As I posted about ‘Emptiness’ (空) yesterday, ‘Form is emptiness; emptiness is form’ (色即是空 空即是色）is also big words in Buddhism. If you know a Japanese actor ‘Yusaku Matsuda’, who use to be well-known in Japan, also some American may still know because he was in the American movie entitled “Black Rain”, it is very surprised at the fact that in his tombstone, these words were engraved because he was seemed not be ‘that kind of type’. ‘Form is emptiness; emptiness is form’, these are the words translated into English from the words ‘色即是空 空即是色’ in the Heart Sutra (The Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra “般若心経” or “般若心経波羅蜜心経”) , which is originally written in Sanskrit then translated into Chinese, it was brought back to Japan, monks were learned it in the temple. Its Chinese version has only 257 Chinese characters, or some says 260 or 262 yet it is a very short sutra. It is Buddha’s preaching to one of his disciple named ‘舎利子’ or ‘舎利弗’ (Sariputta) nicknamed as ‘Wisdom Number one’. Even only two hundred sixty characters it explains very essence of Buddhism, ‘Form is emptiness; emptiness is form’ is one of them. However, for my feeling, both Japanese and English translated version aren’t as good as Chinese version which I feel some power in it.
What does ‘Form is emptiness; emptiness is form’ (色即是空 空即是色）means? If it is translated into English directly, it is ‘A color is an emptiness, emptiness is a color’. In this case ‘a color’ is a materials or stuffs have colors. So it means all materials are ‘emptiness’, it means all materials in this world is not substantial, solid, fixed or eternal. They are temporary existences here in the third dimension but the idea of these stuffs exists in the other world. As same as the concept of ‘空’ (Emptiness) explained yesterday, we human beings exist here temporarily as spiritual beings essentially, after we die, we go back to the spiritual world.
Contrally, what does ‘空即是色’ (Emptiness is form) mean? We all human beings as spiritual beings, we come down this world in order to evolve our souls as human beings have colors but no colors in souls, also all existences in this world are a shadow of the other world.
This concept is revealed also in the ‘Three Dharma Seals’ or ‘Three Marks of Buddhism’, such as ‘the impermanence of all things’, ‘the egolessness of all phenomena’, ‘the perfect serenity – nirvana’. These are also big words in the buddhism, so talk about them later.