Voidness, asserted in Mahayana Buddhism as applying to all phenomena, is an absence of a way of existing that has never existed at all; more specifically, the absence of a way of establishing the existence of any phenomenon that has never been a valid way of establishing it. Each of the Mahayana tenet systems has its own assertion of the way of existing that is to be negated. Voidness is not a separate, transcendent reality; but rather it pertains to all phenomena and is inseparable from the phenomena that it pertains to. Voidness is a non-implicative negation (Tib. med-dgag), in which once the object to be negated or refuted (Tib. dgag-bya) – in this case, a way of existing that has never existed and never can exist – has been nullified, the negation does not imply any alternative way of existing in its place. This does not mean, however, that voidness is the nihilistic negation of all existence. It just doesn’t imply by itself how things do exist or how to validly establish that they do exist. Nevertheless, Buddhism asserts that voidness does not contradict dependent arising (Skt. pratītyasamutpāda; Tib. rten-'byung) – the fact that all phenomena arise dependently on other phenomena, as in the manner of cause and effect. The Sanskrit and Tibetan terms for "voidness" (śūnyatā and stong-pa-nyid, the state of being void), derive from the Sanskrit and Tibetan words for "zero" (śūnya and stong). They do not suggest anything other than a total absence. Although śūnyatā is widely translated as "emptiness," the word "emptiness" suggests the affirmation of the basis for negation (Tib. dgag-gzhi) as a container that is empty; whereas the word "voidness" comes closer to conveying the original connotation of "zero."
Tibetan: སྟོང་པ་ཉིད། stong-pa-nyid
J. Hopkins: Emptiness
Synonyms: Absolute absence; Total absence; Absence of impossible ways of existing; Nullification; Absolute nullification