Tao Te Ching – Chapter 11
The spokes and the hub
are the visible parts of a wheel.
The wheel is useful because it spins about
the invisible point at its center.
Clay is the material from which a pot is made.
The pot is useful because of the empty space inside the form.
A house is made with walls, doors, and windows.
The house becomes a home for people
through the quality of life lived within.
We practice with the visible and tangible elements of existence,
but it is the intangible invisible quality within us
that brings us life.
I look around the meadow field where I live and see Swallows, Ravens, Hares, Sparrows, Chipmunks, and lots of unidentifiable LGBs (little grey birds). I see dozens of different wildflowers and meadow grasses. All of these things are solid and tangible. Yet the essence of what I see is beyond my senses. The little grey bird picking at scattered seed a few feet in front of me is, in reality, a dance of light – atomic energy flowing in an intricate pattern that forms this wondrous little feathered thing.
When Buddhists say, “all is emptiness” they are not being nihilistic. They are speaking of the fullness of life as it really is. What we see is not what we get. What we see is a complexly constructed representation of what Actually Is. Everything, ourselves included, is more wondrous than we can ever imagine, and is, like the wheel in the first verse, spinning around an Emptiness that contains everything.