Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


No Such Thing as Nothing

Briefly, because I'm not a physicist of any means, I'm fascinated by the fact that truly there is no such thing as "nothing." There's always something, the buzzing of matter. Nothing I can see and stuff that eventually makes my brain go all quiet in awe when I hear about it, but very certainly something.

My Zen brain pings around with this. I think about the part of the Heart Sutra which reads, "Form itself is emptiness, emptiness itself form."

Then my mind zips over to ponder Dogen's words in the Genjo Koan referring to an ocean of an infinite variety of realities.

Physics speaks of an emptiness that is never empty. We are constantly awash in that ocean of infinite realities in our world consisting of swirling, changing matter. It is the something that is the form out of emptiness.

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  1. Matter is energy and energy matter. The background energy is teaming with the creation and annihilation of antiparticles, creating ‘pressure’ in space. This makes surfaces ‘sticky’ because when things get a few molecules apart this effect is reduced, and thus between surfaces it is a ‘low pressure’ zone. The forces of pressure on the rest of the objects pushes the surfaces together. This makes nanotechnology harder to do the smaller you make things, since all the machinery tends to stick together. Interesting stuff!

  2. I recently came to a similar conclusion, which is really a beginning (pardon the cliche). It led me, perhaps naively, to this summation of thought:There is no such thing as nothingtherefore nothing is falseThe opposite of false is trueThe opposite of nothing is everything (all)Therefore everything is true.My logic teacher in college taught me that you can prove anything from a contradiction. Perhaps Dogen percieved that we were all navigating a dense fog of infinite causality?

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