Emptiness

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A master was addressing a group of young monks.  He asked, “can any one of you demonstrate to the group how emptiness can be grasped from the air?”  A single monk raised his hand.  “OK”, said the master, “come out here and show us how to grasp emptiness.”  The monk made a grabbing action in the air and then stood with his fist clenched.  “Have you grasped emptiness”, said the master.  “Yes”, replied the monk.  “Show us then”, said the master, and the young monk opened his fist and stood with his palm facing upwards.  “Where is it?”  The master asked, “I can’t see it; can anyone else see it?”.  The master looked at the monk and asked, “emptiness doesn’t appear to be there, no one here can see it, would you like me to show you how it’s done?”

The young monk, looking rather embarrassed, replied, “yes master.”  There followed uproarious laughter in the hall as the master grabbed hold of the young monk’s nose and gave it a very hard yank.  “You may sit down now”, he said!

This rather amusing Zen parable covers a range of spiritual topics that I’ve written about quite often in the past.  But, I wanted to share it with my readers, not only because of the humour, but because it is so typically Zen in its subtlety and depth of meaning.

Firstly, the young monk should have known better, and realised that the master had something up his sleeve.  But, ego got the better of him and he wanted to demonstrate to all present that he could indeed grasp emptiness from the air, and hopefully impress the master in the process.  Then we have the humiliation, which is nothing more than the master giving the monk the direct experience of his ego.  Finally, there is the reminder that all is emptiness (consciousness); that all form is an appearance within consciousness; that our true nature is not that of the bodily form, but the vast emptiness of consciousness.

 

Stuff


A thought occurred to me.. The more aligned I feel with my true nature the more “stuff” I seem to know. I don’t know how I know it, and I don’t even know what I know; I just know “stuff”.

Torn Between Two Lovers – Slight Return


It’s now almost a week since I returned from my trip, but it might as well be a million years ago, because it all seems nothing more than a distant memory. It was a strange sort of trip really, but it prompted me to revisit a subject that I wrote about back in January 2016. The original article, Torn Between Two Lovers, can be accessed by clicking on the link below.

https://richardfholmes.org/2016/01/04/torn-between-two-lovers/

I don’t want to simply repeat the content of the original article here, so I will just briefly summarise. The spiritual concept of being “torn between two lovers”, is when the individual has started to awaken and let go of old and stale mind-sets and habits, that have held them back and only caused hurt and pain in the past. But as they awaken to their true nature they find that they are shedding loads of the past, but the new stuff is taking its time manifesting. So, the ego rears its head and thoughts arise in the mind that cause the individual to start looking over the shoulder and hanker after the things that have been, and are being shed. Like an old lover that just won’t go away, the old habits start to look tempting. You are in a kind of no-man’s land and the ego tries to fool you into believing that the things that only ever brought you sorrow will now somehow bring you joy if you go after them again. Of course, this isn’t true; as I found…

While I was away I indulged in old habits, and whilst I did get a modicum of enjoyment out of it, it quickly became apparent that these habits no longer served me and that I was deluded if I thought otherwise. However, in typical Holmsey fashion I had to keep indulging to the point where I felt ugly and bloated. I told myself that as I was away on a trip it didn’t matter and that I would have plenty of time to revert back on my return home. I know that most people do this kind of thing when they go away on holiday, but in my case I knew that at a deeper level I was still torn between two lovers.

Here’s a few pics of Bruges for your enjoyment!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Passing Clouds


Cumulus_2In the physical sense, human beings do share quite a lot together; information and food are two examples that immediately spring to mind. But this only relates to the illusion that is life on this dreamland stage we call the earth. In truth, we are all just passing clouds regardless of our relationships with each other. Whether friends, siblings, parents, offspring, work colleagues, or even so-called enemies, we are all nothing more than ships that pass in the night. The only thing truly shared between humans is the experience of being.

Our true nature is that of infinite consciousness, which is all there is. The experience of “being” is the experience of our true nature; all else is an illusion.