‘In Mahayana Buddhism, the open, wakeful emptiness of awareness is our absolute nature. Our original nature is changeless, unconditioned, timeless and pure. When we bring this awareness to the relative world of form, love awakens. We meet the ever-changing stream of life - this living, dying, breathing world - with accepting presence and our hearts invariably open. What our mind recognizes as empty awareness, our heart experiences as love.
Our being resides in both the unmanifest and the manifest, the absolute and the relative. This truth, embodied in the Heart Sutra, is a considered gem of Mahayana teachings. As the sutra says: “Form is emptiness, emptiness is also form. Emptiness is not other than form, form is no other than emptiness.” The formless ocean of awareness gives rise to the varying and endless waves of life: emotions, trees, people, stars. Seeing that all life springs from one awareness, we realize our connectedness and feel the fullness of love. In cherishing all living beings with compassion, we recognize the empty, wakeful awareness that is our common source.
Loving life and realizing our essence as formless awareness cannot be separated from each other. As a Japanese proverb expresses, “Seeing pure awareness without engaging lovingly with our life is a daydream. Living in this relative world without vision is a nightmare.” We can be tempted, sometimes in pursuit of nonattachment, to distance ourselves from the messy wildness of our bodies and emotions, and from our relationships with each other. This pulling away leaves us in a disembodied daydream that is not grounded in awareness of our living world. On the other hand, if we immerse ourselves in the mental dramas and changing emotions of our lives without remembering the empty, wakeful awareness that is our original nature, we get lost in the nightmare of identifying as a separate, suffering self.’
- Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance, Awakening the Love that Heals Fear and Shame Within Us.