When I was a novice monk, my teacher taught me how to bow to the Buddha. Before you bow to the Buddha, you have to meditate. If you don't the bowing, the touching of the earth will have any effect. Because, the touching of the earth to bow to the Buddha is to establish communication, communion between you and Buddha. And a practice of the concentration called emptiness, no-self, can help you to bow in such a way that communication, communion is possible between you and Buddha. (The practice of Touching the Earth is to return to the Earth, to our roots, to our ancestors, and to recognize that we are not alone but connected to a whole stream of spiritual and blood ancestors. We are their continuation and with them, will continue into the future generations. We touch the earth to let go of the idea that we are separate and to remind us that we are the Earth and part of Life.)
And my teacher gave me a verse to learn by heart so that every time I bow to Buddha, I may use it. But mindful breathing before I bow. This morning we practiced that. Before touching the earth, before Shakyamuni Buddha, we chanted this verse, "The One who bows and the one who is bowed to, both of them are empty in their nature". It means that "Dear Buddha, you are made of non-you elements, you are empty, your nature is empty, because as the Buddha, you are made of non-Buddha elements."
And myself who is bowing to you, I am also made of non-me elements. I am also empty in my nature. It means that you are made of non-you elements. And in the non-you elements, there is me in you. And I am also made of non-me elements. And including these non-me elements, there is you. So, the fact is that I can see you in me and I am in you. And before you touch the nature of emptiness in you and you are the Buddha, you should not bow. Because if you have not touched that nature of emptiness in you and the Buddha, you and the Buddha are two separate entities. There is no communication, no real communication is possible. And because you are made of non-you elements, including me, and I am made of non-me elements, including you, that is why communication is very deep.
And the verse went like that. "The One who bows and the one who is bowed to, they are both by nature empty." And that is why communication is very deep. And that kind of insight of interbeing helps us transcend the notion of self. Self is a notion, not a reality. Because everything is changing, you are not the same person in two consecutive moments. No one can swim twice in the same river. Not only the swimmer is not the same but the river isn't the same, either. And the meditation on impermanence, the concentration, the samadhi on impermanence brings about the insight of no-self.