This may be a brief one. I’m running out of time at the internet cafe.
Here goes. Starting with the “Time” section from the first TSK book, I’m working forward, then back, then forward. Which is to say, covering time first, then space, then knowledge. One caveat: the TSK series includes many many excercises: visualizations and contemplations, mostly. I’ve tried about half at this point, I think. I have done some systematically, some haphzardly, and avoided many. I don’t, at this point, plan on talking about the exercises, or practices. I don’t think I know enough about them to have anything to say about them. But they are there, in the writing, and as a background to it.
On with time. In the first section, Tarthang Rinpoche talks about the normal view of time as causal, continuous, linear. He talks about it as something people today see as constrictive, a hidden force driving us, maybe something to be feared. This sounds reasonable to me. Scheduling myself, or being scheduled by someone else often feels bad to me, a big restriction on my freedom.
Of course, Rinpoche challenges this. He states that it is not as simple as a self at the center of existence, and time driving or constraining this self. This makes sense to me. The problem, then, is where to go from that point. If the normal view of time is limited, how do we not only open up to new experiences of time, but do so in a way that is not superficial, not thought based in a manner that is surfacey?
Another way of putting this- with exposure to profound ideas or challenges to our habitual ways of experiencing, it is pretty easy to agree, on some level, and imagine other models or ways of living, but this seems to happen WITHIN the normal, habitual model. Ie, even if we’re somewhat open to the new model, this openness happens within the old model, as a sort of game, or posture. In Buddhist terms, it is the game of ego: as soon as it is challenged, if the challenge is strong enough, ego “loses” by adopting the new model as itself. We wake up from a dream into another dream, thinking we’re awake.
So, then, how do we go beyond the game of adopting a thought model or posture? I don’t know, but in my experience, this can happen when the thought model itself is sophisicated enough to allow for the game, and undermine it. I think one important consideration, then, is: if intellectualizing and speculation tend to be surfacey, not penetrating deeply held beliefs, prejudices, assumptions, can thinking about TSK without its practices, be enough? Could thinking along these lines ever touch a person deeply enough to really help anyone go beyond limited ways of thinking?