不真空 – Chinese philosophy and culture

bùzhēnkōng 不真空

Emptiness as Non-substantiality

“空”并非绝对虚无,事物因虚假故所以空。不真空的概念由僧肇(384或374—414)申明,主要针对东晋时对“本无”的误解而产生的各种空观。历代注疏家对“不真空”的解读大致可分两个方面:不真故空,确立万法不实的宗旨;同时,空并不真,强调虚假与绝对虚无的差别。

“Emptiness” is not absolute nothingness. Rather, it refers to the fact that existence does not last forever. This term was explained in detail by Seng Zhao (384 or 374-414), who opposed the views derived from a prevailing misunderstanding of “original non-being” in the Eastern Jin Dynasty. Commentators’ interpretations of the “emptiness as non-substantiality” are mainly approached in two ways: first, things are empty because they are unreal, and so to establish the insubstantiality of all dharmas; second, emptiness itself is not real, and so to differentiate falsehood from absolute nothingness.

引例 Citation:

◎“然则不真空义显于兹矣”者,正以非真实有,故言不真;既非实有,所以言空。(释元康《肇论疏》)

(那么“不真空的意思已经很明显了”说的是:正因为并非真实存在,所以说“不真”;既然不是真实存在,所以称之为“空”。)

As for “Here now, the significance of emptiness as non-substantiality is quite obvious,” (that is to say) since being is not real, we call it “non-substantial”; given that is not real, we name it emptiness. (Shi Yuankang: A Commentary to the Treatise of Seng Zhao)

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