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Chapter 79: The Philosophy of Emptiness

Suppose your passive form to be an empty room with walls of skin - empty.

Gracious one, play. The universe is an empty shell wherein your mind frolics infinitely.

Sweet hearted one, meditate on knowing and not-knowing, existing and not-existing. Then leave both aside that you may be.

Enter space, supportless, eternal, still.

These techniques are concerned with emptiness - they are the most delicate, the most subtle. Even to conceive of emptiness seems impossible. Buddha used all these four techniques for his disciples and bhikkhus, and because of these four techniques he was totally misunderstood. Buddhism got completely uprooted from Indian soil just because of these four techniques.

Buddha said that there is no God. If there is God, you cannot be totally empty. You may not be there but the God will be there, the divine will be there. And your mind can deceive you, because your divine may be just your mind playing tricks. Buddha said that there is no soul, because if there is any soul, atma, you can hide your ego behind it. Your ego will be difficult to leave if you feel that there is some self within you. Then you cannot be totally empty because you will be there.

Just to prepare the ground for these techniques of emptiness, Buddha denied everything. He was not an atheist but he appeared to be an atheist because he said that there is no God, he said there is no soul, he said there is nothing substantial in existence - existence is empty. But this was just to prepare the ground for these techniques. Once you enter emptiness you have entered all - you may call it the divine, you may call it God, or atma, soul, whatsoever you like - but you can enter the truth only when you are totally empty. Nothing should be left of you.

Hindus thought that Buddha was destroying religion, that he was teaching irreligion. And people who heard him, even they couldn’t follow, because whenever you go somewhere, you go to seek something - you never go to seek emptiness. So those who went to hear him were seeking something - nirvana, moksha, the other world, heaven, truth - but they were seeking something. They had come to gratify their ultimate desire: to find the truth. That is the last desire. And unless you are completely desireless, you cannot know the truth; the very condition of knowing is to be totally desireless.

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