Freedom in Emptiness

Once we realize the truth of emptiness and interconnectedness, we are free. The path is sometimes called ‘liberation’ and that is the reason why. There is freedom in the path. We can meet the world without such strong expectations. We can face the world without making enemies out of it all the time.

In this way we can stride through the universe, wild and free in our understanding of the way things really are. We can expose ourselves to the world with complete openness.

When we begin to realize that the nature of things is actually empty, then things don’t seem to be in our way anymore. There is nothing stopping us from expanding our love and compassion infinitely.

The purpose of talking about emptiness is to realize that if there’s no separation, then we are free.




I’m a struggling writer.

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An Awakened Being is said to have deep wisdom. Wisdom is important in Buddhism. Wisdom is important but it’s viewed as highly as it was in ancient times. We think about getting wiser as we get older, but we often don’t think about wisdom beyond that.
Knowledge is appreciated a lot more than wisdom.

Knowledge is important. It has led to many great things in the world.
Wisdom is what can direct our knowledge and lead us to more balanced and fulfilled lives.

Buddhist teachings and techniques for increasing wisdom can help us a great deal.
When we are acting with wisdom, we aren’t being held back by our preconceived ideas. We are able to see what’s going on more clearly. We are better able to analyze the facts and determine the best course of action.
Wisdom is like a mirror that reflects reality clearly. What is reflected in this clear mirror is our interconnectedness. It helps us see through the delusion of separation.
An Awakened Being, or Buddha, is a person who intuitively understands this wisdom.

The concept Awakening is central to Buddhism.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is simply engaging our experience in the present, moment after moment, dwelling in our experience as it is.

It is opening ourselves not just to the aspects of our lives that we like or dislike or see as important, but the totality of our experience.

When we practice mindfulness we can see the world as it really is. But, more importantly, we can see ourselves as we are: part of an interconnected whole. Allowing ourselves to really engage our experience takes some effort and practice. Until we make a concerted effort, mindfulness of the moment can be very slippery and easy to lose a grasp on. It’s so easy to get distracted and come out of this moment.

We do it all the time. That’s why mindfulness takes practice.

We are practicing to come into reality as it really is, right now. After we practice we start to realize that we can be mindful in any activity. It’s not only possible when things are easy or quiet. We can be mindful when we are working, when we’re driving, when we’re doing housework. We can also learn how to be mindful when we are afraid or upset.

When we are mindful we can act with clear thinking. Rather than having our decisions distorted by how we feel about situations, we can still think clearly.

As we continue practicing, our attention becomes more powerful. Practicing attention releases us from the delusions that are always distracting us. Practicing helps us control the constant chattering “monkey mind” that’s always dragging our thoughts around and distracting us.

To be mindful is to simply be aware.

As thoughts come without getting involved in the thoughts—not going off on a train of thought, not worrying about where a thought came from—but simply being aware that thinking is happening. It helps to make a mental note that we are “thinking” every time a thought comes.

Observe the rising of a thought without judging or reacting to it—without identifying it. Our thoughts are only thinking.

You will see that when we aren’t so attached to our thought process, that thoughts don’t last as long. As soon as we engage a thought with mindfulness, it disappears. Sometimes people find it helpful to label thinking in a more complete way, noting differing kinds of thoughts such as: thinking, desiring, remembering, etc. This can serve to strengthen our focus.

Try to note each thought the moment it arises.

When thoughts are noted in this way, they don’t have as much power to disturb our minds. Thoughts aren’t obstacles to our meditation, they are just an object of meditation, like the breath or a mantra. Make the effort to clearly note each thought and not get carried away by them. In this way, we will come to clarity.

If something comes into your mind, let it come in and let it go out; it will not stay long. Don’t try to stop thoughts, just let them come and go. Gradually, our minds will become calmer and calmer. Many thoughts come, but they are just from our own minds, which means they are under our control if we can just learn how to manage them.

This practice will bring about a state of balance and calm. Keep the mind aware of the thoughts that are arising from moment to moment.

Mindfulness is engaging this moment as it is.

This moment is all there is and all that we need.

Diamond Sutra, chapter 15

Subhuti then asked the Buddha, “World-Honored One, may I ask you a question again? If virtuous individuals wish to attain the Highest Perfect Wisdom, what should they do to help quiet their minds and master their thoughts?”

The Buddha replied:

“Subhuti, a virtuous individual who wants to give rise to the highest awakened mind must create this resolved attitude: ‘I must help to lead all beings to awakening, but, after these beings have become liberated, in truth I know that not even a single being has been liberated.’ Why is this the case? If a disciple is attached to the idea of a separate self or a universal self, then that person is not awakened. Why? Because in fact there is no independently existing object of mind called the highest awakened mind.”

“In ancient times, when I was living with Dipankara Buddha, did I attain anything called the highest awakened mind?”

“No. There is no attaining of anything called the highest awakened mind.”

The Buddha said:

“You are correct.

“A true disciple knows that there is no such thing as a separate self or a universal self. A true disciple knows that all things are one with all other things, not separate.”

This is a serious and profound teaching. We perceive ourselves to be individual beings that are separate from our environment. This is a delusion. We don’t come into the world. We come out of it. We are connected to other beings and to the world around us in countless ways. Everything contains everything else and everything is connected to everything else. If I buy a carrot at the grocery store, it didn’t really come from the grocery store. A person put labor into it to pull it out of the ground and it was transported there. But, before that it was a seed. That seed was planted in the ground. Rain and sunlight caused it to grow. And, of course, before that it came from a previous carrot. So, when I eat a carrot, it could be said that I am eating the sky. This is what we mean when we say that everything is connected.


One of the fundamental teachings of Buddhism is that our sense of individuality is delusional. The Buddha taught that we aren’t really individual beings in the way that we tend to think. We are really just part of everything else, like how waves are part of the ocean. A wave can be described as an individual, but it isn’t really separate from the rest of the ocean. The Buddha taught that what we think of as our self is actually not an individual being, but a combination of things. He called these the five aggregates. They are: physical form, consciousness, feelings, perceptions, and mental habits. If we are just a collection of things, like parts of a car, then our self is less significant than we think it is.


So, what are the implications of this? Well, feelings of greed and jealousy become insignificant if we aren’t so focused on ourselves. I think everyone agrees that the world would be a better place with less selfishness. Recognizing ourselves as part of a context rather than thinking we are some separate independent being can go a long way toward fixing many of the problems in the world. If we recognize others as ourselves then we are certainly less likely to harm them. It can make us want to help them instead. And ultimately helping others is really important in Buddhism.