Emptiness is derived from
the Mahayana teaching or the profound understanding of worldly existences.
Emptiness or sunyata is the means through which people will become more mindful
of their reality, and then be able to disentangle themselves from attachment
and suffering.1 In
his book, the Indestructible Truth, Reginald Ray explains, “Usually,
when we attach labels to things in the world that we perceive. We assume that
the labeled perception is what we have experienced at the most basic
Put simply; people become attached to material goods because of the labels they
place on them; which is because our possessions project a certain social image,
and people become attached to such illusions. For instance, once something
happens to those material goods, such as a broken iPhone, or stolen Prada
purse, people feel an unnecessary suffering because of their attachment to the
material good. Carrie Bradshaw’s (the main, and very vain protagonist of
HBO’s Sex and the City) affinity for Manolo Blahniks, and her need for a
whole closet of them, eventually left her broke and effected her friendships.
She is the epitome of the materialistic American girl–shopping nonstop with
credit cards to make herself feel better by buying labels, only to see herself
suffer in the end both financially and emotionally. Chasing the needs that
arise from materialism is one of the reasons that the Buddha encouraged people
to look beyond the grid of culture, religion, society, and material goods that
binds us. By recognizing how each concept is inherently empty and that it
is truly our perspective that one is attached to, not shoes, nor purses,
nor phones. If people understood the true meaning of ’emptiness,’ then they
would wake up to the reality around them to see how their materialistic
possessions and social constructs have been controlling their happiness, or
Reginald A. Ray, Indestructible
truth: the living spirituality of Tibetan Buddhism (Boston: Shambhala, 2002), 321-322.
Reginald A. Ray, 322-323.