Two quotes

23Feb11

Currently re-reading Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor. These from the chapter on Emptiness:

Pick up a ballpoint pen. Take off the cap and ask: ‘Is this still a pen?’ Yes, of course- albeit one without a cap. Unscrew the top part of the casing, remove the ink refill, and screw the top on again. Is that a ballpoint pen? Well, yes, just about. Is the refill a ballpoint pen? No, its just the refill- but at least it can function like a pen, unlike the empty casing. Take the two halves of the casing apart. Is either of them a ballpoint pen? No, definitely not. No way.

In this sense, ballpoint pens, bananas, pots, rainfall, hearing, chairs, bottoms, sprouts, and daffodils have no beginning and no end. They neither start nor stop. They neither are born nor do they die. They emerge from a matrix of conditions and in turn become part of another matrix of conditions from which something else emerges…they are complex and ambiguous.

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