Uji - Existence Time | Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation

Uji - Existence Time

An eternal buddha[^1] says,

Sometimes[^2] standing on top of the highest peak,
Sometimes moving along the bottom of the deepest ocean.
Sometimes three heads and eight arms,[^3]
Sometimes the sixteen-foot or eight-foot (golden body).[^4]
Sometimes a staff or a whisk,[^5]
Sometimes an outdoor pillar or a stone lantern.[^6]
Sometimes the third son of Chang or the fourth son of Li,
Sometimes the earth and space.

(30) In this word “sometimes,” time is already just existence, and all existence is time. The sixteen-foot golden body is time itself. Because it is time, it has the resplendent brightness of time. We should learn it as the twelve hours[^7] of today. The three heads and eight arms are time itself. Because they are time, they are completely the same as the twelve hours of today. We can never measure how long and distant or how short and pressing twelve hours is; at the same time, we call it “twelve hours.”[^8] The leaving and coming of the directions and traces (of time) are clear, and so people do not doubt it. They do not doubt it, but that does not mean they know it. The doubts which living beings, by our nature, have about every thing and every fact that we do not know, are not consistent; therefore our past history of doubt does not always exactly match our doubt now. We can say for the present, however, that doubt is nothing other than time. We put our self in order, and see (the resulting state) as the whole universe. Each individual and each object in this whole universe should be glimpsed as individual moments of time.[^9] Object does not hinder object in the same way that moment of time does not hinder moment of time. For this reason, there are minds which are made up in the same moment of time, and there are moments of time in which the same mind is made up.

Practice, and realization of the truth, are also like this.[^10] Putting the self in order, we see what it is. The truth that self is time is like this. We should learn in practice that, because of this truth, the whole earth includes myriad phenomena and hundreds of things, and each phenomenon and each thing exists in the whole earth. Such toing-and-froing is a first step (on the way) of practice. When we arrive in the field of the ineffable,[^11] there is just one (concrete) thing and one (concrete) phenomenon, here and now, (beyond) understanding of phenomena and non-understanding of phenomena, and (beyond) understanding of things and non-understanding of things. Because (real existence) is only this exact moment, all moments of existence-time are the whole of time, and all existent things and all existent phenomena are time. The whole of existence, the whole universe, exists in individual moments of time.[^12]

Let us pause to reflect whether or not any of the whole of existence or any of the whole universe has leaked away from the present moment of time. Yet in the time of the common person who does not learn the Buddha-Dharma there are views and opinions: when he hears the words “existence-time” he thinks, “Sometimes I became (an angry demon with) three heads and eight arms, and sometimes I became the sixteen-foot or eight-foot (golden body of Buddha). For example, it was like crossing a river or crossing a mountain. The mountain and the river may still exist, but now that I have crossed them and am living in a jeweled palace with crimson towers, the mountain and the river are (as distant) from me as heaven is from the earth.” But true reasoning is not limited to this one line (of thought). That is to say, when I was climbing a mountain or crossing a river, I was there in that time. There must have been time in me. And I actually exist now, (so) time could not have departed. If time does not have the form of leaving and coming, the time of climbing a mountain is the present as existence-time.[^13] If time does retain the form of leaving and coming, I have this present moment of existence-time, which is just existence-time itself.[^14] How could that time of climbing the mountain and crossing the river fail to swallow, and fail to vomit, this time (now) in the jeweled palace with crimson towers?[^15] The three heads and eight arms were time yesterday; the sixteen-foot or eight-foot (golden body) is time today. Even so, this Buddhist principle of yesterday and today is just about moments in which we go directly into the mountains and look out across a thousand or ten thousand peaks; it is not about what has passed. The three heads and eight arms pass instantly as my existence-time; though they seem to be in the distance, they are (moments of) the present. The sixteen-foot or eight-foot (golden body) also passes instantly as my existence-time; though it seems to be yonder, it is (moments of) the present. This being so, pine trees are time, and bamboos are time. We should not understand only that time flies. We should not learn that “flying” is the only ability of time. If we just left time to fly away, some gaps in it might appear. Those who fail to experience and to hear the truth of existence-time do so because they understand (time) only as having passed. To grasp the pivot and express it: all that exists throughout the whole universe is lined up in a series and at the same time is individual moments of time.[^16] Because (time) is existence-time, it is my existence-time.[^17] Existencetime has the virtue of passing in a series of moments.[^18] That is to say, from today it passes through a series of moments to tomorrow; from today it passes through a series of moments to yesterday; from yesterday it passes through a series of moments to today; from today it passes through a series of moments to today; and from tomorrow it passes through a series of moments to tomorrow. Because passage through separate moments is a virtue of time, moments of the past and present are neither piled up one on top of another nor lined up in a row; and, for the same reason, Seigen[^19] is time, Ōbaku[^20] is time, and Kōzei[^21] and Sekitō[^22] are time.[^23] Because subject-and-object already is time, practice-and-experience is moments of time. Going into the mud and going into the water,[^24] similarly, are time.

The view of the common person today, and the causes and conditions of (that) view, are what the common person experiences but are not the common person’s reality.[^25] It is just that reality, for the present, has made a common person into its causes and conditions. Because he understands this time and this existence to be other than reality itself, he deems that “the sixteen-foot golden body is beyond me.” Attempts to evade (the issue) by (thinking) “I am never the sixteen-foot golden body” are also flashes of existence-time; they are glimpses of it by a person who has yet to realize it in experience and to rely upon it. The (existence-time) that also causes the horse and the sheep[^26] to be as they are arranged in the world today, is a rising and falling which is something ineffable abiding in its place in the Dharma. The rat is time, and the tiger is time; living beings are time, and buddhas are time. This time experiences the whole universe using three heads and eight arms, and experiences the whole universe using the sixteen-foot golden body. To universally realize the whole universe by using the whole universe is called “to perfectly realize.”[^27] Enactment of the sixteen-foot golden body[^28] by using the sixteen-foot golden body is realized as the establishment of the mind, as training, as the state of bodhi, and as nirvana; that is, as existence itself, and as time itself. It is nothing other than the perfect realization of the whole of time as the whole of existence; there is nothing surplus at all. Because something surplus is just something surplus, even a moment of half-perfectly-realized existence-time is the perfect realization of half-existence-time.[^29] Even those phases in which we seem to be blundering heedlessly are also existence. If we leave it utterly up to existence,[^30] even though (the moments) before and after manifest heedless blundering, they abide in their place as existence-time. Abiding in our place in the Dharma in the state of vigorous activity is just existence-time. We should not disturb it (by interpreting it) as “being without,”[^31] and we should not enforceably call it “existence.” In regard to time, we strive to comprehend only how relentlessly it is passing; we do not understand it intellectually as what is yet to come. Even though intellectual understanding is time, no circumstances are ever influenced by it. (Human) skin bags recognize (time) as leaving and coming; none has penetrated it as existence-time abiding in its place: how much less could any experience time having passed through the gate?[^32] Even (among those who) are conscious of abiding in their place, who can express the state of having already attained the ineffable? Even (among those who) have been asserting for a long time that they are like this, there is none who is not still groping for the manifestation before them of the real features. If we leave (even bodhi and nirvana) as they are in the existencetime of the common person, even bodhi and nirvana are—(though) merely a form which leaves and comes—existence-time.[^33]

(38) In short, without any cessation of restrictions and hindrances,[^34] existence-time is realized. Celestial kings and celestial throngs, now appearing to the right and appearing to the left, are the existence-time in which we are now exerting ourselves. Elsewhere, beings of existence-time of land and sea are (also) realized through our own exertion now. The many kinds of being and the many individual beings which (live) as existence-time in darkness and in brightness, are all the realization of our own effort, and the momentary continuance of our effort. We should learn in practice that without the momentary continuance of our own effort in the present, not a single dharma nor a single thing could ever be realized or could ever continue from one moment to the next.[^35] We should never learn that passage from one moment to the next is like the movement east and west of the wind and rain. The whole universe is neither beyond moving and changing nor beyond progressing and regressing; it is passage from one moment to the next. An example of the momentary passing of time is spring. Spring has innumerable different aspects, which we call “a passage of time.”[^36] We should learn in practice that the momentary passing of time continues without there being any external thing. The momentary passing of spring, for example, inevitably passes, moment by moment, through spring itself.[^37] It is not that “the momentary passing of time” is spring; rather, because spring is the momentary passing of time, passing time has already realized the truth in the here and now of springtime.[^38] We should study (this) in detail, returning to it and leaving it again and again. If we think, in discussing the momentary passing of time, that circumstances are (only) individual things on the outside, while something which can pass from moment to moment moves east through hundreds of thousands of worlds and through hundreds of thousands of kalpas, then we are not devoting ourselves solely to Buddhist learning in practice.[^39]