Empty bell rings…
When we invite a bell to ring, we think the sound is produced because of the bell. It maybe counterintuitive, but bell rings because it’s empty: empty of an independent identity. If the bell was strictly a “bell” with its rigid boundaries, it can’t produce the sound. It needs air, the gong, the person who invites it, the ear and so many other things. If we look deeply, we can find the whole cosmos in this very act. This is “interdependence” or “interbeing”. This is because, that is~
Just by reflecting deeply on this, we can change the world. Things have extended identity beyond themselves. Suppose we have to throw away a salad. We normally think of it as an object in itself. But when we look deeply we see that while salad can go into the ground and can integrate well into the environment, the plastic package it comes with, can stay for a long long time. So salad can become earth and plastic can’t. Suppose we buy a single shirt, we know that on an average 3000 litres of water goes into making it. When we see that shirt is a tiny lake we wear on us, our notion of clothing changes. We don’t have to stop using plastic or stop buying clothes right away, but everytime when do so if we reflect upon the extended identity of things, we find an insight that reduces our consumption. We will find a way out, naturally.
Similarly all of our addictions and bad habits go away when we look at the extended identity of things. When we see that our lungs belong to our ancestors, to our kids and to our loved ones, we tend to protect them. When we see that others suffering is our suffering, we tend to alleviate the suffering of everyone.
Our suffering, our desires and addictions come from misplaced identity. When we tend to think of things disconnected from everything else and want to possess them. And then when we read that there’s no “self” we feel scared. We feel threatened. We worry if our love is real or whether our identity is real. No self doesn’t mean we don’t exist. No self or emptiness just means we don’t have an independent identity. We are made up of millions and billions of intricately interconnected causes and conditions. We contain everything. This isn’t nothing. This isn’t nihilism. This is fullness. This is richness. This makes the very life possible. An empty bell alone can ring!