“In the wholesomeness of knowledge, we can be self-sufficient.”
Tarthang Tulku, Dynamics of Time and Space
This is a relatively easy quote to start with. Knowledge benefits, it helps people. That may not be why it’s good, but it is why it is interesting, at least to most people. This benefit leads to self-sufficiency.
In the last couple posts I talked about the masculine and feminine principles as Time and Space, and the different levels of Time. Keeping with the idea of Time as masculine principle, energy, form, this is also a discussion of the “levels” of form, energy, vividness.
I’ll try to quickly go through the levels of Time, and then maybe comment a little more.
1. Time level 1- Conventional. There is a “by-stander” self that observes things that happen. You can experience exceptional things sometimes, or change perspectives, but even that is constrained by a conventional view of a self at the center of things, and things that are more or less static, solid. The exceptional experiences or changes conform easily to variations on the conventional view. In terms of how we usually talk about time, I see this as time happening in a set way, “measured out,” with clear rules and natural laws.
2. Time, level 2- The normal view gives way to a view with more flair, with more room for flow, energies, feelings, a sense of things happening that is not as boxed in as the first level way of seeing things. Rinpoche describes a first glimpse of this as “flashing” and “dynamic.” That’s nothing too extradordinary; everyone has tastes of this I think- stepping into a busy marketplace where things are bustling, going into a quiet museum where there is an atmosphere of calm. In those environments, phenomena manifest in various ways.
“Time at this second stage can be seen as the force which lets moment give way to moment, and the factor which permits items within a situation or moment to have their own identity.”
So, it seems like the second level is not just about the way things happen in styles, or environments, but the structuring energy or force that shapes those phenomena.
3. Time, third level- This is the most profound one, the one I understand least, and, I think, the level at which Time is closest to Space.
“This is Great Time. Great Time is the universal bearer, but does not do, bear, or express ‘things’…. Great Time is neither law-like nor random. It is not a happening or ‘taking place’ at all… Great Time is not a set-up or a mysterious force. We might say that it is the inseparable partner of Great Space, the other member of the primordial marriage or love affair.”
There’s not much I can add to that while still making sense. There’s not much I can add to that that isn’t guesswork or posturing. I do think that this excerpt points beyond conventional logic, that Great Time sounds a lot like Space, and that the idea of masculine and feminine principles is clearly present.
So there ends the section on the levels. Maybe next post I will try to write about all of that again, so it hangs together more.
As I wrote this, my computer froze up- it does on occasion: it starts beeping, and then the keyboard stops working at all. So I restarted it, and went out to get my lunch, and a new can of condensed milk from the 7-11. As I was walking, I was thinking about what I wrote, and what to write when I came back, and what I’d read recently that might apply, and the thought occurred:
“What about bodhicitta?”
That’s awakened heart, the genuine heart of sadness, what bodhisattvas and bodhisattva trainees cultivate. It’s a Buddhist term. TSK isn’t Buddhist, but what about bodhicitta?
I don’t know. I’ll have to revisit that. These strike me as wisdom teachings that touch on emptiness, more than on compassion, but maybe that is my prejudice wearing off on TSK. So what about compassion and heart in TSK? I think this first presents itself in the perception of our being seriously constrained by our experience in Time, as beings who will die, and who want so much, in spite of having a lot.
Excerpts used with permission from Dharma Publishing.