Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Talk Thursday (on Saturday): Wide Open Spaces

This is gonna be a short post because I'm about to run out the door to have a pre-Thanksgiving meal with Joan and her cow orkers. Sorry for lateitude, by the way. Trial starts Tuesday on the Burns case and things have just been a little crazy around here. Er, more than usual.

I live in Texas, which despite Montana having stolen the title, is Big Sky country. Seriously, go outside on a Dallas morning and take a look up. Unless you're completely hemmed in by buildings, there it is. Nothing but sky for miles and miles. Well, and the occasional airplane. And, yeah, there's the pollution from all the cement plants down Midlothian way. But still. Lots of sky. And how it does go on.

I kind of keep an eye on the Texas sky. I'm not exactly a stargazer, but I'm familiar with the planets (Jupiter's been particularly bright the past few months) and other wanderers through the solar system (pretty sure I saw a meteorite a few weeks ago, streaking across the night sky and fading out somewhere over my head). This time of year, when the clouds start piling in from the south during warm fronts and the north during cold fronts, we get weird spats of rain and blanketing fog, which make for great sunsets right around evening rush hour. Pink and orange and gold with little accents of purple as the night closes in. Good stuff. Better than the old San Diego sky, anyway, which was always clear and sunny and completely devoid of stars because there was so much light. No variety, in other words.

The concept of wide open spaces, and particularly, emptiness, gets discussed in Buddhism a lot. Not to be annoying, but true emptiness is empty even of your idea of emptiness. (Yes, I know. Don't think about it too much.) In fact, form is emptiness, and emptiness is also form. Emptiness is the pure potentiality of the universe, its ability to become anything. Ironic that the subject of wide open spaces should come up in the Talk Thursday circle, because Bro. ChiSing, my favorite Buddhist monk, just did a dharma talk on this very subject a couple of weeks ago. Here's a link to the audio version, and another link to the transcription (done by yours truly, in my lighting-fast fingers mode) for the hearing impaired. Not that I can
promise the whole concept of emptiness/wide open spaces/form/ pure potentiality will make any more or less sense after you listen to the dharma talk, but I enjoyed it, anyway.

To the right here, we have an image of Buddha among the stars, his mind grown so vast (and empty) that he's become the entire universe. This is from the Osho Zen tarot deck, which is gorgeous to look at but kind of hard to use as far as telling fortunes and all that. But it's a great illustration of pure potentiality and the Zen of emptiness. Remember, kids, an empty head isn't always a bad thing. I'fact sometimes it's the thing we all aspire to.


Cele said...

I have yet to tackle this topic, believe it or not, I've been empty of inspiration or determination. In other words I need more meditation... aka empty spaces.

Jen said...

And from emptiness comes form, and form becomes emptiness. See, you've got a good start already.