It’s easy to regard time as a commodity—we even speak of “saving” or “spending” it. We often regard it as an enemy, when we feel it slipping away before we’re ready for time to be up. The Zen view of time is radically different than that: time is not something separate from our life; rather, our life is time. Understand this, says Dainin Katagiri Roshi, and you can live fully and freely right where you are in each moment.
Katagiri bases his teaching on Being Time, a text by the most famous of all Zen masters, Eihei Dogen (1200–1253), to show that time is a creative, dynamic process that continuously produces the universe and everything in it—and that to understand this is to discover a gateway to freedom from the dissatisfactions of everyday life. He guides us in contemplating impermanence, the present moment, and the ungraspable nature of past and future. He discusses time as part of our inner being, made manifest through constant change in ourselves and our surroundings. And these ideas are by no means metaphysical abstractions: they can be directly perceived by any of us through meditation.
“Katagiri conveys a zest for Zen understanding that differs from the calm inscrutability of other Zen Buddhists.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“In this book, Katagiri Roshi presents Dogen Zenji’s teachings on ‘being-time’ and teaches how the blossom of our life force can flourish amidst the flow of change. I recommend this book to all Zen practitioners and to anyone who wishes to enrich and ripen their life.”—Shohaku Okumura Roshi, Director, Soto Zen Buddhism International Center
“These are brilliant and lucid reflections on the immense significance of the present moment. These liberating teachings by Katagiri Roshi are unique and precious in their ability to help us learn to use time skillfully—and not to be used by it. A major contribution for all schools of meditation.”—Larry Rosenberg, author of Breath by Breath and Living in the Light of Death
“This book is a spring of nectar for new and seasoned practitioners alike.”—Tulku Thondup, author of Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth