Monday, 20 April 2015
Emptiness and possibility within Zen Buddhism
By Kurt Spellmeyer
"To the Buddhist way of thinking, emptiness is the space of possibility. In the tradition of Buddhism I teach, the tradition known as Zen, we actually meditate on emptiness. To try it, you probably should sit down on a cushion or a chair, ideally with your back held straight and your palms folded in your lap. Then you should calmly watch your breath as it goes in and out. You’ll notice that your mind quickly veers away from the breath and rushes back to your familiar thinking. You’ll find yourself planning the next meal or rewatching “Downton Abbey” in your head or worrying about the dental bills. But if you keep returning gently to your breath, you eventually will reach a place where the thoughts diminish. Now, as you continue to breathe attentively, you will begin to feel that spaciousness.
When the Buddha was asked to describe his awakened state of mind, he would sometimes say, “I am always at the beginning.” Most people didn’t understand because they didn’t meditate and they hadn’t heard about emptiness. But when meditators reach that empty space, it’s like starting all over again. Everything becomes fresh and clear. No matter how blocked or trapped you feel, you see that anything is possible...." more