4 Shigenobu Hanako

Looking out beyond South Hall, thick snowflakes contorted the appearance of the houses in the distance.

Blurred horizon
From heavy snow fall

If nothingness is not achieved, which it rarely is, you are stuck in a frustrated state where you are a slave to desire. I tend to agree that we are driven by desire, which catalyzes dukkha. These can be tangible or intangible desires, for example a car versus love. In theory, it is nice to imagine a life where we are perpetually content—a world absent of power struggles and disappointment, preventing “a hopeless struggle with other perverse and hostile selves competing together for the possessions which will give them power and satisfaction” (Merton, 82). If we could abandon our unattainable desires and the illusion of fixed things, then this peaceful world would be much more conceivable. On the other hand, if everyone were empty, the world would notice minimal progress because those in a “state of zero” are “poor [men] who want nothing, know nothing, and have nothing” (Merton, 108). How would we motivate people to invent, procreate, and explore if they want, know, and have nothing? Furthermore, these tasks would be hard to do in a state of nirvana because they require extensive knowledge, which would contaminate the innocent mind. Because of this, I do not think desire is all bad because “all the moral values… come out of this life of Suchness which is Emptiness” (Merton, 104). So, although desire leads to suffering, suffering is necessary in order to reach emptiness which is synonymous with compassion and generosity.

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