Does Time Move? Dogen and the Art of Understanding the Moment

  • Dwight Holbrook
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 74)


In the Western world, at least since the Renaissance, the prevailing view about time has been that it not only moves but moves forward, linearly, in one direction from a hypothesized beginning, such as the Big Bang, to an undetermined end, possibly apocalyptic. And while it is true that the changes we observe in the world, including our own aging, seem to be happening in one direction (nobody is getting younger), it is also true that our tendency to interpret events as progression or as a linear process may not always be caused by the phenomena we are observing but rather by a perceptual bias ingrained in our own directional habit of reading, writing, and analytical thinking.1


Present Moment Perceptual Bias Ontological Base Genuine Feature Stephen Hawking 
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  1. 1.
    Edmund Carpenter and Marshall McLuhan, eds., Explorations in Communication (Boston: Beacon Press, 1960), pp. 162, 166-7. The scientific, linear view of time is summed up by Stephen Hawking: “There are at least three different arrows of time. First, there is the thermodynamic arrow of time, the direction of time in which disorder and entropy increases. Then, there is the psychological arrow of time. This is the direction in which we feel time passes, the direction in which we remember the past but not the future. Finally, there is the cosmological arrow of time. This is the direction of time in which the universe is expanding rather than contracting.” Stephen W. Hawking, A Brief History of Time (Toronto: Bantam Books, 1988), p. 145.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Brian Leftow, Time and Eternity (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1991), p. 18. Also, Clifford Williams, “The Metaphysics of A-and B-Time,” The Philosophical Quarterly 46 (Jan, 1996), pp. 371-381.Google Scholar
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    Leftow, p. 18.Google Scholar
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  6. 6.
    L. Nathan Oaklander and Quentin Smith, eds., The New Theory of Time (New Haven: Yale University Press, c. 1994), pp. 19, 158; see also Leftow, above.Google Scholar
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    Kazuaki Tanahashi, ed., Enlightenment Unfolds, the Essential Teachings of Zen Master Dogen (Boston: Shambhala, 1999), p. 71.Google Scholar
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    J.R. Lucas, A Treatise on Time and Space (London: Methuen, 1973), p. 280 (quoted in Robin Le Poidevin, “Time, Tense and Topology,” The Philosophical Quarterly 46 (no. 185), [Oct. 1996], p. 473).Google Scholar
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    Tanahashi, p. 72.Google Scholar
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    Tanahashi, p. 71.Google Scholar
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    Steven Heine, Existential and Ontological Dimensions of Time in Heidegger and Dogen, SUNY Series in Buddhist Studies, K. Inada, ed. (Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press, c. 1985), p. 128.Google Scholar
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    Heine, p. 90.Google Scholar
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    Leftow, p. 18.Google Scholar
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    Williams, p. 380.Google Scholar
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    For an interesting discussion of “collective representation,” see Owen Barfield, Saving the Appearances (London: Faber & Faber, 1957), p. 16 et al.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    For Suzuki’s interpretation of this poem (which he transcribes with the “s” on the verb), see Carpenter, pp. 36-39.Google Scholar
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    Tanahashi, p. 70.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dwight Holbrook
    • 1
  1. 1.The School of EnglishAdam Mickiewicz UniversityPoznanPoland

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