A big empty space

A long weekend here in Ireland.

My home can be anywhere, heaven or earth.
All I need is room in my heart.
And a good source of water, of course.

You need room in your heart . . . a big empty space
To sort out what’s real from what’s not.

Hsu Yun, 1840 – 1959, renowned and influential Chinese Chan Buddhist master

3 thoughts on “A big empty space

  1. Hello, Karl
    I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your blog. May I ask: what is the occasion of the long weekend in Ireland?
    I am a psychoanalyst and a somewhat casual student of Buddhism. Your posts and visual accompaniments are always beautiful.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Maryann, Thank you. Where are you writing from? I am not sure where this long weekend comes from – I think just the need to have a certain number of Bank Holidays. However, Bealtaine [the Irish word for May and the Celtic festival on the first of May] marks the beginning of our Summer. The Celtic calendar was based on light not heat, and we are coming into the light half of the year and out of darkness. So Bealtaine was a big feastday in Celtic times – half way between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice, with fires being lit. There was a fertility aspect as well and this symbolised in trees, especially the hawthorn. A tradition has lasted up to modern times of the May bush which was decorated. This passed over into the Christian era and May was particularly associated with May, with altars being set up in classrooms and again flowers being brought into schools – an echo of the earlier tradition. May Day in Europe became a day to celebrate workers and the Catholic Church tried to rival this by making May Day a feast day, dedicated to St Joseph the Worker. However, I am not sure if any of these influenced the choosing of the first Monday in May as a Bank Holiday, although it was always a special time due to the different traditions. Thanks for your reading of the Blog!

      1. Hi, Karl,
        Does the time fly as fast in Ireland as it does here in New York? (famously home of the “New York minute”). I’m writing from the eastern end of Long Island, sometimes odiously called “The Hamptons” and, specifically, from the “other” Southampton. Thank you for the robust description of the origins of May holidays in Ireland. Even here, I have fond memories of the May celebrations dedicated to Mary and marked by lovely processions of us schoolchildren carrying lots of flowers (Infant Jesus School, my elementary alma mater). Have a lovely spring!

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