Cover of book A Tale for the Time Being

A Tale for the Time Being

by: Ruth Ozeki

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13 Highlights | 6 Notes
  • An ancient buddha once said:
    For the time being, standing on the tallest mountaintop,
    For the time being, moving on the deepest ocean floor,
    For the time being, a demon with three heads and eight arms,
    For the time being, the golden sixteen-foot body of a buddha,
    For the time being, a monk's staff or a master's fly-swatter,
    For the time being, a pillar or a lantern,
    For the time being, any Dick or Jane,
    For the time being, the entire earth and the boundless sky.
    —Dogen Zenji, “For the time being”

    Note: author of shoboenzo
  • I think it's important to have clearly defined goals in life, don't you? Especially if you don't have a lot of life left. Because if you don't have clear goals, you might run out of time, and when the day comes, you'll find yourself standing on the parapet of a tall building, or sitting on your bed with a bottle of pills in your hand, thinking, Shit! I blew it. If only I'd set clearer goals for myself!

  • Print is predictable and impersonal, conveying information in a mechanical transaction with the reader's eye.
    Handwriting, by contrast, resists the eye, reveals its meaning slowly and is as intimate as skin.

    Note: why goals
  • handwriting vs print from the reader's point of view

  • “Once the writer in every individual comes to life (and that time is not far off), we are in for an age of universal deafness and lack of understanding.”
    —Milan Kundera, Book of laughter and forgetting, 1980

  • Home-leaving is the Buddhist euphimism for leaving the secular world and entering the monastic path.

  • Time interacts with attention in funny ways.
    At one extreme, when Ruth was gripped by the compulsive mania and hyperfocus of an Internet search, the hours seemed to aggregate and swell like a wave, swallowing huge chunks of her day.
    At the other extreme, when her attention was disengaged and fractured, she experienced time at its most granular, wherein moments hung around like particles, diffused and suspended in standing water.

  • As I bathe myselfI pray with all beings
    that we can purify body and mind
    and clean ourselves inside and out.

    Note: a prayer during bath
  • … she agreed it wasn't such a good idea, but that it was okay just to feel grateful sometimes, even if you don't say anything. Feeling is the important part. You don't have to make a big deal about it.

    Note: on greatfulness
  • Zazen is better than a home. Zazen is a home that you can't ever lose, and I keep doing it because I like that feeling, and I trust old Jiko, and it wouldn't hurt for me to try to see the world a little more optimistically like she does.

    Jiko also says that to do zazen is to enter time completely.

    I really like that.

    Here is what old Zen Master Dogen has to say about it:
    Think not-thinking.
    How do you think not-thinking?
    Nonthinking. This is the essential art of zazen.

    I guess it doesn't make a whole lot of sense unless you just sit down and do it. I'm not saying you have to. I'm just telling you what I think.

    Note: zazen meditation
  • Jiko looked out across the ocean to where the water met the sky. “A wave is born from deep conditions of the ocean,” she said. “A person is born from deep conditions of the world. A person pokes up from the world and rolls along like a wave, until it is time to sink down again. Up, down. Person, wave.”

  • I find myself drawn to literature more now than in the past; not the individual works as much as the idea of literature &ndahs; the heroic effort and nobility of our human desire to make beauty of our minds – which moves me to tears, and I have to brush them away,…

    Note: meaning of literature
  • Do not think that time simply flies away. Do not understand “flying” as the only function of time. If time simply flew away, a separation would exist between you and time. So if you understand time as only passing, then you do not understand the time being.

    To grasp this truly, every being that exists in the entire world is linked together as moments in time, and at the same time they exist as individual moments of time.

    Because all moments ars the time being, they are your time being.
    —Dogen Zenji, Uji