Category Archives: General TSK Discussions


Photo courtesy of: ‘Tree’ by Merijn — Flickr

“When knowledge becomes a calling that calls us toward our own being, we can discover it in art and music and poetry as well as in rocks and trees and stars. Knowledge is found in all living things, as well as in numbers and symbols. It is found in all creativity and inspiration. Knowledge is beauty, delight, and joy, like rich, full humor and laughter. It is love and appreciation, alive with the richest feelings that the heart can offer.”
… ‘Knowledge of Time and Space’, by Tarthang Tulku, p.293

“Drawing on our own mind and senses and feelings, we can open the heart of space and enter the depth of time. What starts as an idea discloses its availability at the center of all that is. As the magnitude of the positive is amplified, the wholeness of experience steps into the light. Freely and easily, knowledge walks forward to greet us, inviting our participation with a gentle smile.”
…. ‘Dynamics of Tine and Space’ by Tarthang Tulku, p.339

I was concentrating on a thought, ‘a tree of knowledge’, then I looked up and saw the trees… things just opened… I’ve spent a lifetime enriched and protected by trees. I have a deep-rooted and multiform appreciation for them. They surround my favorite place to sit to observe and reflect – the back porch – dotted by five October Glory maple trees, plus assorted evergreens that I planted several decades ago.

They stalk my favorite spot, mirror my interior landscape, they are positioned for viewing, while they shade and shadow, buffering the prevailing winds of weather, and thought. They also anchor me to the present. They are my muse as I sit on the moving edge of the unformulated and engage the writing process, I look up and they form a gateway to the wide-open, from the confined to an expansive horizon… the unbounded from which the useful and appropriate arises, and is then trimmed and refined.

Trees ‘re-mind’ consciousness and expand awareness. Their leaves flutter and flatter the breezes, and color my senses with texture and tone. They are a call to mind that we insufflate the air they refine, and that we share a structuring form to this breathing planet, and universe. Their roots remind me of mine, a child mesmerized at the second-story window, a bedroom facing oak and ash trees that undulate and sway, amplifying the subtle sounds of the air and dreams… exciting my heart with the rich depth of emerald and jade patches. The scent of earth, grass, and moist air swelling awareness of the living moment… ‘inviting a gentle smile.’

And when they eventually drop once green leaves, time-turned to yellow and crimson, I feel the melancholy… the shedding tears of loss of dear one’s… a hollow…

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In the winter of 2011, Jack Petranker taught the second of three, 9-week segments of a 27-week Time, Space, Knowledge (TSK) class – THE STREAM OF THINKING. The course consisted of weekly, 1) on-line conference calls with the students, 2) guidance memos from Jack, 3) designated reading assignments from a TSK book, 4) exercises assigned to amplify significant points and encourage moment-to-moment inquiry as the fundamental method for exploring the TSK vision, and 5) students posting and sharing excerpts from their practice notes for comment by other students. The focus was to approach ‘thinking’ in terms of space. The course readings were taken primarily from the Space section of the book by Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, ‘Dynamics of Time and Space.’

I was asked to edit the course, pulling together the five things mentioned above, (lectures, guidance memos, reading assignments, exercises, and practice notes) into a cohesive whole in essay form. If you FOLLOW THE LINKS… and read Jack’s lectures, you may get the distinct feeling, as I did working with them, many are simply gems, and they just sparkle with insight. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.

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5-Day Full Presence Mindfulness Retreat in the Netherlands

We are excited to announce that Jack Petranker will present the first ever Full Presence Mindfulness retreat at Nyingma Centrum Nederland in Amsterdam. Join us to engage in free and open inquiry in a supportive setting that will allow you to deepen your practice.

This retreat is the 7th International Time, Space, Knowledge (TSK) summer retreat Europe, organised in collaboration with the German Nyingma Zentrum in Koln. We welcome seasoned as well as new students of mindfulness, meditation or TSK to study Full Presence Mindfulness with Jack in Amsterdam this summer! No experience with mindfulness or TSK is required.

Monday August 21, 2017 14.00 hr-
Saturday August 26, 2017 16.00 hrs
Teacher: Jack Petranker
Language: English

Price: € 595 including all (vegetarian) meals
€ 495 Nyingma cursisten (students currently enrolled in Nyingma courses or e-courses)

Location: Nyingma Centrum Nederland
Reguliersgracht 25 Amsterdam,
The Netherlands
+31 20 6205207

Information and registration:
Download the Full Presence Mindfulness Retreat Brochure

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The Womb of Space…

Photo courtesy of: 'Singing Bowl' by madasapsy – Flickr

Photo courtesy of: ‘Singing Bowl’ by madasapsy – Flickr

“The Womb of Space… dwell within the silence, a light clear awareness… a foundational ‘place’… the zero-point… Each point is a singularity, akin to the ‘black holes’ of physical space. It ‘incorporates’ in its appearing the whole of space… The heart can hardly contain such boundless and intense beauty; the spirit can barely accommodate the richness of touching space directly and incisively.”

…… Dynamics of Time and Space, and Sacred Dimensions of Time and Space, Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche

By Ken McKeon

A blur of sound trembles,
Gives way to a bell,
Remains within silence,

The dark rounding,
The flesh ways
Of a cheek, the throat,
Jaw, teeth, lips,

They arise, they fall away,
The bone holds for a while,
The skull,

And the mind?
It can’t be found,
I’ve looked,

I’ve passed away,
Into a blur of sound,
A cello,

It is the heart,
A beating warmth,
The body smiles,

A friend welcomes me back
By ringing a bell,
Beginning the day.

Posted in General TSK Discussions, awareness, expanding, inquiry, opening, poetry, zero(less) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Long View…

Photo courtesy of:  'Sprinkler' by a75 - Flickr

Photo courtesy of: ‘Sprinkler’ by a75 – Flickr

Once you reach a certain point in life, with a drifting mind’s eye, there’s an easy, sweet anamneses flashing to earlier times… to a pool of impressions that flicker through our lives, seeds that swelled over time. In that long view, we fathom what shaped us… a kind of poem of ourselves…

By Ken McKeon

The hour wants to scoot away,
Just like a minute, a second,
Our lives too,

No matter how much of a drag they are,
How weighed down by
Failed lottery tickets,
Bad sleep, regret,
The creaking sounds
Of tumbrels in the streets,
Or music we’d rather not hear,

That’s why I wake,
Why I hear
Nothing but my mind,
Why I listen carefully enough
Until my mind hears me,
And then everything shows up,
The shifting whole starts happening again,

For all I know, it starts up everywhere,
In the nearly gluey flesh slides
Of the wriggling worms,
Of the living upright snails,
Their shells uncracked,
Their stemming horns alive with nuance.
The moist air lives in them,
They are the slowest of gains,
They have no fingers to click,
They are packed up and safe,
But they touch fully all that is,
As they trail on away in glisten feels,
Sliming silvery the dry sidewalks,
Then tumbling off the low ledges
Into the moist dark lawn,

I follow them,
I fall into the roping blades,
The wet green realm,
My heart beats there,
In the rich smells,

And the dull rubbery pale hose
Comes alive at dawn,
There’s this timer,
It really works,
It clicks away almost silently,
Beads running through our moving fingers,

And with the last snap
The sprinkler starts spinning
Right after the whoosh,

And it’s a go, it’s real, it’s the first light,
And rising swarming beading sprays
Lift and fall, then they swing across the world,
They return only to leave again, such endless joy,

And my neighbors are clumsy waking saints,
And they greet each other with chimes,
And I laugh like crystal,
And I wave and reach out
With my hands, my tongue, my words,

And the paper slaps down on the front steps,
And my grumpy sullen sister snores away,

As the Catholics ease out of their varied cars
And into the small church across the way.
I would follow them, but I am Protestant,
Though I have no idea just what that means,

I have no ideas at all,
But I do worship,
And the silence thunders,
And life again pours in,
And our breaths become the miracles of love.

Posted in General TSK Discussions, intimacy, memory, time | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The Emergent Future…

Photo courtesy of:  'Old and New' by Will Shieh - Flickr

Photo courtesy of: ‘Old and New’ by Will Shieh – Flickr

“To look at the emergent future, the one that actually takes place as distinct from future imaginations, we could start with simple sensory experience of the present, focusing at the edge of ‘now‘ just as it ‘moves’ into the future—the border where old gives way to new. In direct experience, new things are happening every moment. A sound, a motion, a sensation appears. Not everything is new, however: There is also a sense of continuity. Something stays the same and something changes, all in a very precise ratio.”
……’Sacred Dimensions of Time and Space,’ Tarthang Tulku, p. 87

I remember years ago working with a practice where we looked into Time… the ‘Now’, and the FUTURE INFINITIVE…

See the practice notes at the link…

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A way of knowing in search of our true identity

Photo courtesy of:  'Float Drawing’ by Dale Chihuly Envision a transparent circle separating self in a constellation of our own making...

Photo courtesy of: ‘Float Drawing’ by Dale Chihuly
Envision a transparent circle separating self in a constellation of our own making…

Hayward M. Fox, Ph.D., has written a new article entitled: “A way of knowing in search of our true identity”. He is a clinical psychologist in full time psychotherapy practice for more than forty years, and a long time student of Time, Space, and Knowledge conveyed by Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche…

(see more at the link…)

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Photo courtesy of: 'Time' by Kristján Unnar Kristjánsson - Flickr

Photo courtesy of: ‘Time’ by Kristján Unnar Kristjánsson – Flickr

What does it mean to ‘MARK TIME’? What is the event of ‘marking’? Or even a ‘mystical’ way of life? Rinpoche takes an inspiring look at this in ‘Keys of Knowledge’. He points to a ‘pointless-point’ saying:

“Even the unknowable, from the perspective of knowing, is a form of knowing. The form itself becomes the maker.” p. 185

Considering this, we might even say the essence of the time, space, knowledge vision is zero. Since open inquiry is at its heart, the urge to know is engendered by the unknown. From there you might even consider the great value of the TSK vision is that as a model, it has certain presuppositions and intentions as boundaries… but that’s not all. Having ‘open inquiry’ at its heart or essence, it has within it the key to rendering those boundaries transparent… a gateway through the conceptual knots that language and dichotomies of thought erect in mind-space. That key is the ‘unknown’ both conceptual and felt… and not yet experienced… the opening of knowing perhaps. And Rinpoche says in ‘Keys of Knowledge’… “The unknown may be more than, ‘what remains to know’.” He’s pointing openly to opportunity, possibilities, potential…

Regarding marking time, Rinpoche says in the course of our journey through time, at some point we graduate… p. 182-6

“[We] see clearly that the unfolding of linear time, and the sense of progress on a path—aspects of reality that seemed so fundamental, so vital—are in fact only ‘marks’, points imposed on the rhythms of time. The marks do not mark out anything solid. There is no bridge that leads to nirvana, no carrier, no vehicle, and no road.

Marks are conditions imposed on every instant. A mark that is noticed becomes a point, but a mark that opens becomes a rhythm. Yet rhythms too can turn toward the solid. They can take their part in a causal sequence, always heading toward the ‘next’, always participating in the structure of before and after, of beginning, middle, and end. Through such structures, we ‘mark out’ and establish lines, which we name as moments in time…

The mark means that something has formed…We look for the cause, or for the process of arising, or the originating force, or for something that lies beyond… It is through this process that the mark manifests… compiled into a focal setting, perhaps through a combination of the sensory faculties.

We can speak of this as the field, the producer of the waves and rhythms and ripples we identify. It looks like action comes from the center of the field, but in the field, the field is centerless. Still, form manifests and creation takes form. With labels comes completion: now we can mark out the appearance has been formed and founded.

Rinpoche reminds us that with language and concepts comes limits. However, when we think about how we mark time, the meaning of zero, the point of zero, and the other side of zero…

[We] find we are engaging a way of life that could be called mystical. This is the field of our reality, the realm of body, mind, and senses, of energy, waves, and gravity, of space and knowledge…

Looking becomes the mark, and the mark marks out a symbolic gesture. Our thoughts are like that, and mind is like that as well. Waves and gravity, energy and the invisible: all interact through the forms of marks.

Posted in General TSK Discussions, knowledge, models, time, zero(less) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Open Knowing…

Photo courtesy of:  ‘Ruby Soft Cylinder with Drawing Shard and Teal Lip Wrap, 2014’ by Dale Chihuly

Photo courtesy of: ‘Ruby Soft Cylinder with Drawing Shard and Teal Lip Wrap, 2014’ by Dale Chihuly

Interesting thought experiment that becomes a ‘knowing‘ experience… How to open an object of the mind… [An object] can be looked at in and of itself. Or it can be seen as a point in a process. Sitting quietly, breathing, inside and outside interpenetrating, we come up against similar wonderings… like where does one thing end and another begin?

…can we bring mind and senses into balance, so that each supports the other? …Can we let knowledge emerge within language and consciousness, without being owned by the speaker and the knower?

…Suppose that the power of time to allow transitions and the power of space to accommodate appearance introduce knowledge to form and substance, and that knowledge in turn, by giving to space and time their form, lets the world emerge. In this way of looking, what becomes of the limits the self puts in place?

The more knowledge becomes an expression of the time and space in operation, the less we are tempted to put the self at the center… From this perspective, nothing that we do will take us outside time and space and knowledge.
…’Sacred Dimensions of Time and Space,’ Tarthang Tulku, p.172-3

You might imagine the photo above depicting a ‘bottomless‘, soft cylinder, fire-blown glass originating from open space like zero. In doing so the cylinder becomes a ‘cone’… imagine the cone as an outward radiating, circular pattern for the making of meaning in mental space, a subject prehends, and a spinning process is set moving in time… a radiating outward of subject referring to object, picking up additional meanings from memory, fantasy, judgments, intentions, feelings… and relating all back to subject… again and again, as a process building a useful widening, a kind of definitive whole that coheres emerging in mental space.

In imagining this, would you recognize the movement of time in space of the knowing process?

Posted in General TSK Discussions, arising, imagination, inquiry, language, mindfulness, opening, space, time | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Perfect Ease…

Photo courtesy of: 'maple leaf' by Samuel Grado - Flickr

Photo courtesy of: ‘maple leaf’ by Samuel Grado – Flickr

Rinpoche reveals something important about the ‘ease‘ that lets ‘knowing expand beyond its perimeters’ in ‘Keys of Knowledge’…

Perfect ease is not an ordinary part of our mindset; it may take some practice. Until we fully understand ourselves. We may have a feeling we are not enough—not strong enough, not good enough, not whole within ourselves. This can lead us to turn outside ourselves for ways to manage this feeling of being inadequate or incomplete. We may look for leisure time, companionship, possessions or accomplishments in order to support ourselves.

As long as we sense a lack, we will need to respond to this need within ourselves with kindness, and deliberately cultivate our confidence and self-esteem. This is work we can do right now, without needing to wait for deep insight into ourselves: all it requires is a shift in emphasis from getting things to cultivating the beauty of our juncture, our unique moment in time.

If we know how to take care of ourselves, then there is a chance we can open to others. Then caring could carry on, spread widely into the world, so that others, too, could make themselves at ease.” p.142-3

In cultivating our unique moment in time… it’s possible for the clarity of morning light to hit like a thunderbolt… color and form striking the heart sudden and direct. What was a narrow focus on experience instantaneously opens to the bursting, brimming, suffused, expanse… the heart of time and space… fully known…

By Ken McKeon

The maple we call Birthday,
Light and dripping,
Slivered with raindrops,
Later morning mist sheathed,
Its burgundy, the felt

Coloring we know,
The many stranded leaf play,
The parted fingerings,
Why they’re branch bound somewhere,

It’s quite hard to see exactly,
One would have to ease, to fall
Into the leaf walled,
The air born,
Spacious caverned
Shadowed open blooms
Of open morning light itself,

Why there in the clear moist particles,
The stilled brush of living light bequeaths
Ease to the eye, the heart,
And one knows
The sky’s loom,
The breath and being held here,
Roofed, ceilinged, cupped within

A halved wooden cask,
This deeply lilting tree,
The cello played as silence,

Now heard on the deck,
Late morning, mid April,
The stately gifting presence
Of this Springtime day.

Posted in General TSK Discussions, being, expanding, opening, poetry, presence | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment