What Is Emptiness?
A full, but concise discussion of Emptiness
To practice Vajrayana without the wisdom of emptiness can be very dangerous. For example, a main tantric technique is the cultivation of a subtle divine pride, a confidence that one is an enlightened tantric deity, the Lord of the Mandala.
One’s mind is the Wisdom Body of a Buddha, one’s speech is the Beatific Body, one’s form is the Perfect Emanation Body, and the world and its inhabitants are seen as a mandala inhabited by the various forms of tantric deities.
Thus we have to utterly change our sense of “I.” To do so involves the subject of emptiness.
Why would the practice of a religious ritual or belief contain danger? Ask the hundreds of millions that have been the victims of genocide. Without a solid understanding in the foundation of spiritual training, all religions lead to death and dismemberment, either inside the wayward practitioner or in the phenomenal world.
What is this foundation? Personal spiritual literacy and ethical competency in society.
We study the wisdom of the world’s Guides to discover who we are and how to overcome our flaws and imperfections and magnify our talents and capabilities; thus to contribute to our happiness and personal prosperity which automatically provides their dividends to society. All religions have orthodox practices and their fanatics and it doesn’t matter where they come from, they make all of us miserable and cause grave harm.
In the Vajrayana we say this starts within first and then it bleeds into society like a gash in the heart. This “clingy-ness” to words and paragraphs that we presume convey all that should or shouldn’t be done in life is broken with a dose of Emptiness.
My Vajrayana Teacher, Scott Perkins said “Your problem is your addiction.” “Which one?” He said, “All of them. We are all first addicted to life and addicted to a fear of dying. Then we are addicted to thinking life contains solid objects and experiences.”
He then Emptied the universe for me. We left the Mandala…
- Nothing lasts forever. Impermanence means it’s really irrelevant if something even began. Time, space, matter and energy will always be there long after you are dead and they don’t care if you were there before you died either.
- We act as if things last and attach to them anyway. We do this by giving them a share of our emotions, we name them, we pretend they are going to always be there and we work very hard to make sure they do. Until they bore us or something else comes along. We have a selecting attention for what should stay and what should go. What should last and what should be ephemeral.
The universe has a natural definition of impermanence, we have an artificial one. The universe doesn’t care about it, we very much want to control it.
- We are not in control of it.
- The mind is easily deluded into thinking it is in control of Reality and is desperate for this to be true because it is confused about Emptiness.
Not only are things impermanent they are not solid. If we regress an object, a chair, for the instance to a bunch of wood, pieces of a tree that were sawed apart, polished and screwed together that you put your butt on, then a chair is not solid; it solidifies in your mind as a place you sit on a “chair”.
The wood is cellulose and water and sugar, that is a bunch of molecules that work together those are sub-atomic particles that are only loosely associated with each other and those are bits that toggle right out of this universe the second they come together. We are addicted to contradicting all of this because we are scared of living and dying.
Emptiness is the “emptying out” of the mind of all this nonsense and living in real time with real, but temporary experiences from within a vulnerable body. The danger is we will practice meditation and the 8 fold path which makes the Ten Commandments and the Old Testament look like a five-year-old’s birthday party, and cruelly judge other people who aren’t as enlightened as us. So, stop doing all those things and empty the trash.