““Restructuring reality by challenging the self seems like an effective way to bring about change… Still, at the deepest levels there is a danger of covering over one story with another. We all know how easy it is to mimic moments of true inspiration and insight.” Tarthang Tulku, “Dynamics of Time and Space”

The last sentence there was the one that caught my attention the most; this is an issue I’ve had for some years now. Now, granted, having insights or moments of understanding is not the goal in and of itself. It took me a little while to get that. I think this isn’t the goal because lasting realization is the goal, along with being of benefit to others. Momentary flashes of insight don’t often bring lasting realization, and don’t often help others much.” Intro to TSK

I’d like to combine this excerpt with another I glanced at randomly today as I sat down at the computer. Basically, Rinpoche said that the speed at which we normally do many things (fast) can be a problem for living with “direct knowledge.” This can lead to unintended far-reaching consequences.

The latter is a relatively simple point, but valuable. If you want some kind of other knowledge, or wisdom, slowing down may be helpful. At least paying attention to speed, rhythm and how this affects the mind can be useful. Whatever kind of company you’re in, alone or not, affects this speed, of course.

Speed also connects to ego and habitual patterns. Rinpoche talks about challenging the self, and this as a way to instigate knowledge and restructure things. Of course, this should not be self-improvement, as I’ve been reminded a number of times. The Buddhist or TSK experiment is not about making a bigger, better self.

The problem seems to arise when insights or experiences of going a little past ego don’t lead to much change, growth, or results. Leaving off the problem that things are okay already, perfect, even, I’ve been told, this happens a lot. You can have insights, of varying degrees, even really strong experiences, but then these tend to wear off very quickly. The self grows back.


According to the quote, mimicking is a problem. I think this fits with “direct knowledge.” My current theory is that blessings permeate you, and this subtly affects you over time. It’s a gradual approach. The flashes of insight and experiences may be side effects of the blessings, maybe, but the real changes are happening below that surface somehow. Not much of a theory, but something to work on.


About jakekarlins

Aspiring writer and artist, dharma practitioner, yogi.

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