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Buddhadharma : Summer 2018
96 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY different from before? It is because you have touched the eternal heart of human existence—emptiness—which is called “nothing to depend on.” So what does it mean to say “nothing to depend on”? When you see the words “no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind” in the Heart Sutra, it’s really strange, don’t you think? This is emptiness—nothing to depend on. It’s a very strange idea for us to understand. But if you practice zazen with a sincere mind, exploring your life and others’ lives, then someday, some- where, you will touch nothing to depend on. At that time you are scared. You are scared because you see and touch the bottom of human existence, which is based on emptiness, but simultaneously your human consciousness understands that nothingness objectively. The objectivity of your conscious mind sees your life as separate from that nothing, and it makes you scared. Maybe nothingness looks like an abyss, or a black hole that will suck you in. You are in despair; you feel everything is in vain. But in that moment there is a great opportunity, because you are in the very incipient stage of tasting emptiness directly through your experience. So keep going! When you really get in touch with nothing to depend on and become one with emptiness, a different and new life comes up. It is a life that you have never expected. You are right on the flow of life energy, just going on a nice walk, not expecting anything at all. If you see a tree, the energy of your life and the energy of the tree’s life are moving along together in peace and harmony. Then you can take care of the tree as it really is because the tree is exactly the same as your life. This way of taking care of life is called true practice. True practice is the pure sense of human action; it is activity that is unde- filed by the delusion of separation. Every day, all you have to do is stand up in emptiness, open your heart, and accept the lively energy of your life. Then you are ready to act based on wisdom. You don’t understand what emptiness is exactly, but your life is already there, so stand up straight and start to walk. Even if you are scared, just go ahead. Proceed with stability and let wisdom guide the way. Just go on with your life. From The Light That Shines through Infinity, by Dainin Katigiri (Shambhala Publications 2017)