Buddha-Basics (Part XVII) — The Dance of Emptiness

Collapse
X
 
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts
  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39221

    Buddha-Basics (Part XVII) — The Dance of Emptiness

    Hi to "you" (who is not really the "you" you think you are),

    These days, I like to try to explain the Buddhist concept of "Sunyata" (Emptiness) using the image of a .... 'Dance' ... 'Dancing' ... 'Dancers and Dancing' ...

    A universe of dancers (including you and me, all beings) are danced up in this dance that the whole universe is dancing ... each dancer seemingly standing apart on her own two feet ... yet each dancer simultaneously seen as just the dance-dancing-the-dance. It is important to envision this "dance of all things" as leaving nothing out, and so all encompassing that we cannot even speak ... from each dancer's perspective ... of "before" the dance or "after" (such that each dancer is always dancing, right from the moment of her seeming birth to death. There is no dancer who is not dancing from the moment of becoming a dancer ... there is not "off stage" and taking a break ... not so long as we live and breathe anyway ... and no dancer apart from the dance or who is not now dancing.). There is nothing but the dance and the motion, the separation lost in a lively, enlivening, living blur ...



    The whole universe dancing ... whole universes dancing with universes ...

    In fact, the swirling and forming of the dance constantly spins out, gives temporary form to, the dancers themselves ... you and me ... and we are no more solid than eddies in swirling water ... dust devils in the breeze ... flashes of lighting casting momentary illumination and shadows ... there for awhile before fading back into the dance. The dance of forces of nature in motion seems to spin you out and then spins you back in ... seeming 'birth and death' ... but always just the dance all along.

    'A Dance of Dances dancing out sentient dancers whose dancing makes real the Dance' ...

    All of reality swirling and twirling in partnership with all of reality, constantly changing partners, such that nothing and nobody is truly sitting still ... such that all is caught up and spun up by all ... such that there is nobody and nothing remaining but the dance ... this Ballet of Inter-being ...

    You sometimes feel as just a separate dancer, yet sometimes you can vanish in the dance ...

    The dancers each are appearing seemingly as individuals, yet swept up in the dance ... moving, ever changing ... the separate dancers may be forgotten such that only the dancing remains. Soon in the spin and twirling, the individuality of the dancers can barely be seen ... there yet not ...

    Can we truly say that there are dancers, so encompassing is that dance? And endless dances are going on within each dancer, each cell and each atom just dancing, more swirling dance within each cell and atom, ultimately beyond that ... just dancing in dancing ...




    That is why I am turning more and more to the "Dance" image for some feeling of "Emptiness" ... all of reality engaged and engaging in one great jazzy, creative, non-stop, powerful dance ... dancers and all reality absolutely absorbed in the constant motion of the Dance --- no distinction of dancers and dance remains.

    Yet it is not chaos! Something wonderful is created from it all, which we call this world ... which we call this world and all it contains ... which we call you and me ...

    Each Sentient Being can 'lose herself' in the power of dance ... truly loses her little self as the dance ... thus to find herself again ... to find their True Self as The Dance itself, as the Dancing itself ... as a unique and precious Dancer creating life with each step ...

    You are just a dancer, a lonely dancer. You are just the whole start to finish dance. Both ways of experiencing the dance, and your life as a dancer, are precious and vital.

    And each dancer can 'find hereself', finds her identity in the dance ... because your life is a dance too (a dance within the Great Dance), and your grace, balance, direction ... the choices you make in each step by step) ... create the dance as you go. You make the dance of your life! Oh, some of it is up to the circumstances where you find yourself dancing ... and you do not have the whole stage to yourself. However, where our personal life dances goes from here on is also up to each individual dancer! Each step by step, leap and twirl, trip and fall is your life ... and when falling, get up and keep dancing! (If you can get up. If one cannot get up ... well, it was lovely, thank you for the dance! Though we sometimes trip and fall or crash into each other ... yet that too becomes just part of the life of the dance! ... Though we may fall, there is no place to fall outside the dance that is not just the dance itself!) Each step by step of your life is constant arrival ... and also the first step of all that comes next for you!

    There is no dance outside you, no you inside the dance (though we may day to day see the world as such) ... There is no dance inside you, no you outside the dance (in fact, abandon all thoughts of 'inside' and 'out') ...

    Neither is there really a 'Dance' as a thing ... solid, frozen ...

    For where is "it", this thing you call a "dance"? It is just an ongoing swirl ... just dance-dancing-the-dance ... nothing to "nail down" ... There is not a "thing" there, only the constant swirling and twirling and naked interconnected motion and expression .. all fully exerting ... Never standing still enough ... never in one place enough ... to be nailed down.

    Yet, neither is it vacuous, meaningless, nihilistic chaos ... "Emptyness is not empty!"

    Dancers dancing each for themselves, sometimes bumping into other dancers, tripping on their own feet ... yet sometimes able to see beyond themselves to the great harmony of the total Dance ... such grace is there, such balance ... this dance has gone on and on for all time ... timeless dance ...


    We feel as dancers in a dance, across a stage we run,

    each dancer dancing solo, our connection nearly none.

    But when our steps are flowing, as leaves in wind a’frenzy spun,

    it’s not hard to see that dancers, stage and dance are truly one.



    It is free, yet it is not chaos. It is not nothing, not a vacuum or meaningless vibration. There may be some rules to the dance, some choreography ... but much of it seems up to us, free will, how we choose to go with each step. LIFE DANCE! It all changes and turns with your every chosen step and gesture.



    Lose your self in that, lose your "self" in that great Dancing which is your Self Dancing. It's going is your going.

    Anyway ... something like that.

    Perhaps a Zendo is a kind of dance school ... and our task to be as graceful dancers as we can (even when we fall) ... avoiding to stumble into greed, anger, ignorance ... seeking to keep our balance amid the constantly changing conditions of life ... seeking to stay on our toes (even as we know that there is no place to fall). Our way is to go with the flow of the dance, and just let the dance ... its up and it downs ... just be the dancing.

    Don't just understand the concept of this dance intellectually. Instead, truly feel what it is to be swept up in this dance. Truly lose and find yourself in this very step-step-stepping now.

    Where this dance has come from, where it is going ... this is not as important as the dance that is truly realized ... made real ... right here, in our every leap and gesture. No matter where it is heading, for the dancing is not there but only here. It has always been right here. The dance is ever right underfoot ... so just dance, right here and now, without thought of any other place to go or which you can go.

    Life Dance! Great Dance!

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-14-2018, 11:57 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Shokai
    Treeleaf Priest
    • Mar 2009
    • 6391

    #2
    Re: Buddha-Basics (Part XVII) — The Dance of Emptiness

    Intuitively, I resonate with this analogy. However, my head is fighting with the image of Jundo, doing the dance, wearing leotards and perhaps even a tutu !!!

    Seriously, thank you Jundo for this, it's all good, especially: "... there is not "off stage" and taking a break ... not so long as we live and breathe anyway ... and no dancer apart from the dance or who is not now dancing.). There is nothing but the dance and the motion, the separation lost in a lively, enlivening, living blur ..."
    as a reminder of where we are.

    With this in mind, you may want to take a look at this: ( one man's attempt to explain the universe )

    gassho,
    Last edited by Shokai; 01-09-2022, 02:04 AM.
    合掌,生開
    gassho, Shokai

    仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

    "Open to life in a benevolent way"

    https://sarushinzendo.wordpress.com/

    Comment

    • Seiryu
      Member
      • Sep 2010
      • 620

      #3
      Re: Buddha-Basics (Part XVII) — The Dance of Emptiness

      I use to be depressed by the thought of emptiness. that everything is empty just seemed to make me feel like "what's the point?"
      But then I realized that because things are inherently empty, things can manifest. Because there is impermanence things can move forward. Because things are empty we can fill everything and nothing with are presence just by simply sitting and watching are in-coming and out-going breath. There moment is where the heart of emptiness lies, there moment is where everything lies. right here. in this moment. as it always has been.


      100,000 Prostrations


      Seiryu
      Humbly,
      清竜 Seiryu

      Comment

      • mr.Lou
        Member
        • Apr 2012
        • 61

        #4
        Re: Buddha-Basics (Part XVII) — The Dance of Emptiness

        Thank you for this insightful overview of some fundamental teachings of the Buddha. Speaking as a new Buddhist, learning the history and tradition feels like jumping into the deep end of the pool for the first time. There are centuries of tradition and it can become down right confusing because often learned Buddhist will make assumptions about what is common knowledge.

        If I may ask a question here, I have noticed in the discussion threads here at Treeleaf that many people make reference to the Three Poisons. Was this also one of the Buddha's teachings or was this an idea that developed within Zen traditions?
        thank you
        -Lou Sat Today

        Comment

        • Jundo
          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
          • Apr 2006
          • 39221

          #5
          Re: Buddha-Basics (Part XVII) — The Dance of Emptiness

          Originally posted by mr.Lou
          If I may ask a question here, I have noticed in the discussion threads here at Treeleaf that many people make reference to the Three Poisons. Was this also one of the Buddha's teachings or was this an idea that developed within Zen traditions?
          Hi Lou,

          The "Three Poisons" of greed, anger and ignorance (sometimes also said to be attachment, aversion and ignorance) have been part of the Buddha's Teachings since day one, and there is probably not a day which goes by that we don't mention those bad boys around this Forum too. Shikantaza is medicine for the Three Poisons, all washed up and washed away in the Dance of Emptiness.

          By the way, are you still planning to bicycle over here to Treeleaf Tsukuba for Zazen this weekend, from your house in the nearby Prefecture? Not a small trip.

          Gassho, Jundo
          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

          Comment

          • mr.Lou
            Member
            • Apr 2012
            • 61

            #6
            Re: Buddha-Basics (Part XVII) — The Dance of Emptiness

            Originally posted by Jundo

            By the way, are you still planning to bicycle over here to Treeleaf Tsukuba for Zazen this weekend, from your house in the nearby Prefecture? Not a small trip.

            Gassho, Jundo
            I sure am. I have it all planned out. There will be some walking, biking and a short train trip. I am looking forward to the adventure as well as the visit.
            thank you
            -Lou Sat Today

            Comment

            • Jishin
              Member
              • Oct 2012
              • 4819

              #7
              A picture paints a thousand words.

              Thanks Jundo,

              JC

              Comment

              • John Cloud
                Member
                • Apr 2014
                • 51

                #8
                Thank you very much dear Jundo
                Wonderful explain of emptiness .

                Gassho

                Comment

                • jizu
                  Member
                  • Oct 2014
                  • 31

                  #9
                  This is so eloquently written and the images truly complement the message, thank you...

                  Originally posted by Jundo

                  Don't just understand the concept of this dance intellectually. Instead, truly feel what it is to be swept up in this dance. Truly lose and find yourself in this very step-step-stepping now.
                  and this is really the hard part - to feel, to sustain...the brief glimmer of intellectual understanding is so elusive to feel from moment to moment.

                  Gassho,
                  Jon
                  #SatToday

                  Comment

                  • Jundo
                    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                    • Apr 2006
                    • 39221

                    #10
                    Originally posted by jizu
                    This is so eloquently written and the images truly complement the message, thank you...



                    and this is really the hard part - to feel, to sustain...the brief glimmer of intellectual understanding is so elusive to feel from moment to moment.

                    Gassho,
                    Jon
                    #SatToday
                    I don't feel it is necessary to sustain each and every moment. In this way, it is something like a high school dance.

                    Sometimes one just loses and finds oneself in the dance ... nothing to think, nothing more than the dance ... just dancing.

                    Sometimes one thinks "I am dancing", and has a good time.

                    Sometimes one thinks about other things, like how one has just had a spat with one's date, feeling not so good. That is okay too.

                    Sometimes one takes a break, goes off to hit the punchbowl, take a rest, chat with some friends.

                    All is life. No need to be swept up in the dance each and every second. The dance goes on timelessly even without our thinking about it.

                    Gassho, Jundo

                    Sat Today
                    Last edited by Jundo; 11-11-2014, 08:51 AM.
                    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                    Comment

                    • jizu
                      Member
                      • Oct 2014
                      • 31

                      #11
                      ah, got it, thank you!

                      Gassho,
                      Jon
                      #SatToday

                      Comment

                      • ljfuller
                        Member
                        • Nov 2013
                        • 6

                        #12
                        I feel what this is about and get a vague idea of emptiness is from this dance analogy, but it will be some time before I comprehend it. Thanks Jundo.

                        #sat today

                        Lucus

                        Comment

                        • Byokan
                          Treeleaf Unsui
                          • Apr 2014
                          • 4279

                          #13


                          Gassho
                          Lisa
                          sat today
                          展道 渺寛 Tendō Byōkan
                          Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

                          Comment

                          • Jeremy

                            #14
                            This description of emptiness is lovely! I think it resonates so well because it gives hints about emptiness without trying to pin down something that can't be pinned down.

                            Gassho,
                            Jeremy


                            SatToday

                            Comment

                            • Marita Renee Rain
                              Member
                              • Apr 2016
                              • 12

                              #15
                              Jundo, I love this. Thank you.

                              Comment

                              Working...