Things in my life seem to coincide in such a way as to bring certain moments of clarity. These points of co-incidence (as opposed to coincidence: accidental) are themselves a lesson in emptiness, in cause and condition.
In sangha last Thursday, Kent described emptiness in a new way, as it relates to change. Things are empty of inherent existence. All things exist because of cause and condition. If something were to inherently exist it would be independent of cause and condition, therefore it would be incapable of change. (Unless change can inherently exist? Hmmmm.) Except for the most subtle level of consciousness, that which moves from life to life in reincarnation, all things are lacking in inherent existence. Apparently, we’ll get into why consciousness does exist inherently later, and I look forward to that.
On Friday, my class gathered in the conference room to review our work of the last few weeks. Part of this work was the identification of a significant ‘attribute’ as a method of ‘Discovering Cranbrook’ (the title of the exercise), which is our site. A classmate, Codah, chose ‘Significant Emptiness’ as his attribute. He noted that the most prominent feature of the existing Museum & Library is the propyleum, an open space below a roof held by four massive columns on either side (ala Greek Temple). What is this thing which is so important? Essentially, it is nothing, it is empty, it is void, but somehow it is still the most significant element of the entire complex.
This brought together a greater understanding of emptiness. That nothingness of the propyleum would not be significant at all without the something of the columns and the roof. Even that nothing is empty because by placing the columns and roof it has been changed. It is subject to cause and condition to create meaning.
Turns out even emptiness is empty.