onsdag 7 januari 2015

article: cup of coffe


This is the english translation of an article in an Swedish  Magazine.

"Such being the truth, we must learn that there are many appearances and grasses throughout the earth and that each grass and each appearance are not apart from the entire earth. Holding this view is the point of departure for training. When we reach this sphere of our journey's end, there is one grass and one appearance. We sometimes meet the appearance and sometimes not; sometimes we meet the grass and sometimes not. Because it is only time of this sort, uji is all time, and each grass and each appearance are time. In each moment there are all existences and all worlds. Try to think - Are any existences or worlds separated from time?"
- Shobogenzo Uji (Dogen)

Dogen was an zenmonk in 1200-century Japan and is considered the founder of Sotozentradition. Seemingly contradictory starting points often lay the foundation for his view, with multiple perspectives simultaneously. To gain insight into Dogen reasoning, we can, based on the above text, examine his theory of current-time (being-time / Uji). In his view space and time is both existent and nonexistent simultaneously. All of space and time is here and now, which is in line with modern quantum physics thinking.

We often assume the idea that time flows from the past through the present to the future and that events such as that
here and now we drink a cup of coffee, can never be turned into an event in the there and then.
Dogen also pointed out that the past is just “a memory”, and that the future is “a dream”. In this way, the past and the future is illusions. He wonders on what we need for the words "current / present” , if there exists a past or future, as these concepts really only exists as a concept opposed to the present's concept?

Dogen wrote that the time never had a direction, but that everything depended on everything else, and being a perfect jewel right where it is. Similar to a flood, there is no upstream, downstream or here on the river, if we see it as "just the river." Although a river flows downstream, you can not have downstream without an upstream. And so we flow downstream into upstream. Similar thoughts are also in modern physics, where it is asserted that all timelines actually has two directions. The future flows into the present flowing further into the past, and vice versa, that is, everything is connected.

Because each location on the river is "just the river" so is every drop of the river "just the river". Every drop of the river flowing into each other drop of the river. So what happens to a drop is the time and being (time-being / Uji) of every other drop.
The picture can naturally grow outside the river and eventually include all beings, the universe, everything. So when you drink a cup of coffee, the whole universe drinks a cup of coffee. If you do, here and now, the whole universe is here and now, drinking a cup of coffee. Which means that, by extension, a cup of coffee, is here and now, drinking itself ...

But the ultimate question must surely be, do we have time for a cup of coffee?

 Thank you for your practice.


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