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“N” is for New Year! Happy 2015….Yes?


“N” is for New Year! Happy 2015!…..Yes?

2015 is rolling in….. Very soon; in just a few hours for those of us in the United States. This morning’s new shows had scenes of people celebrating the count-downs to 2015 in places such as Australia,  Hong Kong, and Taiwan. THEY are already IN 2015!

TIME…..It’s a construct. We forget this. On a day-to-day basis, most of us take it to be “the truth.” We forget that it’s our agreement on what  a specific marker is; in this case: for what we agree is the passing of a “moment” or “time!”

This became clear to me while I was practicing at Tassajara…

During Practice Periods (PP) there is a sesshin (retreat) every month. One March, in the middle of a 7-day sesshin, it was announced that daylight saving was that night but that we would NOT change our clocks so that the sesshin schedule wouldn’t be effected — mostly so that we wouldn’t lose an hour of sleep; especially important when you were already getting up at 3:50 in the morning!

At which point, I remember my mind coming up with, “WHAT??? Don’t we have to change our clocks?? How can we NOT??? What about the rest of the world?? How can we be ‘out of sink’ from them???”

And then I realized/remembered that “What time  it is” is an agreement which a group of people make together. At Tassajara during a PP — and especially so during a sesshin —- we are isolated from “the rest of the world” so why not?? It’s merely a set of parameters which we all agree to!

Btw, this lead to the realization of another mis-thought— Because it’s really just the U.S. and not “the rest of the world” which has daylight savings!*

As a new year rolls in, it’s often a time when many of us reflect on events of the current year — which is really 364 days which have gone by already; …. so really about the past! —- and realize, once again, the teaching around holding on to fixed ideas/strong beliefs/delusion…. And, about how when we take concepts to be “truths” and then we forget that they are just that — concepts — the possibilities for us to experience suffering is more likely!

So…”Yes, I agree to this concept of ‘a year’ and of ‘2015’”…. And, with it, to wish a Happy 2015** to you, yours, and all beings!! May it be filled with realizations, and, therefore, ease!!

Warmly, Liên

* Oh, and neither Arizona nor Hawaii observe DST! …For another twist, check out the Navajo Nation’s take/agreement on Arizona’s on observance of DST: http://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2012-11-12/daylight-saving-donut-arizona-ken-jennings-maphead

** “2015,” of course, is based on the Gregorian/Christian calendar.
  — Being Vietnamese American, I also agree to the concept of “Lunar New Year.” From which, we are still in the midst of year #4713; changing on Feb. 19, 2015, the year of Sheep/Ram.
— By the Buddhist calendar, we are in year #2558. This is calculated from the Budda’s Parinirvana in 543BCE. Interesting explanation at https://www.facebook.com/BuddhAmbedkarWe/posts/467070390030531

Also, click on the “Upcoming Events” tab for a list of 2015 practice opportunities!