“Space will henceforth refer to a dimension of reality whose openness is both a requisite and a concomitant feature of all experienced happening.” Tarthang Tulku, Time, Space, and Knowledge
Concomitant means accompanying or existing with. I had to look that one up. So in this chapter, “The Mind and The Origin of Appearance,” we begin by hearing about the role of the self. As I started to talk about last time, the self, or the mind, or some function of self or mind are not seen as the origin of appearances. We have appearances, or experiences, and in TSK the self is not at the center exactly, and neither is the mind. And they are not the creators of appearance either.
Rinpoche suggests that we need to look further, at this point, into the role of the self and the mind in our experience. Interestingly, I think we’re working our way into a second-level type view at this juncture. So unraveling the self, or understanding the self, to be less flashy, seems important in terms of gaining some access to second level space.
In the quote above, Tarthang Tulku reiterates the kind of space that is being talked about: it is both a background, and a partner. It allows, I think, both by being empty and by some sort of activity. The allowing of space is not simply due to its not being a thing, to its being opposite to things, but also to some subtle activity on its part. This is a tricky point, so I want to work on it some more before moving on, and see if it’s really: a) valid b) a part of TSK theory.
I think the answer is a qualified yes to both. Qualified because:
1. It is valid in that I understand the idea, but don’t have a strong grasp of it in terms of experience. It could have interesting implications for working with emotions, especially strong ones, and negative ones.
2. It does fit with my understanding of TSK.
3. TSK and some Buddhist philosophies DO seem to place space/the feminine principle at the forefront, however….
4. This is one perspective within TSK and within Buddhism, so, not the final one (if there is such a thing).
5. As far as TSK goes, I mean that it seems like you can take Space as the main focal setting, or view. In that case, you would talk about every aspect of the vision from the view of space. Time, knowledge, are all essentially space, the action of space. But you can do the same thing for Time and Knowledge too- talk from the view of Time, of Knowledge. Now my inclination is to favor space since this dovetails neatly with Trungpa Rinpoche’s teachings on the feminine principle. I’m a huge fan of VCTR, and tend to rely heavily on his teachings. However, as far as this point goes, I think it’s valid to go with any of those perspectives.
But here, we’re concerned mainly with space. The idea of “space projecting space into space,” seems to sum up what I’m trying to get at (and, in fact, this gets brought up in the beginning of the “Self and Mind” chapter).
Space projects SPACE- Phenomena are spacious, made of parts, shifting, containing infinite nested spaces along with parts. There’s space around things in various ways, and among/inside of things. The latter point is extrapolated in TSK to the point that things are said to BE space. So space projects what? Space.
Space PROJECTS space- Not only is there space around and within phenomena, somehow we need to get from the space to thing appearance. That happens through “projection.” How does projection work? I have some vague ideas, but at this point I will say:
1. I don’t really know.
2. This seems like energy, which reminds me of time.
(vague ideas, remember)
3. On a basic experiential level, there are spaces, and then things appear. This can be experienced pretty easily, I think, in a superficial (but valuable, first-step type) way. Another way to express this: space can be touched on or experienced, but there are also phenomena, and somehow these phenomena happen or pop up. That is projection, the happening or popping up.
And again, Rinpoche is emphasizing that this happening is not the creation of mind or self, and mind/self is not at the center.
Why not? My guess is that mind or self as creator would mean a solid thing creating in space. It would be excluded from space. It would be an exception to space (which is not something TSK buys into). This being is not at the center, either because ideas of position and location are deconstructed. I touched on this in the last post, when I talked about Great Space.
Next, in the chapter, there is the introduction of new exercises, the first specifically focusing on the origin of and functioning of thoughts.
Quotes used with permission from Dharma Publishing. Books available from Dharma Publishing.