Emptiness and Form


In my post “Circle and Wave” I suggested an intimate relationship between the absolute symmetry of the circle and the broken symmetry of waves mathematically derived from circles, and a similarly intimate relationship between waves and particles. In my post defining energy I discussed how energy is not a substance, but rather energy is as elusive and hard to grasp as it is essential to the world of things that go bump, the world of experience. In my last post on sensation and perception I suggested however awesome the world of experience is dualistic and maybe we need to go deeper and review the Buddhist experience described as emptiness (well, what Zen masters assure us is experience, I make no personal claims; I am wading here into waters that are very deep, well over my Zen pay grade and all of my heads, Zen or otherwise).

Lets do it anyway. It’s fun stuff. Continue reading

Hearts and Minds


This image is the same as the banner of the website, the word xin (pronounced a bit like sheen in Mandarin). I had a recent experience with xin and a dear friend.

I was looking at the original Chinese text of the poem I introduced in my blog on the circle and wave, “The identity of the relative and absolute” by the 8th century Chan master Shitou. Looking up the words in a Chinese-English dictionary was not very productive, so I showed the text to my friend Ping, who loves to read Tang dynasty poetry.

She shook her head. That’s a very difficult poem, she told me.

I pointed to the first symbol, the first word, xin. I know that one, I told her, it means “mind.”

“Ooohhh nooo, Ralph” she pointed to her chest, shaking her head again with a deep and sincere look, a kind of yearning and supplication in her voice, expression and gesture. “It is heart, it is soul.” Continue reading