Posts Tagged ‘religion’

I attached a video to this post.  In the video, my favorite Buddhist, Thich Nhat Hanh, describes his thoughts on emptiness.  It really is a great video to watch, especially for any beginners who might feel a bit confused about what emptiness is exactly.  One of the reasons I love Thich Nhat Hanh is because he has the ability to express a very complex concept, like emptiness, in a very simple fashion.  In this video, he explains why in every piece of paper we should be able to see a cloud and the sunlight, for it is only because of these things that paper exists.  The video really is awesome and can help people to become more mindful human beings in everyday existence.  It helps also to be able to experience ecstacy while doing the laundry.  Like I tell everyone all the time, when I drink a cup of tea, I do not just drink a cup of tea.  I revel in every sip of that tea as if it were my last sip, as if that sip is gracefully lending itself to me.  I know that sip is the drip to my existence.  I am dependent on that sip. 

In this video, Thich Nhat Hanh is not just explaining emptiness as a concept or idea.  Emptiness really is an experience.  As he suggests, the cloud and the sun are in the newspaper, and if we are able to see that when we get the newspaper then we will experience emptiness, or what he also calls interbeing.  When I walk the park, which is almost everyday, I feel every movement of the leaves within me.  I feel the leg motions of the boy riding by on his bike within me.  I feel the squirrels hopping from tree branch to tree branch within me.  Emptiness is a very real experience and an experience I want to show to the world.

I also included a link on this post that depicts in some way the kind of thing I want to do with my research project.   You have to click on the word abstract on the right side of the screen to view the link.  The link is on Buddhist Emptiness and the Christian God.  It compares the Christian concept of God to the Buddhist concept of emptiness.  Of course, I do not just want to compare these ideas, but rather I want to actively engage in discovering whether or not the experience of the Christian God is similar to the Buddhist experience of emptiness, along with other religious experiences.  I have one thing going for me.  I experience emptiness everyday in everything I do, so I think this gives me a headstart.   

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I would really like to research the concept of emptiness in Buddhism, which seems to be characterized by an absence of dualisms.  I want to get at the root of what it means to experience everything as empty and impermanent, and yet also continuously live as mindful human being, as the Dali Lama seems to do.  I would also like to further research other religions in order to observe whether or not there are any other rituals, like meditation in Buddhism, that share a relationship to the experience of emptiness.  I am planning on trying to interview some religious leaders like a zen monk, a reverend, a minister, a rabbi, maybe even a scientist, etc.  I am going, if permitted, to video record the interviews and turn them in as part of my research project.  If necessary, I may even decide to interview someone through email online.  The second half of my project will be analyzing the responses to the interviews and describing how these different rituals or experiences in different religions come together as one experience, emptiness.  I meditate on a daily basis and feel the trees blowing rhythms reform the outline of my body to a microscopic giant.  I like to feel the movement of the leaves within my fingertips.  Interconnection stretches, walks, and leaps with me.  It makes it possible for me to be alone in the center of a desolate cornfield and at the same time have a conversation in class about this weeks readings.  In fact, I once wrote these words during moments of meditation:

The leaves in my chest,

are the blowing rhythms

of my nothingness.

and I wrote:

As I observe a bird in flight,

and a still tree in motion

I know that I am also,

within the stillness of flight.

Emptiness, for me, is an everyday experience.  But I do not just want to know it through my eyes.  I want to know it through the eyes of others.  I want to experience it as all the other things it is other than emptiness.  What is it really?  This is what I want to find out.

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