Chapter 16: Emptiness Has Its Own Fullness
Emptiness too is. It is existential; it does not mean that it is not. Somebody empty of jealousy will become full of love, somebody empty of stupidness will become full of intelligence. Each emptiness has its own fullness. And if you miss seeing the fullness that comes with emptiness, absolutely and certainly, then you are blind.
There is no self. And that’s a great relief. You don’t have to love it, you don’t have to hate it, you don’t have to accept it, you don’t have to reject it. You don’t have to do anything. It simply is not there. You can relax, and in this relaxation is the melting into the universe. Then nothingness becomes wholeness.
Buddha was very miserly; he would never say that nothingness is wholeness. He knew it; it is impossible that a man who knows nothingness to such depths will not know the other side of the coin - wholeness. But he was very miserly, and for a reason - because the moment you utter “wholeness,” immediately the ego feels at ease.
The ego says, “So there is no fear. You have to attain to wholeness. ‘Nothing’ was a danger; ‘wholeness’ gives hope.” That’s why he was so persistently denying something which is ultimately real. He was leading people towards it, but denying it because the moment you assert it those people start going astray.
But I would like to tell you the whole thing:
One day Buddha is passing through a forest. It is fall and the whole forest is full of dry and dead leaves, and the wind is taking those dry and dead leaves from here and there and making beautiful music; and just to walk on those leaves is a joy.
Ananda asked Buddha, “Can I ask you.because there is nobody around and I rarely get a chance to be alone with you. Although I am twenty-four hours a day with you, somebody is always there and of course he has preference to ask, to talk, because it is an opportunity for him; I am always with you. But today there is nobody. Can I ask you one thing: Have you said everything that you know? Or have you been keeping a few things back and not revealing them to people?”
Buddha stooped down and filled one of his fists with dead leaves.
Ananda said, “What are you doing?”
He said, “I am trying to answer your question. What do you see in my hand?”
Ananda said, “I see a few leaves.”
Buddha said, “What do you see all over the forest?”
He said, “Millions and millions of dead leaves.”
Buddha said, “What I have said is just this much, and what I have not said is equal to the leaves that are in the whole forest. But my whole desire is to take you to the forest, to leave you to listen to the music of the whole, to walk and run on dry leaves just like children. I don’t want to give you a few leaves in my fist. No, I want to give you the whole.”