Dogen on Being-Time and the Force

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14 Nov 2015 07:01 #208856 by Liwa Nim
Hey everyone. If you're into Zen, have you ever read Uji by Dogen Zenji? Dogen is a HUGE figure in Zen. So huge and obscure in his writing that I spent a lot of time insulting him haha. But today something clicked into place that had been brewing for awhile. Time. How do you think of time? I kind of shrugged it off as something arbitrary, a measurement or empty basket to put our memories and dreams into. But not anymore.

When I understand time as cause/effect and constant change, it takes on a whole new dimension. It becomes even more vibrant and astounding when I realize that time is not static or linear. During meditation today, an insight struck me that made me smile. The Force is Time. At least that one expedient way to put it.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Here's a link to Uji. It's kind of fun replacing "time" with "the Force." Anyway, that's enough of my rambling for the evening.
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14 Nov 2015 09:33 - 14 Nov 2015 09:34 #208859 by Gisteron
Call me closed-minded or unimaginative, but I sort of fail to see the difference between time and, say, temperature. There is nothing strictly wrong in questioning what those base dimensions are, but chances are we will not ever find satisfactory answers, nor would they change anything if we did, nor would we lose anything if we didn't. What is time? Well, what is distance?
Those are but labels we use to differentiate between our world's apparently independant dimensions. I say apparently, because in everyday application assuming a connection between them is unnecessary. Just in the same way that nature didn't declare any colours to us, so did it not declare what time is. We are just given this space we find ourselves in, and we perceive its dimensions in different ways, and one of those dimensions we just call time.
Is there any more to it? Well, if there was, it doesn't matter. So we might as well say there isn't. At least until such time when it would at all matter...

Last edit: 14 Nov 2015 09:34 by Gisteron.

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15 Nov 2015 00:30 #208922 by magmon
Replied by magmon on topic Dogen on Being-Time and the Force
I prefer the scientific answer, personally, that we really cannot percieve the answer to your question.

I like to use Flatland to exemplify this idea... You see, to one who is only capable of perceiving two dimensions, what is a sphere? nothing but a curved line. A cube? A straight line. Perhaps a corner, due to perspective. So can we not perceive time. We see the passage, but is that its only line? We can observe it being affected by gravity, but does that not raise questions?

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15 Nov 2015 00:48 #208924 by Zephyrus
Time... Time...

There are two distinct levels we can look at something like "time"; both have been discussed in this thread already. We can look at time from within it (like we do now: I have a date tomorrow. I had a date yesterday. I am on a date now.), or we could look at time from the outside looking in. This is assuming that there is anything outside this universe, and that time is confined to this universe only. Unfortunately, the amount of speculation and assuming that goes into even pretending there's a possibility we could understand that is... enormous. Thus, is there any true benefit to finding out that time is only an illusion? It doesn't seem to make a difference to the Earth. Crops grow and harvest at certain times in the year no matter what your understanding is.

It is, therefore, in my honest opinion, useless to speculate unless for the purposes of curiosity and/or imagination. Rather, we can realize that our current understand is: "Life is limited. We are born. We do not know our conscious mind from before birth. We will die. And, we do not know what happens to the conscious mind after death, if consciousness even exists as an entity at all." I don't even believe there is an "I", so that makes "Life" after death even less sure. It is reasonable to assume, then, that our time is extremely limited. The vastnesses of space, as Whitman said, are like the ocean. We have but one ship to sail these seas. We have a course we can constantly set. It is the greatest gift to even have one trip through life. Time is extremely precious then. At any moment, it could be taken away. More living, less thinking.

The Black Wizard ~ Rainbow Chaos Magick ~ Thelemite
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16 Nov 2015 16:16 #209122 by Liwa Nim
Thank you for your replies everyone m :)

It took me over two years to actually grok Uji. Dogen is notoriously vague. I always thought of time as an arbitrary measurement. Considered the past as just memories and the future imagination. Didn't dare ponder it much from a physics standpoint because I'm not a physicist haha. Also couldn't imagine that thinking about it from that standpoint would have any benefit to my life.

Then something clicked. From a Zen standpoint now, I'd reckon the Dharma is entirely a teaching about time. How time is more than a measurement, but is the Dharma. Entails all the teachings on selflessness, constant change, interdependence and our true nature.

It's just kind of neat ya know? Feeling the Force to be time, constant change and cause/effect. Brings a whole new dimension to it for me and clarifies a lot of practice points. Lately while meditating, I've been using the Hua Tou "What is Time?" to fantastic results.

On another note, if not Time (cause/effect and change) what is the Force to you?
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16 Nov 2015 18:05 #209132 by Streen
What is the Force? Every "force", every measurement, every dimension, every imaginable and unimaginable concept. To think of it as This or That simply limits it further. All concepts of what the Force is are human-made. The Force as it truly is cannot be defined, and I certainly can't be spoken. If you truly want to experience it, I suggest you leave all these ideas behind.

"The sage does little,
but leaves nothing undone."
—Lao Tzu
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16 Nov 2015 18:09 #209133 by Rickie

Liwa Nim wrote: . Time. How do you think of time? I kind of shrugged it off as something arbitrary, a measurement or empty basket to put our memories and dreams into. But not anymore.

It's all relative, really. The word" time" is finite and time is infinite or at least I think it is. We can only know so much of it related to our finite existence. Time as we know it is helpful, that's all. How one experience it is a personal thing.

When I understand time as cause/effect and constant change, it takes on a whole new dimension. It becomes even more vibrant and astounding when I realize that time is not static or linear. During meditation today, an insight struck me that made me smile. The Force is Time. At least that one expedient way to put it.


I applaud your meditation. Thank you for sharing it.

For me time is one inseparable aspect of the living force. You can identify with aspects of it but you just can't break it into parts, it all overlaps with no clear boundaries. It all related, everything is related, it's all one.

I like the river and long fish analogy.


Peace, kindness, compassion, tolerance, truth, knowledge, strength of mind, body and spirit are not always companions of mine but are always pursued.

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16 Nov 2015 20:29 - 16 Nov 2015 20:33 #209172 by Adder
Time seems to be 'the' dimension to me, or maybe the scaffold which we dress with the other dimensions to orientate a concept of self outward from. I have not read Dogen, so thank you for the recommendation!!

I like to view it in a base nature of perceptive 'rate' which is how fast we construct and relate to our realm of perception. If this is adjusted it's like things become different in nature - faster and things appear more energetic as in 'light' from the reduction in capacity to contextualize and relate to anything complex, or slower and things appear transcendental as in they would be drenched in our capacity to familiarize and humanize but also integrate higher cognition to generate its own complexity.

For me I tend towards using the terms Unifying Force and Living Force for each of those directions of variation from what might be 'normal' for me, eg faster lower sample rate or slower higher sample rate. Same Force, but viewed in different terms (literally!!).
:silly:

Knight ~ introverted extropian, mechatronic neurothealogizing, technogaian buddhist. Likes integration, visualization, elucidation and transformation.
Jou ~ Deg ~ Vlo ~ Sem ~ Mod ~ Med ~ Dis
TM: Grand Master Mark Anjuu
Last edit: 16 Nov 2015 20:33 by Adder.

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