We should express the Fundamental in everything we do.

In order to be expressed the Fundamental must enter into a form of some kind. The form in and of itself is not important; but it is important in as much as it conveys the Fundamental. For instance, one person bows to another. This is a form. Bowing is a form, a form of behaviour; something that appears in this concrete practical world.

If it is a true bow, then the one who bows and the one who is bowed to are both empty. What does this mean? Emptiness is the foundation, the ground of love. When both the bower and the bowed-to are empty, then the bow and the reception of the bow is a transmission of love. There is a meeting of hearts. It is a heart-to-heart transmission. This heart-to-heart transmission is the Fundamental, this is the fundamental meaning and substance of Buddhism. Buddhism has been transmitted through all the centuries in this way. Where there is this heart-to-heart transmission, there is the Fundamental.

If the bower or the bowed-to are not empty, then there is no complete love. There may be an appearance, there may be something superficial, perhaps they’re just going through the motions, perhaps they have some ulterior motives, perhaps they’re putting on airs, perhaps there are issues of power or privilege. Something more is going on. The motivation is not clean.

Emptiness means clean. When something is completely clean, all the dust has gone. So, emptiness, cleanliness is the ground of love, and it is expressed in many ways, in this case in the giving and receiving of a bow.

When this happens, we can talk of catharsis; a catharsis is a cleansing, is a returning to purity – purity that is the basis of love. To enter into this kind of emptiness, it is like jumping into space. In many Buddhist texts we talk about the sky, meaning emptiness, meaning space; to live in the world as if in the sky. The flowers that appeared at the enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha appeared in the sky. These flowers appearing in the sky, this means beauty appearing in emptiness. Beauty appearing in emptiness is love.

In order to plunge into emptiness, one needs faith. If one is still hanging onto this or that, that is not emptiness: one is not empty; one is holding on to something. This is why the Buddha emphasises so much letting go, opening the hand. When we have faith in the love of Buddha which is completely clean, is completely empty, devoid of secondary motive, then we can find that love inhabiting ourselves. We, as it were, reflect it into the world. We just bow. We bow in complete self-abandon because we are safe in the love of Amida. So, every bow is Namo Amida Bu.

Namo Amida Bu
Thank you very much


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