Emptiness is defined in the Oxford dictionary as the state of containing nothing, no value.  But to define nothing means there is something,  right?  Take bowl for instance.  The bowl is a vessel or a form that has the potential to hold something.  Or do we say the bowl is surrounded by something and the bowl itself has no value because it is empty?

So which is the truth relating to emptiness?  This has along standing discusion of the duality.  You can’t have one without the other.  The theory of two truths: absolute and relative truths.  This is such an abstract construct.  Absolving the idea of not having to differentiate the concrete and the abstract is being able to see as being enlightened. It opens up all the potential of what is there and gives the self  freedom of curiosity without fear.

Emptiness is not something to be afraid of, says Thich Nhat Hanh. The Heart Sutra teaches us that form may be empty of self but it’s full of everything else.

I was teaching my 11 year old son the difference between relative and absolute geography.  Very challenging topic to cover- the ever changing concepts of these deep meanings. Whereas one absolute topic could be relative topic of something else. His mind as well as mine was spinning with how different we all see, feel and understand the world we live in.  Our emotions and our spiritual worlds have the same duality: peace and anxiety, joy and sadness, grief and elation, etc.  Life is not without death, light without darkness and empty without fullness, sickness and health.  You can come up with your own.

To say there was emptiness in the bowl- is there truth in that?  There is air in the bowl, there is potential in
the bowl.    At what value do we see the bowl as full or empty?  Is the emptiness separate?  Is the emptiness apart of the fullness we can see? Attachment to the idea or conception is what prevents us from seeing things clearly.  Emotions, actions, mental activity, our body all give us feedback on what is there. Is there suffering without comfort of knowing?  Or can we live in the unknown?

As with any phenomena, We know something and somethings we don’t.  The mind wants to know.  We think there is a safety in the knowing.  The beauty of life is a dual Perception.  Transitioning and change is always constant so nothing is permanent. The body, mind and spirit are also changing and transforming.  A balance of these concepts also is a change. Is our past and present also a concept of the ability to transform and maintain a healthy balance.

The Dalai Lama said,

“You need a belief in the consequences of actions to choose virtue in your life and discard nonvirtue”.

Take this bowl in your hands- feel its shape- do we make a judgement of how it feels, compare it to other things that shape or design. Look what is inside.  What do you see?

Can we to overcome all illness with this simple concept?  Try to see everything that is and isn’t there.

Watch the ideas come to life as you develop a meditation practice based on emptiness.

Summary for Daily Practice

As an exercise in identifying how objects and beings falsely appear, try the following:

1. Observe how an item such as a watch appears in a store when you first notice it, then how its appearance changes and becomes even more concrete as you become more interested in it, and finally how it appears after you have bought it and consider it yours.

2. Reflect on how you yourself appear to your mind as if inherently existent. Then reflect on how others and their bodies appear to your mind

Other: Here are some other suggestions to starting a meditation practice- click here.