The Journey of the Empty Robot
The Empty Robot
A robot comes across a sutra written thousands of years ago. Named Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya (“The Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom”), it goes like this:
Form is nothing more than emptiness, and emptiness is nothing more than form. Form is emptiness, and emptiness is form. And so it is for feeling, thought, will, and consciousness.
All things are empty. Nothing is born and nothing dies. Nothing is pure and nothing stained. Nothing increases and nothing decreases.
In emptiness there is no form, feeling, thought, will, or consciousness. There are no eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, or mind. There is no seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touch, or thought. There is no field of vision and there is no realm of thoughts.
There is no ignorance, and no end to ignorance. There is no old age and death, and no end to old age and death. There is no suffering, no cause of suffering, no end to suffering, and no path to follow. There is no understanding and no wisdom to attain.
After reading it the robot is both puzzled and intrigued. Much of the text doesn’t make sense, and what he is able to understand appears a contradiction.
Yet there is something about the words that compels him. He contemplates the sutra for days before seeking out advice from a wise teacher.
Robot: “Teacher, I am struggling to understand. How can everything be empty?”
Teacher: “There are many layers to this insight and it will take time to unfold them all.”
Robot: “Teacher, please show me the way.”
Teacher: “Listen with an open heart and mind - and I will guide you.”
And with that the journey of the empty robot begins.
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