Form is emptiness. Emptiness is form.

On page 37, WUTYL, "The three aspects of mind-emptiness, clarity, and unimpeded experience-are the real mystery of being. Well I don't know about you but the lines-Form is emptiness and emptiness is form have been part of that mystery of being. Here Ken gives us a glimpse of what these lines are referring to.

Form and Emptiness (from HSW03 00:42:36.06 - 00:49:13.02)

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So Form is emptiness. I have an experience of form, seeing things. We'll use seeing for now, we could use hearing things, we could thinking wouldn't make any difference. So what is this experience of seeing? Goes back to our friend, now this morning we went through this and everybody I thought was on the same page. Now wasn't that clever! Though there is the experience of seeing, this seeing doesn't take place anywhere, it doesn't come from anywhere and it doesn't go anywhere. We all recall that from this morning.

So here we have a very interesting situation, you have this experience of seeing and everybody does see a page here, right? We're all on the same ...okay. And when you look at the experience of seeing it doesn't seem to exist anywhere, right? That's what form is emptiness means. It seems like there's something very solid there but when we really look at it, there's nothing there. So now look around this room and look at it the same way. Look at other people or what you think are other people, anyway. What's that like? If I'm not mistaken or maybe I'm completely alone in this department, every thing takes on a kind of dream like quality, doesn't it? That's how things are in a dream, we experience all this stuff vividly but there's nothing there. This is what Form is emptiness means. Now, stay right there.

We come to the next line: Emptiness is form. Well, you look at this room or this dream of a room that we're having right now and there's a certain amount of space here, isn't there? Like all this space, all this space. Suppose we were to fill this room completely with people. Stacked up on top of each other right up to the ceiling. You know, five or six layers. Would that effect the amount of space in the room?

Student: No.

Ken: No. And if we look at it from this point of view this is just an experience, just imagine this room is filled. It doesn't have to be with people, you can think of objects. We can have cars sitting on top of us or flowers, it doesn't matter. But it absolutely full of things. And you are experiencing this. Emptiness is form. You follow?

Emptiness is form. So whether it's full or empty, it's still an experience. So now this is good, we're all clear here. We have form and we have emptiness.

On this Hakuin says,

Rubbish! A useless collection of junk.
Don't be trying to teach apes to climb trees
These goods have been gathering dust on the shelves for two- thousand years.

He goes on:

A bush warbler pipes tentatively in the spring breeze,
By the peach tree a thin mist hovers in the warm sun.
A group of young girls, cicada heads and mock eyebrows
With blossom sprays one over each brocade shoulder.

So we have form which is experience and emptiness which is the space in which experience arises. We can't say what it is, but there's this space in which experience arises. And then we hear, Form is emptiness. We say, "Okay, form doesn't mean these solid things, it means that what arises in experience arises in this space. And it's there but it's not there at the same time." And when we hear Emptiness is form, we go, " That's fine." There is this space that allows everything to be. Makes it possible.