I have read and heard time and again in recent years about a deeper reality that lies “beyond space and time,” often with some tie to modern physics to support this assertion. A Google search brings up many relevant examples. There is of course a similar tendency independent of the Buddhist tradition, with many Christian and scientific thinkers also trying to ascertain truths or hidden realities that are “beyond space and time,” that is, truly permanent, changeless. This tendency seems to me to be a resurgence of the type of grasping that Buddha warned about in the second Noble Truth; in particular, the third type of craving, for “non-becoming.” That is, by trying to identify, or by placing one’s identity with, a supposed reality beyond space and time we perpetuate the grasping for permanence that Buddha pointed out was harmful for an accurate understanding of reality and for our well-being.300×250 ad “Non-becoming” is permanence and the quest for permanence is a common form of grasping. But if we take not only Buddhism, but also modern science seriously, we see that all things are impermanent. This means that there is nothing beyond space and time. Some kind of existence beyond what we know of as space — our traditional three dimensions — is entirely conceivable, sure. But if all things are impermanent there is nothing beyond time. To be impermanent means to be in time, to change, to be in constant flux. The teaching of impermanence (anitya) was one of the three dharma seals that Buddha taught. Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Zen teacher, writes of this teaching in his The Heart of the Buddha’s Teachings: “The Buddha taught that everything is impermanent — flowers, tables, mountains, political regimes, bodies, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness. We cannot find anything that is permanent.” If nothing is permanent, nothing is beyond time. All is flux. This key insight has many parallels in the West…..Aayaat.

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