Friday, August 5, 2011

The Science of Everything — Nothing


The famous Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra makes an astonishing statement: Form is emptiness. Emptiness is form. To the ordinary way of understanding the statement makes no sense. From that perspective a form is a detectable object. We can perceive such forms. On the other hand something that is empty is not detectable so we say that emptiness is void of perceptible objects. That’s our ordinary way of understanding reality and we refer to that arrangement as mutual discretion which Aristotle expressed as the Principle of Non-contradiction. The “PNC” says that two matters that are different can’t be in the same place at the same time so when we consider this form is emptiness arrangement we immediately reject the statement. Why? Simple: One is detectable and the other is not—different so not the same. Yet there it is, that perplexing statement and this is supposed to be the height of wisdom. In fact the sutra says this is the highest wisdom:(perfect wisdom). So what’s so wise about such a curious statement?

If the statement was true then we would be forced to come to terms with how both Aristotle’s and the Buddha’s statements could be the same, even though they appear as polar opposites. Perhaps this emptiness is not really the sort of emptiness we imagine. Perhaps this nothing is really everything in disguise. The manner in which we express thoughts is dependent upon language. Words have particular meaning. Words are conceptual but there are no words or concepts to adequately express Śūnyatā (emptiness) because it is beyond words. Words change from one language to another but the wellspring of all language forms is the human mind, and the mind is not only the source but also the form. In one sense, the mind is truly empty and in another sense it is everything. THAT is truly wise. For 2,500 years Buddhists have accepted this puzzling wisdom and have used it to achieve an enlightened understanding of our world, even while the rest humanity proceeded down the path of mutual discretion.

Bodhidharma said that the void (emptiness) is the true Buddha and the Buddha is our primordial mind. That there is no Buddha beyond mind; no mind that is not the Buddha. Looked at in this way we can begin to fathom the wisdom. The true Buddha has no defining characteristics nor does our mind. A mind with defining attributes is not our true mind and a Buddha with defining attributes is not the true Buddha. Such a mind and such a Buddha would be fake—surrogates for the real thing.

Until very recently this entire matter stayed as an esoteric spiritual truth. No longer. What Buddhism has been claiming is now being established by cutting edge theoretical physics. World renowned physicist Lawrence M. Krauss has now captivated the scientific world with his revolutionary thoughts that confirm what the Buddha said 2,500 years ago: Everything is Nothing. These two paths: The path of the spirit and the path of physics have now converged. Where this leads from a scientific perspective has yet to be determined. But where it leads from a spiritual perspective is the realization that everything is united in emptiness which is everything. We are all one with everything. Watch the video.
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