Form is emptiness; Emptiness is form.
Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhisvaha
from The Heart Sutra
It seems a “natural instinct’ that when many people see a photograph they miss the “visual experience” because the brain has already thought, defined the experience and classified it into a word.
A tree, a house, some high school kids, rocks, fence, sky, windows, blinds, slate roof, a path, —Now I know what this photograph is!!
Ready or knot? it happens anyway—everything we experience is experienced through our body and whatever our body cannot experience we cannot experience it, i.e. we cannot know it. Probably we can never know if there are things we cannot experience even if we do experience all the things of The Universe, we probably cannot know we are there.
When people see a photograph do they say “I like the way the line gets thicker and then thinner as it moves upward” or do they say “That’s a house” or “What is it?”
Still, when you see a photograph, recognize what it is or not, it has a specific and consistent “feel” to it, it has a common shared unique character which is not shared by other graphic techniques.
The painter or drawer or other graphic artist is responsible for every aspect of the information in their work, in a photograph there is always something out of the photographer’s control.
Still things out of control can be experienced as something real.
When the Heart Sutra says:
All dharma have the nature of emptiness:
They are not born or destroyed,
not impure or pure,
not complete or incomplete.
One could think:
The Universe has the nature of emptiness:
It is not born or destroyed,
It is not impure or pure,
It is not complete or incomplete.
The Universe is stuff, actually it is all of the stuff, yet this specific arrangement of electrons and atoms and molecules that sits in a chair typing this computer wonders if there is stuff that is not the Universe?
By definition the word Universe means everything, i.e. that means by definition there is not. People made up words, words are abstract, definitive while being ambiguous symbols people use to communicate with each other and to make records.
OK!!! The word God is not God but then just because there is a word for God does not mean there is a God.
So how did this specific group of atoms come together to be me?
Or him or her?
. . . in emptiness there is no form,
no sensation, no perception, no mental patterns, and no consciousness;
no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, and no mind;
no form, no sound, no smell, no taste, no feeling, and no thought;
no element of eye,
up to no element of mind-consciousness;
. . . no ignorance,
no end to ingnorance,
up to no old age and death,
and no end to old age and death;
no suffering, no cause, no stopping, and no path;
no wisdom and attainment.
And so on, I am sure you get the idea, as The Great Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra tells us.
I can chant those words of The Heart Sutra— Are those words more real than any other words I—this set of atoms differentiated from all the other atoms in the universe— might sound from my mouth ?
What gives this set of atoms, or perhaps this class of atoms—human beings on earth— any right to differentiate themselves from all of the other atoms of the universe, . . .
and then how bizarre for this set of atoms to categorize and classify all the other atoms in The Universe and “Our Experience Is The Truth?” But that is what people do, right or wrong, good or bad, even if there is no right or wrong or good or bad. They just do it.
1st, it is not Truth. Whatever the Truth of The Universe is, human beings are both it and not it. 2nd . . .
this is what human beings are, this is what they—we—do and this is what enabled their—our— survival—differentiate real from fake.
Words both enlighten and confuse . . .
and people do good and do bad while Buddhas do not do good and do not do bad —maybe the Buddha Mind is whenever atoms do not come together to form a sentient being, but that would be discrimination—I will go unbounded just to tell you something you already know.