Posted in tattooed buddha

The Shining Void

“Lay down all thoughts,

surrender to the void.

It is shining.”

~ John Lennon

Buddhism represents overcoming suffering by understanding the true nature of things.

We are stuck in delusion and it prevents us from engaging our true selves a lot of the time. But what is the true nature of things?

Buddhism expresses it in two ways that might seem contradictory. I want to combine them and refer to it as the Shining Void.

One concept is Shunyata.

Shunyata is often translated as emptiness. This leads to some confusion. I don’t think of empty as like the number zero, I think of it as a vast and beautiful emptiness, like the sky. This is the concept that nothing in the universe has an inherent existence. That is, nothing exists on it’s own. Everything in the universe is interconnected with everything else.

Everything is dependent on everything else. Everything is just a collection of things that are influencing other things. This is especially important because it applies to us. I think of myself as this real and independent being. But am I? Or am I just part of a whole?

The other concept is Tathatagarbha.

Tathatagarbha is often translated as Buddha Nature. It’s the concept that we are one with everything; that there is a cosmic oneness to the universe. All this separation that we experience is the result of delusion. The concept of Buddha Nature indicates that we already know that we are one with everything.

We don’t always realize it but at the core of our being we are Enlightened. Our minds are clouded by delusion, so we cling to the idea of an independent self. If we can realize our interdependence then we can be happier and suffer less.

I am part of you and you are part of me—we aren’t separate. If we can think of things in this way, there is very little reason for things like envy or resentment.

So, why are there two separate concepts for this? I think we’re trying to grasp something deep and profound that is hard to understand in words.

Bodhidharma said, “The truth is beyond words and letters.”

We try to understand concepts like this, but the truth is they have to be experienced to be understood. We have to have our own spiritual insights. Our minds label things and ultimately these labels don’t really represent reality.

Sometimes when I am deep in insight meditation, I feel the truth of emptiness. Sometimes when I am deep in compassion meditation, I feel the truth of oneness.
It’s all the Shining Void.

“Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. Between these two my life turns.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

 

http://thetattooedbuddha.com/the-shining-void-what-buddhists-mean-by-emptiness/

Posted in emptiness

What is Sunyata (emptiness)?

Sunyata is a term in Buddhism that some people seem to struggle with. It’s often translated as Emptiness. Sometimes it’s translated as openness or voidness. Emptiness is sometimes misinterpreted as nihilism. It is the concept that nothing has inherent existence. Everything in the universe, including you, is dependent upon everything else. Everything is just a collection of things that are influencing other things.

If we really think about this, we know it’s true. Of course everything is interdependent. But, we tend to not live our lives with this understanding in mind. We tend to think of the world as separate from ourselves, and that can lead us to all kinds of trouble. Selfishness and greed come from not recognizing that we are simply part of a whole.

So much of the way we view the world is predicated on the labels and constructs that we put on everything. But these labels and constructs are empty. They don’t have any real, intrinsic existence. That’s why we say that all thought and matter are essentially empty.

We put labels on the world around us and then pretend that those labels are real.

Posted in non-dualism

Form and Void

Form, the first aggregate, is something we grasp at that doesn’t have real inherent existence. We tend to have the deluded view the permanent, but nothing has a permanent nature. Everything is empty if we think in terms of how everything is made up of things and has no inherent nature. Our deluded minds may think that our bodies are permanent, but the truth is that we are all subject to birth, old age, sickness, and death. So, that is why we say there is no difference between form and void.