Nothingness and form

Unfortunately, the moment didn’t come to me in the past week.

Nothingness is not nihilism. (Lecture 2/11) To me, the lost of “self” can lead us to higher level of capacity and possibilities. Personally, instead of being limited by external things, I found that most of time I’m circumscribed by my own misperception or delusions. The delusion generates fear, prejudice, and limitations of mind. As we discussed in the lecture, when people attach themselves to one particular group to build their sense of self, they actually block out opportunities to experience other things. (Lecture 2/11) We see this emptiness of Noh play from its sparse form, too. (Inouye 68) An interesting analogy I found from the book Zen and the Birds of Appetite is the comparison of Zen to a mirror. (Merton 6) Mirror is neutral, mindless, and non-discriminating, and so does Zen consciousness. Our problems come from the desire to superimpose, instead of simply experiencing and reflecting life as a mirror. Zen is not a religion but realization, (Merton 47) so unlike Christianity or Buddhism, it is an awareness incomparable with, and independent from other religious systems. Merton also stressed the danger of verbalization and rationalization, which usually falsify our real experience. (Merton 48) I think the Japanese visual adoption of Buddhism might be somehow related to this antilanguage nature of Zen. Form is another correlated subject. It’s interesting to me that on the one hand, Japan is deeply influenced by Zen, a de-formalizing consciousness, but on the other hand, has a highly formalized culture. The established forms are so perfectly weaved into almost aspect of social life that we tend to call them as customs, or habits. (Inouye 62). The Noh play we have learned in class is another example of highly formalized performance. My takeaway from the reading is that while embracing the idea of evanescence, we still need a well-established order in this physical world to guide and give meaning to our behaviors(Inouye 60), and thus, we have forms.

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One Response to Nothingness and form

  1. Avatar of ksoni02 ksoni02 says:

    I really like how you put that nothingness is not nihilism. I agree fully that the loss of “self” and breaking down the prejudices and delusions constructed by society. I think a lot of it has to do with sort of blurring the barriers of the physical world and the spiritual world as you described. Nice drawing as well!

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