What are “the body is empty”, “the heart is empty”, “the
soul is empty” and “the Dharma is empty”?
The body is given by the parents, thus one inherits characteristics from
them. There are nine portals in a human body35 that different kinds of
impurity constantly flow through. The body is a brief combination of
the four elements36 which eventually must disintegrate. Thus, the wise
knows that the body is an illusion, and although he is alive, he treats his
body as if he were dead. He only uses this illusory body to learn about
Tao and to practice Tao. That is to awaken to “the body is empty”.
Once one awakes to “the body is empty”, he then reflects upon his heart.
The heart is not born nor does it disappear. It is most divine and
mysterious. When images appear, it also appears. As images disappear,
it too disappears. If one is awakened to his True Nature, he is always
aware of the Truth and will never stray away. His heart would not
follow the cravings of desires and emotions, and is always directed by
his True Self. That is to awaken to “the heart is empty”.
As one awakes to “the heart is empty”, he then reflects upon his True
Self. The True Self is in ultimate quiescence. When there is any
change, it is inspired and is all knowing. The changes of the True
Self are endless. Its divinity and mysticism cannot be comprehended.
As one realizes the bright virtues of his own True Self and transcends
the cycle of birth, death and rebirth, he is enlightened and has all of the
wisdom. His soul is mystic and natural. When he becomes still, he is
eternal. That is to awaken to “the soul is empty”.
When one awakes to “the soul is empty”, he then examines all Sutras
and Dharmas the Buddha left. He realizes that all Sutras and Dharmas
are guides leading people to enlightenment, just like water is used to
wash dust and medicine is used to cure sickness. Once one awakes to
the heart and soul are “empty”, he needs no Dharma, just like the sick
does not need any more medicine once he gets well. That is to awaken
to “the Dharma is empty”.
In conclusion, the True Dharma is nothing but to awake to the origin
of the heart. If one’s fancies do not end, he is tied down by desires.
The heart originally is pure and tranquil, but it suddenly alternates
between activities and tranquility. The heart originally has nothing,
but it abruptly becomes not empty. When it’s not empty, yet is tranquil
and pure constantly, it has all of the wisdom. When inspired, it
knows everything. If any thought appears wisdom would be hidden.
Being pure and tranquil as the norm, knowing that all Dharmas are
useless, and thinking of no good or evil, so to be envisioned as foolish
or inept are called practicing Tao.
Thus, without any thought is the meaning of tranquility. Ridding
of all thoughts as they appear is the meaning of Dharma. Following
Dharma is the meaning of practice. The practice of the Tao of Mankind
does not exceed the accumulation of merits and the following of the
Truth. One who wishes to become a Buddha must make no distinction
between himself and the others. Therefore, to become a Saint or to
become an ordinary is one’s own choice.