This week marks our biannual ritual of pretending we can manipulate time through adding or subtracting an hour on specific magic days. Our world is criss-crossed with images of time - think of all the ways we refer to time. (See the link to a few below). Phrasings of time are part of the way we construct our world, its is one of our key building blocks of identity.
Christians distinguish between time as chronos and as kairos. Chronos is simple “clock-time”. Kairos refers to the right time or the fulfilled time. Within that faith, history is a straight line of time with an end and fulfillment. Kairos is the moment when purpose begins to be fulfilled. In Asian cosmology, time is seen as a field or cycle, with no perceivable start or conclusion. The figure of Kali, the Goddess of Time comes from Hindu tradition and has been borrowed for the Buddhist vision of the Wheel of Existence.
This Wheel or bhava-chakra establishes our lives as an unending cycle of grasping, compression and dissatisfaction. Although it is a flow, driven by the principle of karma, it is not a condemnation. What we are taught is that the Dharma and our practice of it is the assured way to escape from that cycle.
(Some time phrases: http://www.ecenglish.com/learnenglish/lessons/time-idioms )
Yours in the Dharma,
om namo amida butsu
Read this week’s Ask the Religion Experts column here