Thursday, November 20, 2008


The Buddha spoke of emptiness as an open space where the idea of being an isolated and permanent self is no longer able to ensnare one. This emptiness is “the abode of a great person,” where one can encounter and respond to the world in a selfless but caring perspective.

A bleak nihilistic void in which meaning and value have been lost is the exact opposite of what the Buddha meant by “emptiness.” For him, an understanding of emptiness transformed a compulsive cycle of fears and cravings into a path of wisdom and care that enhanced inner freedom and empathetic responsiveness. Rather than an absence of meaning and value, emptiness is an absence of what limits and confines one’s capacity to realize what a human life can potentially become.

Stephen Batchelor
Living with the Devil: A Meditation on Good and Evil p. 7