Much to the chagrin of many Roman/Greko philosophers the idea of zero as a number was born in India. To quote Russel Peters, a Canadian comedian the concept was first used in the well-known technique of bargaining by an individual who wanted something but did not want to pay. There are stories and proof of zero concepts in several cultures, not just in Europe and Asia. Even the ancient South Americans seem to have some idea what zero is. There is, however, a Buddhist link expressed by my favorite philosopher Nagarjuna. Nagarjuna is famous for his groundbreaking treatises on sunyata Sanskrit for emptiness. What could be more empty than zero? Even in the cardinal script, the shape of the zero says “hey man there is nothing here look into the circle it’s empty.” One thing for certain even if the zero was not first conceptualized in India, Indians were with certainty the first people to take the concept out of the mathematical arena and into a philosophical debate. Philosophy and mathematics have always had an interesting coexistence. It is said that above the entrance to Plato’s Academy “let no one ignorant of Geometry enter” was inscribed.
The idea of emptiness is not an easy concept to understand in fact it is more often misunderstood that any other buddhist teaching. This is in part due to many translations of buddhist texts compiled by Christian scholars who had the intention of belittling and demonizing the Buddha Dharma therefore calling it Buddhism.
Nagarjuna’s premise is that things or objects in our world have no independent existence in and of themselves, this is emptiness.
The idea is that we as individuals project our own meaning, concepts, and ideas onto everything that we perceive. We label everything good or bad and so begins the constant samsaric battle of attachment and aversion. This step of labeling is a mistake of our egos as we see ourselves as separate from that object of perception. This separation or act of creating a border between that which we truly are and that which we perceive is the original mistake. Mind or our consciousness is compared to an eye. An eye cannot see itself it only sees outwards. This is why we must turn our mind’s eye inwards in the practice of meditation. Only then do we truly see that Ego = 0
2 thoughts on “Ego = 0”
I just had a seminar yesterday with Lama Vajranatha where he briefly touched upon the evolution of mind through Dzogchen.
He spoke about the evolution of consciousness once Rigpa has settled in. Consciousness does not cease when gross thoughts and the physical senses are subdued. From that point onwards, the geometry that Plato referenced emerges and will be experienced first-hand!
Of course, the gross mind and senses have to be seen for what they are (0), in order to break the cycle of ignorance, grasping and aversion and reach this state of consciousness. Otherwise consciousness will remain in delusionary play of ego, mind and senses.
Therefore Plato’s remark has got almost nothing to do with geometry as we contemporarily know it from our education system. It references a first hand, direct mystical experience of the geometric mandalas that arise in consciousness once the mind is purified and experiences the network of energy drops and winds throughout the body.
These mystical experiences seem to me the geometry that Plato indicated. Also, this geometry can be experienced firsthand through the use of some hallucinogenic substances. But those substances only temporarily bypass the mind and senses and therefore are not liberating in the way the Buddha wanted to liberate human beings from their ignorance and suffering.
Therefor it’s better to walk any buddhist or meditational path that purifies ego, mind and senses and thereby permanently liberates one from the cycles of birth and death.
Similar to your statement that the Buddha’s teachings are no “-ism,” Plato’s geometry is “no-geometry.”
I’m in no way beyond the mind myself, just walking the path after some mystical experiences and enjoying your blog!
LikeLiked by 1 person
I could not agree with you more. Especially your statement “Similar to your statement that the Buddha’s teachings are no “-ism,” Plato’s geometry is “no-geometry.”
This non dual thinkings is exactly the path that we need to follow. It’s inclusive of „both and“ and therefore guides us away from the extremes of for example existing or not existing.
I cannot wait till modern science starts to research geometry in a quantum way. We have much to discover that can unite us on our path.
Thank you for reading and thank you 🙏 for your generous comments.