Imagery in the Early Buddhist Texts

Suññatā — Emptiness

This is part 25 of a course going systematically through Bhikkhu Analayo's Excursions series.

Illustration by Ayya Vimalayani aka "Ven Yodha"

Seeing in terms of the Four Noble Truths is the foundation which supports the realization of emptiness.



This being the last section of our course, we will read the three remaining similes from Hecker we haven’t covered yet: 4, 30, and 73. Congratulations! You’ve now finished the entire book!


It’s interesting to me that Bhikkhu Anālayo placed “emptiness” last. It seems to borrow from later Mahayana thoughts on the “two truths” and “perfection of wisdom,” since emptiness in the EBTs seems more closely related to vipassana than vimutti. What do you think? Is emptiness the end of the path, or merely instrumental? How does understanding the EBTs as rhetoric help you to answer this question?