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Words of Buddha

Did you never see in the world a . . . woman, eighty, ninety, or a hundred years old, frail, crooked as a gable roof, bent down, resting on crutches, with tottering steps, infirm, youth long since fled, with broken teeth, grey and scanty hair, or bald-headed, wrinkled, with blotched limbs? And did the thought never come to you that also you are subject to decay, that also you cannot escape it? - Buddha, in "The Three Warnings".

Many seem to have other, juicier associations to "Divine Mother", even though she is may be ancient. Wisdom comes with age, some hold.


The striking beauty Sophia Loren (1934-) once said, "Everything you see I owe to spaghetti." It was funny and by that token wise. Also: "It's a mistake to think that once you're done with school you need never learn anything new."

Her first name, Sophia, is Greek for "wisdom", which is ranked high in Christian theology. There, Holy Sophia is an expression for the Logos (second person) of the Trinity.

In the Old Testament, the Book of Proverbs personifies Divine Sophia, which existed before the world was made and served as God's agent in creation. Sophia was "found" by Yahweh, who gave her to Israel. As a female figure, Sophia addressed human beings and invites those who are not yet wise. "She is the breath of the power of God . . . the image of his goodness." She makes friends of God, and prophets." (Wisdom 7:22b - 8:2, passim).

The idea of a void

Venkataraman Iyer said:

"You must have been there during the void to be able to say that you experienced a void. To be fixed in that 'you' is the quest from start to finish. [. . .] It is the mind that sees objects and has experiences and that finds a void when it ceases to see and experience, but that is not 'you'. You are the constant illumination that lights up both the experience and the void. [. . . Illustration:] In complete darkness we do not see [. . .] and we say: "I see nothing." In the same way, you are there even in the void you mention." - (in Osborne, Arthur ed: The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharsi in His Own Words. New ed. Rider. London, 1971. p. 132)

Also, according to Daizetz T. Suzuki (1870-1966), the total self-identity of "I am I" is the state of non-time and is equivalent to the emptiness of Buddhist philosophy.

That emptiness is not "nothingness, non-existence, or non-reality," according to Eihei Dogen, founder of Soto Zen in Japan. He states, "Sunyata is not non-existence." Roshi Nishijima explains, "In Master Dogen's teaching sunyata is not the denial of real existence - it expresses the absence of anything other than real existence." (Nishijima, Gudo Wafo and Cross, Chodo, trs., Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Book 2. Windbell Publications. London, 1996, chapter "Bussho") Such insights seem more rewarding than speculating up many different sorts of void. Even so,

The first degree of the Voidness of the Cosmic Whole corresponds to one system of nebulae and suns and planets, such as astronomers see through their telescopes, even to the most distant star; the second degree consists of one thousand, and the third degree consists of one million such systems. Even then, so the Lamas declare, the Voidness is but partially classified, there being Third Voids upon Third Voids, without conceivable end." (Evans-Wentz, (1967, 240n)

There is a chance this line of defining voids is faulty. It reminds remotely of "Suppose Homer wishes to walk to the end of a path. Before he can get there, he must get halfway there. Before he can get halfway there, he must get a quarter of the way there. Before traveling a quarter, he must travel one-eighth; before an eighth, one-sixteenth; and so on."

By this line of reasoning Homer will never get to the end - due to the reasoning where space is divided into segments. Time is more like a flow. (WP, "Zeno's paradoxes")

In conclusions, a "void" that is experienced is not all void anyway, due to the experiencer of it. To classify something by its outer, distant "trimmings" is not as good as to define it by itself, its inherent qualities, which are to be nil in a genuine void, wherever it is supposed to be.


Old age, Mother aging, ageing well, Void, Sophia Loren, Sophia wisdom, Tibetan voids, Literature  

Evans-Wentz, W. Y. Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines. Paperback ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967.

Nishijima, Gudo Wafo, and Chodo Cross, trs. Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Book 2. Windbell Publications, London: 1996.

Osborne, Arthur ed. The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharsi in His Own Words. New ed. London: Rider, 1971.

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