change in knowing. One can only know what is achievable with one's present becoming. The famous scholar demonstrates how thinking hinders the knowledge of ultimate reality. Thinking is colored by the desire of those who think. Their desire leads them to differentiate between things. Because they like this but not that, they make a difference. In the everyday world one cannot avoid distinguishing: "This is a chair and not a table"; "I am here and you are there".

Making distinctions does not lead to a knowledge of what is essential

But differentiating does not lead to the knowledge of the real. Why not? Because everything is related, because nothing and no one can be without relationship to others. The maker does not exist without the made and the made cannot exist without the maker. The mother does not exist without her child and this not without its mother. Fire does not exist in fuel, but neither does it exist without fuel. Fuel does not exist in fire, but neither does it exist without a relation to fire. What is related to other things, what is relative, cannot have an absolute being, cannot exist of itself. In making a distinction, one can overlook the relation between two things and speak of them as if both were absolute. For example, it is said that light is the opposite of darkness. One cannot exist without the other, because without darkness we would not know what light is and vice versa. To distinguish, Nagarjuna teaches, tempts to discover what is seemingly permanent. Something he believes to be permanent makes man cling to it. Buddha teaches not to cling. If a person understands that there is nothing permanent, then he also understands the futility of all clinging. SHUNYATA eliminates all problems. But not because they would somehow be solved, but because the problems are no longer there. One lives in everyday life and therefore differentiates between all sorts of things; but one forgets that they are all empty. From such wisdom grows the happiness of spiritual freedom. Man is freed from a network that he himself ties.

"Everything is empty" also applies to nirvana

Nagarjuna's analysis does not stop at NIRVANA either. Buddha Gautama sees in NIRVANA the opposite of the changing world. He speaks of the unborn, the deathless, the unchangeable. In Abhidharma, however, one teaches NIRVANA as a state of consciousness in which the ego with its desires and aversions no longer exists at all: Nagarjuna teaches "everything is empty", including NIRVANA. Since the changing world is also empty, both are the same, salvation and disaster. They are equally empty, but they are not the same!

On the everyday level, Nagarjuna teaches, talk of salvation and the goal of salvation is useful because it diverts the mind away from ignorance and greed. But there is also a danger lurking here, namely the possibility of mistaking NIRVANA for an object, something that humans could grasp, to which they could cling. However, there is only becoming, there is no being! Knowing this gives power, not to do, but to not-do. Seen in this way, NIRVANA appears as the non-refueling of fuel for the flames of greed and hatred.

Does nirvana exist?

Like the Buddha before him, Nagarjuna was confronted with the four questions of being of the logic of his time.Does NIRVANA exist? Doesn't it exist? Is it both existent and non-existent at the same time? Is it neither existent nor nonexistent? Like the Buddha before him, he also answers all four questions in the negative. What is more, Nagarjuna uses the concept of existence to demonstrate the failure of thinking as an attempt to grasp the unthinkable. "Existence" is a product of thought. As such, it lives from distinction. What is dependent on other things ages and dies. If NIRVANA existed, it would have to age and perish. If NIRVANA were independent, an Absolute (Svabhava), it would neither age nor die. But then it belonged to a completely different kind of being. Then it would no longer be related to flowing existence and inaccessible to all who live fluently. Nagarjuna concludes from this that the concept of existence is not suitable for the knowledge of real reality.

Interpretation of the Shunyata

NIRVANA is not a tangible, not a comprehensible being, NIRVANA is empty.

What is the result? How should we grasp SHUNYATA, the "emptiness" of the Prajnaparamita sutras and Nagarjuna? The question of the opposite is easier to answer. It reads: How can we not interpret SHUNYATA? That kind of "emptiness" has neither the "fullness" to the contrary, nor anything else. Hence it is wrong to equate them with nothingness and nihilism. Neither does SHUNYATA denote the actual absence, the non-existence of something, such as the water in the desert. Just as little is the mere possibility of the non-existence of something, as when one speculates about the components of a celestial body that is currently inaccessible. This "emptiness" must not be related to consciousness in a Buddhist or psychological way and interpreted as its failure, as temporary or permanent unconsciousness. Above all, SHUNYATA is not a cipher for an inexplicable absolute entity. Rather, Nagarjuna wants to use this name to mark the position that lies between being and not being. Thinking no longer finds a hold at such a point, it has to be there

expose it. Because of this intermediate position, the school of Nagarjuna is called the "Middle Way" (Madhyamika).

The difficulty of grasping Anatman, Nirvana and Shunyata

The task was to shed light on what is hidden behind the three names ANATMAN, NIRVANA and SHUNYATA. Anyone who grew up far from Buddhists should not immediately understand the three strange ideas. Even for the Buddhist, they only become completely transparent at a high, if not at the very highest level of the Buddha's path. Names, designations, concepts, they belong to the knowledge, to the teaching of a religion. What could no longer be discussed in detail here is, on the one hand, the question of the roots of these ideas and, on the other, their fruit. They grew out of Buddhist immersion, in which the essentials can be recognized on a level other than that of everyday life and that of reflective thinking. They should cause an overwhelming feeling of happiness. Such happiness is nourished by equanimity that arises from egotism, i.e. from no longer clinging to the worldly, be it to the transcendent.

 

Edited and shortened by Ernst Pohn