Photo: ‘Edgeless Presence of Our Lives’ by Thomas Hendele – Pixabay


The other day in Time, Space, Knowledge class we were exploring our many varied experiences of SPACE… WONDERING PERHAPS HOW WE MIGHT ENCOUNTER GREAT SPACE, which Rinpoche points toward as:

“… Space, which is primordially peaceful, open. In its openness, it is an open-ended accommodating of various views, all welling up, floating, gathering within Space. Although undisturbed, it is filled with appearance. Space is therefore not static, but is instead a serene explosion of expanding creativity, filling all the eons of pasts and futures, without exhausting its openness or its capacity for exhibiting a further wealth of presences.” (p. xl, TSK)

“Seen in this way, all existence and experience is like an apparition, a surface with no substantial core, no dimensions to it, no wider and founding environment.” (p. 199, TSK)

So, we were working with TSK exercise 13, THOUGHTS AS SPACE… in which we are invited to RELAX OUR USUAL ORIENTATION AS A SELF (subject) that has or perceives thoughts and other mental events (objects). Shift this orientation, and allow thoughts and other mental events to simply be present. LOOSEN THE SENSE OF ME HERE “going out” to thoughts, and ALLOW THOUGHTS TO COME to me or my mind.

We were reminded, “Our senses operate in mental spaces in ways that are similar to their operation in physical space. Notice seeing, hearing, tactile dimensions in your thoughts, and not just the mental content. As we have done in the other exercises, relax your mental eyes or ears, allowing the mental sensory dimensions to come to them rather than assertively looking at or hearing the thoughts. Stay sensitive to colors, sounds, textures in their ‘sighting-ness’ or ‘hearing-ness’ or ‘touching-ness’, as you do the exercise. Let those qualities also present.”

It gradually became clear to me any ideas I had about Great Space were ‘things’, objects I conjured or constructed out of other object-thoughts and ideas… and that the Great Space Rinpoche was pointing toward was not bounded or constructed by a controlling and consolidating ‘self’. Once I began eliminating all the sensed ‘thought-things’ ABOUT Great Space, I began to feel more open, less bounded. I realized I was, in a way, backing into, or closer to, the open and allowing-ness that Rinpoche alluded to. Momentary glimpses of that “serene explosion of expanding creativity”. I think Ken’s poem points to that momentary glimpse, that taste of Great Space…

by Ken McKeon

It’s No Horology At All Day today,
It is so everywhere,
An unmoving spaciousness,
No interactive molecular activity,
No electron spin,
No quirky quarks,
It’s sort of like a vastly blue midnight sea,
But take out the blue, the mid, the sea,
One is left with vast night alone,
Night depends on day,
And there is no day,
Take out the night,
We’re down to vastness incomparable,
We’re down to ness,

What a fix we’re in,
I was
So looking forward to hearing the morning come to life,
Barking dogs, sirens, birds,
Silent cats padding through the garden,
A distant train, plane, even a cloud
Quietly returning to the spacious sky it is,

I think I’ll be a spreading touch
Of cooling coffee on my tongue,
And so it is,
Right now in my hand, the cup,
The lifting arm, parting lips,
The first rich sip,
And it’s 9:55 AM,
We have just nailed the morning down again
To the vastly edgeless
Nowhere ingrained presence of our lives,
Let’s all have ourselves a day…

About David Filippone

For more than 25 years I’ve been a 'student' of the Time, Space, Knowledge vision (TSK), not a teacher. And I write from an inquiring student's perspective neither proclaiming nor declaring. I figuratively sit in awe at the feet of a master, Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche. For the past 12 years, my personal TSK guide has been Jack Petranker, Director of the Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages, and the Center for Creative Inquiry (CCI), past dean of the "Tibetan Nyingma Institute", and author of "When It Rains Does Space Get Wet?", "Inside Knowledge", and other TSK related books and articles... I've also received TSK instruction from the late, Carolyn Pasternak of the Odiyan Retreat Center... As a volunteer for the past several years, I've been curating the often TSK focused, CCI Facebook page at...
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