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Lions Roar : May 2017
the ultimate truth, so it can lead you grad- ually to emptiness. Emptiness represents the ultimate truth, the true nature of real- ity. On this level, there is no beginning and there is no end. There is no birth and there is no death. And the notions of being and nonbeing are removed. The two notions of being and nonbe- ing oppose each other, and so we have to struggle. But when we speak of the ultimate truth, we use words like “empti- ness,” and emptiness when used like this also has no opposite. At first, we think emptiness is the opposite of fullness, but emptiness is fullness. You are empty of a separate self, but you are full of the cos- mos. So “emptiness” is an expression that we could say is equivalent to “God.” God is the ultimate, and emptiness is the ulti- mate. Emptiness is the absence of notions and concepts. You cannot describe God with notions and concepts. You cannot say that God is or is not. To say that God exists is nonsense, and to say that God doesn’t exist is nonsense, because notions of being and nonbeing cannot be applied to the ultimate. In the West, “to be or not to be” has been the question for more than two thousand years. But in Buddhism, being or nonbeing is not the question. We prac- tice transcending the notions of being and nonbeing, and erase the boundary between being and nonbeing in order to see the true nature of reality. When the Buddha was asked what is the “right view” to have of reality, he described it as the view that transcends being and nonbeing. This is what in Bud- dhism we call “right view.” So now if somebody asks you whether or not you exist, you can answer, “I am not caught in the notions of existence or non-existence, I am not caught in being or nonbeing, I can only inter-be with everything!” ♦ Adapted from The Other Shore: A New Translation of the Heart Sutra with Commentaries, by Thich Nhat Hanh. © 2017 by Unified Buddhist Church. To be published in May by Palm Leaves Press, a division of Parallax Press. Thich Nhat Hanh continued from page 39 Superbly crafted home built for contemplative living, on the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. Located on 12 acres, adjacent to protected wilderness. Spectacular views from every window. Buildings include: main residence, yoga and art studios. Distance to Halifax, 30 min. / International Airport, 50 min. info: propertyguys.com #290484,