Abandon any hope of fruition.
If there is a “time” which is more than just linear, than
this Tibetan Lojong slogan makes sense.
If we believe solely in a linear history that develops through time or
over a period of time, then this slogan doesn’t make any sense. In development, there is hope for a
result. In order to progress we have to have linear time. If we believe in
cause and effect than the fruition is caused by our effort. We can get better!
The idea of linear time is part of consensus reality and
relative truth. It dissolves in
the face of absolute truth. Linear time allows humans to live a life from
beginning to end, with work, job, family, accomplishments, love, old age,
sickness and death as the very essence of life. If you allow for the Buddhist deconstruction of time, then
we begin to question the solidity of our stories and how we understand our
life. In some senses, this doubt
or questioning is a fruition unto itself.
In studying Dogen’s fascicle Uji or Beingtime, many of
my strongly held fixed views about life and time have started to break up. So
here’s our dilemma, what’s real?
Oh, how humans want a concrete answer to that! We want to live in black and white. Either there is no time or there is
linear time? But Zen understanding
places us right in the foci of those opposites. They mutually dance together. Form and emptiness are mutually interdependent.
Each moment is sourced from timelessness and yet it does not destroy a speck of dust or
anything about the construction of our everyday life. As we mature, we begin to see them working together. This understanding of historic time and
timelessness, dancing together, doesn’t change a thing in the construction of
our life span and yet, in understanding this, it does seem to change
everything. Our whole perspective
on what a human life is, starts to subtly change and karmas can be loosened and
good (or negative) karmas can be made.
We don’t eradicate our karmic life but neither do we believe in it.
From the Heart Sutra:
Neither old age and
death…..nor the extinction of old age and death.
To abandon any hope of fruition is to live in the present
moment. Even though this present
moment have the effects from past moments and have the seeds for the future
moments, this moment still stands alone. In the absolute sense, this moment is
discontinuous. It is only
itself. To understand this slogan
we have to see through our stories and see the completeness of this very
moment. Our stories and linear
time tell us that if we practice hard now and for, maybe, 10 years, in the
future, things will be better and perhaps we will be enlightened even. That’s a smile. Even in historic time, the future won’t
necessarily be better. As Buddha
so succinctly warns us, no one escapes old age, illness, and death.
This view of futuring, is the misunderstood belief that
practice produces enlightenment in the future. This is not Dogen’s understanding of time or
enlightenment. Dogen suggests that
the Now contains everything; the past, present and future. Where could enlightenment exist if
other than right now? Right now is
filled with enlightenment, awareness, awakening, aliveness. There is no future for it to exist
in. That future is a construction
of our minds and a fantasy. He
asserts that the circle of the Way exists and can only exist in the
moment. Aspiration, practice,
awakening and the Way are all continuously present in this moment and that
faith or understanding this, brings practice alive. He reduces this to his expression practice-enlightenment as one word. To awaken in this moment is to be enlightened and to be in
the Way. There is no other Buddha
Way then the Way of this moment.
“Abandon any hope for fruition” is very similar to Katagiri
Roshi saying that cause and effect are one. And this “one” lives in this moment.
Labels: abandon any hope of fruition, Being-time, Circle of the Way, Lojong slogans, practice-enlightenment, present moment, Ragir, Time, Uji