- The Absolute and the Relative
- Accounts of Daily Life
- February 22, 2002
- I had studied Zen for a long time, but when
I was ordained in 2001 in the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun, I began to give
particular attention to Hsu Yun's teachings. "Empty Cloud: The
Teachings of Hsu Yun" became the goad that made me want to deepen the
search for myself, it impressed me so very much. I read the book, over and
over again to understand the meaning of ‘Empty’. It was hard for me to
comprehend. How could I be empty and at the same time be compassionate? I
thought that to be compassionate I had to be filled with feelings of love,
of kindness and concern for everything and everyone.
- Over and over again I struggled with the
same logical thoughts of how this could be. Suddenly, after many readings
and meditations, after months of being puzzled, the answer came to me as a
flash. The answer was right there. I had it all along during the years that
I had spent teaching mathematics.
- I had been a math teacher for nearly all my
life. Not only had I taught Math, but I also held the view that math and
life have great similarities. But I never before put it all together: Zen;
Empty Cloud; Teachings; Buddha; Amitabha; Meditation; Concentration; The Law
of Causality; the Rules of Discipline; Maintaining an unshakable faith in
the existence of the Buddha Self; being determined to succeed in whichever
method he chooses. All those words were for me ideas that were separate from
any practical ideas about functioning in the world. And suddenly it came to
me! They are the same: Perfect demonstrations of the laws of the universe!
- Mathematics is a language, the language of
number and size. Zen is a language, the language of reality; a language that
has no words, just ideas, perfect ideas to put into practice as we put
mathematics into practice.
- Laying a foundation for technical knowledge
and assisting in the practical application of knowledge already possessed,
mathematics offers unlimited advantages for mental training.
- And what about Zen? Isn’t true that Zen
offers unlimited advantages for mental training? If we lay a foundation of
knowledge it will assist and offer us unlimited advantages and then we can
live our life in a perfect and balanced existence in reality.
- Also, Arithmetic consists of the operations
of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of a type of numbers
represented by the digits 0, 1, 2, 3, 4… 9. By using the above operations
or combinations of them, we are able to solve many problems.
- What about Zen? Isn’t true that Zen
consists in operations that lead us to solve not only many problems but all
problems. And what about the digits? What about the Zero ? What about the
empty set? Isn’t it necessary to understand the empty set to then get the
concept of other digits: 1, 2, 3, 4… 9?
- Rev. Chan Zhi Shakya wrote me once,
“People think that empty means 'nothing' but it means everything in a
spiritual context. To be empty doesn't mean to have nothing, it means to be
devoid if the identification with ego. So when we empty ourselves, we fill
up with the universe ... with everything. We recognize that we are like a
hologram in which every point in the universe contains every other point in
it - a transcendental experience difficult to convey in words...” Then I
understood what he really meant.
- So it came to my mind... isn’t that what I
was doing all my life with those school children? To make them realize what
the empty set is?
- I knew in that moment the meaning of Empty
Cloud. I knew that we have to be empty to really understand what full is.
Empty of hate, empty of love, empty of evil and empty of goodness, empty of
attachment and empty of detachment, empty, empty, empty. And then we can be
in perfect control and can decide what our life will be. How, when, where…
with what are we are going to fill it?… We will be able to understand the
law of causality and to do what is correct for us. There won't be any more
wrong consequences; we will live in Nirvana.
- As we can see and understand, the importance
of the general number idea cannot be overemphasized. We need to know math to
function in the world, but to function in reality, to be in peace, to
understand the relationship of man with the universe and of man with other
human beings, it is totally necessary to know Zen. I cannot emphasize enough
the importance of Zen. In Hsu Yun's words, “The importance of Zen cannot
- Wishing you the Divine Peace,
- Rev. Yin