2017 papers

Name: Kirill Ole Thompson

Daoism, Zen, Time Awareness, and the Reality of Time




Daoism, Zen, Time Awareness, and the Reality of Time




Daoist and Zen thought and practice aim in part to reorient human experience, including time awareness. According to Kant, time is a form, not a content, of experience. Time frames the stream of consciousness, which mind syncs with the stream of events.  For Kant, object recognition is basic experience-- which involves linear time.

For the Laozi, objects are not ultimate but originate in Non-being and are co-dependent.  “Dao” signifies formless origins, thus dao awareness involves a “step back” from ordinary experience. Meditatively seeing things as co-dependent results ultimately in the dissolution of the ego-self-- and linear time.  Neurologically, the brain’s inner metronome turns off and time ceases. Similarly, Zen kensho and satori awaken one to the emptiness of objects and self, and to oneness in Shunyata. One experiences achronia, time’s absence. This is associated with the allocentric orientation, such that one sees objects and situations purely as they are, not via wants or needs.  Such meditative seeing and intuitiveness heighten one’s ethical responsiveness and creativity. 

Reflecting on Zhuangzi’s misadventure in a forest park (ch. 20), can one preserve the fruits of kensho, satori, and the allocentric orientation --including achronia in luminous presence, connectedness, and oneness?