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Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

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Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:33 am

Let's talk about emptiness :smile:

1. How central do you feel it is to your practice?
2. Do you meditate on emptiness?
3. How does meditating on emptiness generate merit?
4. How would you explain emptiness to a beginner, in your own words?
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Re: Empty thread

Postby clw_uk » Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:07 pm

1. How central do you feel it is to your practice?

It is what is central about Buddhism, all of his teachings point to Suññatā in some way it just varies on how subtly he is expressing it. Voidness is the core of the Buddhadhamma, the central teaching/understanding


2. Do you meditate on emptiness?
I mostly practice the first foundation of mindfulness, mindfulness of the body

This is of course a way to gain insight into Anatta and so realize Suññatā on some level


3. How does meditating on emptiness generate merit?
This i cant answer


4. How would you explain emptiness to a beginner, in your own words?
I wouldnt to a beginner, it can sound to much like nihilism


Metta
Those who are lust-infatuated fall back to the swirling current (of samsara) like a spider on its self-spun web. This too the wise cut off. Without any longing, they abandon all dukkha and renounce the world

Dhammapada - Verse 347
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Re: Empty thread

Postby genkaku » Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:58 pm

Just some thoughts:

It's pretty hard to get over a belief in Buddhism -- at least for starters. The philosophy or religion of it, the connections and suggestions, can be truly delicious and enticing. We may not exactly understand all of what we read and hear, but we understand enough to be entranced based on past and sometimes painful experience.

Part of that past experience rests on the notion/belief/certainty that things are real -- that they have a material nature. When someone suggests, implicitly or explicitly, that things have no material nature, we may be willing to go along for the ride because the rest of the scenery is so wonderful, but the fact is that the material nature of things is something we still credit in our heart of hearts. We may believe it and when someone says that something called emptiness (expressed one way) is just the other side of the material coin but ... well ... maybe so, but we still haven't got as good a handle on that as we have on the material side of things.

Practice nourishes an actualization of what we have thus far only believed. Actualization means that we become as bedrock-convinced of the emptiness of things as we have been in the past about the material reality of those things. At first, it can seem pretty wowsers, but with continued practice ... well, it's just part of the honest scenery ... sort of like the blue sky: You can believe it or disbelieve it and the sky is still blue. The experience is just an experience -- convincing, but without a need to sell it to anyone.

With such an understanding in hand, one based on experience rather than simple belief, we continue our practice. Over time, as expressed in Zen, we come upon the four propositions:

It is.
It is not.
It both is and is not.
It neither is nor is not.

Each begins as a belief and grows into an actualization. Some may praise such things or write poetry about them, but each in its actualization is nothing special ... very special and not special at all. It's just facts we're talking about here ... an the ability to realize/actualize those facts. Speaking of "emptiness" means that someone is taking the trouble to fill that emptiness instead of just enjoying the facts that they couldn't avoid if they tried.

Merit? What merit? What virtue? What wisdom? ... what a nitwit!

Naturally it's more sensible to tune in to what you can't escape anyway -- to understand in your heart and bones -- but that doesn't mean you need to pat yourself on the back because you are six feet tall or have brown hair.

If you don't yet know, practice.
If you already know, practice.

And now and then, take a break. Have a sundae or something. :smile:
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Re: Empty thread

Postby Drolma » Sat Apr 18, 2009 2:22 pm

1. How central do you feel it is to your practice?

It is the heart of my practice. :smile:

2. Do you meditate on emptiness?

I do emptiness meditations. :meditate:

3. How does meditating on emptiness generate merit?

How does it not? Belief in inherent existence is the root of all delusion, karma and suffering. :smile:

4. How would you explain emptiness to a beginner, in your own words?

I wouldn't. I leave that to those far more qualified than I. I mostly offer links to good accurate teachings on emptiness. I may answer a direct question - depending on how the question is asked, on who is asking it, and whether I have an answer. :rolling:
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Re: Empty thread

Postby LuzdelaLuna » Sat Apr 18, 2009 7:45 pm

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An empty post for the Empty thread. LOL!
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If you can't find the truth right in front of you, where do you expect to find it? - Dogen

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Re: Empty thread

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sat Apr 18, 2009 8:04 pm

:good: :heart:
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Re: Empty thread

Postby Luke » Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:53 pm

1. How central do you feel it is to your practice?
It's not part of my practice now, but it will probably be later on.

2. Do you meditate on emptiness?
No, not yet. In fact, my lama gets annoyed like a disgruntled Zen master when I mention intellectual concepts like "emptiness." I guess that false ideas and fantasies about emptiness can get in the way of eventually experiencing true emptiness.

3. How does meditating on emptiness generate merit?
Assuming you are doing your meditation correctly, experiencing emptiness dissolves your illusory concept of self, which makes you less selfish, which makes you act more kindly, which generates merit.

4. How would you explain emptiness to a beginner, in your own words?
It's the absence of independent existence. That's the smoothest intellectual definition I've heard. But I'm sure the actual experience of emptiness transcends these mere words.
Last edited by Luke on Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Empty thread

Postby floating_abu » Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:00 pm

Emptiness is not empty. Much more fruitful to just practice and leave speculations to the birds. Oh wait, they are too busy flying :)

Best wishes, and safe harvest everyone.
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