sutra on time/space?

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Supramundane
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sutra on time/space?

Post by Supramundane » Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:12 am

The Diamond Sutra teaches us to foster wisdom that can cut through ignorance like a diamond; Subhuti learns that all phenomena are illusory, and he cannot reach Nirvana until he rids himself of attachment to him. Undoubtedly, the most persistent illusion is that of time and space..

Before Einstein, when we saw the shadow of a mountain, we took the shadow to be eternal and immutable and the ground beneath to be space, also immutable and eternal. Einstein taught us that the shadow is not real. It is only one component in a four-dimensional continuum.

As stated in the Diamond Sutra:

[phenomena] Are like a dream, an illusion, a bubble , a shadow,
Like dew or a flash of lightning
Thus we shall perceive them


The ground beneath the mountain is also a moving essenceless quantity that is not free standing or independent. All are intertwined in a complex relationship that encompasses not only the shadow and the mountain but also the ground and the sun above it.

Time and space are the bars of our prison cells that keep us from the refuge of Nirvana. Before enlightenment, we live our lives in the lines they prescribe for us; we count the grains of sand in the hourglass; to reach Nirvana we must see beyond both and see them as the illusions they really are. We must destroy time to be free. If there is no past and no future, this means that the grains of sand we count are not really moving and never were. They are hanging in mid air in stillness; no grain of sand has ever fallen; nothing has ever happened; and not only is there no past or future in Nirvana, but there is no one to even count the grains of sand.

If the Diamond Sutra teaches us to cultivate Prajnaparamita to realize that form is an impermanent interrelationship and that impermanance marks all phenomena, then time and space are illusions that separate us from the Truth. I am nothing but time. and yet time is an illusion. In Nirvana, the grains of sand are not piling on top of each other but each one is replacing each other.

And if the phenomenological kaleidoscope is not real, and we know only this illusion, how can we see beyond it? A fish doesn’t know it is in water because water is all it knows. If all we know is impermanence and change, how can we pass through the gateway and enter the deathless door? It seems to me that there is only one way and that is to realize that time and space are the keys to the fortress of Nirvana. They must be hollowed out to a point and fall in upon themselves before we enter.

The point of orientation which I misidentify as “me” will eventually fall away… There is no stand-alone absolute ME and so the dissolution of my mind and body will simply be like a wave crashing on the beach. There will not be more or fewer drops of water in the ocean. The wave was never a wave; it was always just water; and the wave never crashed; nothing ever happened and there was no ‘wave’ to crash upon the beach.

From the above discussion of one aspect of the Diamond Sutra, it seems clear to me that time/space is the most difficult and important illusion to overcome.

Is there a sutra that specifically deals with time/space and its nature of emptiness?

SunWuKong
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Re: sutra on time/space?

Post by SunWuKong » Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:05 pm

This is good, Donald Lopez lectures that Buddhism corresponded to the discovery in mathematics that we are in fact surrounded by deep space and time. This is only emphasized in the Prajñāpāramitā literature. But in a sense, all Buddhist sutras share the awareness of temporal and spatial reality. I can’t pin point one text in particular.
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

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Supramundane
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Re: sutra on time/space?

Post by Supramundane » Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:46 am

if we are traveling looking for Nirvana we will never find it. If we travel the planet looking for a door or a gateway to another dimension, we will never find it. The phenomenological world is all we can ever know. The same goes for time; if we are waiting for Nirvana, it will never come. It doesn't appear or disappear. Time does not separate us from it.

It is perhaps only our misguided view of time and space that separates us from Nirvana. Time is the key, i feel. if we realize the true nature of time then many of our misconceptions would fall away. So we must understand time to destroy the world of form. This is perhaps why Amitabha Buddha means 'Infinite Buddha', beyond space and time.

I'm surprised there isn't more info on time in a given sutra. I once read that the concept of time in Buddhism is as follows: rather than seeing time as a series of frames like in a film, Buddhism sees time as one frame that replaces itself every Ksana. Meaning that there is no linearity: no past, no future. But what did they base this conjecture on, i wonder? is it derived from a particular sutra?

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Supramundane
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Re: sutra on time/space?

Post by Supramundane » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:39 am

There is an ancient fable called “Marking the boat to look for a sword” which illustrates what happens when one is ignorant of time and space. In the country of Ch’u, a man was crossing a river on a ferry. In the middle of the river, he accidentally dropped his sword. Everybody urged him to dive into the water to recover the sword. He was not worried but leisurely made a mark on the boat. He was quite proud of himself and replied confidently, “My sword fell down from here. When the boat stops, I will dive for my sword from here. Why worry?” Others told him that as both the boat and water were moving, it would be impossible for his sword to follow the boat in step. When time passed and space changed, his sword could not be retrieved. He did not listen. When the boat finally docked, he started looking for the sword beneath the spot he had marked on the boat...

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