Katagiri Roshi

‘The past has already gone, so it does not exist. The future has not yet come, so it also does not exist. So the past and the future are nothing, no-time. Then is the present all that exists? No, even though there is a present moment, strictly speaking the present is nothing., because in a moment it is gone. So the present is also nothing, zero, no-time, no-present, no form of the present. But that nothingness is very important.
Nothingness means total functioning, just functioning energy. When the present is no-time, it is interconnected with all sentient beings in the peace and harmony of timelessness. But when nothingness functions, there is a pivot, and it becomes the present. At that precise point – the intersection of time and space, which is called right now, right here – all sentient beings come together into the moment and a vast world comes up: past, present, future, earth, trees, planets, moons and suns. In one moment, every possible aspect of human life, everything we can be, spreads out, unfolds, and a huge world comes up That is called interdependent co-origination. Life is always at the pivot of nothingness; it is always right now, right here. Right now, right here is the eternal moment of the real present.’ (Each Moment is the Universe)

In this book, Katagiri takes Dogen’s understanding of time and puts his own spin on it. I re-read this over the summer, having struggled to get anything out of it a few years ago, and I think I follow what he is saying. I do know, however, that it is pure understanding of how things are.

3 thoughts on “Katagiri Roshi

  1. Katagiri’s beautiful expression is a wonderful counterpoint to Dogen’s Uji – Time Being.

    Our “ordinary mind” is walloped by this true expression of time – and it is an important wallop.
    As Dogen says:
    “Because the signs of time’s coming and going are obvious, people do not doubt it. Although they do not doubt it, they do not understand it. Or when sentient beings doubt what they do not understand, their doubt is not firmly fixed. Because of that, their past doubts do not necessarily coincide with the present doubt. Yet doubt itself is nothing but time.”

    The “wallop” is important because it suggests that we investigate this doubt. Dogen tells us many times that we should investigate this.

    Completely present in now, the past and the future can only come from now. And this now is the pivot to which Katagiri refers.

    These are important clues to help us fully open our hearts.
    I highly recommend Dogen’s Moon In A Dewdrop – The Time-Being

    Thanks and gassho to Shundo for this sharing.


  2. Thank you for your comment; I entirely agree. I love the phrase ‘an important wallop’ – we should always be paying attention to those, and indeed, Dogen is always telling us to investigate closely.
    I would have posted some of Time-Being, in response to Shalamah’s comment, but I thought I would start with this. Stay tuned.


  3. A very big Wallop! A very big topic! Much to learn for Time has caught me! Psr520 and Shundo hi! Thanks for All your comments on Time-Being. As I was leaving for SFZC, very early today, to do my first Sit➖I grabbed ‘Each Moment Is The Universe’ to keep me company on Bart. Katagiri, also has helped me to understand a bit clearer Time-Being, naked truth of time, blinking, tapping my shell, how my true self emerges, settling self upon self, other aspects of change and why we need to sit.
    Thanks for helping me to understand deeper Time-Being. My ‘way-seeking-mind’ kinda flipped and I could not understand why I was having a ‘time of it’. So, I decided to drop the mind questions on Time; sit and walk with Time vs creating more ornaments. I’d love to dive deeper into Time-Being, the flow of change and appreciate all your help. I look forward to and read your post each day.


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