This blog is about the section in the Gate, Gate, mantra which says: going beyond constructions of time. In the past few years, I have practiced a lot on breaking open my “idea” of linear time. This practice has been one of the most powerful for me in terms of letting go of the obsession with my historic story and “selfing.” In letting the solidity of linear time go, even a little bit, I have begun to be more present and aware in this moment. It feels, indeed, like a path to liberation.
First off, Katagiri Roshi taught that the present moment is at the intersection of time and space. In that intersection is where the “real life” lies. Here’s one of his charts:
In that moment of the intersection of time and space, which is constantly changing, we are where we want to be. He calls it the Pivot of Nothingness. The pivot is the constantly swirling world of the opposites and the functioning of activity of life. The nothingness is the eternal now that is silent and still right at the center. Both of these dynamics, activity and stillness are occurring in each moment and represent the totality of life in all dimensions and all times. Katagiri Roshi’s book title: Each Moment is the Universe.
In studying with Okumura Roshi, he has another beautiful chart explaining how linear time and eternal time work together.
This chart shows the karmic working of cause and effect. That one moment produces the next moment through cause, development and result. It also shows on the bottom how each moment is the eternal moment itself. Complete and independent. A Whole arising and disappearing in 1/62 of a fingersnap. Dogen-zenji calls it a “dharma position”. Each dharma position is completely the whole and completely the now! In understanding this non-dualism, this oneness, the way we approach our life can really change.
Dogen says that there are 6 and a half billion moments in a day. Katagiri-Roshi says, that each moment is a creative opportunity to produce your future life.
Our practice is to completely receive the moment. Both its timelessness and the karmic aspect of human life together. Which moves us right along to Awakened Awareness which is the next section.
Here is another chart from Rohatsu, that is one of the Tibetan instructions about time that I received from Ken McLeod’s book, “Wake up to your life.”