“Shōbōgenzō Uji (being-time) is Dogen’s experience of being (existence) and time. Time, as we know it flows one way in linear fashion, marked by the hours of the day. Time moves forward independently of our being, detached from our concerns, from an irretrievable past, through a momentary present, and proceeds to an unknown future. To think of time as only fleeting is to see ourselves separate from the Dharma and separate from the past, present and future. “
-Eidō Shimano Rōshi
Shōbōgenzō xx Uji
Words of an ancient buddha:
sometimes standing on the highest peak,
Sometimes going to the deepest ocean,
Sometimes three heads and eight elbows,
Sometimes eighteen or six feet high,
Sometimes a monk’s staff, a fly whisk,
Sometimes a pillar, sometimes a stone lantern,
Sometimes Mr. Chang, Mr. Li,
Sometimes the good earth and the vast skies,
-Translated by Charles Vacher & Eidō Shimano Rōshi, excerpted from Shōbōgenzō Uji, ISBN#2-909-422-24-0, Pub. by Encre Marine
In December of 2012, having been in solitary zazen on the 6th day of Rohatsu, I noticed a mote of dust floating in a beam of winter sunlight pouring in my window. I couldn’t stop looking at it intensely. Upon experiencing that floating mote of dust I realized everything, everywhere has always existed all at once, as well as what I ridiculously call “myself”. At that moment the deeply engrained notion, the notion which had tethered me in countless ways, the delusion of time, dissolved completely for me. I knew in my marrow that what I thought about time was an immaterial, forged concept. I saw what I previously had called “time” was a deep interrelationship with all being, not just sentient being, but all being. If prajna is “the absolute nature (wisdom) of things as they are”, then the essence I was considering as “time” was empty sky, absolute zero, all encompassing. Then I had a funny thought, “It’s like everybody, everything, are all in the swimming pool at the same time always.” When I talked to Roshi about it in dokusan he just smiled a wry smile and said, “Being time, for the time being”.
Our teaching tells us that everything exists together simultaneously in any given moment. In our experience of dream consciousness (Saṃbhogakāya) we often realize a dissolution or warping of our static understanding of time. We move effortlessly through time and space, realities and conceptual realms, dissolving and reforming. If we pause and rest in natural awareness we experience this in our waking consciousness also; the “thoughtless moment” in our zazen.
Dainin Katagiri, (dai osho), says, “Dogen’s word being represents all sentient beings existing in the formless realm of timelessness, and time characterizes the existence of completely independent moments. Being and time work together, so Dōgen doesn’t separate them; he uses the one term being-time. Nothing has a fixed existence, so being must also be no-being. No-being means being disappears into the arising moment and becomes one with time. When being is time, being manifests as the particular forms of the phenomenal world, and time occupies the whole of space as the present moment.”
So, you see, being is time and time is being.
MONDAY, 6:30AM: ZAZEN AT THE TEA HOUSE
MONDAY, 7PM, DREAM KOAN AT THE TEA HOUSE OR ZOOM
WEDNESDAY, 6:30AM: ZAZEN AT THE TEA HOUSE OR ZOOM
THURSDAY, 6:30AM: SADHANA AT THE TEA HOUSE OR ZOOM
FRIDAY, 6:30AM: ZAZEN AT THE TEA HOUSE
DOKUSAN WITH ZENHO SENSEI
So dear friends, until next time,
Being time for the time being.
Deep peace and great love,
Issan & Zenho
Issan is out of town, Thursday-Wed.
Here’s Noah’s poem for us this week:
The season has begun to change
and I drive east
through a familiar land
I feel apart from
as I try to figure out how to enter
The same themes emerge in my mind
the iron car traps my thoughts
who is awake anyway?
the man sunken into his chair
selling me the snickers bar at the gas station
the woman staring out the nighttime window
in the diner
the mechanic balancing my tires
telling me that there is a way of seeing
that emerges once the ego is cracked away
and what is it?
this wakefulness that I yearn for
as the desert mountains
become hills of grass
become forests of pines