色即是空・空即是色

shiki soku zekuu ・kuu soku zeshiki

Shared by Jia

This calligraphy by Rev Ito hangs in our zendo. Jia shared the meaning of this phrase.

色即是空・空即是色 is a phrase from the Heart Sutra(般若心経). It means Form is Emptiness, and Emptiness is Form. Emptiness is a crucial concept in Zen. To me, it has two folds of meaning. First, Emptiness is the true nature of all the things in the world. It is different than Nothingness. It doesn’t mean nothing exists at all. Instead, it tells us that nothing exists permanently, and nothing is entirely independent of everything else. Emptiness is impermanence. Second, Emptiness is a mode of perception, the way of looking at things happening around us. It is No Feeling, though. It instructs us to empty ourselves from presumptions, presuppositions, and prejudices, which are harmful thoughts in our minds. Emptiness can lead to true empathy. So why does Buddha teaches us Emptiness? I think Buddha wants us to focus on the true empty, impermanent nature of things, and be empty of all the egos and all the attachments, so we can reach No Suffering. Emptiness is very powerful.

One thought on “色即是空・空即是色

  • Hi,
    Jia has made some wonderful observations about emptiness and no-self. I have been thinking a lot about emptiness and loved hearing Jia’s comments. I would like to add one thought. If there is no self as we come from all things, the sun, the clouds, the food we eat, the air we communally share, our ancestors, etc, then it makes sense in this whole inter-connectedness that compassion may result more spontaneously.
    I miss my Sundays at Hakone. Sue

    Like

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