So, as the title suggests, this begins my section focusing on space. I’m hoping that the time section material will dovetail neatly, but we’ll see. As a sidenote, the structure of the book I’m writing about is quite different from the way I’m ordering things on the blog. The book itself begins with space, then goes on to time, then knowledge.
For linguistic reasons, and because I had some intuition that it would work well, I’ve decided to write my comments on time, then space, then knowledge. One thing this does is give me some freedom to comment on the text, but not be bound to it entirely. This consideration is mostly related to the fact that I find Tarthang Tulku’s writng so incredibly rich, and complex, that trying to write a line by line or word by word commentary would be impossible for me at this point (unless I expected my finished work to be about 1000 pages long, and much less polished).
Ok. So I’m on to the space section. One other note, before I really start, though: the book, as I’ve mentioned, makes use of meditations and exercises that I’m not commenting on. I’ve tried some, a little bit. Now, as far as the space portion of the book, the first and main practice is the ‘Giant Body’ exercises. These consist of visualizing and exploring a giant human body in various forms. I may comment on related stuff based somewhat on my experience with body-based meditation, whatever that means. I won’t be attacking this practice directly; I didn’t receive transmission for it, and it is not a practice I really connect to, or feel I understand.
Now, in the first part of the book, Rinpoche starts by talking about spaces in different forms, especially the sky as our ‘local representative of space’. Maybe it’s obvious already that outer space is not what we’re talking about, but in case that isn’t obvious: this is not about outer space, aliens, planets, and so forth. Not that there’s anything wrong with being an astronomer or astrophysicist. But that’s not the kind of space we’re tackling.
“Inside or beneath the solid surfaces and opacities which define us and our encounters, there is also space… Macroscopic and microscopic spaces are within every body or object. And all spaces, in turn, seem to be amenable to the presence of objects.”
Next, Rinpoche mentions a few examples, including that thoughts seem to exist in mind ‘spaces’. I find this one pleasant and interesting. The quote before gives some sense of what is meant by space: something beyond a simplistic experience or understanding or knowledge of things. When I say things it implies, to me, solid physical stuff, like a lamp, but this extends to everything: phenomena, events, even ideas, as Rinpoche suggests. In one very real sense, space refers to the work and play of exploring reality in certain provoking ways.
And that is my first post about space. I’ll leave it (somewhat) short today.
Quotations used with permission from Dharma Publishing. Books available from Dharma Publishing.