It cannot be called void or not void,
Or both or neither;
But in order to point it out,
It is called “the Void.”

For Nagarjuna’s method is simply to show that all things are without “self-nature” (svabhava) or independent reality since they exist only in relation to other things. Nothing in the universe can stand by itself–no thing, no fact, no being, no event–and for this reason it is absurd to single anything out as the ideal to be grasped.

From one point of view, the same relativity exists between nirvana and samsara, bodhi (awakening) and klesa (defilemenet). That is to say, the search for nirvana implies the existence and the problem of samsara, and the quest for awakening implies that one is in the state of defilement with delusion. To put it in another way: as soon as nirvana is made an object of desire, it becomes an element of samsara. The real nirvana cannot be desired because it cannot be conceived.

Form is not different from emptiness; emptiness is not different from form. Form is precisely emptiness; emptiness is precisely form.

The point of this equation is not to assert a metaphysical proposition but to assist the process of awakening. For awakening will not come to pass when one is trying to escape or change the everyday world of form, or to get away from the particular experience in which one finds oneself at this moment. Every such attempt is a manifestation of grasping. Even the graspin itself is not to be changed by force, for

bodhi [awakening] is the five offenses, and the five offenses are bodhi. . . . If anyone regards bodhi as something to be attained, to be cultivated by discipline, he is guilty of the pride of self.

The point arrives, then, when it is clearly understood that all one’s intentional acts–desires, ideals, stratagems–are in vain. In the whole universe, within and without, there is nothing whereon to lay any hold, and no one to lay any hold on anything.

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