In Buddhism, the concept most prone to misunderstanding is that of emptiness.
« Reality is not. What we see does not exist. »
This is what often makes the Buddha’s disciples appear as nihilists.
« Reality is not. » Let’s consider this statement in the light that Deshimaru offers on the occasion of his commentary on the Shodoka and let’s twirl this sentence between our fingers:
« Reality is not »
« Reality is no more this than this »
« Our Karma shapes our relationship with reality and will make orient it in our eyes to appear more like this way or that way. »
All of our habits of action, words, thoughts develop the architecture of our building.
Like the building, the space within its walls, our karmic building encapsulates the « empty » space of reality. The air, the land around which Mr. Joseph’s house is built, does not actually become a Josephian air or a Josephian land.
Yet, I call them « my « house, « my” land…
When my body’s house falls to dust in a few decades, air and earth will not become air and earth again, but will be what they have always been.
A practical perspective could make reality take a cautious look at what we do with it, but this would be the same perception bias – precisely the source of the problem: an act of perception, a vision of the world drawn by the karmic particularities of my being.
In Hamlet’s mouth, Shakespeare, for whom Buddhism was as much a reality as wastewater management in sixteenth-century England is a reality for modern man, said in his time:
« Nothing is good or bad in itself, but thinking makes it so« .
This is already a tremendous crack in the foundations of our building.
Zen adds to this some tectonic moves and precipitates the collapse by bringing to the lips, with a playful smile, the following elements: « Air and space have no reality. They are no more this than that. »