Nothing this week

The idea of nothingness, to be honest, still doesn’t hold much water in my mind.  The thought of, “everything is nothing, nothing is everything” (lecture 2/11) is very hard for me to grasp because it is so contradictory in itself.  I think I began to understand the idea in a sense that if you let everything go you will gain everything, but even as I say that I have no idea what it means.  In Noh theater it is said that, “Noh’s emptiness is that quality of form that allows the possibility of all other forms to come to mind” (Inouye 68).  This is another example that makes no sense to my Westernized mind.  How does being sparse and empty allow for all other things to happen?  Wouldn’t that then fill that emptiness blocking out all other things? This seems lead to you having nothing and everything all at the same time.  However, I don’t think that is possible as they are polar opposites.  The idea of “nothingness” has become a paradoxical puzzle that I can’t seem to figure out.  I believe I understand what it is saying, but I don’t understand what it means.  In Atsumori do the priest and Atsumori achieve peace because they both gave up everything and looked to Buddha for salvation?  The idea that letting past quarrels go to achieve peace makes sense to me, but again “nothingness” is a mystery.

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One Response to Nothingness?

  1. I too am struggling a bit with the concept of nothingness. Merton helped me a bit when he spoke about nothingness/zero “not [as] a mathematical symbol. It is the infinite—a storehouse or womb (Garbha) of all possible good or values” (Merton, 107) Maybe it’s the oneness with the moment. Because of a moment’s ephemeral nature, if you’re always tuned to the moment you have nothing, no?

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