Emptiness

 

Jesus Christ, who underwent a divine void, a letting go of divinity in order to be fully human (Phil.2), a kenosis, becomes the model and exemplar of what a "virgin", that is a truly emptied person, is like. A truly emptied person is so vulnerable to beauty and truth, to justice and compassion, that he or she becomes a truly hollow and hallowed channel for divine grace. Jesus emptied and he was emptied, and thus he becomes a source of wisdom, a royal person, a prophet through who the divine Dabhar (word) can gush and flow with intensity and sensitivity. Through him God, the underground river, bursts above ground into human lives and human history. But only because Jesus, so fully grounded himself, is a hollow conduit in full contact with the divine source and wellspring underground. And we too are invited to be patterned after this same emptied and hollowed image of God.

 

Mathew Fox - ??

 

 

Stand guard over your spirit, keeping it free of concepts at the time of prayer so that it may remain in its own deep calm. Thus he who has compassion on the ignorant will come to visit even such an insignificant person as yourself. That is when you will receive the most glorious gift of prayer.

 

Do not by any means strive to fashion some image or visualize some form at the time of prayer.

Cloud of Unknowing

 

Quietism is the doctrine that every self-centered trait or activity must be suppressed or quieted in order that the divine may find unopposed entrance to the soul.

 

Howard H. Brinton

 

Beloved friends, beware therefore of idolatry and worshipping images. I mean the worship of inward images, which is an inward idolatry, for if you show a great aversion against all outward idolatry, yet if you worship God after the imaginations you have of God and which you conceive in your own minds without the inspiration of the Almighty, you worship images of your own framing and so come to commit idolatry. And therefore take heed that your worship does not consist in your own imaginations and self-conceits of God, and do not bow down to such (which is indeed to your selves) and then think or presume that you are bowing down to God and Christ, when on the contrary it is nothing else but a mere picture of your own making.

 

William Penn - A Tender Visitation

 

Poonja-ji has such extraordinary joy in his expression of emptiness. That someone who seems to be so free can teach Dharma with this incredible lightness was particularly refreshing. There is no denial of the suffering, but more an attitude of playing in the dream that we call life. I asked him at one point why the Buddhist expression of emptiness is often talked of in very solemn and serious tones, while his teaching of emptiness is filled with joy. He replied that often the emptiness spoken of in meditation is associated with a silence that is relative to the busy-ness of activity. When Poonja-ji speaks of emptiness, he is referring to the source underlying all phenomena. Therefore, its manifestation (the whole phenomenal world, which is essentially empty) includes stillness, activity, joy, suffering, love, anger - everything. Nothing is excluded in this emptiness.

 

James Baraz - Inquiring Mind Fall 92

 

 

Finally we come to the conclusion that form is just form and emptiness is just emptiness, which has been described in the sutra as seeing that form is no other than emptiness, emptiness is no other than form; they are indivisible. We see that looking for beauty or philosophical meaning to life is merely a way of justifying ourselves, saying that things are not so bad as we think. Things are as bad as we think! Form is form, emptiness is emptiness, things are just what they are and we do not have to try to see them in the light of some sort of profundity. Finally we come down to earth we see things as they are. This does not mean having an inspired mystical vision with archangels, cherubs and sweet music playing. But things are seen as they are, in their own qualities. So shunyata (emptiness) in this case is the complete absence of concepts or filters of any kind, the absence even of the "form is empty" and the "emptiness is form" conceptualization. It is a question of seeing the world in a direct way without desiring "higher" consciousness or significance or profundity. It is just directly perceiving things literally, as they are in their own right.

 

Chogyam Trungpa - Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

 

The Buddhist notion of "emptiness" has also helped me a great deal. Emptiness (shunyata) doesn't mean a blank or void; it means unobstructed or unimpeded or spontaneous; it also is roughly synonymous with impermanence or fleetingness (anicca). And the Buddhists say that reality is empty - there is nothing permanent or absolutely enduring that you can hold on to for security or support. As the Diamond Sutra says, "Life is like a bubble, a dream, a reflection, a mirage." The whole point is not to try to grasp the mirage, but rather to "let go," since there's really nothing to hang on to anyway. And finally, to bring this all back home, the mystics maintain that the type of action that one performs in this world, if one lives by choiceless awareness, is an action devoid of ego or devoid of self-centeredness. If you are going to die to (or transcend) the separate-self sense, then you have to die to self-centered and self-serving actions. In other words, you have to perform what the mystics call selfless service. You have to serve others, without thought of self or hope for praise; you simply love and serve - as Mother Teresa says, "Love until it hurts."

 

Ken Wilber - Grace and Grit

 

.. In Buddhism, it is termed shunyata , which is usually translated as "emptiness," but which Herbert Guenther translates more precisely as "the open dimension of being." This is the dimension where magic happens, where ordinary things are suddenly seen as more than what they usually appear to be. Our friends are much more than the images and expectations we have of them. Our mind is unfathomable. Our most basic needs and aspirations are often difficult to grasp. And our feelings about things are unpredictable, changing direction as often as the wind. The open dimension of being is a wild card that reality continually introduces into our experience.

 

Meditation is a gateway into this open dimension. The more we sit with our present experiencing, the more we find that it is brimming with energy and clarity. Everything is happening here, and only here: the feelings in our body, the nourishment of breath, the textures of our thought, the desire to live more fully, the pain of our disappointments, the speed of our busyness, the love we feel for another, the play of the wind in the trees. When we relax our attempt to get a hold on life, we start to appreciate the richness contained in the simplest things.

 

Ordinary Magic - John Welwood