Friday, December 5, 2008

Stepping Out of Time

Step outside of time just once, and all the years you spent in ignorance and suffering recede into vagueness. They’re only something you seem to remember. Your old small self is gone and all his old enemies and friends and relatives and all his old experiences, bitter or sweet, have lost their power over him. They were like a cinema show…believable while he was in the theater, but not when he came out into the daylight. Reality destroyed the illusion.

In Nirvana you’re neither young nor old. You just are. And who are you? That’s easy. he Buddha.

(Master Xu Yun, ‘Empty Cloud’, p.78)

Time is an integral part of the problem of the suffering of our lives, isn’t it? Time ticks inexorably on, each second bringing Yama, the embodiment of death, ever closer. But, if as Master Yun says, we can step out of time into the eternity of our Buddha-nature, surely we should make the effort to do so before it’s too late. Look at a clock or a watch. Notice time’s relentless march. Now look back at the observer: is it any particular time here, or are you in fact already residing in the timeless zone that is awareness itself?

For a review and a link to download the e-book quoted above, please see E-book Reviews & Downloads to the right of this page.


JD said...

I create plenty of suffering around time while at work and it is interesting to see. The thing is, I don't really have a boss, a deadline or co workers to hassle why do I worry about when I get done delivering my mail? I have tried not looking at the clock but it is such a habit after many years of living based on the "relentless march" as you say. On the moments in my work day when I have let go of time it certainly has been more peaceful. Nice little post here Gary. Be well now.

G said...

Hi Justin.

All these thoughts & emotions concerning time occur in response to our perception of time, don't they? They result from our clinging to the concept of time passing.

Awareness itself is that which is aware of this concept of time, and, as such, is out of time, beyond its grasp. It's a Dharma door leading to our true, timeless nature.

Thanks for the comment, Justin.
(Honest as ever.)

Peter Clothier said...

Can you give more information about the sculpture in your picture? I'd love to see it also from the front. Possible?

G said...

It's great, isn't it, Peter?

I googled for the picture a long time ago & don't actually know what the piece is called. I can't even recall what search criteria I used, apart from the word 'time'. Perhaps doing an image search on the web using terms like 'time', 'sculpture', 'breaking', 'clock' etc. might work.

Good luck!

Wade M | The Middle Way said...

Thanks for highlighting this ebook, and a great quote on time.



G said...

Hi Wade.

Master Xu Yun was quite a teacher, as the ebook 'Empty Cloud' shows, with all the wit & wisdom we associate with genuine Zen masters.