Sunday, August 15, 2010

Emptiness


"Once we realize that we are empty, that what we call our 'self' is really just a bag of meat supported by calcium sticks, and that all energy is all energy, a continuum of energy, and that there is no independent 'I,' no 'us and them,' no 'if he has it I can't have it, and if I have it, they can't,' kindness and compassion can only follow.

Aware of my lack of independent existence, how can I mindlessly squash a bug? The bug is me. How can I pop off a middle finger at some guy who cuts me off in Atlanta traffic? The guy is me. The finger is me. Heck, the traffic is me. How can I not do whatever is needed to aid the homeless, the hungry? We are all one thing.

But contrary to the shallow 'Hey dude, like there is no me, there is no you, so maybe I can borrow your car and sleep with your girlfriend' sort of interpretation that flourished in the sixties, the Buddhist realization of our lack of independence actually calls for greater responsibility. For ourselves -- first of all. And ultimately, for everyone else, everything else, because we all rise and fall on the same wave."


-- from "The Accidental Buddhist" by Dinty W. Moore

(Photo: Mushrooms in my friend Kellee's front yard, Portage, Mich.)

5 comments:

Angella Lister said...

Ahhh, yes. Good to remember.

The Bug said...

Wow - this is my philosophy. Not that I live it very well, but I sure expect other people (tea, anyone) to follow it. :)

Utahdog! said...

Isn't Dinty Moore a brand of canned chili? Does that mean I am the chili?

Steve Reed said...

I think it's canned beef stew, though maybe they make chili too! (The book doesn't explain how Dinty got his name -- I don't know whether it's his real name, or if it's a perfectly traditional Irish name, or if his parents played a terrible joke on him.)

Merle Sneed said...

I have the hardest time remembering that I am the people that annoy me the most. Kindness can be a hard taskmaster unless you surrender yourself to it.