‘Nothing Holy’

 

There is nothing holy, religious, sacred, spiritual, esoteric or mystical about Shūnyam. To limit it so would be to abase its Truth.

There is nothing earthy, profane or banal about it either. But that is less often the slip.

Shūnyam is not against the comforts, consolations and beatitudes of the sacred. And you don’t know what Piety or Reverence mean, except as camouflaged petitionary acts, until you are in sight of Shūnyam.

But put an early religious spin on Shūnyam and you will miss. And in this business, you miss by a milli-meter, you miss by a mile.


‘Nothing holy’, replied Bodhidharman [around 500 CE], when Emperor Wu asked him; ‘What is holy truth?’

Indian records are sketchy as is the norm. We know Bodhidharman cited from the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, [Lanka, as in Sri Lanka today] a later tradition to the Prajñā Pāramitha.

Chinese chroniclers [Tánlín, Dàoxuān, circa 550 CE] identify him as: ‘The third son of a nobleman of firm Brahman stock from South India’.

Given what we know of dynasties and trade-routes, he was most likely from Kāñcipuram, the then capital of the PallavasNo shrines, no stupas, no sign-boards, the last time I checked. No one remembers anymore.


Kāñcipuram, seat of the Śaṅkarācārya, my maternal family Guru. I haven’t been back in a long time.