Thanks to Emptiness

by Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

Good evening ladies and gentleman, I would like to ask you to participate in the meditation.

Here is the piece of paper, usually we don’t pay very much attention to this piece of paper, because when we take out one piece of paper, we think of other things than this piece of paper itself, if we look at this sheet of paper carefully enough we can see the cloud floating in it, even we are not a poet, and this is very real because if the cloud is not there the paper is not there, if there is no cloud then no rain, and the forest can not grow then no paper, because we need the trees in order to make paper.

Every time when you pick up the New York times, you have to see the cloud in the newspaper, you will see the forest, in order to bring the sunday new york times, something like forest, because the new york times is very heavy, I think about 4 Kg for the sunday edition, and we don’t look at the newspaper in that way, we should learn to look at the newspaper like that.

So, someone who look carefully at the piece paper can see clouds floating and he knows if the clouds is not there then the paper can not be there, this is what is called inter being in buddhism, the words inter being is not in the dictionary yet, but sometime later I hope we can include this word in our dictionary.

To be means to be inter be, because nothing can not by itself, everything has to be inter be with other things, therefor the cloud and the paper inter are, if we look more carefully we can see the sunshine in it, because without the sunshine nothing can be alive, the trees can not grow, therefor there is no paper, so this sheet of paper inter are with the sunshine.

If we look a little bit longer we see the earth, without the earth a tree can not grow, we know that in the earth the soil there are many things, not only water but also minerals and so on, and we see the logger, a logger in this sheet of paper, without a logger we can not have a paper, therefor the logger and the paper is inter are.

If we continue to meditate and look, we can see the that everything is in this paper, like the wheat for making a bread for the logger to eat, without the wheat the logger can not be, also the grandfather of Mr. Logger, the grandfather must be there, without him we don’t have logger, therefor looking deeply at this sheet of paper you see that everything is there, this sheet of paper full of everything.

In our daily life, we used to distinguish the paper and non paper, a non paper elements, this bell is non paper element, but there is one thing I would like to remind you that, the sheet of paper is made of only by non paper elements, sunshine, the cloud, the forest, the logger, all are non paper elements, without non paper elements, a sheet of paper can not be, suppose I send back these non paper elements to their source, send the rain back to the cloud, the sunshine back to the sun, the logger back to his grandfather, this paper can not longer be there.

Therefor, in Buddhism they said this sheet of paper is empty, empty of what? empty of a separate self, empty of a separate entity, that means a sheet of paper can not exist by itself, it exist because the non paper element, you are agree?

But the word empty and emptiness doesn’t not sound to be a nice word, because many of us afraid of being empty, many of us get scared when we are thinking of that he or she is empty, but emptiness is a very nice word, because without being empty a sheet of paper can not be, if a sheet of paper is not empty then the sunshine can not come in, the cloud can not come in, therefor there is no paper, that is why thanks to emptiness everything is there, thanks to emptiness that everything is possible.

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