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Buddhadharma : Fall 2006
fall 2006| 32 |buddhadharma hensive, scholarly work The Heart Sutra Explained, and here and there by others in a scattering of stud- ies. “Complementarity” is still not a familiar term, though it has a venerable usage. It was resurrected by Nils Bohr, the Danish physicist, more than a hundred years ago, when he sought to show how the two theories of light, wave and particle, which seem to conflict with each other, are not only both true, but taken together they present a meaning that neither can offer alone. The logical ambiguity is itself a clear presentation of the phenomenon. Everybody knows about the world of form. We see it all around us every day, and in and as ourselves as well. Few really know about empti- ness – that is to say, really blank nothingness. Some would-be teachers actually deny it, the way others deny dukkha, leaving Buddhism hanging in midair, without a ground floor or a basement. Here is a conversation we had at our center at Kaimu on the Big Island of Hawaii a few years ago: Question: I guess I don’t understand how form can be empty. Response: I don’t either, but you don’t grasp it with the cortex. It is more a matter of the large boiled-down message is treated philosophically in the multivolume Huayan Sutra and in other Mahayana sutras, and experientially in the thou- sands of cases or koans offered for study in Zen Buddhism. About the Huayan, or Flower Ornament Sutra: it is translated in full by Thomas Cleary, with use- ful introductory material and guides through the elaborate text. I am most grateful to Dr. Cleary for his cogent labor of love. Koans, too, have been translated by Cleary, Yamada Koun Roshi, and others. Now it is time to bring the Huayan, koan study, and the Heart Sutra together in a single presentation. The heart of the ecumenical recitation of the Heart Sutra, there in Honolulu so long ago, lies in the timeless lines: All things are essentially empty – not born, not destroyed; not stained, not pure; without loss, without gain. The profound implications of this grandfather of complementarities (form is emptiness, emptiness form) are explored by Donald Lopez in his compre- The complementarity of form and emptiness is meaningful only when it is fully resolved in the small and large intestines. MATRIX II, 2000/2005 Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles PhotoGraPhbyiraliPPke,CourtesyoftheartistandaCeGallery,losanGeles