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Shunyata (Sanskrit, Sunyata Pali,: lit. Voidness, Emptiness) is a concept associated with Nagarjuna and the Madhyamika but has deeper roots in the tenet of Anatta (not-self) and Paticcasamuppada (Dependent Arising). It signifies the nonsubstantiality or lack of original nature of everything one encounters in life. Everything is inter-related and therefore not self-sufficient or independent; nothing has an independent reality.

The scholar Walpola Rahula explains that once Ananda the attendant asked Gautama Buddha, "People say the word Sunya. What is Sunya?" The Buddha replied, "Ananda, there is no self, nor anything pertaining to self in this world. Therefore, the world is empty." This idea influenced Nagarjuna's philosophy when he wrote the text, Madhyamika Karika. Related to the concept of Sunyata is the notion of the store-consciousness in Mahayana Buddhism which has its seed in the Theravada texts. The Mahayana philosophers have developed it into a deep psychology and philosophy.

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