There Is No Suffering 27

On the way to full liberation the first gate is to truly experience emptiness-the ultimate and basic condition of all dharmas (physical and mental forms and phenomena). Buddhadharma holds that all things arise and disappear because of an ever-moving, ever-changing nexus of causes and temporal/spatial conditions. The Buddha said that ‘this’ arises because ‘that’ has arisen, and ‘that’ disappears because ‘this’ has disappeared. As such, nothing has genuine existence. The moment a phenomenon arises, it already begins to disintegrate. There is never an instant of permanence. Every moment that makes up our life is a mere process of experiencing. The apparent reality we experience is really an illusion. Emptiness is groundless because neither the one who experiences, nor that which is experienced, nor the act of experiencing, exists independently.

Any experience is the coming together of three conditions: subject, object, and the interaction between the two. For example, I(subject) am talking (interaction) to you (object); or, you (subject) are listening (interaction) to me (object). Essentially, each of these three conditions is empty. Furthermore, if even one of the three conditions is perceived to be empty, then the other two are also automatically perceived as empty. You cannot attach to or contemplate one without the presence of the other two.

Contemplating and deeply penetrating this principle of causes and conditions leads to the experience of emptiness. A dry intellectual understanding of the interdependent nature of dharmas and the workings of conditionality, however, is vastly different from a direct experience. If they were the same, most of us would have already experienced prajna, and we would already be liberated.

Liberation Through the Gate of No-form