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Lions Roar : January 2003
40 SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2003 idea, it doesn’t make any sense. How can someone jump into 12 inches of water? It seems ridiculous. So this pool is beyond any idea of pool that you can have. The pool cannot be seen from the diver’s usual thinking—not in his human consciousness, not as an idea he has. No. The pool must be seen another way. It must be seen as empti- ness. Emptiness means that the pool exists in the universe beyond any idea of pool attached to it. The 12 inches of water in the pool also exists beyond human speculation. You cannot say anything about it. So the water is also empty of concepts. If you continue to have the idea that the pool is something opposed to the diver, that means you are thinking of the pool as having a solid existence. If so, can you say it is possible for the diver to jump into this pool? No. It’s impossible because there’s no flexibility there. But actually, beyond human thinking, the pool and water are just existence, just being, which is constantly flexible according to conditions. So the pool is emptiness. Next, the diver. If you think of the diver according to common sense, it’s physically and mentally impossible for him to dive that way. But he took a little exercise, maybe a kind of yoga exercise, and his body, his bones and also his mind became very flexible. He jumped into the water on his chest and his bones didn’t break, his stomach didn’t puff up and pop—his body and mind were completely flexible. We can try to explain it through yoga, but it still doesn’t make sense. Even if you practice yoga, how flexible are your skin, muscle and bone, really? They are still pretty stiff, don’t you think so? This diver was flexible beyond our human intellectual understand- ing. So the diver is emptiness. Finally, the ultimate truth. Let’s imagine the ultimate truth that makes it possible for the pool and diver to exist. Do you think that the ultimate truth can control the pool’s life and also the diver’s life? Maybe so, maybe not. But even though you say: Yes, the ultimate truth controls the pool’s existence or the diver’s existence, this is just your human speculation based on concepts. We can dis- cuss their existence according to the concept of ultimate truth, but where is the ultimate truth, actually? Do you say that ultimate truth is within the pool? Well, if ultimate truth is within the pool, can it help the diver who is not yet in the pool? I don’t think so. Do you say that ultimate truth exists within the diver? If that is true, how can it help the pool to receive the diver? Or do you say that the ultimate truth exists outside the pool and diver? If that is true, how can it help the pool and diver when it is com- pletely apart from them? On the other hand, if ultimate truth does exist within the pool or diver, then it loses its own characteristic of existing forever without changing, because the pool and diver are part of the phenomenal world that is changing constantly. So no matter how long we discuss it, finally ultimate truth must be empty. So all three—pool, diver and ultimate truth—are com- pletely empty. There is nothing to say. Then, from this emptiness, they are brought back into life, which is fully alive beyond any human conception. The pool is ready to accept the diver, and the diver’s body and mind are com- pletely flexible and perfectly ready to accept the pool without being confused by any external distractions. Then the diver can dive perfectly. Actually, the diver, pool and ultimate truth dive together in the realm of emptiness. This is interdependence. The diver cannot exist without the pool, the pool cannot exist without the diver, but both are empty, flexible, without any fixed ideas. Then, at that time, interdependent co-origination comes into existence. This is the refreshing life that is called flexibility, fluidity or freedom. Or sometimes it is called samadhi. Most people misunderstand emptiness, thinking it means to destroy, or to ignore, our existence. This is a big mistake. Emptiness is not negative. Emptiness is letting go of fixed ideas you have had in order to go beyond them. Meister Eckhart calls it the desert. In the desert of emptiness, everything dies and then comes back to life. This is really true. Otherwise you cannot be successful in doing anything at all. When you dance, when you sing, when you walk, when you do zazen, whatever you do, you must be empty first. And then, at that time, your life becomes flexible. Your body and mind must be flexible. Then you can really jump into painting, dancing, eating breakfast, washing your face, chanting and doing zazen. You can become one with your activity, whatever it is, and do your best. But you cannot be blind. That’s why the diver is con- stantly glancing at the pool, using his consciousness, using his body, until he becomes one with the pool. Then, when the time and opportunity were ripe, he jumped. That is oneness. This dive is a wonderful teaching of the interdependence between the pool, diver and ultimate truth. When he jumps into the pool, the diver is not merely a diver and the pool is no longer separate from him. The pool is completely hidden behind his life, and the diver extends into the whole universe. His body and mind occupy the whole universe. How? By his actual practice, which is called diving. When everything is seen in the realm of emptiness, everything becomes lively and interconnected, beyond human speculation. At that time, you can really do something—something more than what you have thought. If the diver has, even slightly, a common sense idea of the pool, his mind is disturbed and he is afraid. But when all have become empty, the pool is just like a beautiful flower blooming. There is no way to discuss that beauti-