Since my childhood, like others, I was always fascinated by aeroplanes. They represent human’s desire to transcend higher by taming the laws that otherwise pin us onto the ground. “What is higher than flying”? I always asked myself. “What is higher than spirituality?” It is always about raising the bar or pushing beyond the boundaries, I thought. What is higher than flying? Flying higher? If so where’s the limit? We went to the moon and we went to the Mars and we keep going ahead. But where’s the limit? Seeking the ever expanding future — which will effortlessly meet us soon enough — we become groundless. We lose sight of precious gifts right in front of us.
After a long struggle, I realised that higher than flying isn’t flying higher. It is to return to the ground and walk, but without any weight. Higher than spirituality isn’t running away to heaven. It is to return to this “messy” world and find weightless ways of deeply engaging within it. In our search for heaven, extra-terrestrial life, we have ignored and have done endless harm to the Mother Earth. This springs from a deep claustrophobia of the “form”.
When we feel constrained by a “form”, we break it, dreaming that we find better form. “Form is emptiness and emptiness is form”, proclaims the famous heart sutra (Prajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra). We don’t have to break the form, to obtain salvation. Rather we can look deeply into the form and see that its boundaries are fluid. We see that within a table, there’s whole cosmos. Because the form of the table is fluid. It has the carpenter's energy, tree, soil, sun and so on. The form is limitless and yet is limited by our vision and daily categories. It is in this fluid space; we walk without any weight. Emptiness is not nothingness, it is unlimited fullness, just without rigidity of daily categories we impose on reality.
As I finished writing the calligraphy of heart sutra for the first time in the monastery, I vividly remember seeing a twinkle of the star in the distant clear sky. I was so drawn towards it but I heard the temple bell. I wore my shoes and went to eat with a hope of seeing starlight in the noodle soup~