Journal of Indian Philosophy 18 (1):81-91 (1990)
In the various texts the phrase “something does not exist there” was interpreted in the following way: “elephants, cows, etc.” (Cūlasuññata-sutta) “the imagined, or conceptualized” (Yogācāra tradition), “the five skandhas, the elements, the sensory fields as eternal and solid entities” (Abhidharmasamuccaya), “all conventional phenomena” (Dolpo-pa), “inherent reality” (rGyal-tshab-rje), “accidental pollution with regard to the tathāgatagarbha (Gung-thang). The phrase “something that remains there does exist as a real existent” was interpreted also in different ways: “monks, palace, world, etc” (Cūlasuññata-sutta), “the perfect, or accomplished” (Yogācāra tradition), “the Selflessness” (Abhidharmasamuccaya), “the perfect, emptiness exists eternally” (Dol-po-pa), “the lack of inherent reality” (rGyal-tshab-rje), “the purity of tathāgatagarbha 's nature” (Gung-thang).This survey shows that the Buddhist tradition interpreted the same scriptural sentence in radically different ways. Each commentator attempted to present the scriptural statement in a way which suited best his own philosophical view. It is evident that no agreement with regard to the exegesis of this sentence can be obtained. After all, the Buddha has set up a model in the (Cūlasuññata-sutta), where he interpreted the statement in a process-manner. There is no definitive description of voidness
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