[0016]Accepting unconditionally

May you no longer quest for beauty and meaning

In the Heart Sutra, Avalokiteshvara says to Shariputra with sudden deep insight that “Form is emptiness. Emptiness is form”. By this he means that all things are the same; not this or that; not good or bad; not ugly or beautiful. The quest for beauty is central to western culture and thinking. All your life you have been brought up to discern between that which is aesthetically pleasing and that which is not. It is a means of escapism and another way that ego distorts reality in favour of the things it finds more preferable. All sorts of philosophical posturing are also part of the distortion process. After all, when you judge things as ugly or worthless to you, it is easy to dismiss them and ignore their existence. And the less you know about something, the less value it has to you, and the easier it is to destroy—like the Amazon rainforest that has been systematically decimated for decades or the four interconnected oceans around us that are at levels of toxicity surpassing the last ice age. Besides the sociological and ecological impacts that this type of thinking entails, the quest for a pretty little world brings with it all kinds of suffering. Śūnyatā (शून्यता) is the state of mind in which you deliberately refrain from fitting concepts or labels to ordinary things. But even when you divest these things of their names and associations, there’s the empty space left behind—don’t label that either. When you make no distinction between this and that, you’ll accept all things simply as they are as part of a continuum, each caused by and causing the other.

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