Form

We have talked about emptiness, so it makes sense to talk about form. Logically, we could say that there is form because of emptiness and vice versa. In other words, if everything were form we would never have made a distinction about it and called it form. It’s like a fish would never make a distinction between water and air if it never left the water. But since there is emptiness, we talk about form in contradistinction to it and vice versa.
Logic is nice, but enlightenment doesn’t depend on logic to describe the world; because logic is not nearly comprehensive enough. In fact, enlightenment is quite illogical as shown in the Heart Sutra where it states that form IS emptiness, and doesn’t exist simply as it’s opposite. So, logic can’t give us insight into the true nature of form, we will need realization of authentic reality for that to happen.
For most people, the world is filled with objects or things. Buddhism, however, prefers to say it contains forms or phenomena. This choice is a result of emptiness. Through its auspices solidly or inherently existing things or objects change into less real phenomena or forms that after realization appear like mirages or dreams. Seeing the world as composed of unreal forms still misses the point, however, because for some time after realization form appears as unreal because it is swimming or afloat in emptiness. This persists through all levels of realization, but it is still not the final level of experience, because once again, form IS emptiness, it is not simply suspended in that medium. So, the final understanding is that form IS emptiness and also that emptiness IS form.
One may wonder what the world is like when seen as unreal form or phenomena. First, let me say that it still hurts to hit a tree, even though the tree is perceived as no longer heavily real or existing. Also, seeing form as dreamlike is quite pleasant, because living in an unreal, dream world takes the pressure off living. Life is no longer such a big deal. Our existence and what it exists in, which are the same at this point, aren’t so oppressive, so meaningful, so weighted with import. As a result, we can relax with it; see that this life is in some sense a joke, and that the punch line makes us smile. Form is more fun.

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