George Carlin, one of the greatest comedians and geniuses of our time, said it best about people:
We as living human beings have a vested interest in promoting the sanctity of life... you know why? Because we are alive!The same applies to my last post regarding Nothingness. We as humans have a vested interest in 'being' or existence, because that's all that we know. Everything experienceable or conceivable exists; therefore, we often perceive non-existence as a threat to everything we know, or think that we know.
The last thing that any human wants to hear is news that challenges existence, for as George says, we have a vested interest in the sanctity of...well, existence. And as he ironically points out, we're a little biased, aren't we? That's like asking people at a Yankees game who's the best baseball team.
We are inevitably attached to 'being', and for good reason--it represents everything we know.
To our minds, Nothingness, therefore, is anathema. It represents the greatest threat to 'being' and existence.
This is where doctrine comes in. Doctrines--whether they be about God, Buddha nature, emptiness--reassure us that everything is all right, that our universe is safe and solid. This is why people cling to them, because they make life predictable. For instance, my seven year old daughter said to me the other day regarding death, "I understand why people believe in heaven; it feels good. I'd like to believe in it too." (Seriously, she said that!)
Tell people that Nothingness is the true basis of reality and they will either storm out of the room or call you a nihilist.
But the Nothingness I am talking about it is not ordinary nothingness, like how much money I had in my bank account during college, but Absolute Nothingness. This is Lao Tzu's Tao--the womb of existence.
Ordinary nothingness is understood to be the opposite of existence. Absolute Nothingness, on the other hand, has no opposite.
It is the creative, empty Void, absent of all 'being', yet serves as the very basis of all 'being.' It is the reality prior to existence, a sea of infinite potential, Nothingness without limitations. It is ever present and timeless. In fact, our world is a manifestation of Nothingness. So are we!
In that sense, Nothingness does not threaten 'being-ness'; it makes it possible in the first place! This is great news.
Still, it is greeted with disdain and revulsion for the very reason that George Carlin pointed out--people fear what they feel threatens them. And nothing (pardon the pun) threatens people more than nothingness. That's because they misunderstand Nothingness.
This is not dry or abstract theory; Nothingness is absolutely verifiable. We can experience it. However, people want to reduce Nothingness to a doctrine so that they can dispute it, shoot holes in its logic because they feel threatened by it; but that is like denying that the sun is the center of the universe because we prefer a geocentric model. And in a way, that's what the teaching of Nothingness is doing--forcing us to shift our center from 'being' to Non-being, from existence to Nothingness.
But don't take my word for it. I urge you to experience Absolute Nothingness for yourself, because, paradoxically, understanding Nothingness can make the biggest difference in the world.
We miss you, George!