““Great Time is the self. But the self cannot fathom Time.”
Tarthang Tulku, Time, Space, and Knowledge
I’m moving ahead with third level time, which is connected to ‘Great Time’. As I think I’ve said before, there is a ‘Great’ associated with the third level of each element: Great Time, Great Space, and Great Knowledge. There’s also a ‘body’ referred to (the Body of Time, etc.). What those mean exactly, and what the distinction is between the Greats and the Bodies I’m not sure yet.
I picked this quote to begin with partly because I’m talking about third level time, and partly because it caught my eye as I was doing some reading. Seeing Time as the self: this is a surprising approach for me. This is complicated by the fact that it is not just time, but Great Time that is the self, which is described in TSK and in the Buddhadharma as limited, limiting.
The limiting or samsaric side of things is brought in with the second part of the quote: the self can’t fathom time.
Jumping back a step, though, it’s significant that according the Rinpoche:
1. The self is Time.
2. Time includes lower, middle and higher levels.
3. The self can’t understand what it’s made out of; it can’t comprehend its own substance, which is transcendental.
Maybe transcendental isn’t the right word. But the self can’t understand its own makeup as Time. I can also say the self can’t understand itself as luminosity, or as the masculine principle of form.” Intro to TSK
That non-understanding is space, I think. It has to be. It could either be space as confusion (the self thinks it understands things generally, and itself specifically), or space as wisdom (the self is understood but not in dualistic terms, it’s perceived as jnana, primary wisdom, nondual wisdom).
Pretty good! Not sure if that works entirely, but it’s something to start with.
I had some other good thought earlier today, what was that? It was about stories and meaning. Here goes.
1. We make sense of life in terms of a latticework of stories and interpretations.
2. These cover over pure groundlessnes.
3. You can either go toward the extreme of form- life has meaning, and it’s in stories, concepts and words- or the extreme of emptiness- these words aren’t it obviously, and concept can’t capture direct experience, so it’s all meaningless.
4. Reality or wisdom is about not going for either extreme with stories. Life isn’t a story. It isn’t a meaningless chaotic mess that is covered by an illusion of stories. It’s not a combination of both. It’s not neither, either. It’s not outside of those possibilities (or inside of them).
So beyond being caught up in stories and thoughts, or being totally cynical about life, there’s some other kind of experience. Possibly that experience could be time. I’m not able to say. Time certainly figures in.
On another note, it’s almost my birthday. As I’ve been appreciating holidays and celebration more and more recently, I plan to celebrate my birthday even more this year. I think it may help to invoke TSK in terms of holidays.
For a good holiday, space changes, and time stretches out differently. Of course, there’s also knowledge, the wisdom information being constantly transmitted by the outer space radio station of the lineage.