Differences between Gelugpa and Nyingma Concerning Emptiness in Prasangika

All Tibetan Buddhist traditions agree that, within the context of sutra, the Prasangika view of voidness (emptiness) is the deepest view from among the four Indian tenet systems. The Gelugpa and Nyingma traditions, however, have different interpretations of the object of refutation (dgag-bya) of voidness according to Prasangika. Although individual masters in each tradition may hold different positions on specific details, if we speak in general, Gelugpa says that voidness (emptiness) refutes the self-established existence (rang-bzhin-gyis grub-pa; inherent existence) of conventional objects. Nyingma asserts that conventional objects (tha-snyad-pa) themselves are the object to be refuted by voidness. In accord with this difference, the two traditions teach different styles of conceptual meditation on voidness. In terms of an arya’s non-conceptual total absorption (mnyam-bzhag) on voidness, however, the meditations in both traditions reach the same point.