The Emptiness of Birth and Death

There is a deeper meaning to Emptiness than simply recognizing the impermanent nature of reality. Emptiness also means that things are without boundaries in terms of both time and space. Again, everything arises and ceases depending upon the coming together of many other elements or factors. But at what point can one say that something has begun or come to an end? For instance, do our lives begin at birth, or at conception, or at the time of our parent’s conception? At what point in the process that we call our lives can we definitely say that the process has begun? The same is true of our deaths. If our lives are carried on through our children or through the impact of our actions on the lives of others, at what point does our life really come to an end? In addition, the Buddha taught that some portion of our existence (composed of our intentions, habits, and to some extent an unconscious storehouse of memories) moves on from one life to another. So it is never entirely correct to say that someone has been born or has died. The reality of our lives defies such a simple description.

Lotus Seeds