There is no Mahayana Buddhism without the concept of Shunyata. Just as the Buddha revolutionized Indian philosophy with his Anatman doctrine, Mahayana innovators revolutionized Anatman with the Shunyata doctrine. With Anatman, the Buddha asserted the non-existence of the self. With Shunyata, Mahayana innovators assert the non-existence of any permanent object. In each case, the object in question is asserted to be devoid of its own self-nature. Through the process of Dependent Origination, all things arise in mutual creation and fall in mutual destruction.

The concept of emptiness is explored in great depth and detail in the Prajnaparamita Sutras. The eponymous perfection of wisdom is a true understanding of the emptiness of all things. The wisdom grouping of the Noble Eightfold Path (Right View and Right Resolved) are said to be tantamount to fully experiencing Shunyata. The concept was enthusiastically embraced by Nagarjuna and thus became a defining trait of the Madhyamaka school.

According to the incisive concept of emptiness, all dualities are to be dispensed with: good and evil, being and non-being, self and non-self, and even path and no-path.

Pali:  Suññatā
Sanskrit: Śūnyatā