As the Mahayana Buddhist tradition adheres to the Buddha’s teaching of ‘anatman’, or ‘non-self’, this term cannot be used to refer to a permanent self, or ‘soul’. T
The Buddha explains that the world is experienced through the six senses, which in the Buddhist teachings includes the ‘mind’ as a sense-organ. Whether or not an ‘idealist’ position exists within later Buddhism is a matter of academic dispute.
Nagarjuna – who read virtually all the known Buddhist sutras of his time, deduced that the Buddha was teaching from this philosophical position – which by necessity – has no position.
The philosophical notion of ‘emptiness’ is a core teaching of Buddhism, found within both its Pali and Sanskrit texts (i.e. ‘suttas’ and ‘sutras’, etc.). The
Enlightenment appears to be the realisation of the exact mid-point between these four positions of logic, but is not limited to any of the propositions. Things are ‘empty’ because they are not ‘full’, but it can equally be said that things are ‘full’ because they are not ‘empty’ – but these statements are relative positions for the interpretation of ‘truth’.
‘The sutras lead the aspirant toward enlightenment at their own pace, whilst Ch’an, in its more direct method demands that the obvious is realised here and now, and its nature not endlessly talked around. The Ch’an masters use the language of the ‘uncreate’. This is the use of ordinary conditioned human language, in a manner that does not allow for the usual conditioning to operate, and thus deprives the intellectual mind of the fuel needed to create more delusive thought. This language manifests the ‘real’ in an non-dualistic and absolute manner and can not be understood with a mere shallow cleverness. Its impact is often decisive and is designed to take the practitioner through the three gates of entry into nirvana; namely ‘voidness’, ‘formlessness’, and ‘inactivity’. Voidness empties the mind of the idea of self and others; formlessness wipes out the notion of externals, and inactivity puts a stop to all worldly activities, whilst appearing in the world – in numerous and diverse circumstances – to act as a bodhisattva and deliver all living beings from suffering.’