An Empty Answer
You want me to “say more” about nothingness. Could anything be more paradoxical for the reader than to try to understand “nothing”?
Why? Because most people start from the conviction that there is something which does exist; if nothing more, at least “me”.
So, you will not likely appreciate nothingness unless you have come to realization through advaita. At least we will, then, begin without the assumption that a “me” really exists.
But even for the realized advatin, there will almost certainly be a presumption that “something” exists in the realm of reality. Even “reality”.
Advaita points to ajata, and ajata is about nothingness, or emptiness. The Diamond Sutra of Buddhism, points exclusively to it. Hui Neng, the Sixth Chinese Patriarch, declares flatly: ‘There is nothing from the start.” These sources, among others, set your foot on the path, but recognize that most people are then going to immediately be lost.
I have written clearly about advaita, and several have understood what I’ve said. I have spoken, to some of these, about what lies beyond the “Absolute,” and a couple have understood. So I will try to explain it, as best I can.
The “ultimate condition” (if any) is nothingness, the complete “absence” of anything—no thing, of any possible description.
The (approximate) comprehension of this would be to conceive of “emptiness”, as the emptiness of which not anything could be emptied; pure unassociated emptiness, and not even an emptiness which is within some imagined boundaries.
The word “void” could be applied; but this “actuality” is not void of something—in any positive sense.
So the nothingness of which we speak is totally empty, free of any subtlety which could even be envisioned.
Hence there is not anything “within” it that can be subject to any kind of movement, or even change.
Not anything can “come from” nothingness, nor “return” to it. It is not the “origin” of anything.
In fact, it could not be applicable to say that it exists, or does not exist. Thus we can’t say that this is the “beginning” condition or the “ending” condition. At best, we could say that (if it were “existent”) it would be the ever-present condition.
Yet, it is not an abstraction: its presence is “eternal”.
“In” its presence are supposed creatures, and the world and universe they seem to inhabit. But all of these supposed things are “in” nothingness. They have not appeared from nothingness, or out of nothingness, or because of nothingness. In fact, they have not actually “appeared”, except as nothingness.
The creatures take their reality, their “existence”, for granted; and thus also the reality or existence of the world and its universe—not knowing that they are nothing.
The assumption is: ‘There was a time when I didn’t exist, a time when I existed, and a time when I will no longer exist”. But there are no such times. Not anything has ever “existed”, from the standpoint of nothingness. In nothingness, there is no “time”.
What makes this so difficult to understand, is that because we say that “I have existed”, we conclude that there is some thing. And indeed we look around and say there are other things, such as a world or a universe.
But the presumption that there was a time when I did not exist (or do; or will not exist) is false: no arising, abiding or decaying exists in nothingness. In other words, not anything “happens” in nothingness.
“We” are nothing, the “world” is nothing, the “universe” is nothing. In nothingness, there is neither existence nor nonexistence. There is only nothing.
From the standpoint of nothingness, no questions can arise. We can not ask for, nor expect, an explanation: not anything ever happens, in nothingness.
The value of this understanding is that not anything really matters. Even understanding this does not matter. All is emptiness. That is the “empty” answer.
The scriptures speak of one who is in sahaja samadhi as having “no mind” or an “empty mind”. It is this appreciation of nothingness that is referred to.