Re: More info on Emptiness

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Posted by alan on December 13, 1998 at 16:51:21:

In Reply to: More info on Emptiness posted by Rhett on December 13, 1998 at 05:22:49:


All things conditioned are impermanent, unstable,
As fragile in essence as an unfired pot;
Like a borrowed object, like a city on sand,
They endure only for a little time.
Without exception they are destroyed
Like plaster washed away by rain;
Like the river's sandy bank,
They are conditioned, their nature frail.

They are like the flame of a lamp
That quickly flares up and quickly goes out.
Without strength to endure, they are like wind,
Or like foam, without substance, in essence feeble.

They have no power, being empty within -
Like the plantain stem - to pellucid thinking,
Like conjurers' delusions taking in the mind
Or a fist closed on nothing, teasing a child.

From strands of grass a rope is woven
By the force of effort.
The turning wheel draws up the well-bucket,
But each revolution in itself is naught.

Thus the turning of all that compose existence
Arises from mutual interaction.
The turning is traceless in each part alone,
Either at the beginning or in the end.

Wherever the seed, there is the young plant,
But the seed is not the plant's nature;
Though not the plant, it is not something other -
Thus is the Righteous Law, neither passing nor permanent.

All things conditioned are confined by ignorance;
Pursued to the core, they do not exist,
For they along with ignorance are alike sunyata (1)
In their true nature, devoid of power.

The mystic discerns the beginning and end
Of consciousness produced and passing away.
From nowhere it came, to nowhere returns,
Of reality as empty as the conjurer's trick.

Through the drawing together of three elements -
Firesticks, fuel and the hand's labour -
Fire is kindled. Having served its purpose,
Fire soon burns out again.

A wise man may search here, there, everywhere,
Whence it came and whither it goes,
Through all regions in every direction,
But he will not discover its ultimate nature.

Thus all things in this contingent world
Depend on causes and conditions.
The mystic knows the heart of reality
And sees lesser things as empty, without power.

Lalitavistara Sutra XIII, 175-177

footnote (1)

Sunyata = The Void; ultimate reality; nothingness, emptiness

Let us erect a stupa
for the salvation
of all sentient beings

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