Two Faces of the Absolute: Empty & Full

Even after some years of dabbling in Buddhism, I am still not sure what the word “absolute” really refers to. Although looking at it from my own experience, I can find two faces to what could be called the absolute.

One is the formless, the groundless ground, space & awareness, that which is distinct from the world of phenomena and any polarities, characteristics and descriptions. It is empty of any characteristics.

The other is this groundless ground with the world of form. The world of form and phenomena is arising within this groundless ground, and indeed is this groundless ground. There is no separation – not two (because is the same) and not one (because appears differently).

Here, we can say that everything is Buddha Mind, Big Mind, God, Spirit and so on – beyond and including all polarities.

The first is the emptiness aspect of the absolute, and the second is the fullness aspect of the absolute.

And both are the absolute as it is completely beyond and including any and all polarities – of form and formlessnes, emptiness and fullness, spirit and matter, creator and creation, mind and body, nature and culture, inner and outer, awakened and deluded, path and destination, evolution and no evolution, and so on endlessly. Everything that can be mentioned is within this, and its opposite is also within this.

And the relative is then the world arising within and from the polarities. There is up and down, spirit and matter, awakening and delusion, inner and outer, path and destination. These are also real and included.

If we are stuck in the absolute, we deny the differentiations within the world of form. If we are stuck in the relative, we are forever lost in fragments. With both, there is a new fluidity between the freedom of the absolute and the richness of the relative.

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