“An appropriate link exists between the word ‘position’ as being the same as ‘place’ and its psychological and philosophical significance as ‘orientation’, ‘point of view’… All the familiar things constituting phenmoenal appearance are Great Space directly, not by some remote or transitive link. Hence, as Great Space, they have no position.” Tarthang Tulku, Time, Space, and Knowledge
Location and perspective have interesting connections. As I’m sure has been noted by brighter minds than mine, this metaphor probably has some basis in a truth. Actually, this is interesting in terms of language. Although language is problematic in its distancing and confusing games, it also preserves wisdom. One of the ways this happens is through metaphor. One of the ways metaphor enters our lives most easily and frequently is through common expressions, idioms, sayings. So language is not all bad.
As far as the power of place, the power of focal setting, and the connection between these two, I’ll keep it very brief: it exists, in my experience. There is also a feedback loop: from place based experience to perspective, from perspective to place based experience, and back and forth.
Before I move on to the next chapter, my big question is: How are phenomena Space “directly”? We’ve spent so much time establishing and visualizing and imagining things as space. Why suddenly, are they space directly? I think on the conceptual level, this is another technique to impress upon us that space is real, and that its life in the phenomenal world is really worth investigating. On the less conceptual level, I think there’s something else going on. I apologize for hinting and evading; I do so there because I have some ideas, but nothing great, and I do not fully understand that level of the teachings.
The next chapter begins with a bang, yet very simply.
It states that, in our investigations, we are finding that things and phenomena are not caused or existent in a linear way. They are not caused by the mind, self, something psychological, “or any other item within the ordinary worldview.”
So how do things happen, and what is the place of the self with its experiences, feelings, subtle things? Rinpoche writes that it’s important to gain a kind of sense for the way things are, “a new vision regarding the source of all experiences.” It’s important, Rinpoche states, to look into the self and its place in this whole mess (or event).
Maybe calling this new vision a “sense” is deceptive, and pushes TSK in the direction of other teachings, in a way that’s not honest. I don’t know. My experience is of someone studying TSK, and also other traditions. I have found that just writing this commentary has had some impact on my life, and not usually in terms of rational in the moment decisions. When I try to think “What level of time is that?” or something along those lines, it gets very intellectual and heady. But I have started to see time and space somewhat differently, particularly time. And this can have a big effect on your life. Your relationship with time is important, I think. It plays a big part in life experience. Speaking of which, I have to shower and run off to work!
Quotations used with permission from Dharma Publishing. Books available from Dharma Publishing.