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Four-Dimensional Time in Dzogchen and Heidegger

From: Philosophy East and West
Volume 57, Number 4, October 2007
pp. 512-532 | 10.1353/pew.2007.0059


Concerning time, we have many puzzles, such as what eternity is, how it is related to the passage of time, whether the passage of time is irreversible, whether things past are no longer, whether the future is non-predictable, whether or not the present exists, and so on. This article is an attempt to discuss such experiences of the passage of time. First, a Buddhist practice in the Dzogchen tradition that deals with the experience of the passage of time will be introduced, then Longchenpa's concept of four times (dus-bzhi) will be analyzed and its significance to the history of Buddhism discussed. Next, Heidegger's concept of four-dimensional time and its elaboration by later philosophers will be discussed. It will conclude with the similarities and differences between the four-dimensional time theories as found in these two diverse traditions, and the possible reasons for their striking similarities.

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