February 01, 2007

Emptiness

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.

3 comments:

greenfrog said...

I find the connection you draw between space and emptiness in architecture an interesting perception. It suggests to my mind that there is a related connection between emptiness and potential.

dream5000 said...

Hi Monica, this is Daniel from Jewel Heart group. Now you have comments, horay!

Did Kent ever bring you that book he mentioned, 'Meditations on Emptiness?' I've got another which is pretty good, shorter but still a bit heavy duty, I can bring it for you if you like.

Well, cheerio

Monica said...

Emptiness and potential, huh? I had not thought that way before. But it does jive with the ideas of emptiness as it relates to change, and potential is related to change. Hmmm...Good one.