Q. How does Emptiness look and feel different from things?
A. There is no difference at all. The Heart Sutra says that Emptiness is forms and forms are not different from Emptiness. Forms here means things. In short, both are never different from each other. So, to see things is to see Emptiness. In other words, to see your wife or husband is to see Emptiness and to behold the flowers in your garden and cars in the street is to behold Emptiness. All you see and hear is Emptiness. Things are to Emptiness as winds are to air. All winds are air and there is no wind that is not air. Trying to see Emptiness whilst forsaking things is trying to feel air while forsaking winds.
Whether a thing is a form or Emptiness is determined by your view, just as whether a breeze is a wind or air is determined by how you see it. You are free to see a breeze as a wind, or as air. However, when you see the breeze as a wind, it has birth and death, or start and end. But, when you see a breeze as air, it has no start and no end because it was air before becoming a breeze and it will still be air after ceasing to be a breeze.
Likewise, when you see yourself as a man, you have birth and death, but when seeing yourself as Emptiness, you have no birth and no death. For that reason, enlightenment is said to be a way to escape the bondage of birth and death.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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