Okay, so I've taken a break from the forums in the recent days to focus on some reading. I have a question on emptiness. I'm not too sure if I'm understanding this right. Does it mean to be like an empty vessel, not expecting anything from our practice or from the world around us? Does it mean to be ready for anything that may occur on a day-to-day basis? Or does it mean not to have any feeling or opinion about anything that occurs? I'm probably way off here and maybe it's up for interpretation depending on the practitioner, but I am having a hard time understanding this concept. Maybe if I try to stop understanding these things, true understanding will present itself, but I think I'm getting ahead of myself.
Another question I have is about explaining Buddhism. Some people have questions about what it means to be Buddhist, or to follow the teachings of the Buddha. The other day, a woman that I work with asked me what I believed in regards to heaven, hell, God, etc. I told her that (in my opinion and belief), Heaven and Hell are names given to states of mind and not really places that one can travel to. In addition, I believe that God is a name given by humankind to explain the reason for life and living. I told her that I do not believe in a supreme "creator" in the sense of maybe Christianity or other God based religions. I don't really think that these questions are important to our daily lives. She really couldn't understand this and maybe I don't either, but I don't take much stock in a being that created everything we experience. But I've noticed just by writing this post, that I'm getting ahead of myself again, so I should go back to my original point. If someone has questions about Buddhism or being a Buddhist, what should I explain? I can give answers based on what I believe and what I practice, but is this an accurate way to express myself. In other words, is holding on to some ideas or concepts that I may have really important in the grand scheme of things? Is it important for the person asking the questions to understand what my opinions or beliefs are? Should I answer in a way that would allow them to search the truth for themselves? Is holding on to certain ideas about my practice suffering in itself? Is this really emptiness...not having any opinions or views of any kind that may define my practice. I hope that I'm making sense, and if I am confusing or need to elaborate on any of the thoughts that I have tried to convey, please respond, and I will try to express myself better. Thanks for reading and I look forward to reading your thoughts.