Emptiness as Non-substantiality
“Emptiness” is not absolute nothingness. Rather, it refers to the fact that existence does not last forever. This term was explained in detail by Seng Zhao (384 or 374-414), who opposed the views derived from a prevailing misunderstanding of “original non-being” in the Eastern Jin Dynasty. Commentators’ interpretations of the “emptiness as non-substantiality” are mainly approached in two ways: first, things are empty because they are unreal, and so to establish the insubstantiality of all dharmas; second, emptiness itself is not real, and so to differentiate falsehood from absolute nothingness.
As for “Here now, the significance of emptiness as non-substantiality is quite obvious,” (that is to say) since being is not real, we call it “non-substantial”; given that is not real, we name it emptiness. (Shi Yuankang: A Commentary to the Treatise of Seng Zhao)