All is Meaningless
The portion of the universe that is visible to man-made instruments is hundreds of millions of light years across (a light year is 5.8 trillion miles). Its true extent, then, lies in darkness. Evidently it is infinite. Infinite means “without beginning or end.”
Any quantity which we state as “time” has a beginning somewhere; anything which begins somewhere must, by definition, end somewhere.
Any expanse which we quantify as “space” must have a designated beginning somewhere, and hence must also have an ending somewhere.
In other words, anything conceived as time or space must be within the limitations of a theoretically measurable beginning and ending. Therefore, time or space must begin in something and end in something.
Scientists know that space (and thus the time needed to travel or measure it) itself—universal space—is expanding. Yet, it is not expanding into space. It is evidently expanding into a space-less and time-less (nothing measurable or describable as “beginning” or “ending”) infinity.
All forms—for example, the forms of time or space—have a beginning and ending, to which they are limited. What they form in is not bound by any such limitations: that which is infinite is without beginning or ending. As such—without limitations—the infinite has no borders, perimeters, restrictions or restraints. Thus, the infinite is not a form; it is form-less.
We designate each perceivable form as a “thing”: this thing, or that thing. The formless is no thing. So, when we say that all definable things arise in (or from) nothing, this is what is meant.
In many ‘spiritual’ writings, the formless infinity—beyond time and space—is called nothingness, emptiness, or the void.
To each of the separate forms which appear to us, we have given a name. As formed in the infinity, they never were apart from the infinity; they are discernible aspects, or adjuncts, of the infinity. Though we call an aspect of the ocean a “wave,” both “ocean” and “wave” originate as water. So, the true and proper name of all forms would be “infinity.” Put another way, when we remove all of the man-made names for things, what remains is only infinity and apparent aspects of infinity. This tells us that every thing in the universe is, at base, the same one reality in an infinite number of appearances.
But beyond the appearances, the “source” of all forms is infinity. And infinity itself, having no form, is empty of any describable features, qualities, or attributes. There is not anything we can say of a void, or nothingness, nor name any “part” of it.
This is what the Heart Sutra means when it says “form is emptiness, emptiness is form… all ‘things’ are devoid of intrinsic existence”; meaning not anything has an independent reality of its own. The “reality” of any thing is its sameness with infinity, or nothingness, emptiness.
This is also the meaning of the foundation of the nondual (enlightenment) teachings, ajata: the Sanskrit word means “no creation”—not anything has an origination outside of its Infinite identity.
This is why Hui Neng was chosen to be the sixth Chinese Zen Patriarch on the basis of his poem, the last two lines of which read: “If there is nothing from the start, where can the dust [any supposed “thing”] alight?”—or be considered to be “real,” or true: all is “nothing from the start.”
So, in the emptiness itself there are no such qualities as, for example, “good” or “bad”; nor are there such quantities as, for instance, “life” or “death,” existence or non-existence.
We as humans, have an experience of emptiness on a daily basis. In your deepest, dreamless sleep, the boundless emptiness is all that is present to you: “you” are not even a “witness” of it; it is purely empty of all “things.”
So, once the teachings on emptiness are clear, it makes it possible for you to comprehend the seemingly—paradoxical statements of the spiritual saints. For example, the pointer which Buddha gave to disciple Subhuti (here, dharma means reality): “undifferentiated is this dharma, in which nothing [no thing] is differentiated.”
And from the Avadhuta Gita:
It is ignorance to see difference in the Undifferentiated…
It is undivided and continuous. It has neither come, nor gone. It is without beginning, middle and end. Know all this ‘universe’ [the ‘many’ ] to be of the nature of the Absolute. The whole universe shines undivided and unbroken.
Buddha, to another disciple:
Therefore, Shariputra, in emptiness there is no form… Likewise, there is no origin, cessation, or path… no beginning is the highest truth.
The Ribhu Gita:
The universe was neither born, nor maintained, nor dissolved; this is the plain truth…
The illusion of the “universe” is based on the mind, which again is an illusion…
There is no creator, no maya [obscurance], no duality, no objects [“things”] at all…
The universe, name and form, creatures and creator, mind, desire, action are merely thought-formations.
Buddha, in the Diamond Sutra:
There is nothing true and nothing false.
The Dalai Lama:
Even emptiness itself is devoid of existence…Thus the emptiness of the mind is said to be the basis of nirvana, it’s natural nirvana…Emptiness is therefore both the means of eliminating the mental afflictions [confusion] and the resultant state that one arrives at after having done so.
An “enlightened one,” with an “empty mind”:
The avadhuta [awakened], alone, pure in evenness of feeling, abides happy in an empty dwelling place.
Buddha’s advice on how to live, in emptiness:
A dream—view all "created things" like this.