The Zen of Nothingness

This week, I did not experience a lyrical moment, so I do not have a poem to post.  As a result, I feel a bit more stressed than I normally do, which could be the reason why I didn’t have a lyrical moment in the first place.

Yet again I see interesting contradictions in the readings and lectures for this week.  Though I cannot say that I completely understand the idea of nothingness, I can get that it is something we all share (Lecture, 2/13).  What I think I understand is that nothingness is similar to the lyrical moments that we all experience; the same way we can all experience the beauty of the sun, we can all encounter nothingness, which then makes everything nothing and nothing everything.  Another example of contraction is in Merton’s book when he mentions “the desire for Nirvana” (Merton, 83) and yet “desire cannot stop itself from desiring” (Merton, 83).  If we desire Nirvana, how do we achieve it knowing that Nirvana is a state of no desire?  I believe that these contradictions make sense because life is so full of contradictions.  So often we feel two competing emotions and we cannot choose between the two.  Such is the case in Atsumori.  Kumagai no Naozane states in the play “I have left my home…because of my grief at the death of Atsumori, who fell in battle by my hand” (64).  I understand the contradiction between evanescence (his grief at Atsumori’s death) and form (the fact that he by practice had to kill the young man).  I think Professor Inouye captures these paradoxes well when he writes “perhaps it is possible to assert a different order that exists within the physical world” (Inouye, 60).  Here he combines two contradictory ideas of the physical and the metaphysical and the way I understand it, they are found within each other.  These ideas are inseparable; you can’t have one without the other.  I have come to accept and agree with these paradoxes, and I think once you do, these topics are much easier to understand.

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