Conditionality… An appearance of form.
The reason, or rather, non reason, that drew me to Buddhism was on hearing ‘form is no other than emptiness and emptiness no other than form’.
Having no idea what it meant and yet knowing that, underneath those simple words, was truth.
‘Emptiness’ seemed so liberating in many ways and on many levels but also proved to be challenging particularly to those views, experiences and individuals held most dear. Furthermore, a sense of, what’s the point? Did, and even now, occasionally arises with all the desolation that it implies. It is in moments like that only one side of the equation is being seen. Seeing only the ‘Emptiness’ of form and not that that very ‘Emptiness’ is itself form.
If one reflects deeply on the nature of ‘Emptiness’, the central teaching of the Buddha, i.e. that of conditioned co production – that all phenomena arise in dependence upon conditions, begins to emerge. That actions have consequences. Light tending towards greater light and vis-a-vie.
Emptiness without it’s deeper truth of condtionality can lead to greater separation from reality sending us towards the pit of nihilism, into further and greater suffering than from where we started. We must see the ultimately empty nature of all things to liberate ourselves from that which creates unnecessary suffering but it is just as important, maybe even more important, to see that emptiness has form and that form is conditionality. In living from this truthwe are not only liberated but can live liberated.
Actions then become imbued with an understanding of there intrinsic nature i.e. that all phenomena are part of an interdependent web of trillion fold conditions that has no inherent ‘self’. That life in all its manifestations is an infinite process, a process of change and constant transformation. That your actions may be empty of a self but that doesn’t mean we can act with impunity as our actions will inevitably have consequences.
The form mentioned in the first statement is, in one sense the same form in the second. The difference is the the form seen in the first is in terms of distinct and individual self the latter a complex web of conditions. So maybe it can be said, that form is no other than emptiness and conditionality gives the appearance of form.