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Lions Roar : January 2003
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2003 39 EVERYTHING IS EMPTINESS. That is a point that Buddhism always emphasizes. But it’s very difficult to understand. Even if you understand it in an intellectual sense, it’s very difficult to understand, with your whole body and mind, the truth that everything is emptiness. But this is really true. So today I would like to say something about this. The other day I watched a show on television, “The World Champions of Sport.” There were many different sportsmen on this program, and their sports were all a lit- tle unusual. I was very interested in the high dive, which was different from the high dive you usually see. A man was going to dive into a pool, but there wasn’t much water in the pool—just 12 inches of water. The diver was not young—he was 75 years old. And he was on a high ladder, higher than this building. Can you imagine this situation? It’s clear that if he dives in headfirst, his head will be broken, and if he dives in feet first, his legs will be broken. Then he dived perfectly, with his chest. I was very surprised. When I was a child I practiced diving. I would dive into the ocean headfirst, but one time I made a mistake and hit the water with my chest. I couldn’t breath. But this 75-year-old man jumped from higher than I did and hit the water with no problems. Before the dive, the announcer said, “You are a pretty old man, and the water is 12 inches deep. I am very scared, so please be careful. It’s dangerous.” But the diver said, “I don’t understand what you mean by saying it is dangerous. It is not dangerous, it is very natural behav- ior.” I was very surprised to hear this. Before he dived, he stood at the top of the ladder and took a little exercise, a kind of yoga exercise, bending his body at an angle of 90 degrees and continually glancing at the pool. He glanced at the pool for two or three minutes. Maybe he controlled his breathing, I don’t know, but he continued to keep glancing at the pool and finally he dived. Well, I had been thinking that this was a sport, but it was not sports, it was really human life. If you do a sport just as sport, as some- thing separate from the rest of your life, that sport doesn’t teach you anything about human life. But the sport per- formed by this diver wasn’t only sport, it was human life. Through this sport we can learn how to live. Let’s think about this. There are three things here: the pool, the diver and also there is another thing. Something makes it possible for the pool and diver to exist, and makes a perfect dive possible. Maybe you can say that this is ultimate truth. Maybe it’s an energy. I don’t know what it is, but something helps this old man to exist, the pool to exist and also creates the circumstances around their sit- uation. So three things are surrounding this sport. First, the pool. Let’s think about the pool. This pool has 12 inches of water. If you understand the pool as an A talk on emptiness & an unusual sport by Dainin Katagiri Roshi DRAWINGS BY TONY MATTHEWS