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Lions Roar : May 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2006 55 Nagarjuna on, that elucidates this saving and elusive teaching. The logic of emptiness is wonderfully airtight. Like all simple truths, its clarity is immediately self-evident: we are. And there is no moment in which we are separate and apart: we are always connected—to past, to future, to others, to objects, to air, earth, sky. Every thought, every emotion, every action, every moment of time, has multiple causes and reverberations—tendrils of culture, history, hurt, and joy that stretch out mysteriously and endlessly. As with us, so with everything: all things influence one another. This is how the world appears, shimmers, and shifts, moment by moment. But if things always associate with and bump up against each other, they must touch one another. If so, they must have parts, for without parts they couldn’t touch (they’d melt into one another, disappearing). But the parts in turn are also things in their own right (a nose, part of a face, is a nose; an airplane wing, part of a plane, is an airplane wing) and so the parts must have parts (nostrils, wingtips), and those parts have parts and so on: an infinite proliferation of parts, smaller and smaller, clouds of them. (This is true of thoughts and feelings as well as physical objects.) If you look closely enough and truly enough at anything, it disappears into a cloud, and the cloud disappears into a cloud. All is void. There is no final substantial something anywhere. The only thing real is connection: void touching void. This simple but profound teaching is delightful. As a way of thinking and understanding it is peerless, impossible to confute because it proposes nothing and denies nothing. Appearances remain valid as appearances, and there is no reality beyond ap- pearances, other than the emptiness of the very appearances. So there is nothing to argue for or against! In being empty, every- thing is free of argument. Lighter than air. But it is the taste of emptiness in the body, spirit, and emo- tions that has meant the most to me. Knowing that what hap-