When the dewdrop disappears in the ocean, it is not that it becomes nothing. Yes, it becomes nothing but it also becomes the ocean. In its disappearing as a dewdrop, on the other side it is also becoming the whole ocean. So the fullness and nothingness are not two things, only two concepts of the mind, but in reality, only two ways of saying one thing. Emptiness, or nothingness, is better because it does not allow any imagination to arise.
Fullness is dangerous. If rightly used there is no problem. Fullness will also dissolve God, and paradise, and heaven and hell, and incarnation. But mind is capable of using the idea of fullness in a way that it cannot use the word nothingness. To prevent the mind from using the word fullness and preventing you from realizing the reality, from Gautam Buddha onwards the word nothingness has been chosen. But nothingness is not absence; nothingness is not dead. Nothingness is fullness, but so full that you cannot define it, and you cannot make a limit or a boundary to it.
Unbounded fullness and nothingness, in experience, mean exactly the same. But for the beginner, the word fullness is dangerous – and everybody is a beginner.
Begin with something which is less capable of taking you astray from reality. Fullness can be used only by a master who knows that nothingness and fullness are synonymous. But for the beginner it is dangerous, because for him fullness means something against nothingness. If fullness is synonymous with nothingness, then there is no problem. Then the desert becomes the ocean, then there is only beauty and song and dance.
Nothingness gives the idea to the mind that everything will be lost. You will be lost, but the truth is, the moment everything is lost, including you, you have gained the whole universe – all the stars within you, and the vast universe inside your heart. It is not losing anything, so don’t be worried about nothing.
The questioner goes on:
Is this just my refusal to grow up? Am I fooling myself? Are we all to embrace the Zen manifesto no matter what ‘type’ we feel we are?
There is no question of type. All types are just superficial. At the innermost core there is only one existence. The Zen Manifesto is not for a particular type, it is for all – for men and for women, and for black and white, and for Hindu and Mohammedan, and for Christian and Buddhist. It does not matter what kind of conditioning you have been brought up in, Zen is simply a technique of entering into your veryness. The entrance is so deep that nothing remains, and all is found.