Contemplation on Emptiness
Ajata has the same basis as advaita. Instead of pointing out that all things are the Absolute, ajata asks the question, “What is true nature of the Absolute”? The Absolute’s nature is empty of any qualities whatsoever: It is emptiness.
Any name which we have given to anything tells us that it is a form, and that means that this form has simply been given its identity by thought.
Even the notion of “existence” itself depends upon a mind to give it acknowledgement as a particular quality. But does a mind actually exist?
In advaita, we have been saying that all manifestations are the Absolute. In ajata, we’re going further and saying that the Absolute is empty. All manifestations, of whatever kind, are empty.
Advaita says that the Absolute is all that is. Ajata says there’s not even the Absolute. Ajata is just a matter of going beyond the idea of the Absolute, recognizing that it is no thing, nothing.
Advaita teaches that you are not real. And ajata, that all that is seen is not real either.
If the self is you, there is one you. If the mind is you, there are two yous. Can the mind exist without you?
To know that the self is empty, and that there is no I, does not prevent the organism from living out its apparent role.
To the extent that we have had a dream, we say that it is “real”. But as a tangible form or object, we know that it is not real.
When you dream, dream figures are present. But upon waking, you do not inquire into the health or activities of the dream figures.
When we know that we do not exist, nor does the world, there is not anything which needs to be changed or improved.
If in a dream someone told you “Don’t believe anything you see going on here—it’s all simply being presented to fool you”, would you take this to be the truth?
Every thought is about something which the mind has given a name to. What is the value of a thought when we can know that every name is simply an arbitrary creation?
When you know that ‘what is’ is not, does this have an important impact on how you live your life?
Emptiness is as important a factor in your life, as your life is to you.
In advaita, we say you are not who you think you are. In ajata, we say not anything is as it appears to be.
Emptiness is not form: it is the condition which indicates that form does not exist as it appears to.
There are no forms in our deep sleep. Emptiness is there.
We have to use words—which are unreal—to explain emptiness. We must talk about forms, in order to indicate their emptiness. But, in reality, there are no forms.
The face in the mirror appears to really be a face. But it is empty of true existence. Foolishly would we attempt to defend its realness.
When we speak of emptiness, we are saying that something is empty. That is the role of the “something”, to be empty. But if all things are empty, where is emptiness? Emptiness does not “exist”.
The I does not truly exist. It appears to exist. So—from the standpoint of its appearance—we say that it “exists”. But, from the standpoint of truth, we say that it does not exist.
There is not anything which your mind is apart from: everything depends on your mind. And yet, your mind is simply one of those things.
Empty yourself of all ideas of ‘what is’ and/or ‘what is not’.
Where there is no I, there is no other-than-I. As surely as you know that there’s no I, you know that there’s no thing.
Advaita says you are the Absolute. When the seeker (you) and the sought (Absolute) disappear into each other, what is left? Nothing. In the same way, ajata’s teaching is that emptiness itself is empty.
Even emptiness does not truly exist. This is why, in advaita, it’s said that there is not anything to realize.
There is not any thing that is real. And what is not real cannot arise to become existent.
Anything which could arise into existence must be caused. But all causes themselves are empty, as are any other phenomenon.
Only if phenomena were real would we need to explain its “existence” or lack of it.
The philosophy of nihilism does not apply here. There is no truly existent self that can hold any view.
In advaita, we often speak of the dualities, such as me and you, right and wrong. In ajata, no dualities exist as real, from the start.
A sky must exist in a space. A space needs something to define it. Each is dependent upon another for its reality. As independent realities, neither can exist.
Except for there being the cause of form,
Form would not be seen.
Except for there being what we call “form,”
The cause of form would not appear either.
Taking yourself to be more than an appearance, you assume your world is real also, and more than an appearance. But a non-existent you can only be seeing a non-existent world.
We establish a presumed universe, and then ask “How can we say that this is a void?”
Impermanence means that everything is in change constantly, moment by moment. No thing, in fact truly exists as a fixed “thing”, at any time.
If there is a time that had a beginning somewhere, then time can come to an end. Time, then, is not a lasting reality.
Since you do not exist, you cannot ask, “How am I here?”, because in reality you aren’t.
You appear to be real, to an unreal you—as the you in a dream takes its reality for granted.
If you were in deep sleep, where “you” and your “mind” do not appear;, and the heart stopped: would you know that you had died?
Come to know that there is no death, and therefore nothing after it (especially a sensate “individual”) and you will end such questions as “what comes after death?”
If there were a non-emptiness of emptiness, it would be where we impute any qualities to emptiness.
An actor can have the knowledge that he is not real, and that the character whose role he is playing has never been, and yet he can play out the role he is living as his life.
When you “get” emptiness, you need not concern yourself about anything that preceded emptiness.
The world is a dream. You who say it exists is saying so within that dream.
A figure in a dream is entertained by a magic-show world. What becomes of the dream figure and the world when the dream ends?
When you close your eyes for the last time, this will all disappear. The slate will be wiped clean. You may say, “But it will be there for others”. No: the others disappear with you, not anything remains. So is the world real or did it appear when you opened your eyes—and ends when you die? If the world is not real, are you real?
Any answers we can get to erroneous questions, will be erroneous answers.
The world is an illusion. Yet here it is—as an illusion.
You say the mind is real because we both experience it. No, if it were real we would both have the same experience of the mind. And if the world were real, we would both have the same experience of the world. Anything that’s real must be real to both of us in the same way.
Since there is no self, there is no mind. And because there is no mind, there is no perception or consciousness of a world or universe. There are, therefore, no legitimate questions about anything.
“No mind” is the consequence of the realization of emptiness.
Emptiness tells us that there’s not anything we need to get. Anything we could get would be empty. The getter itself is empty. Where there is nothing we need to get, there is nothing we can become. All that could remain is to be as you are—empty.
When you get to nothing, there’s no further to go.
When you can end all of your problems—as well as the world’s—peacefully, why concern yourself with how that came about?
Do the wise abide somewhere between self and no-self? The wise do not abide.
If you insist on having a meaningful explanation, then you’re not understanding emptiness.
“Phenomenon” are not empty because of emptiness. Emptiness is what phenomenon are.