Emptiness, Self and Other Than Self
It now is me, I now am not It.
~Tung-Shan [Translation by Thomas Cleary, Book of Serenity: One Hundred Zen Dialogues, Shambhala, (1998), p. 206]
Because form is empty of self it is empty of other than self; having no self, form has no other. The same reasoning applies to emptiness; being empty of self it is empty of other. In accordance with the reason (dori) of the doctrine of emptiness, self is not-self, other is not-other, therefore self is self, other is other.
This flower is not-this flower, not-this flower is this flower, therefore this flower is this flower, not-this flower is not-this flower. This flower is ‘no other than’ emptiness (i.e. not-this flower); having no self, this flower can have no other. This flower is totally this flower as it is; this flower is empty, therefore (i.e. because it lacks a self) this flower is not-other than this flower (i.e. there is nothing other than this flower). To clearly see this flower is to clearly see the whole of space and time; practicing deep prajna-paramita we clearly see the whole of this particular flower is empty (i.e. is the totality of ‘what’ is ‘this flower’ and ‘what’ is ‘not-this flower’). Thus we clearly see this flower (and by extension, each and all dharmas) includes and is included by each and all the myriad dharmas.
This is the reason (dori) of emptiness – the true nature of all things, beings, and events. All dharmas are empty, thus no dharma has/is an independent ‘self,’ therefore no dharma ever encounters anything ‘other than’ its self. This flower, that bird, and this thought are empty, thus there is nothing other than this flower, that bird, and this thought.
Excerpt from, Zen Cosmology: Dogen’s Contribution to the Search for a New Worldview p.75