The Buddha once said concerning himself: ‘The Tathagata dwells in the Temple of Emptiness.’ This ‘temple’ is a spiritual temple, not a physical one. ‘Temple’ refers to a spiritual dwelling place, that is, a state of mind. The Temple of Emptiness is an ever-present mental state devoid of any idea of ‘self’ or ‘belonging to self’. This is what is called the ‘Temple of Emptiness’.
The Buddha dwelt in the ‘Temple of Emptiness’, experiencing supreme bliss every day. This is what the Master said of himself. ‘To dwell in the Temple of Emptiness is to live in full awareness that all things are devoid of selfhood.’
The Buddha’s The Temple of Emptiness by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu published in the June 1989 edition of Buddhism Now.
Photo: Agra, Earliest Buddha Temple (photographer unknown 1860s–70s)
Inscribed in pencil on print, verso LL: “190”; inscribed in pencil on mount, recto LC: “Earliest Buddha Temple, Agra”.
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art