Transcending Essence
and Abandoning Being

A Diary by Jim Wilson


Over the years when I have had a particular interest in a philosophical problem, issue, or discussion, I have often used a particular method to investigate the field. This method consists of keeping a diary devoted to that particular subject. In the diary I note my own observations, the observations of others with my comments, and anything else which might seem relevant to the consideration. Free from the constraints of form that publishing an essay imposes, I allow myself to roam down thought roads, webs of meaning, that I might not otherwise follow out. This process also allows me to go at my own pace and to pursue ideas, hints, allusions, that other situations might not allow the time and space for such investigation. The following collection of observations comes from such a diary. Beginning some time in 1990 or 1991, I began to keep a diary that had the purpose of investigating what it would mean to operate from a non-being based ontology, a philosophical view that does not contain the understandings of being, essence, or substance. My investigations in this field had as their immediate stimulus two essays by Dogen; his essay titled Being-Time and also Dogen’s essay, Buddha Nature, my personal favorite. Also acting as an important influence, the philosophy of Bergson weaves its way throughout these observations. Finally, I had also just begun to write a commentary on the fragments of Heraclitus, whose thought weaves in and out of these observations. This collection also grew out of many meditative experiences which convinced me that as long as there exists a trace of being or essence in a practitioner’s consciousness, understanding and realization remain incomplete. For all of these reasons, this collection takes primal process as its starting point.

After finishing with this diary I put it aside and then later culled from the entries those observations that I thought captured some of the main insights gleaned from this investigation. I then released the observations to the meditation groups I then currently led. Much to my disappointment, the observations met with complete, and near total, bafflement. What seemed meaningful to me seemed obscure to others. What seemed clear to me seemed opaque to others. This produced in me a great sense of frustration and I simply put the work aside and let it drop.

After a number of years had passed, I picked up this short work again, just to re-read it. With the passage of years I could now comprehend why people found it so baffling. The links do not appear, just the isolated conclusions. My diary entries served for me as reminders of a long chain of investigation, bringing back to my mind a long investigation or series of investigations. The reader of just these isolated entries could not follow the whole process which led up to the entries. For this reason I have decided to add an autocommentary to the entries in the hope of clarifying the meaning I intend. Also, about 10 years have passed since I wrote the diary, and I have changed some of the ways I would express the central insight of primal process. This will give me an opportunity to elaborate on how this central insight has deepened.

Transcending Essence and Abandoning Being;
or, Impermanence Means Buddha Nature


The title shows clearly the strong influence and presence of Dogen while I wrote this diary investigation into the nature of ultimacy and change. The line “impermanence means buddha nature” comes from Dogen’s essay “Buddha Nature” in his collection the Shobogenzo, probably my favorite essay of Dogen. This pointed out clearly to me the possibility of integrating process and ultimacy. But in order to completely accomplish that integration, one must transcend essence and abandon being; hence the full title.


Impermanence means the awakened condition.


When the Awakened One lay dying he spoke his last words to his disciples. He said, “Remember the impermanence of all things and work out your salvation with diligence.” Clearly the Awakened One’s last words speak to the heart of awakening. Why else would he have spent his last breath reminding his disciples of the impermanence of all things?

The spiritual quest begins with some kind of confrontation with eternity. With different people the specifics of the experience takes different forms. For some this confrontation manifests in a growing awareness of death. For some this growing awareness of death may manifest in middle age, when one can no longer take the body for granted; or perhaps the death of a parent or loved one marks the occasion of the growing awareness of the fluidity of things. For others this confrontation may appear when one’s goals or plans have gone awry and one realizes that they have become remote beyond manifestation.

Though the details vary, the clear appearance of impermanence marks a great change in a persons life. Valuations change. And something peculiar happens; in reaction to the awareness of impermanence fear arises. Fear of the loss of self, fear of the loss of value, fear itself manifesting fear. This fear propels the spiritual seeker to search for that which does not change. Though I may die, though everything may pass away, surely there exists something, somewhere, somewhen, which does not pass away. And often enough the spiritual seeker believes they find such a place. Some find permanence in ideas, some find permanence in an ethical stance, some find permanence in numbers, some find permanence in a deity, some find permanence in beauty, etc.. And some find permanence in being. Being represents the last, and best, hope for something that does not change.

However, there exists another way of resolving the dilemma of impermanence, of crossing the chasm of disappearing. That other way emerges when we perceive change itself as the transcendent condition. That other way emerges when we no longer try to run from the fluid nature of appearances. That other way emerges when the fluidity of all things becomes our refuge. When this happens we perceive the awareness of impermanence as the great awakening itself. This awakening functions as the solvent of suffering, dissolving the twin demons of being and nothingness.

Great Master Dogen expressed this insight more clearly than any other that I know of. This insight into the transcendent nature of change, of impermanence as the gate of awakening, appears so rarely that Dogen had to invent a new word to designate his meaning; Dogen invented the word “uji” which translators render as “being-time”. The point of this word “uji” lies in conflating the notions of transcendent being with the notion of change as embodied in time. Normally we designate being as that which does not change; in fact the search for being emerges as a reaction to the awareness of change as impermanence. When Dogen creates the word “uji”, in that one word he subverts the idea that the transcendent and change differ. Change means the transcendent and time reveals ultimate nature. As Dogen wrote in his essay Being-Time:

An ancient Buddha once said: “Being-time stands on the highest peak and leans on the bottom of the deepest ocean, being-time is the shape of demons and Buddhas’, being-time is a monk’s staff, being-time is a hossu, being-time is a round pillar, being-time is a stone lantern, being-time is Taro, being-time is Jiro, being-time is earth, being-time is sky.”

“Being-time” means that time is being; I.e., “Time is existence, existence is time.” ... Every thing, every being in this entire world is time. No object obstructs or opposes any other object, nor can time ever obstruct any other time. Therefore, if we have the resolve to attain supreme enlightenment the entire world will also be seen to possess that resolve at the same time. Here there is no difference between your mind and time; you are related through the resolve for enlightenment ...”

Chapter 16 of Shobogenzo Kosen Nishiyama and John Stevens translation.

If you understand this passage you will go far in understanding all of Dogen’s writings. My respect for Dogen feels boundless. My gratitude for Dogen manifests endlessly. And yet, I must, with all hesitancy and humility, suggest that Dogen’s presentation lacks completeness. Why? Because there do exist such things as timeless things; things that one can not reduce to the world of time.

Mathematical truths transcend time, relationship truths transcend time “and” and “or” transcend time. Many things transcend time. An attempt to conflate the notions of being and time into a single category leaves itself in the position of not accounting for the continuities that we use every day, those continuities deriving from their transcendence of time.

However, though these objects transcend time, they do not transcend change because change itself transcends time. This explains why the insight into impermanence opens the heart to the eternal; because change means the eternal. Objects which transcend time nevertheless appear in the world and their appearance in the world constitutes change even though they do not participate in time. To take the powerful example of mathematical truths; when humans discover a mathematical truth, it appears in the world, meaning that which formerly did not exist in the world now exists in the world. So a time exists when transcendent truth makes its appearance, which means change. Change names the timeless condition.

So I suggest that we not consider it a matter of “being-time” but rather of abandoning being altogether and entering the timeless realm of change. When the Awakened One spoke to his students and cautioned them to remember the impermanence of all things, he pointed directly to the transcendent and timeless condition of change itself. The impermanence of things means change and change manifests clearly and always the timeless nature of all things.


Change names the absolute.


The word “change” is a synonym for the word “becoming” and an antonym for the word “being”.
Mortimer Adler, Adler's Philosophical Dictionary

The central problems for a philosophy of change are the relationship of change to time, and the relationship of both of them to us. Although change is a fundamental element of the perceived world, a permanent theme in both Eastern and Western philosophies (and religions) is an otherworldliness according to which the restless everyday world of changing things and events must be regarded as unreal in comparison with the more fundamental immutable reality ... the Absolute is changeless. A way of sympathizing a little with this idea is to reflect that any scientific explanation of change will proceed by finding an unchanging law operating, or an unchanging quantity conserved in the change, so that explanation of change always proceeds by finding that which is unchanged.
Simon Blackburn, The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy

The word “change” designates one of the most conspicuous and most pervasive features of our sensory and introspective experience -- only the related feature of plurality or diversity is equally so. Change, indeed, is so pervasive that only after the antithetical concept of changelessness or immutability was developed in the earliest period of Greek philosophy did change become a problem for philosophical thought. ...

The subsequent development of Greek, medieval, and, to a considerable extent, modern philosophy was dominated by the antinomy of Being and Becoming. in most, though not in all, philosophical systems Being was given prominence while Becoming was placed in an inferior and subordinate role. This is clearly true of Plato’s thought ... A systematic exploration of various aspects of the problem of change has only begun.
The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, article on change.

As the above quotes make clear, the idea of change as the absolute represents a radical departure from the philosophical tradition as it has come down to us in the west. The primary means for ejecting change from the realm of the absolute has relied on the rejection of the infinite regress which such a view generates. As the above quote indicates, when describing change, we do so by referring to laws of change which have the appearance of stability. Because these laws of change have stability, in some sense change does not effect these laws themselves. However, if change means the absolute, then that would imply that the laws describing change also change. in the history of science we have ample material on the changing nature of scientific laws. We even have books written on the history of such changes. Perhaps we can discover stability in a description of how the laws of change change. But these laws of how change changes will also change; quickly leading to an infinite regress. The western philosophical tradition bears near unanimity in rejecting the idea of an infinite regress as absurd. Aristotle specifically rejects the idea of an infinite regress in his Metaphysics and insists that there must exist a beginning to motion, his famous unmoved mover, which Aristotle considers God. in the western philosophical tradition, if a critique can demonstrate that a view leads to an infinite regress, then the critique considers that a sufficient reason to abandon the argument.

This view first appears in the context of Plato’s forms, specifically in his dialogue Parmenides. Plato held the view that we recognize the commonality of a collection of objects and call them by the same name (such as tables, chairs, humans) because the particular objects participate, in some way, in a form which exists eternally and unchanging. Particulars represent shadows, or distorted copies of the form. The criticism of this metaphysical scheme showed that if you have a collection of, say men, and they participate in the form Man, the participation of the particulars in the form must occur due to some resemblance. This resemblance between the form and the particulars also constitutes a form, a third form (hence the name given to this analysis, “the third man argument”), in which particular men and the form Man participate. But if you now have a collection of three types of things, particular men, the form Man, and the meta-form Man-3, then the connection between these three must happen due to participation in yet another form, Man-4. This process will continue indefinitely, infinitely, generating an infinite regress.

Parmenides uses this analysis to undermine the theory of forms and Plato, as Socrates, does not know how to respond. The analysis stumps Plato. This feeling that the appearance of an infinite regress refutes a particular metaphysical position derives from the assumption of being (hence Plato places the argument in the character of Parmenides as the archetypal representative of being). The assumption of being means that there exists some final kind of existence which analysis should reveal, and stopping place. For this reason philosophers often use the expression “ground of being”, meaning that being constitutes the final and ultimate nature which analysis reveals, a nature beyond which we can not go.

The relevance of this discussion to change lies in the infinite regress which change as the absolute, or change as the ultimate, generates. if change names the absolute, then change must also apply to change, so that change changes. if we take a change and call it change-1, then this change-1 must also change. The changing of change-1 we can call change-2. But since change names the absolute change-2 must also change. This changing nature of change-2 we can call change-3. We can quickly comprehend the infinite regress which emerges from the assumption of change as the absolute.

I want to point out in this context that there does not exist any logical reason for rejecting an infinite regress. The assumption of change, in fact, has the property of functioning in a self-referentially consistent manner. The self-referential consistency appears as follows: Begin with the sentence

All things change. (1) The sentence “all things change” changes. Or (1) changes. (2) The sentence “the sentence ‘all things change’ changes” changes. Or (2) changes. (3) (3) changes. (4) (4) changes. Etcetera ...

This demonstrates self-referential consistency. Note that we do not need to bring in any outside premises to validate the sentence; simply by turning the sentence on itself, the view self-referentially validates itself. This contrasts with the assumption of being because the sentences which refer to being do not themselves consist of being. They refer to some other kind of existence beyond the sentences themselves. They exhibit self-referential inconsistency. For example; take the sentence

Being does not change.

The statement/sentence “being does not change” changes and so does not exhibit the nature to which the sentence refers. The sentence “being does not change” came into existence and will one day pass away, and for that reason, among many others, changes. But if being does not change, then the relationship between the sentences/statements which attempt to demonstrate the nature of being do not themselves exhibit the nature to which they refer. Therefore there exists a gap between the absolute nature of existence, when comprehended in a being-based manner, and the statements which attempt to demonstrate and explain that absolute nature when comprehended as being-based. Realizing this gap exists, philosophers who begin with the assumption of being have sought to explain the relationship between the unchanging absolute and the world of change. From a being-based perspective this constitutes a critical task. The nature of this task from a being-based perspective becomes critical because this analysis seeks to reveal the nature of the absolute, or the final nature of things. To clarify, take the sentence

The beagle barks.

This sentence does not exhibit the nature of a beagle or of barking. However, a barking beagle does not constitute the absolute. Here the sentence simply functions as a signifier. However, the sentence “Being does not change” refers to the nature of the absolute, the transcendental, which claims that all existing things have as their ultimate nature, or their ultimate source, some unchanging nature. But if all things possess this unchanging nature, the sentence exists as one of those things, and should, therefore, upon analysis, reveal that unchanging nature. But it does not do so. Hence the gap between the sentence and the nature to which the sentence refers takes on a completely different character from the gap which exists between a sentence like “The beagle barks” and the nature of a barking beagle.

Once again, the infinite regress generated by the assumption of change as the absolute does not constitute a logical inconsistency, it does not generate a contradiction. Only if one starts with the assumption of being, axiomaticaly insists upon starting with being, does the infinite regress appear as contradictory. if, however, one questions the assumption of being, if one holds that assumption of being as questionable, if one raises the issue of whether or not being constitutes the final nature of things and of existence, then no contradiction appears by assuming change as the absolute. Furthermore, the metaphysical assumption of change as the absolute, in its self-referential consistency, does not create any gap between statement and ultimate nature, the absolute. The statements themselves completely embody the absolute to which they refer. The statements simultaneously point to, speak of, and embody the ultimate nature, the final nature, of all phenomena, including the sentences which speak of the absolute as change, and of the absolute as such.

Being-based metaphysics seeks to find a final ground beyond which no one can go. Change-based metaphysics reveals existence as ultimately groundless, bottomless, foundationless. This groundless nature has no limits. I believe that Anaximander had this groundless nature in mind when he coined the term “apeiron”, the infinite or unlimited for the ultimate nature of existence. Being-based metaphysics comprehends this feature of groundlessness as a sign of something amiss, but, once again, there does not exist any logical reason for rejecting the groundless nature of existence which the infinite regress of change reveals. Only if one works from the assumption of a changeless being does this groundlessness appear as something amiss. But precisely that assumption of changeless being constitutes the assumption called into question. There does not exist any logical reason to favor the assumption of changeless being over the assumption of change as the absolute. Furthermore, to repeat the point, the analysis of existence as change generates a self-referentially consistent argument, something which being-based metaphysics does not do.

The statement “change names the absolute” means that upon analysis all things exhibit the property of change. I will have more to say about the term “all things” below. in general, however, the absolute means that which all things, ultimately, have as their nature. The absolute also means that nature without which things could not exist. Change therefore names that nature which generates all existing things. Without change existence would not exist, and no particular thing in existence would exist.

Because all existing things, upon analysis, reveal change as their nature, and because change forms a necessary condition for the appearance of any existing thing and existence as such, change names the absolute.


There exists something which outshines and transcends any particular situation, condition or appearance. That thing which outshines and transcends all things one can name change. Change as such, the quality of changing, the manifestation of impermanence, the realm of the eternal.


When I say that there exists that which outshines and transcends any particular situation, condition or appearance I mean that the transcendental we seek does not exist as a particular visionary, sonic, sensory or ideational experience. At the same time, there does not exist any experience which does not fully embody and fully demonstrate the presence of the transcendental, the presence of eternity.

Let me illustrate this by using change, the subject of this writing. if we consider a sonic object, say the sound of a bell, the sonic object changes. One could put it that change qualifies the sonic object in the same way that loud or long-lasting qualify a sonic object. However, the quality of change itself, change as such, does not constitute a sonic event. if change as such constituted a sonic event, then change could not qualify visual objects. But if I consider a visual object, such as a candle, the quality of change applies to the candle, just as the qualities bright and green might apply to a candle. But this quality of change does not constitute a visual object of perception. The quality of change as applied to the sound of a bell and the burning of a candle constitute the same quality. Similarly when I consider an object of taste, an object of smell, an object of touch, ideational object, and feeling objects. All of these objects change, but the quality of change itself does not reside in any particular sensory domain, including the sensory domains of ideas and feelings. For this reason I consider change as a transcendental object or event, meaning that change transcends any particular experience, though at the same time resides in all events.

The transcendental exists as a quality, or qualities, of existing things. All things bear the mark of the transcendental. But perceiving the transcendental quality of change requires a shift in our attention from the display of sensory particulars. But sensory particulars I mean the display of experience which confines itself to particular sensory realms. The display of colors and shapes, the display of sounds, the display of smells, the stream of ideas, all occupy our attention. When we shift our attention from the circumstantial display of each separate sensory realm, to the display of sensory experience that all the realms share, then we open the gate to the transcendental and to the eternal.

Comprehending this fully requires investigating the meaning of the term “eternal”. I think a core meaning for the term “eternal” would mean something like “the always existing”. By eternal we mean that which always exist, that which does not ever not exist. if something exists only briefly, we don’t consider that something eternal. if something exists for only 100 years, we still don’t consider that something eternal. if something exists for 10,000 years, we still don’t consider that something eternal. Only if something always exists do we consider that something eternal. I refer to this understanding of eternity as the everywhen.

The everywhen nature of the eternal contrasts with our normal experience of everyday things. This house I live in does not exist everywhen. in the past it did not exist, and in the future it will cease to exist. The plants outside my window do not exist everywhen. Like the house, in the past they did not exist and in the future they will cease to exist. The stars I see at night will also one day pass away and do not exist everywhen.

Using this kind of reasoning, I think one can understand that many philosophical and religious understandings place the everywhen outside of and apart from the realm of sensory experience. in a way, it almost seems obvious; the things of existence, the realm of the senses and the realm of ideas and feelings simply do not endure, do not have the nature of everywhen. So if everywhen exists, it must exist apart from all these things. Apart from usually means before. From this perspective one can follow the steps to an emanationist or creationist comprehension of the nature of the eternal; the eternal understood as God and/or being. in this understanding God and/or being, or god as being, exists apart from existence in that being, or the eternal, has a completely different manner of existing than the things of this world. The things of this world, in their mutability and transitoriness, lack the capacity for eternity. Being and God, therefore, differ not just in quality or degree from the things of this world, but the very nature of being, and of God as being, differs from the all existing things.

I refer to this kind of reasoning as separating everywhen from everywhere. For I would suggest that the second aspect of eternity manifests as the everywhere. The comprehension of the eternal as everywhen, and therefore of the eternal as separate from existence, rests on the understanding that time functions as a kind of neutral container in which things and events, and things as events happen. But thought things happen, time itself remains constant. The same applies here to space as a neutral container in which things and events occur.

However, if we comprehend time as not the container in which things happen and manifest, but rather the unfolding and blossoming of things, then the everywhen of eternity leads us to the everywhere of existence. I believe Dogen had this central point in mind in his essay “Being-Time”. Basically, if things did not exist at all, time would not exist. The unfolding and blossoming of events means the time of existence. No existing things, no time. A sun rising means time, a flower blossoming means time, going for a walk means time.

The when of existence means the where of things. The everywhen of eternity means the everywhere of all things. From this perspective, eternity means everywhen and everywhere.

I refer the uniting of everywhen and everywhere under the term eternity as “pansacralism”. (Lawrence Jarach, a good friend of mine, first suggested this term. Lawrence does not agree with pansacralism, and I do not mean to impute this position to him. However, in our ongoing conversations as to the nature of the eternal, he has understood clearly my own view and suggested this term to designate it. I immediately found it efficacious.) The view of pansacralism comprehends the eternal as both the everywhere and the everywhen. in addition pansacralism comprehends the eternal as a quality, or qualities, of all existing things. in this way, pansacralism differs from pantheism in that pantheism posits a substance which underlies appearances, whereas pansacralism denies the existence of such a substance, instead comprehending the eternal as that which qualifies all existing things, but does not exist apart from existing things.

The nature of the eternal forms the core and heart of philosophy. it also forms the core and the heart of spirituality, religion, science, and mathematics. On the question of eternity all of these disciplines find a common arena. I comprehend the question of eternity as a cluster of question which take the form; What exists eternally?, What does eternity mean?, Does anything exist eternally?

I consider the question of eternity the heart of philosophy in the sense that philosophy began and begins with this question. The nature of the philosophical quest lies in inquiring into the nature of eternity. This inquiry takes place as a ruthless examination of all claims for eternity, and precisely this sense of ruthlessness has sourced the conflict between philosophers and the culture at large. in ancient greece the conflict between philosophy and the culture at large arose because philosophy denied that the eternal manifested as the pantheon of deities central to greek religious worship. Not that ancient philosophers, for the most part, denied the existence of the gods, but that the philosophers denied that the eternal resided as, or manifested as, a particular god or group of gods. This conflict threads its way throughout the history of philosophy. For example, when John Scottus Eriugena followed out his line of inquiry into the nature of the eternal, the nature of god, orthodox christianity eventually condemned his work because the implications of his investigations did not fit in with orthodox givens. Centuries later, Spinoza would face the same situation. During his lifetime he did not publish his great work Ethics because he knew that the pantheism of his investigations would provoke great hostility among the orthodox.

Religion in the west posits the existence of the eternal but regards the eternal as something revealed, not something one should investigate. For this reason philosophy and religion have had a very tense relationship to each other. From the religious perspective, the job of philosophy does not constitute an investigation into the nature of the eternal. Rather, the job of philosophy lies in drawing out the implications of the eternal which has revealed itself in certain forms and texts. These forms and texts remain, to the religious consciousness, above analysis and investigation. A philosopher who investigates these givens commits heresy.

The scientist investigates the eternal through a methodology that reveals the patterns of things and their behaviors. The belief, often unstated, supporting this kind of investigation comprehends the pattern as more real than the phenomena. I think of science as kind of a modern day version of pythagoreanism.

The mathematician often finds solace in the relationships between numbers and the forms of geometry and other mathematical endeavors. The great attraction mathematics has held for many down through the centuries lies in the belief in the immutability of mathematical relationship; which means that one has contact with the eternal in the guise of mathematical relationships and forms.

The question of eternity arises when people come face to face with the mutability and brevity of all things. Out of this confrontation with mutability arises a question in the heart of many; Can I count on anything?, Does anything have value?, Does anything have meaning when everything in existence will one day pass away?

And so the quest begins. Different groups of people respond to this question in different ways, but share the nature of that quest. Philosophy, when centered in the question of eternity, provides a great service to humanity in two ways. First, through its examinations and investigations philosophy displaces false notions and claims to eternal validity. Second, through its examinations and investigations, philosophy points the way to the eternal and eternity itself. The way of philosophy, then, has a spiritual aspect to it -- no, more than an aspect. The way of philosophy at its heart and at its core, promises a kind of liberation. This liberation comes when philosophy uncovers/recovers/discovers the domain of the eternal, the presence of eternity. This liberation means nothing else than the freedom from suffering. For suffering arises when we fail to comprehend and reside in the domain of eternity. Comprehending things from the perspective of eternity, and suffering vanishes, fear dissipates, and life unfolds in its meaningfilledness. As John Scottus Eriugena put it, “No one enters the kingdom of heaven except through philosophy.”


In this waking world all things undergo transformation and change; constantly, non-stop, relentlessly. Similarly, when we enter the dream realm all things we encounter change, flux.

Again, entering an astral realm we once again encounter process as reality. Everywhere we turn the truth of change, the truth of process, the truth of impermanence, manifests to us clearly, not hidden, not disguised.


In this passage I wanted to point out the universality of change, that change applies to all things. To comprehend this we must investigate the meaning of “all things”.

The word things used in ordinary conversation refers to physical things, most often to visual manifestations. The word things usually contrasts with events. We don’t ordinarily refer to running as a thing, or to multiplying as a thing. Grammatically we tend to consider things as nouns, while we consider events as verbs. For this reason some process philosophers have adopted the terminology event when referring to the things of existence, in order to bring out and emphasize the event nature, the primal process core, of existence. I have decided to retain the term thing because I want to emphasize the ordinariness of change, transformation, and process. But, as used in this essay, I expand the meaning of the term thing to include all that can and does perform a function. Things exist in what I refer to as different modes. For example some things exist in a visual mode while other things exist in a sonic mode, but both visual things and sonic things can and do perform functions. When I say “perform a function” I mean that the thing in question has an influence or impact upon some other existing thing, either actually or potentially. When I indicate in the above observation that change manifests everywhere, and in everything, I mean that change exists in all possible things in all possible modes, as follows:

Change exists as a quality of all visual things. Change exists as a quality of all sonic things. Change exists as a quality of all olfactory things. Change exists as a quality of all taste things. Change exists as a quality of all touch things. Change exists as a quality of all thoughts, all mental things. Change exists as a quality of all feelings, all emotional things. Change exists as a quality of all imaginal things. Change exists as a quality of all dream things. Change exists as a quality of all relational things. Change exists as a quality of all even things, usually indicated by verbs. Change exists as a quality of all non-presentational things. Change exists as a quality of all unknown things. Change exists as a quality of all unknowable things. Change exists as a quality of all non-sensory things, meaning things that humans can not perceive, such as magnetic waves.

From the perspective of change, all things, as indicated above, have equal status, or equal ontological validity. From this perspective there does not exist any difference between a dream thing and a waking thing. I do not mean to imply that the waking realm and the dream realm designate the same realm. I mean that from the perspective of change, a dream thing changes. I mean that from the perspective of change, a waking thing changes. So from this transcendental perspective, change unites all things, designates what all existing things have in common.

This leads to a difference in method between being-based approaches to ultimacy and pansacralism. Being-based approaches work with and rely upon a method of division. The metaphysical treatises that have being as their foundation refer to mutually exclusive categories, such as Aristotle's Categories, or John Scottus Eriugena's The Divisions Of Nature, or Duns Scotus work on God as first principle, which begins with a first division of things into the created and that which creates.

Pansacralism approaches the transcendental differently, using a different method. Pansacralism asks what exists everywhere and everywhen. To exist in this everywhere and everywhen manner means that that which exists everywhere and everywhen will manifest in all existing things, using things in its broadest possible designation. To comprehend what manifests in all existing things, we must ask what all things have in common. Because being exists separately from existence, it makes sense to use a method of division to access being. Accessing being resembles whittling away at existing until only that hidden nature of being remains. Because the pansacral view comprehends the transcendent as that which qualifies all existing things, the method that emerges from that position seeks to find what all things have in common. This method resembles weaving a fabric, integrating all things into the fabric, embracing all things through the quality or qualities that all existing things share.

In order to enter the truly transcendental, however, we must take seriously the term “all existing things”. We must leave out absolutely nothing. if even one thing exists which remains unqualified by the transcendental quality, then that quality does not name the truly transcendental. For this reason, examining dream things, and imaginary things, and logical objects, and objects that appear in meditational consciousnesses, such as astral objects; we must consider all of these as things of the world. Once again, this does not mean confusing or conflating the experiences or realms. An imaginary character, such as a hobbit, can not have the function of serving you a waking realm cup of tea. Nevertheless, the imaginary character, the hobbit, has performed functions in this world, and therefore constitutes a thing in this world, influences this world and has a presence in this world.

Approaching the world, all of existence, in this way, means always keeping one’s metaphysical position tentative and open to possible revision. Since no one has direct experience with all existing things, the possibility arises that one has made a mistake. This particularly applies here because the test of complete transcendence, as a quality of all existing things, says that if someone can find even one thing which exists not qualified by the transcendental qualifier, then that quality does not function as a transcendental. Given this stringent test, one should always offer one’s view speculatively.

In the last sentence of the entry above I state, “the truth of change, the truth of process, the truth of impermanence ...” This points to what I refer to as the three aspects of change, which if I kept a diary today on the subject, I would bring to the foreground. I refer to these three aspects of change as impermanence, transformation, and wombness.

Impermanence means that all things at some point will cease to exist. impermanence and change differ in that change can happen in a cyclical manner in which, though the thing constantly changes, the cycle in itself endures. Many scientists view change in this manner. Change can mean that the moon waxes and wanes. Impermanence means that the moon will one day cease to exist.

Transformation means that when things cease to exist, they do not become nothing. They become something else. impermanence does not mean, therefore, blasted into non-existence. Rather, impermanence means a loss of function. If, for example, a table leg breaks, the table can no longer perform its function as a table. But what existed as a table has not ceased to exist; rather it has become something else.

Wombness means that creative aspect of existence through which the becoming something else of things constantly occurs. Existence constantly presents us with new and unexpected things, new and unexpected configurations, appearances that we and no one else had ever imagined. This happens through transformation, has its basis as change, but when seen from this perspective, existence manifests as a cornucopia or womb of emerging transformations.

When I use the word change, I mean to embrace all three; impermanence, transformation, and wombness. Thus the word change has very broad implications.

The above entry ends with the idea that change “manifests to us clearly, not hidden, not disguised.” Yet below I state that people have difficulty accessing change. I would argue the truth of both positions. In this entry I mean to bring out that, in a sense, change constitutes an obvious feature of our existence, but that we tend to ignore its transcendental implications. The mutability of things presents itself over and over to us. Precisely this mutability drove such philosophers as Plato and Augustine, to name just two, away from existence, in an attempt to find eternity in the immutable. The irony here arises as the truth that precisely this mutability constitutes the eternal itself because change manifests in all things, everywhere and everywhen. In other words, the transcendental as change has no specific location in its everywhereness, and has no specific origin or end in its everywhenness. To discover the eternal, one only has to awaken to the presence of change.


That which does not change does not exist. That which does not change does not non-exist. That which does not change does not reside in being or non-being. That which does not change means delusion and sorrow. Only change exists as the eternal and the transcendent.


“That which does not change does not exist.” This statement sums up the view of pansacralism towards the idea of the transcendent as that which does not change. Simply that the unchanging does not exist. For this reason, metaphysical systems founded on the idea that something exists in an unchanging manner generate a discordance between the system of thought and actual experience.

“That which does not change does not non-exist.” In some of the more mystically inclined being-based systems they posit that because being lies beyond, or before, any appearances, that to say that being exists does not apply. Also to say that being does not exist does not apply. interestingly, though these systems assert that being and ultimacy lie beyond both existing and not existing, they uniformly refer to being as unchanging. For this reason, I added this statement, just to cover all the bases. Not only does change not exist, in a simple way, but also change does not non-exist.

Change lacks existence in the same way that when one asserts the existence of the first son of a sterile man. Such a child simply does not exist. One does not assert that something else exists in place of the first child of a sterile man. One simply states that such a child does not exist. Similarly, the unchanging does not exist, it simply does not exist, neither here in the world of phenomena, nor in the world which transcends phenomena.

“That which does not change does not reside in being or non-being.” The unchanging does not reside in being because being functions as simply another name for the unchanging. The unchanging does not reside in non-being because the negation of a non-existent does not exist either.

“That which does not change means delusion and sorrow.” Here I bring into the foreground the buddhist context out of which these comments arise. The first noble truth of the Buddha states that suffering exists. The second noble truth states that suffering has a cause. The primary cause of suffering lies in clinging and craving. I would argue that craving constitutes a form of clinging and so would reduce the two categories to the single one of clinging. Clinging arises because at some level we believe that some thing (once again consider the word “thing” in its widest possible usage) does not change. As long as that gesture of clinging arises, suffering follows because to attempt to cling to something, to stop or curtail the flow of change, means to attempt the impossible, the impossible because the unchanging does not exist in any way. One may as well try to stop the wind by embracing it. However, if one embraces the wind of change, then suffering ceases.

This kind of reasoning links philosophical inquiry to liberation. The ancient philosophers all regarded liberation as the central task of philosophy. Only in modern times has philosophy became a truncated and incomplete discipline, shorn of its central purpose. By comprehending the connection between the unchanging and sorrow, the connection between the unchanging and delusion, the connection between the unchanging and suffering, one comprehends the liberative possibilities of philosophy and of inquiring into the eternal as change itself.

“Only change exists as the eternal and the transcendent.” Impressed by the liberative possibilities of transcendental and eternal change, I wrote this statement. I now consider this statement as too extreme. Logically, one could construct a world system in which isolated monads changed, but did not interact with each other. This points out that change by itself insufficients to explain everything. in making this statement I fell into a kind of metaphysical monism.

I now consider the transcendental qualities, those qualities present in all existing things, as much more extensive than just change. Change names one qualifier of a transcendental kind, but not the only qualifier. In my essay “The Presence Of Eternity" I have more to say on this subject.


Being constitutes an illusion. But not simply an illusion. Rather, being constitutes the primary illusion/delusion, the root of clinging, the first gesture of the is of separation, the asana of suffering.


The word “being” contains two distinct meaning in the philosophical context under consideration. First, being means the core nature of existence; that nature which reveals itself under analysis as, in some sense, final, or, in a pansacral context, that nature which upon analysis reveals itself as participating in the everywhere and everywhen nature of existence. The second meaning of being, in this context, means that which does not change, the changeless, the immutable. The western philosophical tradition has conflated these two meanings. in the context of a being-based metaphysical comprehension, that conflation of these two terms makes sense. Coming from this kind of metaphysical point of view, one would find it difficult not to conflate these two meanings. However, the two meanings need distinguishing because the question of eternity does not necessarily imply the changeless. The question of eternity reveals the core nature of existence, or sends us on an exploration to comprehend that core nature. The question of being responds to the question of the nature of the changeless. The questions differ and do not encompass the same philosophical regions.

To illustrate why these two meanings need careful distinction I offer the following examples. First consider the following quote from The Sovereign All-Creating Mind, The Motherly Buddha, a translation of Kun byed rgyal po’I mdo:

This divine reality, the text argues, must never be appropriated through our conceptual thinking or through the process of defining and naming it. Thus the doctrinal structure of Buddhism is not only questioned but deconstructed, and eventually rejected. The natural corollary is then that there is no spiritual goal to achieve (i.e. nirvana), no religious practice to perform (i.e. path to enlightenment), and neither disciple nor Buddha. in other words the entirety of the Buddhist doctrinal and practical system is brushed aside by a Buddhist text! These seemingly extreme positions are maintained on the ground that all that exists does so due to “pristine awareness” as the dynamic of being. Thus, one has to conclude, all that exists is already in the process of consummation. Being as such (understood as a dynamic “spinning,” and not as an essence) is buddhahood.

I want to particularly focus on the last quoted sentence, in particular the part in parentheses, “Being as such (understood as a dynamic ‘spinning,’ and not as an essence). But hardly anyone would understand being, or even being as such, as a dynamic spinning. Dynamic spinning radically differs from what the philosophical and theological tradition means when they use the word being. What the western philosophical tradition does mean by being that tradition labels with words like the unchanging, the immutable.

The importance of this has to do with how one can expect someone to read the translation. Let’s suppose that a reader does not read the introduction from which I took the above quote. I don’t consider that an unusual habit, that people skip the introduction and go right to the text. How can we expect this reader to comprehend the use of the word being in the translation? I would expect the reader to come across the word being and assume that the translator means the unchanging, the essential, the immutable. Or, let us suppose that the reader just skims the introduction. Still, unless the reader has paid particular attention to this parenthetical remark about the very eccentric rendering of the word being, the reader will very likely fall into reading stasis into every appearance of the word being and not comprehend that the translator refers to “dynamic spinning”.

Even when one has read the introduction carefully and noted the parenthetical remark, and furthermore integrated the importance of this way of using the word being, even so, I can attest from personal experience, it requires considerable effort for a reader not to think of being as stasis, as unchangingness, as essence. I believe that the translator has made something of the following equation: being means the core nature of existence, in the text the core nature of existence mean dynamic spinning, therefore the way to translate this term from the tibetan into english is by using the word being. Here the conflation of the two meanings of the word being, the meaning of core nature, and the second meaning of changeless essence, distorts in a core way the meaning that the translator wishes to convey. By distinguishing between the two meanings, the translator could have used a more efficacious and more accurate term, such as change, process, or simply dynamic spinning. This would have shown to the reader that the tibetan text views the core nature of existence in a way quite different, and profoundly at variance, with the western philosophical and theological tradition. By using the term being as a stand in for dynamic spinning, the translation suggests to the reader that the Tibetan Buddhist text and the western philosophical tradition grounded in being as essence, converge. This does a great disservice to both traditions.

The second example for consideration appears as the character “chang2”, which appears in the opening lines of the Tao Te Ching and usually translators render as “eternal”. So far so good. However, often translators also translate chang2, later in the Tao Te Ching, as “the unchanging”. This kind of shift from “the eternal” to “the unchanging” forces one to interpret the Tao Te Ching as a proto-being-based text, seduces the reader into comprehending the Tao Te Ching as an overview of the nature of being. To at one point translate chang2 as “the eternal” and at another point to translate the same character as “the unchanging” brings to the translation a whole raft of metaphysical assumptions, assumptions that, I would suggest, Lao Tzu may not have had, or, I would further suggest, that at his time and place, could not have had.

There exist strong reasons within the Tao Te Ching to reject the idea that Lao Tzu equated the eternal with the unchanging. In Ellen Chen's commentary and translation of the Tao Te Ching she translates the first two lines of Section 4 as follows, “Tao is a whirling emptiness, Yet in use is inexhaustible.” interestingly, Chen understands and elucidates the issue of a being-based, and therefore static, interpretation of the Tao Te Ching, versus an interpretation which does not make the assumption that the eternal and the unchanging mean the same thing. in her commentary on the first two lines of Section 4 she writes:

This chapter describes Tao throughout as the dynamic self-diffusive creativity as pouring out all beings and as receiving back all beings. Tao as a dynamic emptiness is not a thing determined: it is the whirling vortex whose motion is ceaseless. This same dynamic character of Tao as ever pouring out is also portrayed in the next two chapters, 5.2 and 6.3. Our translation of the first two lines adopt Kao Heng’s emendation of ch’ung and ying.

The Sung scholar Wang An-shih (1021-1086) said that ch’ung indeed means the ch’ung-ch’I, the empty whirling vortex revolving between heaven and earth. A dynamic whirling vortex, however, could no longer be the ultimate principle of the world to a Neo-Confucian who elevates immobility above change. Typical of the Neo-Confucian exaltation of the unchanging, Wang An-shih thought that movement has to issue from the unmoved.
(The Tao Te Ching: A New Translation With Commentary, by Ellen Chen, page 62, Paragon House, 1989, New York)

I found it fascinating to observe the clash of world views, that between a being-based view which regards the unchanging as ultimate, versus the world view which regards change and process as ultimate, played out in the history of the commentarial tradition on the Tao Te Ching. Chen’s awareness of the core metaphysical issue I have found very unusual. Much more typically, I have found the unstated assumption equating the eternal with the unchanging. An unexamined assumption which, in my opinion, seriously distorts the meaning of the Tao Te Ching. Principally this happens when translators unthinkingly impose two distinct meanings on chang2; the meaning of “the eternal” and the meaning of “the unchanging”.

Once again one observes the conflation of the question of eternity with the question of being, an inability to comprehend that the two questions differ. This unquestioned assumption of the equality of the two, of conflating the meaning of the eternal with the meaning of being and the unchanging, makes it almost impossible to read most translations of the Tao Te Ching into english with exercising a great deal of caution. One has to become conscious of this assumption and then read through these assumptions to access the Tao Te Ching.

The Tao Te Ching represents a notoriously ambiguous text; very brief and cryptic it has remained open to many different, and conflicting interpretations. Some have interpreted the Tao Te Ching as a proto-ontological text, meaning a work dedicated to elucidating the meaning of being. But that constitutes only one possibility. Other possibilities exist, such as the one that Chen so eloquently illuminates. When a translator equates chang2 with both the eternal and the unchanging, the translator imposes a single interpretation upon the text, and, as previously mentioned, brings to the translation an entire metaphysical system. I would suggest that this imposition has no basis in the work itself. The solution, I suggest, lies in always translating chang2 as “the eternal” and then allowing the reader to interpret what “the eternal” means, allowing the reader to decide for themselves if Lao Tzu had in mind the unchanging and being, or if Lao Tzu had in mind a “whirling emptiness”.

But this option requires that the translator clearly distinguish within their own minds that the question of eternity and the question of being do not name the same question. The question of eternity asks “What exists eternally?, What does eternity mean?”, while the question of being asks “What exists that does not change?” The second question, the question of being, arises as a response to the question of eternity. The second question, the question of being, arises by dividing the everywhere from the everywhen. However, the question of being constitutes only one possible response to the question of eternity. Another response does not divide the everywhere from the everywhen. When the everywhere and the everywhen do not separate, the question of being falls away and eternity as change, dynamic spinning, and whirling emptiness emerges.

A third example I would like to example appears in the philosophy of Mary Daly, the radical feminist. More than any other post-world war ii philosophy that I know of, Daly takes ontology seriously, in the sense that she comprehends that an ontological position has implications that impress themselves upon many different fields of knowledge, including politics and science. Daly, as I understand her, wants to re-assert the primacy of a dynamic world view, a world view which comprehends existence as primal process, which she regards as more congenial to a female-based and female-centered understanding of existence. (Oddly, she does not seem to have any familiarity with philosophers like Bergson who could provide a great deal of help in this endeavor.) Daly comprehends this ontological project as overthrowing the static view of existence which has dominated western philosophy and theology for millennia. In order to accomplish this she always spells being as be-ing (Daly uses a dot after “be”, but I can’t find a dot in my word processor, so a dash will have to do.) By this spelling Daly seeks to emphasize and bring out the verb like nature of the core of existence. Daly has a fascination with words, and this respelling (or, as she might put it re-spell (as in casting a spell) - ing (as a dynamic reformulation)) dis-spells the fascination with the fabricating of a static being. In short, Daly wants to contrast being with be-ing.

I have a great admiration for Daly’s project. I would suggest, however, that in this arena at least, it does not go far enough. Words have a fluid nature and change. Since I regard change as a core nature of existence, I could hardly view words otherwise. But words also have a history and exist in web-roads of meaning. This respelling of be-ing as an attempt to recast its meaning, in my opinion, runs into the same problem that we have observed in the above two examples; it has to confront the conflation of the question of eternity with the question of being. For nearly all of western history, and for nearly all writers, both philosophical and theological, being means that which does not change. So why not let those who believe in stasis have the term? Why reformulate being? Just abandon it, just walk out on it. Leave being behind.

If one distinguishes between the question of eternity and the question of being, then one can proceed to an investigation of eternity without burdening oneself with being at all. Daly accepts the idea that being constitutes the core nature of existence, but disagrees with the meaning of that core nature. Instead I would suggest refocusing from the question of being to the question of eternity. When one does this then the question of being simply falls away. in this way, I believe Daly’s philosophy could move dramatically forward and enter into yet unimagined and creative realms.

All of this relates to the diary entry above, because when I say that “being constitutes an illusion”, I mean that being as the unchanging constitutes illusion. if one has not clearly distinguished the eternal from the unchanging, one might read this entry to mean that “the eternal constitutes an illusion.” But I do not mean that. I mean precisely to distinguish the eternal from the unchanging in this entry.

Being constitutes an illusion because change exists as the core nature of all existing things, and of existence as such. But this only becomes clear when one clearly distinguishes the question of eternity from the question of being.

In this entry I connect being with suffering. As mentioned in the previous entry, suffering has its origin in clinging. But not only in clinging. The central insight of the Buddha arose as a comprehension of, and perception of, the interconnectedness of all things, that all things exist together, that nothing exists separately. Suffering arises when we separate off from ourselves some aspect of existence, as if that aspect did not have connections with us. This gesture of separation resembles a kind of self-amputation.

Being arises from a gesture of separation, having its origin in the separation of the everywhen from the everywhere. This constitutes its first division. Being only makes sense in a context which excludes the everywhere and keeps the everything at bay. This gesture of separation forms the first gesture of separation, the first example of self-amputation, the first subtle movement to an existence filled with suffering.

From this gesture of separation which sources being, arises the clinging mind. After separating the everywhen from the everywhere, the believer in being clings to the everywhen as stasis, while simultaneously pushing away the everywhere and everything. Thus the single gesture of being functions as the foundation, the source and fountainhead for the arising of suffering.

Therefore, to overcome suffering, abandon being.


Change transcends any given situation/condition. But that does not mean that one should consider change an essence. The word essence implies that which does not change in opposition to that which does change. Change as such changes. Change means the unchanging and nothing other than change.


When one speaks of the transcendental the tendency exists to think of the nature of the transcendental as existing as some kind of reality other than appearances. When considering being as transcendent, being differs from appearance in that being does not change. Essence and being have an intimate relationship. Essence means that aspect of an existing thing which connects it to being. Essence therefore means that aspect of an existing thing which does not change. Tables may manifest as wood, plastic, or stone, but the essence of a table remains the same in all three manifestations. The idea of essence means that aspect of, for example, a table which makes the table a table, and this essence has a different nature from the accidental characteristics of particular tables.

In contrast, when speaking of change as the transcendental I mean that change manifests as a quality of all existing things. For example, one can say the green table, and similarly one can say the changing table. But whereas green can only qualify visual objects, the quality of change qualifies all existing things. including change itself. The quality of change also qualifies change. This leads directly the boundless, groundless, and infinite nature of existence and all existing things. Whereas essence declares that existing things have a final and definitive nature, change as transcendence means that things exist in a boundless, open, and always unfinished manner. Change as the transcendental negates essence, just as change as the transcendental negates being.


The delusion of essence emerges from the delusion of being. “Essence” names the second gesture of the asana of suffering and the stem of clinging.


The idea of essence states that there exists some aspect of existing things which does not change; that connects the idea of essence with the idea of being. Because the idea of essence means that aspect of a thing which does not change, the idea of essence fosters clinging by philosophically justifying the gesture, or the asana, of clinging. But clinging constitutes the source of suffering in this world. When we attempt to cling to physical things, we suffer because inevitably they change. When we attempt to cling to ideas, to fix them, to make them static, we suffer because inevitably the ideas change; they become obsolete, someone modifies them, someone uses them in a context we did not intend, someone synthesizes them and thereby transforms them. Existence manifests as an open process, a whirling emptiness, a dynamic spinning, a forever unfinished symphony.

When we awaken to the open process nature, and release all clinging by abandoning being and essence, we put an end to suffering. This names the path to liberation.


Essence subverts the understanding of the transcendent and sabotages all movement toward realization.


Realization and liberation mean comprehending and actualizing and manifesting the manner in which all things exist. it means entering into that eternal presence, and manifesting that eternal presence in our lives. This means completely releasing the blossoming of this moment into the next moment. This means completely abandoning clinging at all levels of our existence. Since essence means that aspect of a thing which does not change, if one wishes to put an end to sorrow, to enter the peace of liberation, release all essence into the rivering world.


Essence brings about the sleep of ignorance.


The metaphor of sleep to describe those who do not comprehend the transcendental appears in many different spiritual traditions. One finds it in diverse sources from Heraclitus to Gurdjief. Here sleep means a condition which does not recognize our real situation. When someone sleeps, they do not realize that they lie in a bed, in a room, in a house, in a town. Similarly, when people do not realize the true nature of existence, they resemble someone asleep to the world.

If one comprehends eternity as that which qualifies all existing things everywhere and everywhen, then the eternal, and the transcendental, does not exist as something which lies beneath, or before, or from a source prior to, appearances. Rather, the eternal manifests as appearances, but only when perceived and comprehended as the eternal qualities. The doctrine of essence claims that the real nature of things lies somewhere other than in their appearances and thus pulls one away from the eternal and transcendental as qualities of all existing things. From this perspective essence functions as a kind of spiritual soporific.

The idea of essence claims that there exists something about things beyond their qualities. Think of it this way: Given a thing, one can describe that thing in many ways, these descriptors I refer to as the qualities of the thing. One can symbolize this as follows:

A = (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ...)

A stands for the thing. The set stands for the qualities/descriptors applicable to the thing. The numbers stand for the particular qualities of the existing thing. For example, if A = chair, a particular chair, then the numbers of the set stand for things like “green”, “oak”, “on the porch”, “large”, “my favorite”, etc.

The idea of essence states that if you take away every member of the set of descriptors/qualifiers, you have something left, the essence of the thing:

A = ( ? )

The question mark stands for the essence of the chair, which has no qualities, but nevertheless exists as the core of the chair.

The pansacral understanding says that if you remove every single quality from the set, then A ceases to exist.

if A = (0), then no A.

I refer to this as the axiom of emptiness. it means that existing things have no other reality than their qualities. A thing means the intersection of the numberless qualities in the set of descriptors. No members of the set, then no thing.

The idea of essence states that when you remove all the members of the set, there exists something left over. But that claim has no basis. One does not need it in order to comprehend the world. in actuality, such a claim drugs us, leads to ignorance, and sets up a barrier to the realization of the ultimate nature of all existing things, which manifests as qualities/descriptors which appear in the sets of all existing things. And one of those qualities I refer to as change itself.


Breaking through the nightmare of essence, releasing all desire for the stability of being, we then enter the realm of the eternal, the realm of change.


The gesture of release, in and of itself, means entering into the transcendental arena through the gate of change. The paradox of the human situation, and the source of humanities immense suffering, arises from the capacity for humanity to delude itself that something does not change. Believing, at some level, that something does not change, we then cling to that something in the belief that it will function for us as the changeless. But it does change, and therefore suffering follows. The last bastion, and also the first gesture, of this clinging, which gives rise to suffering, lies in being and essence. This clinging to being and essence shields us from eternity because change and eternity do not differ. Change and eternity do not differ because change exists everywhere and everywhen and manifests as a transcendental quality of everything, of all existing things.

Everywhere; no place exists that change does not manifest. Everywhen; no time exists that change does not manifest. Everything; all existing things arise due to change, become due to change, begone due to change.

Therefore, enter the realm of the eternal by ceasing to cling, transcending essence and abandoning being.


Everything which exists exists as process and nothing other than process. Therefore all things completely display the eternally transcendent precisely because they display change fully and clearly.

Also, we exist as nothing other than eternal change, moment to moment without cease. The eternal exists as nothing other than us. But we have nothing to do with it.


I now consider this entry too extreme. I think of it as a kind of fall into monism. As mentioned previously, change does not explain everything, yet in entries such as the above I tried to push change into a role that it could not assume.

From a pansacral perspective, eternity exists as transcendental qualities modifying all existing things, everywhere and everywhen. But change names only one of those qualities. Other qualities such as dependence, interdependence, uniqueness, etc., also exist as facets of eternity. I suspect that the categories of transcendental qualities has no limits, precisely because limitlessness and groundlessness also name transcendental qualities.

The importance of change as a quality of eternity lies in the ability of this quality to negate essence, substance and being. This quality also shows us the gate to liberation, by showing us the source of suffering which lies in clinging; but since change exists everywhere and everywhen and as a quality of everything, attempts to cling only bring about frustration, suffering, sorrow and despair.

All things display this transcendental nature of change. The constancy of change lies in this; that one can never go anywhere and not find change. One can not find an interior realm which does not change. Our thoughts change, our emotions change, our deepest interior reality also changes. The nature of our selves and the nature of all existing things as change does not differ. Recognizing this, we become one with the transcendental nature of all things, one with the eternal which displays itself always and everywhere.


The eternal manifests in its immediacy and presence as change and does not in any sense differ from change. The eternal does not hide.


Eternity does not differ from change; however eternity means more than change. in terms of the transcendental qualifiers of the everywhere, the everywhen, and the everything, there exist many such eternal qualities.

The “not hiding” means that one does not have to go anywhere else to discover/recover/enter into the eternal. The eternal does not hide because the eternal exists as a quality, not an essence. The eternal does not exist in some place, but exist spread out over all of existence, both time, place and things. Finding the eternal does not mean going to some realm, or region. it means awakening to our actual situation. in the context of this diary, awakening to the eternal means awakening to change as the transcendental nature of all existing things.


Change does not constitute a substratum, it does not hide somewhere. Because change means the eternal, realization and awakening possible in this world.


When I write that change does not hide, I mean that change does not exist “behind” or “before” phenomena. This contrasts with being which both logically and ontologically, and in some cases also temporally, philosophers have argued precedes the existence of phenomena.

I also mean when I write that change does not hide that one can speak coherently about eternity and the eternal. In some, though not all, being-based metaphysical systems philosophers have argued that ultimate existence lies utterly beyond conception, and that therefore conceptuality can not gain access to the eternal. This has led to the idea that ultimate nature remains beyond possible articulation.

The idea of the ineffability of the ultimate and the eternal arises because being has its origins in a sense of separation; that ultimate nature and the eternal differ in kind from existing things. While existing things may depend for their existence upon being, the creator, that from which all things come, existing things differ from that which gives rise to existing things. That which gives rise to existing things differing traditions name differently; some call it being, some call it the one, some call it god, etc. But given this primal sense of separation, it follows with some logic that the source, being, god, lies beyond all possible conceptualization.

If, however, one comprehends the eternal as the everywhere and everywhen qualities of everything, then those qualities must also manifest in words, because words constitute existing things. From this perspective, there does not exist any separation between the eternal, the source of all existing things, and existing things. in this sense, the eternal becomes accessible and articulateable, not ineffable. Not ineffable because words themselves possess the qualities of eternity which mark all existing things. Not ineffable because giving voice to eternity simultaneously exhibits that eternal nature. Not that words alone have this nature, but that words also have this nature. And the great virtue of words lies in the ability of words to name eternity and exhibit that very nature that the words name. From a pansacral perspective, the self-referential consistency of the qualities of eternity means that one can give voice to eternity, that one can name the eternal, discover the eternal, recover the eternal, because the eternal presents itself in openness and clarity to all who will take the effort to perceive and comprehend this eternal presence.

The last sentence articulates the connection between change and liberation. if change did not exist, liberation could not happen because in order to attain and/or realize liberation, one must change. This applies weather one comprehends liberation as a purification or a sudden awakening; both models infer that a change must take place. No change, no liberation. if the primal nature of existence consisted of non-change, no one could ever attain liberation or realize this primal nature, this eternal presence. Because change and eternity do not differ, liberation exists as a possibility. Because change and eternity do not differ, flowers blossom, clouds drift across the sky, and the heart of compassion can blossom to embrace all of existence.


If it does not change it does not manifest the truth. Therefore everything manifests the truth. Release all notions of stability, repetition, being, essence, etc., and the eternal emerges precisely in that gesture of release.


Being-based metaphysics operates by systematically excluding anything which changes in order to arrive at that which does not change. The impulse for doing this arises from the belief that truth means that which does not change. Plato contrasts truth with opinion. Truth does not change, only opinion changes.

if I recall correctly, part of the impulse for this entry came from conversations I had with a vedanta teacher, a good friend of mine. The vedanta teacher told me that he taught a form of meditation in which the student step by step excluded anything which changed. This meditative process would lead the student to the arena of pure consciousness, unchanging, immutable awareness.

Both the platonic and vedanta strategies have the consequence of not only negating the world, but degrading the world. The world of appearances does not constitute the divine domain because the world of appearances changes and the changing can not manifest as the truth. If, however, we shift our awareness to the constancy of change, to the everpresentness of change, than change becomes the truth, the transcendental truth, an aspect of ultimacy. When we shift our awareness in this manner, then everything everywhere and everywhen manifests the ultimate precisely because of this changing nature. One does not have to divide existence into the delusionary realm of appearances and the static realm of truth. Rather the ongoing transformational matrix of appearing things and the realm of ultimate truth merge; no separation exists between the two.

This shift from the eternal as unchanging to the eternal as change itself happens we learn to cease to cling. Being forms the foundation for clinging and therefore for suffering as such. When we cease to cling, the world of appearances manifests as the realm of the eternal.


One could also call change time.


In this diary I struggled with the relationship between change and time. Time exists because change exists. Time has a dependent relationship to change. But, I would argue, change itself has a timeless aspect to it, that change precedes time.

The question arises because of the existence of certain things/forms which seem to exhibit a timeless quality to them. This applies particularly to such things as mathematical and logical forms. Particularly in western culture, the existence of mathematical forms has formed a foundation for the idea that there exists a changeless reality which supersedes, in many respects, the realm of appearances.

The existence of such forms, and the status of their existence, forms an issue of debate in the history of philosophy, a debate which has not reached a conclusion. However, I don’t consider it necessary to solve the issue of the ontological status of mathematical forms in order to assert that change also applies to such timeless things. Let us assume that mathematical forms do exist in a timeless manner and/or dimension. Even so, I would argue that such forms change.

My reason for this follows: at some point in the history of this planet there appeared a kind of consciousness that can understand these mathematical forms. Previous to the existence of this kind of consciousness, no living thing on earth understood these forms. in the future, other forms of consciousness will appear that either do not understand these mathematical forms or do not consider them interesting. This means that the mathematical forms have changed from “forms that nothing understands” to “forms that something understands” to whatever the future may hold. This means that the forms have changed. Just as a chair changes when we say “the chair was green” and “now the chair is not green”, so also the mathematical forms have changed as reflected by the descriptors of conscious comprehension.

The standard rebuttal to this kind of assertion states that the forms have not changed, only a conscious relationship to them has changed. But, there must exist some connection between the mathematical forms and the consciousness realizing their existence. if no connection existed, that consciousness could not realize the existence of such mathematical forms. Only because there exists a connection between the two, the mathematical forms and the consciousness comprehending the forms, does comprehension of these forms become possible.

For this reason, because a connection must exist in order for comprehension to emerge, I assert that the mathematical forms change in their relationship to the world. For this reason, I assert that if timeless forms exist, then change also exists as a timeless condition; that change precedes time and applies equally to the timeless and that which exists in time.

I begun to comprehend time as a particular kind of change. I think the tendency exists, certainly in me it exists, to regard change and time as nearly synonymous. But I now think of time as a sub-class of change. Time means cyclical change. Time means change comprehended with in a context of recognizable returning. Thus we measure time by certain motions of a wave-like and repetitive nature. The return of the sun to the same point in the sky marks a year. The motion of the moon constitutes a repetitive cycle that controls the calendars of many cultures.

Not all change happens in this manner of cyclical returning. Some things happen irregularly. For example, the performance of a piece of music happens irregularly and we would find it difficult to construct a calendar based on the appearance of a piece of music. Some comets and meteors do not have a regular pattern, and for this reason we could not use them to establish a sense of time. There also exist many unique events in the world that happen only once and therefore do not establish a pattern from which to establish a sense of time. in addition, as stated above, there may exist timeless forms, Plato’s great discovery.

For all of these reasons, I have started to comprehend time as dependent upon change, but not as synonymous to change. Given the reality of change, time appears. But change can exist without time. Though time can not exist without change.


The eternal manifests as time but only if one understands time as process. Because people have a tendency to reify time and turn it into an essence, I prefer the word change.


The strong tendency has appeared to turn time into an unchanging essence. Thus time in some systems appears as a uniform container in which appearances happen. From this perspective time happens to things. One gets the impression from this perspective that if time did not happen to exist, things would exist but would not change. Modern developments in physics, I understand, have subverted this notion of an independently existing and uniform time. Nevertheless there still exists this tendency to view time in this essentialistic way.

In contrast to this view of time as a container in which time happens to things, Dogen writes of time as the unfolding of events. Time doesn’t happen to events; rather time means the unfolding, blossoming, and vanishing of things. Things and time do not exist separately because things mean things in process.

I would construe time more narrowly now than when I wrote this entry under the strong influence of Dogen. As stated immediately above, I now think of time as a particular type of change, a subcategory of change. Time means cyclic change. The relationship between time and change shows that change encompasses time, but one could have change without time. The end of time does not imply the end of change, but only the end of a particular kind of change.

For this reason, I still prefer the word change when describing this aspect of the eternal, to the term time.


One could also call change great.


Great because without change, nothing would exist. Great because without change existence as such would not exist. All things depend for their existence upon change. Existence as such depends upon change for existence as such. No change, no things. No change, no existence. For this reason, one can truly call change great.


Though one could call it great, change nevertheless manifests in the microscopically small. Therefore from the point of view of the eternal, which means from the point of view of change, the small means the large, the great means the microscopic, the dark means the light, the profound means the obvious. Change transcends all dualities because dualities emerge from the delusion of being and change dissolves being into the eternal realm of time.


I must have felt inspired this day as there exist many different observations embedded in this entry. But the main focus of this entry has to do with the transcending of opposites. Given any pair of opposites, we can unite them in the comprehension of change. For example, both the small and the large change; so from the perspective of change, the large and the small do not differ. Or take light and dark. Both light and dark change; so from the perspective of change, light and dark do not differ. Or take good and evil. Both good and evil change; so from the perspective of change, good and evil do not differ. Or take true and false. Both true and false change and lack any absolute nature. So from the perspective of change, true and false do not differ.

Change means entering the realm of both/and while simultaneously abandoning the realm of either/or. Change means that nothing exists with a separate or distinct nature, a nature unlike other things. Change makes all things equal.

I find this most clearly symbolized in the famous yin-yang mandala from the taoist tradition. Within the circle of the mandala one finds a field of light and a field of dark. The light has a touch of dark, the dark has a touch of light. The circle embraces both the light and the dark. The circle symbolizes the everpresent nature of change. The embracing of both light and dark symbolizes the nature which transcends all opposites because the both/and nature of the transcendental manifests equally in both opposites. Contemplating this mandala has helped me to understand the transcendental nature of change and how change transcends all opposites; not by taking us to a realm before opposites arise, but by showing us a nature which embraces both opposites, while at the same time not rejecting either opposite.

Today I would change the last line to read, “... change dissolves being into the eternal realm of change itself.” The use of the word “time” in this sentence shows that I still tended to think of time and change as synonymous. As stated above, I have since taken a different view on the relationship between change and time.


You can not escape the eternal no matter how hard you try to hide within the confines of being or retreat behind the walls of essence. You can not escape the eternal because you yourself continuously change.


The transcendental nature of change applies to, and arises as a quality of all existing things. All existing things includes ourselves as an existing thing. We also change and precisely that changing nature of ourselves means the eternal within and without us. Paradoxically, when we move away from change in our quest for the eternal, we move away from the eternal itself. We do not have to go anywhere to discover/uncover/recover the eternal because change permeates our own existence. Without change we would not exist. Because of change, we exist as a manifestation of the eternal. Because of change the possibility of liberation by releasing all clinging into the river of change, arises.


The glissandi of the multiverse.


A musical metaphor. Imagine 100 string instruments; violins, violas, cellos, bases. Imagine all of them continuously playing slides, or glissandi, on their strings; some ascending, some descending, some slow, some rapid. The effect would form a sonic cloud of continuously changing in pitch.

Or imagine 100 string instruments; violins, violas, cellos, bases. imagine all of them playing on a single note, all performing on the same pitch. imagine all of them continuously varying the loudness of their pitch, gradually changing from as soft as possible to as loud as possible, and every nuance in-between. The effect would form a sonic cloud continuously changing in volume.

Or imagine 100 string instruments; violins, violas, cellos, bases. imagine all of them playing on a single note, yet all of them on a different pitch. imagine all of them continuously varying the loudness of their pitch, gradually changing from as soft as possible to as loud as possible, and every nuance in-between. The effect would form a sonic cloud continuously changing in volume, but this cloud would have a different density then the one immediately above.

Or imagine 100 sources of light, such as spotlights, all of different colors. imagine all of the lights have reostats which can gradually change the brightness of the lighting from barely perceptible to almost blindingly bright. Now imagine all of these sources of light gradually altering their brightness in a random way. The effect would form a cloud of light continuously changing in brightness and color.

Or imagine 100 sources of light, such as spotlights, all of the same color. imagine all of the lights have reostats which can gradually change the brightness of the lighting from barely perceptible to almost blindingly bright. Now imagine all of these sources of light gradually altering their brightness in a random way. The effect would form a cloud of light continuously changing in brightness, but focused in color.

Or imagine 100 sources of light, such as spotlights, all set on the same color, all set at the same brightness. imagine all of them mounted so that they can sweep the auditorium in a continuous arc. Now imagine all of the lights moving at different and varying rates, some fast, some slow, some growing faster, some slowing down. The effect would form a swirling cloud of light continuously changing in form.

Or imagine 100 sources of light, such as spotlights, all set on different colors, all set at the same brightness. Imagine all of them mounted so they can sweep the auditorium in a continuous arc. Now imagine all of the lights moving at different and varying rates, some fast, some slow, some growing faster, some slowing down. The effect would form a swirling cloud of light continuously changing in form and color.

Now combine all of these images into a single experience using hundreds of string instruments and hundreds of lights. imagine this and use this image as a metaphor or template for change as the ultimate nature of existence, as the glissandi of the multiverse.


Do not say that change “is” the eternal for that little word “is” betrays the truth by reifying change into an essence, a substance, a doorway into the house of delusion called being.


At the time of engaging in this diary I fell under the influence of a writing practice called e-prime. This version of english does away with all forms of the verb “to be”. At the time it seemed to me an efficacious way of beginning a grammar of primal process. I had the idea that because of the strong noun orientation of our language, that creating a form of language that would bring out more strongly a verb context would prove more congenial to the idea of change as eternity.

I have since modified that view. After many years of practicing e-prime I concluded that it has very little effect, perhaps no effect, on one’s metaphysical understanding. Doing away with the verb “to be” does not necessarily lead one away from a being based view of existence. Nor does such a procedure have the capacity to diminish the grip of the idea of the unchanging as real.

Having said this, I did find the use of e-prime helpful in my own writing. Using e-prime helped me to reconfigure sentence structure, enabling me to express myself with greater precision. Basically, I think writers could use the verb “to be” much less than they tend to; I think of it as a lazy way out.

One insight from the use of e-prime that has stayed with me, however, is the use of certain words in verb forms that most people would not use in that way. For example, “to impossible”, or “to truth”. interestingly, the use of nouns as verb does not appear as part of the e-prime program, but arose out of my use of e-prime. The capacity to use any word in english as a verb or a noun, I believe serves the purposes of elucidating primal process more clearly than simply eliminating the use of the verb “to be”. if I were to develop a grammar of primal process, or eternal change, today I would start at this point: that any word can function as a verb.


Process emerges from change but change transcends process. Process implies a beginning and an end, creation, sustaining and destruction. But change exists equally at any point/moment of process. Change manifests completely at creation, at sustaining, and at destruction. The quality of change as such displays itself totally at all moments. Change as such has no greater or lesser, on degrees. Things do not more or less change. They always and in all ways engage fully as change.


In this entry I attempted to make a distinction between process and change. I don’t consider the attempt fully successful. I think my main point lies in pointing out the transcendental nature of change as transformation. Becoming and begoning, as opposites, have a shared nature as change and transformation. The sustained existence of a thing appears in this context as a form of change and transformation, not as a contradiction to change. in a sense, I comprehend process as a word designating an analysis of change into parts. Change implies process in the same sense that change implies time. Process distinguishes types of change, but change embraces all types of process.


The quest for being emerges from a desire to escape change which means a revulsion with the transcendental. This disgust with change results in the gesture of clinging which forms the basis from which the idea of being emerges, and from which suffering inevitably follows.


In this entry I return to buddhist roots, placing the topic of eternal change in the context of liberation from suffering. I began to comprehend the task of liberation through the context of eternal change. This lead to an understanding of the quest for the changeless as rooted in a revulsion towards and a disgust with change.

The Buddha’s quest arose in part because of his comprehension of the passing away of all things and that therefore the pursuit of worldly goals such as wealth, fame, status, etc., ultimately have no point. This sense of disgust towards the mutable permeates the platonic tradition as well. This sense of disgust arises because the mutable becomes linked with the pointless in terms of the pursuit of worldly goals and goods.

Paradoxically, this sense of disgust and revulsion pull one away from that eternal presence which they seek, for the eternal manifests as that very mutability and change that people seem to want to pull away from. This has lead me to the conclusion that disgust and revulsion do not form a good foundation for awakening. I realize that in the buddhist tradition some schools of buddhism consider disgust with existence, or samsara, as a necessary condition for realization. In this interpretation of the dharma the logic of disgust requires that the practitioner comprehend all of existence as unreliable, and therefore of little or no value. This interpretation can, at times, become quite meticulous about this insight.

Nevertheless, I consider the insight flawed. I don’t consider existence unreliable. One only draws the conclusion of unreliability if one starts with the idea that things should have a stable nature. If, however, one lets go and releases the desire for stability, then the reliability of existence blossoms forth. All existing things will change and transform; I consider this a completely reliable statement. The desire for changelessness blocks the understanding of the reliableness of existence. Having blocked the perception of the completely reliable nature of existence, a revulsion towards existence arises because existence does not live up to the standards we seek to impose upon: that of stability and changelessness. The solution, however, does not lie in cultivating revulsion, which led to the problem in the first place. Rather, the solution lies in comprehending all of existence in its actuality as change, transformation, process. in comprehending all of existence as blossoming forth in an ongoing and endlessly creative display. This does not happen by turning away from existing things. Rather this entry into the eternal happens when we pay closer attention to existence, when we cultivate clarity and understanding, so that the actuality of our situation can present itself. When we accomplish this, all things become an enlightening presence, clearly displaying for us the everywhenness of eternity. And then we can understand that samsara and nirvana do not differ, not even in the slightest.


Being, essence, law, repetition, stability, sameness, etc., the eternal dissolves all of these notions, all of these delusions. When one enters change, the eternal realm, being vanishes, essence disappears, one becomes lawless, each moment emerges in its uniqueness, and one finds reassurance in the blossoming forth of all things.


The eternal dissolves being: because the eternal means change and therefore being does not exist.

The eternal dissolves essence: because essence implies an unchanging aspect of something, but the eternal means change itself. Change does not manifest as an essence, but rather as a transcendental quality qualifying all existing things.

The eternal dissolves repetition: because change constantly changes. Each full moon has a different brightness. Each snowflake a different shape. Each time someone performs a song, they bring out new nuances.

The eternal dissolves stability: true if one comprehends stability as changelessness. However, the eternal brings into the foreground the reliability of constant change.

The eternal dissolves sameness: because if everything changes then nothing every stays the same. Moment to moment a new world continuously emerges, the cornucopia of all existing things.

“One becomes lawless”: by lawless I mean that even laws, such as logical laws, scientific laws, and mathematical laws, have only a provisional, temporary nature. These laws also change and mutate, and become something else. They have a history, a trajectory to their existence. Lawless in this context means not clinging to formulations as examples of a fixed eternity.

“One finds reassurance in the blossoming forth of all things.” This insight emerges from discovering that impermanence constitutes only half, or only part of, the truth. An important truth, for sure, but only a partial truth. For impermanence does not mean blasted into non-existence. Rather impermanence means change as transformation, and change as transformation means becoming something else. Every manifestation of impermanence means the creation of something else. impermanence and creation arise together, mutually generate each other, and find their unity in change as such. The other half of the truth, creation, the matrix of emergence, has just as much validity as the truth of impermanence.

Nothing ever completely vanishes. Nothing ever completely disintegrates. All existing things giving birth to all existing things.


Suffering does not appear from desire. Desire as such simply appears in the vast spaciousness of existence. Suffering appears from clinging. Being names the origin of clinging and therefore forms the root of suffering. if one wishes to overcome suffering one must transcend being. One accomplishes this by releasing all being into the reality of change. When one releases all being into the reality of change one then manifests eternity as the constancy of change. Simultaneously one transcends the placement of any particular appearance.


Once again I return to the central focus of buddhist practice, the end of suffering. in the context of the Buddhist four noble truths, this entry comments on the second noble truth, that suffering has a cause. In Buddhist literature, this cause has two aspects; craving and clinging. Craving and desire, in this context, usually mean the same thing. Much Buddhist doctrine has interpreted this relationship between desire and suffering as meaning that in order to attain liberation, or freedom from suffering, one must extinguish desire. This has led in some buddhist traditions to programs aimed at extinguishing all desire in the belief that this will result in liberation.

This entry offers a different interpretation. Rather than suffering arising from desire, I comprehend suffering as arising from clinging. Suffering arises from clinging because everything changes, without exception. Because everything changes, clinging results in frustration, anger, grief, despair, in a word, suffering.

In this context I understand craving as clinging to desire. Desire, in and of itself does not give rise to suffering. Rather clinging to desire gives rise to suffering. Craving means the clinging to desire. But that means that ultimately the clinging causes the suffering; craving becomes just one example of clinging.

This shift of understanding away from craving to clinging as the cause of suffering means that the program that leads to liberation differs, takes on a different emphasis. One does not strive to eliminate desires. One might as well ask the sky to eliminate clouds. Rather, one seeks to develop a mind that has awakened to the flowing, changing, process, rivering nature of all things. Awakening to this primal nature, this eternal change, and liberation follows. in a sense, awakening to primal process means liberation. One can accomplish this through meditation and analysis. I would suggest both meditation and analysis play a necessary role in treading the path to liberation.

The last line of this entry regarding transcending the placement of any particular appearance refers to what happens when one awakens to the eternal as the quality of change marking all existing things. The quality of change transcends any particular existing thing, even while manifesting as a quality of all particular things. One begins to perceive the transcendental everywhere. One begins to perceive all things as equal because all things change, all things have this eternal nature, this quality of eternity. Perceiving all things as equal in their transcendental qualities, one discovers that one does not have to go anywhere else to enter the divine domain. For the divine domain exists spread out over all of existence, present in all existing things, without exception.


The world consists only of change but change does not name the essence of things and does not refer to being or substance. Things do not have any essence for change dissolves all essence.


Once again I consider this entry too extreme. I find it interesting that in this diary I exhibit a tendency to fall into a kind of monism. I seem to want to find a single explanation, or thing, that will explain everything. Looking back on these entries from a distance of about 10 years, I tend to think of this tendency in the diary as arising from two sources. First, a feeling of the overwhelming power and presence of change as an eternal reality. Awakening to this reality of eternal change, I thought that it could explain, or account for, everything. Second, I think of this monist tendency as a kind of last holdover from a being-based view of existence. In a subtle way, I think of entries like this as trying to have my metaphysical essence and eat it too.

Having had time for further contemplations, I now regard change as just one of the transcendental qualities which mark all existing things. As mentioned above, other transcendental qualities include dependence, interdependence, uniqueness, etc. I don’t think of this essay as a good place to go into the nature of these other transcendental qualities, because this diary retains a focus on the nature of change. I refer interested readers to my essay The Presence Of Eternity.


However, though change names the ultimate status of all that exists, we have difficulty discovering this truth. instead we seem to instinctively cling to existence at some level, in some way. This happens because our sensory apparatus does not display for us the truth of change. Meaning that we do not directly perceive the dynamic and changing quality of all things. instead we seem to observe discrete, and static, and isolated entities. However, we can say that the appearance of things in this world has something deceptive about it. Not that things do not exist, but that they do not exist as static and isolated entities. Only when we seriously contemplate the condition of this world do we realize the fundamentally changing character of everything that we perceive. This requires effort to realize precisely because ordinary perception does not support this insight.


in earlier entries I stated that the eternal nature of change does not hide. in this entry I say that we have difficulty discovering the truth of the eternal presence of change. I regard both statements as true, but not as absolutely true. When I say that eternal change does not hide, I mean that change does not exist as a substance, substratum, or essence, that somehow functions behind or prior to the display of appearances. Comprehending eternity as a quality of existing things means that one does not have to uncover eternity, one just has to discover eternity’s presence.

When I say that we have difficulty accessing the truth of eternal change, I mean that the ordinary display of appearances does not clearly show us, at all times, this changing nature. The desk I write upon seems to me unchanged from the desk I wrote upon yesterday. For this reason, our ordinary perception does not clearly display to us the truth of the constant and all permeating presence of change.

In order to illustrate this point I suggest the following experiment:

Take a small bell. Ring the bell a few times, somewhere between 3 and 108 times. Listed to the sound of the bell. Our minds easily encompass the entire process of the sound of a bell. The arising, changing and ceasing of the sound of the bell, the entire arc of the existence of this sound presents no difficulties for our perception.

Next, take some birthday candles, the kind that people put on birthday cakes.. Light the birthday candles, from 2 to 5 candles. Now simply watch the candles burn down completely. This will take about 5 to 10 minutes. in this case, also, we seem to have the capacity to clearly perceive the entire process of the changing burning candles. if we watch our minds clearly, we will notice a certain tendency to wander from the candles, but by and large observing the candles does not present any serious difficulties. Once again we seem capable of encompassing the entire arc of the process of change.

Now take a stick of incense. Light the incense and place it in an incense holder. Simply observe the burning incense vanishing into smoke. This will take somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes, depending upon the incense. in this case, for most people, our minds seem to wander and we miss out on some of the arc of change. Even so, we seem to grasp the complete arc of the smoking incense without a great deal of difficulty, even if we do find this more difficult than the sound of a bell or the burning of birthday candles.

Now take some flowers and put them in a vase. Use the flowers as an object of contemplation. if your mind wanders, simply bring the mind back to observing the flowers. Do this for somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes. For the most part, we can not perceive the unfolding change taking place. Sometimes during a contemplation on flowers, a bud will open slightly or a leaf will fall. So it seems that flowers hover right over the edge of our capacity to perceive change. We do not feel shocked when flowers wilt. in fact we expect them to do so. But we rarely actually observe flowers wilting, or buds opening, in the way that we perceive the sound of a bell, or the burning of birthday candles.

Somewhere between the burning of the incense and the blossoming of a flower, our human apparatus looses its ability to directly perceive change.

Now, take a rock. Place the rock on a table. Observe the rock for 20 to 40 minutes. It does not seem to change. It just seems to sit there. We do not see the rock grow. We do not see the rock disintegrate. We do not see the rock transforms. The rock appears stable.

This series of contemplations helps us to understand the necessary role of investigation and inference when approaching the nature of the eternal. Though we do not perceive the rock as changing, we can infer that the rock changes. Though we do not perceive the changing nature of many things, we can infer that they change. This inference of change arises out of our experience with things such as the sound of a bell and the blossoming of flowers. We infer from those experiences that other things, such as rocks and chairs, also have the same nature.

This mean that the eternal quality of change, the view that all things without exception change, has both an experiential and an inferential aspect to it. Both have important parts to play in the investigation into the ultimate nature of all things.


Clinging means operating from the belief that something somewhere endures.


When I say “endures” I mean does not change. When I say “operating” I mean functioning in the world as if a view had truth. For example, if I operate from the view that the world is flat and I might fall off, this will effect my behavior. Similarly, if I operate from the view that something in the world does not change, it will effect how I function in the world. Basically, the view that something does not change devalues the world of changing things, as the purpose of such a belief in the unchanging also states that the unchanging has greater value than the changing. This has consequences in our spiritual lives, as it implies that the purpose of spirituality has to do with removing ourselves from the world of changing things.

However, when we cease to cling, under the understanding that change itself means the eternal, then the world of things becomes transvalued into the presence of eternity itself. The world of existing things no longer functions as an obstacle to realization and liberation. The world itself of changing and mutable things means the realm of realization and liberation.


Suffering means the feeling that appears when we realize the futility of clinging, but cling nevertheless.


I believe this entry refers to the force of habit. We all have had the experience of wanting to change a habit, but not having the ability to follow through on that. The habit of clinging has something tremendously tenacious about it. Buddhists would say that this habit of clinging has its roots in endless past lives. Because of the tenaciousness of the habit of clinging, spiritual practice necessaries. We need to practice non-clinging. This may seem paradoxical because if the primal nature of existence means change itself, then why do we need to practice something that everything already does? But I consider the paradox only apparent. Clinging refers to a habit of mind, an attitude that wants things not to change, not to transform. The practice of non-clinging refers to gradually diminishing the force of that habit of mind so that change and transformation happen without resistance or resentment.

In the Zen tradition, the practice of zazen functions as the core means for practicing non-clinging. Other means also exist. Because of the force of habit, it takes some time, energy, and commitment to enter into this domain of eternal change. But when we do so, suffering ceases and the world in its rivering clarity appears.


Compassion means awakening others to the basic nature of existence, which means awakening others to change and impermanence. Awakening others to change means releasing them from clinging. Releasing others from clinging means bringing an end to their suffering.


This entry seeks to integrate the comprehension of ultimate nature as change with the great vow of compassion central to mahayana buddhism. When we awaken others to ultimacy as change, we create the conditions which can, if the person applies themselves, result in release from suffering. This follows because clinging means suffering, forms the basis for suffering. For this reason I regard the activity of investigating the ultimate nature of existence as an act of compassion. Philosophical investigation, far from residing in some remote isolated realm, directly impacts the task of awakening, realization, and the manifestation of compassion.


The great vow of compassion means the vow to bring all others to the understanding of change as the primal reality, change as transcendent reality.


With my expanded understanding of the nature of ultimacy, meaning that I no longer regard change as the sole or only transcendental quality, I would now regard the above as a first step in awakening to transcendental reality. Awakening to other aspects of eternity also fulfills the great vow of compassion. I think of eternity now as a realm or a region, with many features and many aspects, a vast territory to explore. The comprehension of change as eternity opens the door to that realm, but does not constitute the totality of that realm.


No reality, certainly no ultimate reality, exists other than change. Search though you may, change remains as the ultimate truth.


Once again, I find this entry too extreme. Other facets or aspects of eternity, of ultimate reality, also exists.

However, I still regard the second sentence as useful. Search though one may, no matter what one encounter, change manifests. Everywhere, everywhen, and everything means change.


Moving, swirling, mysterious and eternal and everlasting.


Moving: always in motion, never standing still, always active, blossoming, becoming and begoning, the rivering world.

Swirling: like the galaxies at night, like the clouds in the sky, like trees in the wind. Eternity displays its beauty all around us.

Mysterious: in the sense of unfathomably vast and complex.

Eternal: change as the nature of the eternal itself.

Everlasting: the constancy of change, the always present nature of change, the pervasiveness of change, the everywhenness of change.


Change itself means the unoriginated and the unborn.


Unoriginated: in the sense of without beginning and without ending. This existence always existing as the blossoming forth of things, without any beginning or point of creation.

Unborn: in the sense that change never started, that there never existed, never has existed, never will exist, the unchanging. For this reason one can not trace back to a point at which change begins, to a point at which change emerges in the world. Change as the unborn means the everywhenness of change.


One must abandon the search for the eternal because the eternal manifests simply as you. “Simply as you” because you change all the time, non-stop, relentlessly, without a moments ceasing. Therefore you do not differ from the eternal not because something in you does not change; but rather because the nature of change and your original nature and the eternal, all of these name the same name.


Today I would rewrite the opening to read something like, “Discover the eternal within you, because the eternal manifests simply as you.” I would no longer put it to abandon the search for the eternal. The search for the eternal constitutes that part of human existence which has the capacity to attain liberation, freedom from suffering, and manifesting compassion. Today I would encourage people to press on in their search for the eternal, but I would point out that the eternal exists everywhere, and therefore also exist within, as well as without.

Because of the everywhere nature of the eternal, the transcendental nature of ourselves means that nature which reveals eternity and exists as the eternal. Because of the everywhen nature of the eternal, we do not need to wait for some revelation or some time or some appearance in order to comprehend the nature of eternity. Rather, we simply, though I do not underestimate the difficulty of the task, need to apply ourselves to comprehending eternity, and we then discover the presence of eternity in all existing things, in existence itself, within, without, everywhere and everywhen.


The river of the eternal.


The presence of Heraclitus becomes prominent beginning here. The metaphor of the river as a representation of the ultimate nature of existence has appeared in many different philosophers. Heraclitus wrote that one can not enter the same stream twice. Heraclitus used the river as a metaphor for the flowing nature of all things. Abstractly, Heraclitus wrote “panta rhei”; everything flows, nothing abides. Heraclitus then illustrated this central insight with the example of the river. I understand Heraclitus to say that everything resembles a river, that everything in existence has this flowing quality to it.

In the famous essay by Kamo-no-Chomei entitled The Ten Foot Square Hut, the author begins the essay, “Ceaselessly the river flows, and yet the water is never the same, while in the still pools the shifting foam gathers and is gone, never staying for a moment. Even so is all of humanity and their habitations.” (Sadler translation) These opening lines permeate and set the tone for the entire essay, reminding the reader that all things have this nature of change, of flowing, of non-abiding.

The “Analects” of Confucius contains the following, “Standing beside a river, the Master said: ‘Everything passes away like this, day and night, never resting.’” (The Analects, iX.17, David Hinton translation)

Lao Tzu links the flowing nature of water with his understanding of the good when he writes in Section 8:

A person with superior goodness resembles water,
Water benefits all beings,
Without contending with any.
Situated in places shunned by many others,
There it is near the Tao.

I suspect that many people have glimpses of eternity while observing water. I think this helps us to understand why observing a flowing stream feels so restful, or watching waves at the ocean shore has a very similar, profoundly restful character about it. Pausing, simply observing the flowing water, we intuitively realize that all things have this nature, and this intuition functions as a gate to the presence of eternity. However, most people do not consciously realize the nature of their experience, and therefore, unfortunately, let it pass without building upon this realization. However, the river of eternity remains forever present, kindly guiding us to realization and liberation.


Not oneness, not being, not essence. Only change constantly changing.


All of a sudden the idea of oneness appears in this entry. I think that the sudden appearance of oneness in this context happened because I intuited that change can not, by itself alone, sufficiently explain all things. As I progressed through this diary, I at first had the strong inclination towards a monism of change. This appears when I make statements like “things exist as nothing but change.” Gradually, and at first only vaguely, I began to understand the nature of eternity as more complex, finally letting go of my attempt to reduce eternity to a single category.

When I say “not oneness”, this brief clause serves to change the direction of my inquiry because it implies that I can not reduce eternity to just change, to only change; and that, therefore, other aspects of eternity must also exist.

The above entry has a built in tension around this issue, though, because I immediately follow, in the second sentence, with a kind of monistic statement, “Only change constantly changing.” But if, ultimately, only change constantly changing exists, that implies a oneness, that eternity has only a single function, aspect, or nature.

So this entry displays a movement in my own thought, a kind of tension that existed at that time, between two different ways of coming to terms with the eternal. One way, that of monism, attempts to reduce the eternal to a single all -encompassing category. This approach serves well in the context of being and essence. The other approach, I think of as open-ended, not closed off. When I say open-ended I mean that although I still maintain that change exists as a mode, or aspect, of eternity, there also exist other aspects, or modes of eternity.

The first approach, that of monist reductionism, seeks to offer a complete and final system. The other approach, the open-ended approach, offers insight but does not close off the investigation and actually in its open-endedness invites others to the investigation into the nature of eternity.

When I said “not oneness” I think I intuited that, from the perspective of comprehending eternity as transcendental qualities, uniqueness functions as a quality of all existing things, everywhere and everywhen. Though at first this may seem paradoxical, one of the things which all things have in common lies in their uniqueness. The idea of oneness seeks to obliterate that which differentiates things, and in some sense regards the differences between things as less real than that which things have in common. However, if we investigate the matter further, we find that uniqueness names a quality which all things possess. I like to put it this way; every drop of rain has a different size, every leaf a different shape, every photocopy a different shade. Using the language of the perfection of wisdom, “Uniqueness does not differ from oneness. Oneness does not differ from uniqueness. Uniqueness means oneness. Oneness means uniqueness.”

I do not go on in this dairy to explore the other transcendental qualities, the facets or modes of eternity, that I have since opened to. I therefore shall save discussion of them for another essay (see “The Presence Of Eternity”). But I sense in this diary entry, my first intuition into a larger perspective on the nature of eternity than I had previously suspected.


You can not step into the same stream twice, but you can step into the stream of the eternal, and you can embrace the wind of the eternal, and you can sing the song of eternity, the song of bliss, the melody which emerges when we transcend essence and release being into the outshining presence of eternal change.


Hovering in the background of all my comments I find my relationship to music as a pivotal experience. When I think of my childhood, most of my early memories consist of music. Music has always played a central role in my life. Considering music, I find that pre-eminently music constitutes process. if music did not change, it would not exist. in a very accessible sense, music has no substance, but consists entirely of changes unfolding in time.

I recall when studying philosophy in a university context, frequently I would test a metaphysical theory against the musical domain of existence. More often than not, the metaphysical theory would fail when put to that test. it seems to me that philosophers by and large test their theories against material phenomena, scientific theories, and to some extent psychological introspection. I have rarely found the use of the sonic domain as a proving ground for metaphysical speculation. I believe that this favoring of visual experience has led to a favoring of being-based metaphysical systems and the idea of the unchanging as the really real. The sonic domain so obviously changes, so obviously constitutes process, that if one takes the sonic domain as the primary locus of metaphysical applicability, then one would find it much more difficult to sustain the kind of metaphysical theories that have predominated in western culture.

This entry sums up a lot of what has appeared before by bringing together a number of metaphors. The entry begins with the famous quote from Heraclitus, but goes on to expand upon that metaphor of the river, pointing out that the river of Heraclitus means the stream of the eternal. From the river, the entry moves to the wind, as a stream or river of air. The metaphor then moves to the realm of sound and specifically music. in a way, one can view existence as a great and unimaginably complex piece of music. Once again, this constitutes a metaphor because it embraces even the non-sonic domains of experience. The visual realm resembles a song, the idea realm resembles a song, etc. By likening existence to a song, by pointing out that eternity means a melody, one can get a feel for the meaning of a metaphysics which takes change as primary and central.

Being-based metaphysical systems have had strong appeal in part because of their assertion that in order for meaning to exist, their must exist that which does not change. However, all of us have the experience of finding music meaningful and, once again, music consists completely of changes unfolding and blossoming forth as a river of sound. Music provides all of us with the experience of meaning and change as completely merged. Music, therefore, shows us how existence can have meaning, beauty, and in an expanded sense, even truth, in a context which comprehends change as the core nature of existence. Far from negating meaningfulness, a metaphysics which comprehends change as the core nature of existence opens up existence to us as a display of supreme and unexcelled meaning and beauty. A metaphysics of change as the core nature of existence reveals existence as the song of eternity.


Redefine ontology from the investigation into being to the investigation into the eternal. Previously, those investigating ontology have assumed that the eternal and being mean the same name. I suggest, however, that the eternal negates being because the eternal means change.


This entry turned into one of the most fruitful observations I made while writing this diary. I have followed through on this observation and it has opened up many vistas, many avenues of investigation, many visions, of eternity.

Traditionally ontology means the study of being and arises out of the question of being; meaning such questions as “What is the nature of being?”, “What does being mean?”, “How does being function?”, etc. The fascination with being derives from the belief that being means that which exists eternally. But the response to eternity as the notion of being constitutes only one possible response. Before the question of being arises, the question of eternity appears. The question of eternity leads to the question of being. But, by equating the question of being with the question of eternity, the western philosophical and theological traditions have foreclosed investigation into other possibilities for elucidating eternity.

Realizing that the question of being has its roots in the question of eternity, realizing that without the question of eternity, the question of being could not arise, shifted my focus. Let me illustrate this shift with an analogy. Suppose I wanted to explore the meaning of music. Suppose further that when I investigated what others have to say about the meaning of music I discovered that they used as examples only music using the major scale. No examples using the minor scale or non-western scales or modes appeared. This situation would strike me forcibly as a conflation of the meaning of music in the major scale with the meaning of music in general. in order to explore the meaning of music in general I would have to take a step back, to music in general, out of which the major scale arises. Similarly, when I discovered that many philosophers in the west conflate the meaning of being with the meaning of eternity, I took a step back, into a wider context, a context out of which the question of being arises. This wider context appears as the question of eternity, as the question “What does eternity mean?”

I would argue that ontology means, therefore, that study which focuses on the question of eternity. Ontology means that field of study which seeks to elucidate the meaning of eternity. Thus ontology, comprehended from this perspective, embraces the discussion of being, but only as a small part of the larger field of the elucidation of eternity. The question of eternity comes first. Only after this question, does the meaning of being arise, and the meaning of being arises only if one comprehends eternity as being. If one does not comprehend eternity as being, then ontology has other regions, other fields of meaning, that open when we shift our focus away from being to the question of eternity itself.

This shift of focus has lead me to comprehend eternity as having three core, and inter-related, meanings. First, that eternity means the everywhen. Whatever eternity means, eternity means that which always exists. This implies that at any particular time, for any duration of time, whatever constitutes the eternal, exists. Eternity means the always existent.

Second, that eternity means the everywhere. This differs from being-based metaphysical systems. in being-based metaphysical systems, observing that every particular thing which exists does not exist everywhen, conclude that whatever eternity means, it must exist somewhere other than this realm of mutable and forever changing things. The view of eternity as everywhere comprehends everywhen as implying, as inferring, everywhere. The when of existence means the appearing of things and events in existence. The exclusion of everywhere from the nature of eternity arises out of a separation of time from existence and from existing things, comprehending time as a uniform dimension/container in which events happen. But if no things existed, no when would exist. If no things existed, time would not happen. Time means the blossoming forth of things in existence. Comprehending time in this manner leads one to comprehending the everywhen of existence as meaning the everywhere of existence because the everywhere generates the everywhen. For this reason, I comprehend eternity as meaning that which exists everywhere and everywhen both.

Third, that eternity means the in everything. The everything aspect of eternity means that every thing which exists participates in the eternal. This follows from the everywhere and everywhen nature of eternity. Eternity, as existing everywhere, means that all things participate in the eternal. Eternity, as existing everywhen, means that all things participate in the eternal continuously.

If we take a visual object, that visual object has a color. However, colors do not exist everywhere. if we take a sonic object, the sonic object has pitch. However, pitch does not exist for olfactory object, and does not exist everywhere. How, then, do we comprehend the everywhere aspect of existing things? How, then, do we gain access to the everywhen nature of everything?

We gain access to the eternal by observing that which all things have in common. We gain access to that which all things have in common by observing those qualities which all things share. For example, a visual object has certain qualities, such as color and shape. But a visual object also has qualities which it shares with non-visual objects. These qualities transcend the visual experience, and though these qualities appear in visual objects, they do not consist in and of themselves as an exclusively visual experience. For the purposes of these comments on this diary, the particular quality concerned with here arises as the quality of change. I mean to say that the eternal manifests as transcendental qualities which everything shares. Those transcendental qualities which everything shares exist everywhere and manifest everywhen. Once again returning to the focus of this discussion, change exists as a quality which all existing things (things meant in the broadest possible meaning) have in common. For these reason I consider change as a facet of the eternal. Because change qualifies everything, change exists everywhere. One can not go anywhere where change does not exist. Because change qualifies everything, change exists everywhen. One can not find a region when change ceases.

From this perspective the eternal does not constitute being, does not consist of an essence or substance. Rather eternity, and change as eternity, means a presence which simultaneously manifests in all things and transcends its manifestation in any particular thing. Without things, eternity, and change as eternity, could not manifest. Without change, things would not appear and eternity would not exist. I refer to this view as pansacralism.

Comprehending the eternal as transcendental qualities of everything which manifest everywhere and everywhen, leads one to a way of testing, and checking on, one’s own comprehension of the eternal. Simply this: if there exists even one thing in existence which does not bear the quality under consideration, then that quality does not exist as the eternal. Everywhere, everywhen, and everything, the eternal embraces all, marks all, without exception.

There also exists a second test, one that flows from the first: that the transcendental quality under consideration should have self-referential consistency. By self-referential consistency I mean that the transcendental quality under consideration should also qualify itself. Change changes. in addition, transcendental qualities should qualify each other. Under the meaning of the term thing, in the context of pansacralism, transcendental qualities also exist as things, and therefore the qualities which exist everywhere and everywhen and mark everything, should also qualify the transcendental qualities, including the quality itself under consideration.

These considerations lead to the conclusion that the investigation into the eternal remains an open-ended investigation. As an individual, I do not have direct experience with all existing things. I infer from my experience and from my observation, but I do not have direct experience of everything. For this reason, there always remains the possibility of modifying the nature of the eternal as the investigation proceeds on the basis of that which qualifies everything everywhere everywhen. This open-endedness means the question of the eternal has no limits, no final and fixed response. This open-endedness means sending out an invitation to all to investigate the nature of the eternal on their own, to open their own hearts and minds to the presence of eternity.


Ontology can not mean the study of being because, in a sense, that would mean studying illusion. One can only break through illusion. The principle means for dissolving illusion lies in the investigation into the eternal. investigation into the eternal means opening to wisdom. Opening to wisdom means transcending being and abolishing essence. Then liberation emerges as the truth of one’s actual condition and simultaneously the truth that permeates all realms and all times.


I would put this differently today. Being arises from the view that the eternal means that which does not change. But the idea that there exists something which does not change remains an unproved assumption, an axiom, of being-based metaphysical systems. The idea of the unchanging constitutes what Aristotle would have called a “first principle”. A starting point that being-based metaphysicians consider obvious, but upon examination does not seem obvious.

The arising of the idea of the eternal as the unchanging separates the everywhere from the everywhen. in being-based metaphysical systems the eternal means the everywhen, but not the everywhere and not the everything. Pansacralism reunites the world by merging the everywhere and the everywhen, which leads to finding the eternal in everything.

I still appreciate the observation, “The principle means for dissolving illusion lies in the investigation into the eternal.” Many philosophers down through the centuries have recommended to view things from the perspective of eternity. This kind of contemplation has the salutary effect of placing our existence in perspective. Activities which had seemed important, now become unimportant. When comprehended from the perspective of eternity, there occurs a kind of foreground/ background shift in what becomes important. This shift also effect our life in many ways, including how we choose to earn a living, what friendships we wish to cultivate, and how we wish to spend our time.

The illusion referred to in this line means that people believe that certain things will endure, but they do not endure, they do not last. People think that, for example, a nation will last. But countries rise and fall like leaves in the wind. People think that fame will last, but nothing proves more fleeting. People think that youthfulness will last, but old age comes swiftly. People pursue many different things in the belief that those things will last, but in almost every instance, they do not endure. This gives rise to tremendous suffering, anger, resentment, bitterness. The antidote to this situation lies in focusing on the eternal itself, to ask the question of the eternal; namely, “What does eternity mean?”, “What does eternity consist of?”, “Does anything exist eternally?”, etc. Asking this question, one breaks through the illusion that something will endure. Wisdom then arises and suffering begins to loose its grip on our lives. I look at the philosophical tradition as a resource for accessing the nature of eternity. For this reason, the philosophers who interest me focus on this question of eternity. They include Lao Tzu, Heraclitus, the Buddha, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, Proclus, Boethius, Pseudo-Dionysius, John Scottus Eriugena, Dogen, Spinoza, Bergson, and many, many others. For all of these, the nature of eternity formed the central focus of their lives. Their great gift to humanity lies in their elucidation of that nature, for the elucidation of that nature leads to the cessation of suffering. For this reason, I consider philosophy the path to liberation. For this reason, I agree with John Scottus Eriugena when he wrote, “No one enters the kingdom of heaven, except through philosophy.”


Only that which changes manifests truth.


This entry repeats the earlier entry which begins, “If it does not change it does not manifest the truth.” My need to repeat this point arose, I think, because being-based metaphysicians often equate the notion of truth with the notion of the unchanging. Plato spoke eloquently from this point of view; that if something changed we can not call it true, we can only call it opinion. This assumes that truth means a state, or a condition. But if instead truth means a way of moving through existence, then truth changes, and truth implies a manner of flowing.

Notice that the idea that truth does not change bears the burden of self-referential inconsistency. The statement itself changes. The idea itself, that truth does not change, has a history. After all, Plato considered this an important discovery, which implies that people did not know this before Plato brought it to their attention. The statement therefore does not exhibit that nature of truth to which Plato, and others who agree with this point of view, refer. This leads to the difficulty that all such views have; namely how to reconcile the realm of the unchanging truth with the realm of mutable appearances.

On the other hand, the idea that truth consists of a way of moving through existence, that truth changes, has self-referential consistency. The statement changes and therefore exhibits this primal nature of change. Exhibiting this primal nature of change, the statement itself names and speaks of the primal nature under consideration. The statement has the virtue and the transcendental qualifier that we search for. From this perspective, there does not arise any need to reconcile two domains of truth and appearances. For appearances, all things, bear the mark of truth because truth and change do not differ.


Change has no color, no weight, no shape, no taste, no sonic contours, no smell, no conceptual content. Yet, paradoxically it does not exist independently of the realms of the six sense fields.


This entry represents a breakthrough for me in comprehending the specific nature of the transcendental qualities. This entry also helped me to comprehend why people have such great difficulty accessing the eternal even though, in a sense, the eternal does not hide. in another sense, however, as Heraclitus observed, “Nature loves to hide.” But this hiddeness of the eternal does not mean that the eternal exists in a covered over condition. Rather, the hiddeness has to do with its everpresentness, a word which combines the meaning of everywhere and everywhen.

Using the quality of change as an example, we discover that visual things change. We also discover that sonic things change. Then we discover that olfactory objects change. When we observe change itself, however, we do not observe a color, but rather color changing. in the same way we do not observe a sound, but rather than sound changing. The change of the sound, and the change of the visual object, both represent the same quality; they both have change in common. But change itself does not consist of a color or a sound. The same logic applies to all the sense fields and applies to all categories of things.

In order to comprehend the presence of eternity we need to shift our attention away from the qualities of the particular sensory realm to those transcendental qualities that exist in all realms and qualify all existing thing. By shifting our attention in this manner the everywhere and everywhen suddenly reveals itself in its everpresentness.

This shifting of attention, however, requires some genuine contemplative concentration. Normally, we find ourselves concerned with the qualities of particular sensory realms, what I refer to as circumstantial qualities. This makes sense because it matter to us if a room has the color blue, white or pink. it matters to us whether someone serves us hot or cold rice. Because of these concerns, however, we miss the presence of eternity manifesting as the transcendental qualities of everything. By shifting our attention to these transcendental qualities, once again, we become aware of a vast realm that lay before us all the time, everpresent, never far.


When I say that change transcends any given appearance or situation I do not mean to imply that one must go somewhere in order to experience the eternal. Rather, I mean that the transcendent eternally manifests in all things, and precisely because of this eternally manifesting quality change transcends any particular appearance.


I think I wrote this entry to clarify that when I use the terms “transcends” or “transcendental” I do not mean something, or a region, other than the region of things, considering things in its broadest possible meaning. One could look at ontological approaches (ontology understood as the investigation into eternity, the question of eternity), as on a continuum. At one end of the continuum one finds being-based approaches. The distinguishing feature of being-based approaches features the eternal as the unchanging. At the other end of the continuum one finds nihilism, that nothing exists eternally, that absolutely nothing endures. in a sense, these two extremes give rise to each other because nothingness also does not change. in a sense one can view nihilism as a variation on being-based ontology because the core feature of changelessness remains. In fairness to being-based ontologies, such being-based ontologies also embrace the ideas of substance and essence, which nihilism rejects.

I think of pansacralism as cutting between the extremes of being and nihilism. The means of cutting through these two extremes one finds in embracing change as the transcendental and eternal itself. One embraces change as the eternal when one comprehends the eternal not as being, or as a substance, but rather as that which qualifies all existing things everywhere and everywhen. Pansacralism rejects being because it does not posit a located source from which all things emerge. Pansacralism rejects being because it does not comprehend the eternal aspect of things as an essence or substance. Pansacralism also rejects the monotheistic tradition’s conception of ultimacy as a changeless being who bears moral responsibility for existence because the eternal manifests as qualities that all things have in common, rather than residing in a before existence domain. Pansacralism also rejects nihilism because the view of pansacralism does not comprehend things as ultimately non-existing. The mutability of things means their eternal nature. Things do not become nothing, they transform into other things and this transformation points to the creative unfolding which also qualifies all existing things as an aspect of eternal change.


Change constitutes the primordial condition, the becoming and begoning of all things. Because change constitutes the primordial condition, enlightenment constitutes our actual everpresent condition, the condition that we must awaken to.


Once again, in this entry I draw a connection between the buddhist goal of liberation and awakening to the primal, or transcendental, nature of change. Liberation and enlightenment arise as a possibility in this world because change exists as the primal nature of things and of ourselves. if change could not happen, we could not transform ourselves into compassionate presences. But more than that, change itself constitutes a quality of compassion. Clinging gives rise to suffering, not only for ourselves but also for others. Simply awakening to the transcendental and eternal nature of change, one awakens to the realm of liberation, compassion can then blossom within our hearts, and we can move through the world for the benefit of all sentient existence.


Change resides immanent within all phenomena. At the same time change transcends any particular phenomenon. One can consider change as immanently transcendent. But when one reads of the “change residing immanent within all phenomena” that does not mean that change hides. More accurately, one could say that change constitutes the totality of all things and precisely because of this change transcends any particular thing.


The pansacral understand of change as a quality which exists everywhere and everywhen in everything (“thing” broadly understood), merges the categories of the immanent and the transcendent. As a quality of existing things, the eternal resides immanently in all things. As that which all things have in common, the eternal transcends its own appearance in any particular thing. For this reason, from the perspective of pansacralism, the immanent means the transcendent and the transcendent means the immanent.

As before, I would now modify the penultimate line because I no longer consider change as the totality of things. Other transcendental qualifiers exist. As before, I became so fixated on change that I could not at this time broaden my perspective to include other facets of eternity, such as dependence, interdependence, aggregation, etc., which I explore more fully in the Presence of Eternity.


The reality of change as the eternal and the transcendent does not imply an unchanging background against which one perceives change. For example, we can understand the motion of the planetary bodies around the sun by considering the sun as the stable axis around which the planets move. But, in truth, the sun also moves and changes. We need only shift our axis of measurement to the galactic center and then the movement of the sun clearly emerges.

Therefore we can consider that all feeling of nonchange derives from a trick of the mind, resembling the conjuration of a magician. Humanity creates an axis of stability from which it then measures change. Being represents exactly that kind of mental projection and trick/conjuration of the mind, a kind of metaphysical solar center. However, being has no ontological validity if by ontology we mean the eternal.


Earlier I pointed out that the idea that something doesn’t change partially derives from our senses and our senses inability to perceive change. I listed a series of practices/contemplation to bring this to our awareness. In this entry I explore another means whereby the mind conjures non-change. When the mind reifies a standard that the mind uses to measure motion, that can, and often does, lead to the idea of non-change. The mind forgets that the mind created this standard, that it has no objective validity. The standard arises dependent upon the mind.

Dogen illustrated this point in his essay “Genjokoan”. Dogen writes,

if you are in a boat, and you only look at the riverbank, you will think that the riverbank is moving; but if you look at the boat, you will discover that the boat itself is actually moving. Similarly, if you try to understand the nature of phenomena only through your own confused perception you will mistakenly think that your nature is eternal. Furthermore, if you have right practice and return to your origin then you will clearly see that all things have no permanent self.
(Kosen Nishiyama and John Stevens, translators. Vol. 1, page 2, Shobogenzo, Japan Publications, Tokyo)

When Dogen writes, “ ... you will mistakenly think that your nature is eternal.” I understand Dogen to mean eternal in the sense of unchanging. One’s nature as the eternal emerges when one comprehends change and eternity as not-two, as non-dual, as meaning the same meaning.

The philosopher Bergson makes the same point with another illustration. Bergson writes that the unchanging resembles two cars, driving in parallel, at the same speed, down a hill, in adjacent lanes. The person in one of the passenger seats can talk to the driver of the other car. The two can even hand each other objects without much difficulty. If they pay no attention to their vehicles, they can assume their own stability and that the landscape moves, but not themselves.

This image resembles in many ways Dogen’s image of the person in the boat who thinks the shore moves while the boat stands still and does not change. Both of these illustrations seek to illuminate the mechanism of the mind which projects non-change onto existence based on a limited understanding and perspective.

But the boat does move and change. And the cars do move and change. Just as all things move and change, everywhere and everywhen.


The reality of change as the eternal and transcendent does not imply an unmoving background against which one perceives change. For example, we can see autumn leaves drop from trees. The trees themselves also change. We can observe cars moving along a road; the road itself undergoes change constantly.

Because of the nature of our sensory apparatuses, things appear to change at different rates. Cars change place on a stable road. The road changes (develops potholes, etc.) on the stable ground. The ground changes over long periods of time against the stable background of the earth itself. The earth itself evolves and changes in relation to the sun. The sun moves through the galaxy. The galaxy grows brighter and dimmer. Space expands and contract, vanishes and emerges. The quivering of an atom.

One can continue this indefinitely, infinitely, without ever finishing. The fact of the infinite regress emerges from the infinite and unbounded nature of change.


Only if one arbitrarily ceases this process of change upon change does being emerge. But there does not exist any necessity to post a stop sign in the changing nature of change. Unfolding forever, an endless melody, with no beginning and no ending, the ocean of eternal change, the eternal as ceaseless openness.


Change lacks all teleological implications and considerations. Change dissolves teleology.


With this entry I began to explore some of the implications of change as the eternal beyond the ontological. By teleology I mean the idea that existence evolves towards a greater state of perfection. A greater state of perfection means towards a more static, being-based mode. in terms of the monotheistic heritage, the idea that there exists a final goal towards which existence heads means that God will make some kind of final judgment on existence and specifically upon people. When we comprehend change as the eternal itself, it follows that existence does not evolve towards any particular goal, does not have a particular direction. Existence simply changes and because change itself means the eternal existence does not have to evolve to some condition in order to arrive at the eternal. Existence already exists permeated by the eternal.

From a secular perspective, teleology manifests as the idea of progress, that the current time has superiority, both materially and ethically, over previous times. I refer to this conception as chronocentrism. A neutral reading of history, even just human history, simply does not support this point of view. As in the theologically based teleology, change as the eternal and transcendentally present, dissolves this idea of progress because the ultimate nature of existence already exists, full blown; one does not have to achieve it or reach it.


Change negates perfection as a condition or state. Perfection must then mean a way of moving.


I once participated in an online buddhist discussion forum. At one point there appeared a discussion on whether or not the Buddha could have said something wrong, made a mistake. One group felt that the Buddha, as someone fully enlightened, could not have made a mistake and could not have said anything wrong or incorrect. Another group felt that the Buddha could have made mistakes, based on his culture, his background and the ordinary constraints that every human encounters.

At one point I raised the question of why people think that perfection implies never saying anything wrong or incorrect? Many people assume a connection between these two, but I have not seen such a connection demonstrated. If one comprehends change itself as the eternal, or more accurately, as an aspect of the eternal, then the idea of reaching a fixed position on any given issue falls away. Enlightenment, liberation, nirvana, then becomes a way of moving, of becoming one with change, of releasing all clinging, all resistance, to change.

In the context of the Buddha, this would mean that if someone demonstrated to the Buddha that his view did not hold up, the Buddha would effortlessly release his previous view, without the slightest clinging, the Buddha, as someone fully enlightened, would let go of the old, and now limited understanding. in this context, enlightenment means having a spacious mind; into that spaciousness one simply releases ideas, truths, opinions, which no longer serve. This release happens without regret and without any looking back. To get a feeling for this state of mind, consider the sound of a bell. When the sound of a bell ceases, we do not experience regret, nor do we normally experience a state of clinging, a desire for the bell sound to continue in an unchanging manner. This feeling that appears when the sound of the bell ceases shows to us exactly that state of mind that we can also achieve with our ideas. Like the sound of a bell, an idea which no longer serves, simply comes to an end and becomes a memory rather than an active presence.

Part of the discussion on this issue centered on the idea of omniscience, for many of the discourses assert that the Buddha possessed omniscience. I would like to suggest a different view about the meaning of omniscience, which I believe can reconcile the idea of omniscience with the idea that someone could hold a wrong view, or believe something untrue. I take omniscience to mean knowledge of the eternal. Because the eternal always exists, and from a pansacral perspective exists everywhere, knowledge of the eternal always functions, always has applicability. The “all knowing” meaning of omniscience then means knowledge of the eternal, but it does not have to therefore imply knowledge of every specific thing and happening that has ever manifested. Omniscience does not have to mean that someone having omniscience knows what I ate on April 28, 1977.

From the perspective of pansacralism, omniscience means becoming aware of those transcendental qualities which mark all existing things, the word things understood in its widest possible meaning. Omniscience in this context means that knowledge which applies everywhere and everywhen and to everything. Omniscience, therefore, has a specific meaning; it means that knowledge that applies specifically to the eternal, to the transcendental.

From the above perspectives, I consider it entirely possible that an enlightened personage can have incorrect opinions, believe in the truth of certain ideas which in fact turn out false. in actuality, there exist several buddhist sutras, discourses of the Buddha, where disciples of the Buddha disagree with the Buddha, and subsequent to the discussion, the Buddha changes his mind and ends up agreeing with his disciples. This demonstrates an openness, a willingness to unembarassedly change his view when confronted with sound reasons to do so. it demonstrates precisely that enlightened condition of mind, that presence of spacious non-clinging which has released all notions of being, all notions that there exists some final state from which one will never in the future have to deviate. I find these discourses very inspirational and they point to the mind and heart which I take as the core of enlightenment.


When we identify with a thing, or with anything, we commit ourselves to a stasis, to an entity, to being at some level. When we awaken to the basic changing nature, or the nature of change, then we become unattached to any thing and to all things. This brings freedom and bliss. Furthermore, this allows us to completely accept all appearances just as they manifest, without the slightest need or desire to alter them; because all appearances just as they appear completely manifest the transcendent and the eternal, meaning they completely manifest the reality of change.

This leads to the spontaneous emergence of gratitude for all of existence.


The development of a neutral attitude towards all existing things (the word things taken in its broadest meaning) forms a core practice in many spiritual traditions. From stoicism to buddhism one finds this kind of practice. in order to understand this practice one needs to comprehend the difference between indifference and equanimity. in order to understand the difference between indifference and equanimity, once again consider the sound of a bell. When the sound of a bell ceases, we do not normally experience regret or clinging to that sound. That experience we have when the sound of a bell ceases means the experience of equanimity, of having a neutral attitude towards the sound of the bell and its cessation. However, notice that this experience does not mean indifference. We may, we often do, enjoy the sound of a bell, and in the future we may enjoy the memory of that sound. The difference between the two states of indifference and equanimity seems subtle becomes in terms of affect one does not notice much, if any difference. However, in terms of our minds, in terms of our mental asana, the difference feels very clear.

Sharon Salzberg writes that indifference actually forms the first subtle stage in the arising of aversion. if one follows out the feeling of indifference one fairly quickly arrives at a feeling of aversion. Neutrality, or what I like to call equanimity, does not have the quality of aversion to it. Equanimity has the feeling of acceptance, of non-clinging, and of spaciousness. This experience of equanimity allows us to remain open to existence, all of existence, including ourselves. Just as we can appreciate the sound of a bell in the spaciousness of equanimity, so also we can appreciate all things in that same spaciousness. But that spaciousness only appears completely when we release the last shreds of clinging, right down to the notion of being itself, so that being itself, like the sound of an ancient bell, becomes just a memory. When all clinging has vanished, being disappears, and gratitude arises for all of existence.


A wave at the ocean’s edge. The sound of a passing car. A flickering candle flame. Incense smoke dissolving into space. The drift of galaxies. The last note of a song. White noise from a broken radio. The fading memory of a dream. The house I used to live in. Photographs of dead friends. Steam rising from green tea. Flower petals turning brown. An abandoned desire. The first crescent after the new moon.


This sonnet functions to draw one’s attention to the presence of change in all existing things. Now matter where one turns, no matter what the manifestation, change presents itself. All of these examples, therefore, exhibit to us the presence of eternity.


long pine shadows disappearing into spreading night horizon blurs to sky

wind rustles the leaves at the edge of a meadow a deer steps lightly out of the woods

broken glass in the parking lot a sparrow searches for food

the memory of your voice sitting at the dining room table paying bills

slipping into the river of life dancing at the edge of death


This sonnet comprehends the eternal in the ordinary. in many ways, I think, we want the eternal to come to us with a blast of trumpets, through miraculous revelation, as a breakthrough beyond the world in which we dwell. Comprehended from the perspective of eternity as that which exists everywhere and everywhen in everything, the eternal becomes amazingly ordinary. This does not take away from its beauty, it simply grants everyone, without exceptions, access to the divine, to the eternal.

The last two lines of the sonnet indicate a feeling which arises when we comprehend change as the eternal. All of a sudden we find ourselves in the river of life; ever moving, ever giving birth, ever creating the new and unexpected. Simultaneously, we find ourselves dancing at the edge of death, not just in the future, but in every moment. And in the presence of eternal change, both the river of life and the dance of death, occur simultaneously, as each other, locked in ecstatic embrace.


From Tanikawa Shuntaro's Definitions:

Forming a shallow depression as it slowly rises extending obliquely and twisting, bending at acute angles and folding itself again and again -- Sometimes floating, constantly swelling a bit (the whole body flowing), always rising, balancing for a moment and then gently contorting itself, now softly undulating, gliding -- opening unnoticed, closing up the next moment, the surface now extending on to the underside, then gracefully turning over, (explosively converging), growing soft again, popping up, cramping, solidifying, melting, trembling, quietly stagnating, twitching, (crinkling up) and yet in utter silence -- a force from beyond, a force producing a force here, force struggling with force, wriggling as though caught in a forcenet, expanding endlessly because of force, never severed, and creating through its irregular movement a strange rhythm, and aimlessly -- (seeming to come full circle and not losing its direction) There is no microscope, nor macroscope. A cradle of flesh inside a cradle of a planet, we live in vertigo under the blessing of infinity.
(62 Sonnets & Definitions, by Tanikawa Shuntaro, translated by William I. Elliott and Kawamura Kazuo, Katydid Books, Santa Fe, page 97, 1992)


I discovered this beautiful and accurate description of the eternal as change and thought to share it. it reminds me in many ways of certain sections of Chuang Tzu. It has an overall taoist feeling.

Tanikawa titles this section of Definitions “Conditions of Being”. The title suggests several considerations. First, consider the paradoxical implication of the title; for being usually refers to the unconditioned. Many texts specifically so name being. So Tanikawa wishes to point to something besides what one would normally designate as being. Second, note the fluid nature of the passage, the repeated use of “-ing” endings. Tanikawa designates/reveals/describes the basic changing nature of existence and how change transcends any condition/situation.

I would prefer to call this section “The Dissolution of Being”. This raises a question, however, which Tanikawa’s passage brings into focus. The word “being” can mean very different things to different writers. Just because different writers use the same term does not mean they designate the same “thing”.

So in some texts (in my opinion the great majority) “being” means an unchanging substance standing behind the world of changing appearances. But in some texts (in my opinion very few) “being” means simply the eternal and can therefore point to/designate/name change itself. One must clearly distinguish between these two meanings in order to understand what the author of the text intends/means. (A few texts in which I believe the author intends the second meaning of being (the eternal as change); Tao Te Ching, Chuang Tzu, some Dzog Chen texts, some Zen texts, Heraclitus, and the I Ching.) A key to determining which meaning of being the text wishes to display manifests by investigating whether or not the text seeks to find the transcendental in some location other than appearances themselves (first meaning; being as substance), or if the text perceives appearances as the fully transcendent (the second meaning).

Personally, I have felt it simpler to cede the term “being” to those who believe in an unchanging metaphysical substance and/or essence of some kind since they overwhelmingly dominate the discussion in any case. By ceding “being” to those who believe in an unchanging reality I can then make clear the understanding of change as the eternal which clearly and totally manifests in and as all things without exception. This allows for the clear dissolution of being and the abandoning of all essence which Tanikawa so clearly describes/demonstrates.

A final comment: the last line connects the dissolution of being with the awakening realization of the vastness of our situation. The last line then goes on to link that vastness with the blessing of the infinite (which surely must consist of infinite blessings) that constantly rain down upon us. Thus this remarkable passage clearly links transcendent change, the web of existence, and the ground of the arising of gratitude.


With this entry I return to a point made very early on; that there exists a strong tendency to not distinguish between the two meanings of being. The two meanings exist as 1) the eternal, and 2) the unchanging. Because Tanikawa’s passage so marvelously depicts change itself, it seems odd to think of this passage as referring to being, because being means, predominantly, the unchanging.

By conflating the two meanings into one term, confusion arises. Because the association of being with the unchanging has very deep roots, there will appear a tendency to read into Tanikawa’s passage a kind of disguise for the unchanging, rather than comprehending Tanikawa’s passage as an ecstatic description of the eternal, but not of being.

A brief comment about Taoism -- among the world’s religions I find in Taoism an attitude towards change very refreshing. Buddhism has a tendency to view change in a morose kind of way, though there exist exceptions to this. But taoism perceives the changing nature of all things and does not view that as a source of frustration. One writer put it this way:

One important difference between Taoists and orthodox Buddhists lies in the fact that many of the latter believe that the origin of all suffering is to be found in the transience, inconstancy, and eternal change found in all life, which ultimately amounts to total insecurity. Taoism and Zen, on the other hand, unconditionally acknowledge inconstancy and change per se as given fundamental components of existence. for them constancy is solely to be found in change itself. There is nothing negative in the perishing and death of what exists since dying signifies nothing but transformation which nobody can escape. it is therefore the aim of Taoists and Zen Buddhists alike to integrate themselves in the eternal cycle of change without resistance or senseless attempts at escape. Undreamt-of creativity is inherent in dying and inconstancy because they form the basis of every new life, every new beginning.
(Kyudo: The Art of Zen Archery, by Hans Joachim Stein, Element Books, Longmead, 1988, page s 23, and 24)

I believe that the source of the negative valuation of change among many buddhists lies in a misunderstanding as to the source of suffering, the second noble truth of the Buddha. Buddhism has declared that both clinging and craving give rise to suffering. But, if one comprehends craving as a kind of clinging, then there really only exists one source of suffering, namely clinging. From the perspective of clinging, change does not cause suffering, rather our attempts to evade change, to stop change, to seek that which does not change, sources suffering.

For this reason, I regard Stein’s statement as somewhat extreme, though I understand his point. The Zen interpretation of suffering I would regard as completely consistent with the insight of the Buddha, though, as Stein points out, probably inconsistent with many other schools of buddhism.

I believe the taoist attitude towards change pointed out here has deep roots in chinese culture. The earliest example I know of that elucidates change as the eternal is the Book Of Changes, or the I Ching. The oldest book in continuous use, the Book Of Changes displays a view of existence that regards every situation, and by implication every thing involved in a situation, as dynamic, as in process, as changing into something else. Yet this books of changes does not have anything negative in it. To illustrate this, consider that among the 64 evolving and transforming situations of the Book Of Changes, none of these 64 situations has the title death. in fact, death receives very little mention in the Book Of Changes -- I can’t even recall a passage referring to death. in contrast, consider the tarot, a much more restricted and hostile view of existence which seems to view change as calamitous.

I believe this absence of death in the Book Of Changes arises out of a sense of the ever flowing and transforming nature of existence as life itself; not just that which makes life possible, but as in some way life as such. The disappearance of some things, therefore, means the transformation of that thing and the appearance of something else. The seed vanishes, and the plant appears.

Thus I regard the Book of Changes as the first, and in many ways, the most profound elucidation of the eternal as change and transformation. I find it comforting to think that others, for many thousands of years, have comprehended existence in this way of pansacralism.


The world contains no surprises for those who have released all clinging to being and have seen through the error of essence. Since the transcendent nature of all things precisely names the reality of change, one moves through the world immersed in and part of the everpresent truth. No thing, perception, thought, feeling, person, idea, shall remain the same for even one moment. One can count on this; one can rely on this truth.


The sense that the world feels somehow askew, wrong arises because we measure the world against the standard of the unchanging. We feel that at some level the world should not change, so that when the world does change anyway, there arises in us a sense of betrayal, like the world should not have done that.

On the other hand, once we comprehend change itself as the eternal, as the everywhere and everywhen of everything, existence becomes reliable. We can count on existence constantly changing, we can count on existence constantly generating the new and unexpected. The unexpected does not catch us off guard, or come to us as a surprise.


Change means that nothing in this world remains constant. Change means that all meetings end in parting. Change means that all projects eventually dissolve. Change means that all things die. Change means the passing away of all things. Change means the emerging of all things into life. Change means the constant presence of compassion as perpetual release.


I think of a passage like the above as unpacking the meaning of change. Once one comprehends change as the eternal, the implications of that comprehension continue to unfold, continue to change. New ramifications emerge. New nuances of understanding blossom. One does not reach a final statement on the nature of the ultimate, precisely because change means the eternal. Existence continues to unfold, without beginning, without ending, endlessly creative.

Hmmmmm! Maybe in ten more years I’ll write an autocommentary on the autocommentary, as my comprehension of change and the eternal continue to deepen, broaden, and lead me to unexpected regions.


Simply cease from clinging and you will recover your true nature and dwell in the eternal. All the multiverse will become your home.


One ceases from clinging by becoming one with change. One becomes one with change by transcending essence and abandoning being at any and all levels. When one has done that, there does not exist any separation between the world one lives in and the world of the divine domain. One dwells continusouly in the presence of eternity.

Notice: Copyright 2000 by Jim Wilson, also known as Dharmajim. All rights reserved. Permission to download and copy is hereby granted provided that this notice remains a part of the document.
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