1. EMPTINESS OF THE INNER
(i.e. of the subject: refers to dharmas belonging to the subject)
Since it has no inherent nature,
The eye is empty of being an eye.
The ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind are the same way.
They are all described in a similar way.
(Chap. 6., v. 181)
They are not stable nor forever lasting,
Nor do they remain for a short time and decay.
The eye and the rest that are the six inner ones
Are things that have no essential nature at all.
This is what is meant by "emptiness of the inner." (182)
2. EMPTINESS OF THE OUTER
(i.e. of the object: refers to object- related dharmas)
For these reasons, form’s nature is emptiness;
Therefore form is empty of being form.
Sounds, odors, things that are tasted, and what the body feels too,
All these phenomena are exactly the same. (183)
Form and so forth have no essential nature:
This very lack of essence is called "emptiness of the outer." (184)
3. EMPTINESS OF THE INNER AND THE OUTER
(i.e. of the subject and the object: refers to dharmas which are both subject- related and object- related)
That both inner and outer lack an essential nature
Is what is called "emptiness of the inner and the outer." (184)
4. EMPTINESS OF EMPTINESS
All phenomena lack the essential nature, and
The wisest of all call this "emptiness."
Furthermore, the Wise One said,
This emptiness is empty of being an inherently existent emptiness. (185)
The emptiness of what is called "emptiness"
Is the "emptiness of emptiness."
The Buddha taught it to counteract
The mind’s tendency to think of emptiness as something truly existent. (186)
5. EMPTINESS OF THE GREAT
(i.e. the great emptiness: the ten directions are devoid of the characteristics of the ten directions and that this represents "great emptiness.")
The "great" is what the ten directions encompass:
All sentient beings and the entire universe.
The "immeasurables" prove the directions’ infiniteness:
They pervade the limitless directions, so they cannot be measured in extent. (187)
That all ten directions in their whole vast extent
Are empty of essence is the "emptiness of the great."
The Buddha taught about its emptiness
To reverse our conception of the vast as being real. (188)
6. EMPTINESS OF THE ULTIMATE
(i.e. the emptiness of the supreme meaning: Nirvana)
Because it is wanderer’s supreme of all needs,
Nirvana’s cessation is the ultimate here.
Nirvana, the Truth Body, is empty of itself,
And this is what the emptiness of the ultimate is. (189)
The Knower of the Ultimate
Taught the "emptiness of the ultimate"
To counteract the mind’s tendency
To think that nirvana is a thing. (190)
7. EMPTINESS OF THE COMPOSITE
(i.e of the conditioned)
Because they arise from conditions
The three realms are "composite," it is taught.
They are empty of themselves,
And this, the Buddha taught, is the "emptiness of the composite." (191)
8. EMPTINESS OF THE UNCOMPOSITE
(i.e. of the unconditioned)
When arising, cessation, and impermanence are not among its characteristics,
A phenomenon is known as being "uncomposite."
They are empty of themselves.
This is the "emptiness of the uncomposite." (192)
9. EMPTINESS OF THAT WHICH IS BEYOND EXTREMES
(i.e. the absolute emptiness: emptiness of the Two Truths, transcendence.)
That to which extremes do not apply
Is expressed as being beyond extremes.
Its emptiness of its very self
Is explained as the "emptiness of that which is beyond extremes." (193)
10. EMPTINESS OF THAT WHICH HAS NEITHER BEGINNING NOR END
(i.e. the emptiness of beginninglessness: samsara, being, ignorance)
That which has no point from which it begins
Nor boundary where it ends is the cycle of existence.
Since it is free from coming and going,
It is just mere appearance, like a dream. (194)
Existence is void of any existence:
This is the emptiness of
That which neither begins nor ends.
It was definitively taught in the commentaries. (195)
11. EMPTINESS OF WHAT SHOULD NOT BE DISCARDED
(i.e. the emptiness of dispersion: emptiness of the dharma, the path)
To "discard" something means
To throw it away or to abandon it.
What should not be discarded is
What one should never cast away from oneself "the great vehicle". (196)
What should not be discarded
Is empty of itself.
Since this emptiness is its very nature,
It is spoken of as the "emptiness of what should not be discarded." (197)
12. EMPTINESS OF THE TRUE NATURE
(i.e. the emptiness of a nature; the true nature of being emptiness)
The true essence of composite and all other phenomena is pure being,
Therefore, neither the students, the solitary realizers,
The bodhisattvas, nor the buddhas
Created this essence anew. (198)
Therefore, this essence of the composite and so forth
Is said to be the very nature of phenomena.
It itself is empty of itself.
This is the emptiness of the true nature. (199)
13. EMPTINESS OF ALL PHENOMENA
(i.e. the emptiness of all dharmas)
The eighteen potentials, the six types of contact,
And from those six, the six types of feeling,
Furthermore, all that is form and all that is not,
The composite and the uncomposite "this comprises all phenomena". (200)
All of these phenomena are free of being themselves.
This emptiness is the "emptiness of all phenomena." (201)
14. EMPTINESS OF DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS
(i.e. the emptiness of individual characteristics)
All composite and uncomposite phenomena
Have their own individual defining characteristics.
These are empty of being themselves.
This is the "emptiness of defining characteristics." (215)
15. EMPTINESS OF THE IMPERCEPTIBLE
(i.e. the emptiness of the unattainable)
The present does not remain;
The past and future do not exist.
Wherever you look, you cannot see them,
So the three times are called, "imperceptible." (216)
The imperceptible is in essence empty of itself.
It is neither permanent and stable
Nor impermanent and fleeting.
This is the "emptiness of the imperceptible." (217)
16. EMPTINESS THAT IS THE ABSENCE OF ENTITIES
(i.e. the emptiness of non-existent dharmas)
Since an entity arises from causes and conditions,
It lacks the nature of being a composite.
This emptiness of there being anything that is a composite
Is the "emptiness that is the absence of entities." (218)
* * *
The sixteen emptinesses are condensed into four emptinesses that follow.
These four emptinesses are a summary of the previous sixteen.
1. EMPTINESS OF ENTITIES
(i.e. Not realism.)
In short, "entities" are
Everything included in the five aggregates.
Entities are empty of being entities,
And this is the "emptiness of entities." (219)
2. EMPTINESS OF NON-ENTITIES
(i.e. Not idealism / nihilism. The emptiness of non-composite dharmas)
In short, "non-entities" are
All uncomposite phenomena.
Non-entities are empty of being non-entities,
And this is the "emptiness of non-entities." (220)
3. EMPTINESS OF THE NATURE
(i.e. Not monism. The is no real Oneness. Emptiness of the true nature of being empty.)
The nature of phenomena is that they have no essence.
It is called their "nature" because no one created it.
The nature is empty of itself,
And this is the "emptiness of the nature." (221)
4. EMPTINESS OF THE ENTITY THAT IS OTHER
(i.e. Not dualism.)
Whether or not buddhas appear in the world,
The natural emptiness of all entities
Is proclaimed to be
The "entity that is other." (222)
Other names for this are the "genuine limit" and "suchness."
They are empty of themselves and this is the "emptiness of the entity that is other."
In the sutras of The Great Mother, The
Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom,
These twenty emptinesses are explained in great detail. (223)