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Thread: Emptiness

  1. #1


    It is interesting that Buddhists express such varied interpretations of "emptiness" in things I read, from those who seem very materialistic in their description (x thing does not stand without dependence on other things), to those who seem to take it literally to mean "empty" (like an empty cup), to those who seem to take it to mean just a state when the mind is freed of ideas, and other such limited interpretations.

    Hmmm. I would not sell it short as just that. .

    I would propose that the traditional flavor and experience of "emptiness" in Zen Buddhism is nothing less than the grocking (profound first hand knowing from deep in the bones) of the radical interpenetration and interflowing of any and all things, moments of time, people and places and spaces and traces in all the universe (and them some), both that which is and which could be, in and out and as each other, with the complete dropping of the self/other divide (even as our sense of being our "self" in a world of things apart from our "me" need not vanish in all ways). ever moving and changing beyond and right through all comings and goings and birth and death and war and peace and all beauty or ugliness, like a great dance in which we and all things and times are the dance itself, and the dance just us, all dancing dancing dancing ... in other words, Kensho, Satori, a joyously "mystical" (for want of a better word) knowing of the deep interflowing and interidentity of everything and anything and then some ... that you are I are the Whole Enchildada and each little enchilada, and all is each and each just all beyond "each" or "all." .

    Please pardon me, because words never ever can do justice to these things, which explains all of Dogen's wild Shobogenzo riffing.

    But don't sell it short. That old joke about the Zen Master ordering a hot dog "Make Me One With Everything" has some tasty truth.

    Gassho, J

    Last edited by Jundo; 01-11-2019 at 02:17 AM.

  2. #2
    Very nice expression of emptiness Jundo, thank you. =)


    倫道 真現

  3. #3


    I agree Jundo


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  4. #4
    Thank you for your teaching Jundo,

    My understanding has always been that everything is "empty" of an independent, permanent self. All things (people, plants, rocks, phenomena, thoughts.... etc.) arise dependant on other things (causes/conditions/phenomena etc.) and due to their impermanent nature, eventually pass away as the causes and conditions that lead to their arising cease.

    I really like your expanded explanation! I find emptiness an interesting topic. My first teacher Sensei Michael Hiyashi did his masters thesis on the topic of Emptiness and he loved to discuss it at length!




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  5. #5
    Thank you Jundo. I am going to have to work with this a bit. Dance the empty dance.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  6. #6
    James F
    SAT lah

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  7. #7
    Member Koki's Avatar
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    Apr 2017
    Parma Ohio (just outside Cleveland)

    Frank (Kunzang)

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  8. #8
    Different streams flow in the darkness, never really catching the whole picture. Best just to enjoy the stillness and dance. Thank you Jundo, each time we revisit emptiness a new facet appears.

    Gassho, Shokai
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

  9. #9
    Thank you Jundo. Funny, I usually replace the word “emptiness” in my head with “everything-ness,” it just seemed to work better, maybe I wasn’t too far off base!?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    清 道 寂田
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  10. #10
    That works too.

    Dogen called it "the Whole Works" (Zenki).

    Gassho, J


  11. #11
    Treeleaf Unsui Geika's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    San Diego County, California
    I can grok it, thanks Jundo.

    Gassho, sat today, lah
    求道芸化 Kyudo Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  12. #12
    Thank you Jundo.

    You reminded me of two quotes from Master Bodhidharma:

    “At every moment where language can't go, that's your mind.”

    “People of this world are deluded. They’re always longing for something-always, in a word, seeking. But the wise wake up. They choose reason over custom. They fix their minds on the sublime and let their bodies change with the seasons. All phenomena are empty. They contain nothing worth desiring.”


    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  13. #13
    A lovely way to put it Jundo.


  14. #14
    A lovely way to put it Jundo.


  15. #15
    Good expression. Thank you Jundo

    I usually replace the word “emptiness” in my head with “everything-ness,”
    Jakuden, I like this, and have been using this approach too. "Everythingness" helps to prevent
    me from thinking of emptiness as something void and being lack of potential also from seeing
    it as a mere phenomenon.

    sat today
    Last edited by Washin; 01-12-2019 at 02:23 PM.
    Kaido (有道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything what I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

  16. #16
    thank you Jundo


  17. #17
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Thankyou Jundo, this was beautiful.



    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    Please pardon me, because words never ever can do justice to these things, which explains all of Dogen's wild Shobogenzo riffing.

    But don't sell it short. That old joke about the Zen Master ordering a hot dog "Make Me One With Everything" has some tasty truth.

    Gassho, J

    Asking for change, the vendor replies "True change comes from within".
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  18. #18

    Grocking is an interesting word. Don’t remember coming across it before so looked it up. My first reaction due my science training and life experiences makes me very suspicious when people grock. I could go on about politicians who do it to deny science but I won’t . However in the way you use it to connect with emptiness it resonates well and helps me. So thank you.


  19. #19
    For non-sci-fi geeks, "Grok" was coined by Robert Heinlein for one of his sci-fi novels from the early 1960s. The original intent is fascinating, as is the subsequent dissemination into wider culture.

    No merit. Vast emptiness; nothing holy. I don't know.

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