TURNING THE CLOCK BACK
Tonight is the annual turning the clock back, one of the oddest, least explicable rituals of our modern lives. All the usual explanations about factories in the war, farmers at harvest or whatever, do not provide much sense as to why we continue to do this. Perhaps its value is to remind us of the plasticity of time. Like a magician’s sleight of hand, in the stroke of a legislative or imaginative pen, we can declare that, an hour of our precious lives has been removed, held somewhere for six months and then magically inserted back to the flow of Time.
Even after some six thousand years we are still generating new theories of what time is, and I won’t pretend I can explain any of them in any convincing way! This past year we have been exploring the great parables of the Lotus Sutra, our most important religious text. Many who read it will be baffled by the unfamiliar concept of time it assumes. In the Lotus, time is inconceivably long, it uses terminology unknown in the West to try to suggest the length. The point of this is not to propose a measuring stick but to assert its non-measurability, and in some ways to suggest the obsession with such measure is a waste of...time. Along with an eerily modern concept of the flexibility of time and space, the Lotus presents time as non-linear, dynamic and unpredictable. It also presents time as purposeful, that is, it views time as the canvas on which the Buddhas unfold eternal Dharma, making time less of a mechanical framework and more of an instrument of awakening.
Yours in the Dharma,
om namo amida butsu