Monday, June 19, 2017

Fullness through emptiness

 Yung Suk Kim




The Gospel of Thomas 97 reminds us of the importance of our attitude toward life. One of the problems or temptations we face all the time is to fill ourselves.  But fullness does not come out of efforts only. In a way, sometimes or most of the times we know that the more we try to fill, the more miserable we may be. Read the Gospel of Thomas 97, which I believe has to do with Jesus's real teaching about this truth at some point of his life:
Jesus said: The kingdom of the [Father] is like a woman carrying a jar full of meal. While she was walking [on a] distant road, the handle of the jar broke (and) the meal poured out behind her on the road. She was unaware, she had not noticed the misfortune. When she came to her house, she put the jar down (and) found it empty.
A new thought or a new life begins by zero, an emptiness that is a ready status to start. But zero is not the absence of something. In mathematics, zero is also a number, which has value. Simply because we do not see something in our life, we cannot say that there is nothing. 

The universe is full of zeros, many emptinesses, which make numerous creations possible. Our beginning is nothing, zero, and emptiness. Essentially, a good life does not depend on how much we have but how well we can maintain a zero status on life. Even a good creative writing begins by zero, as I experience in my writing career. Here zero means to delete all previous writings.

Laozi, sage from ancient China, who is believed to have written Dao De Jing, strikes a similar tone of the teaching with Jesus.

Dao De Jing 9
持而盈之,不如其已 
Leaving a vessel unfilled is better than filling it.

Dao De Jing 15
保此道者,不欲盈
Those who abide by the Way do not fill their desires.

In a way, learning is not to accumulate knowledge but to unlearn what was learned before and to prepare a zero status in our mind.



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