We Must Eat TimeW
hat is life? Life is eating and drinking through all of our senses. And life is keeping from being eaten. What eats us? Time! What is time? Time is living in the past or living in the future, feeding on the emotions. Beings who can say that they have mentally healthy for even one minute are rare in the world. Most of us suffer from clinging to pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral feelings, and from hunger and thirst. Most living beings have to eat and drink every second through their eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin, and nerves. We eat twenty-four hours a day without stopping! We crave food for the body, food for feeling, food for volitional action, and food for rebirth. We are what we eat. We are the world, and we eat the world.
The Buddha cried when he saw this endless cycle of suffering: the fly eats the flower; the frog eats the fly; the snake eats the frog; the bird eats the snake; the tiger eats the bird; the hunter kills the tiger; the tiger‘s body become swollen; flies come and eat the tiger‘s corpse; the flies lay eggs in the corpse; the eggs become more flies; the flies eat the flowers; and the frogs eat the flies...
And so the Buddha said, „I teach only two things - suffering and the end of suffering.“ Suffering, eating, and feeling are exactly the same.
Feelings eats everything. Feeling has six mouths - the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind. The first mouth eats forms through the eye. The second mouth eats sound. The third mouth eats smells. The fourth mouth eats tastes. The fifth mouth eats physical contact. And the last mouth eats ideas. That is feeling.
Time is also an eater. In traditional Cambodian stories, there is often a giant with many mouths who eats everything. This giant is time. If you eat time, you gain nirvana. You can eat time by living in the moment. When you live just in this moment, time cannot eat you.
Everything is causational. There is no you, only causes and conditions. Therfore, you cannot hear or see. When sound and ear comes together, there is hearing. When form and eye meet, there is seeing.
When eye, form and consciousness meet, there is eye contact. Eye contact conditions feeling. Feeling conditions perception. Perceptions thinking, and thinking is I, my, me - the painful misconception that I see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and think.
Feeling uses the eye to eat shapes. If a shape is beautiful, a pleasant feeling enters the eye. If a shape is not beautiful, it brings a unpleasant feeling. If we are not attentive to a shape, a neutral feeling comes. The ear is the same: sweet sounds bring pleasant feelings, harsh sounds bring unpleasant feelings, and inattantion brings neutral feelings.
Again, you may think, “I am seeing, I am hearing, I am feeling.” But it is not you, it is only contact, the meeting of the eye, form, and eye-consciousness. It is only the Dharma.
A man once asked the Buddha, “Who feels?” The Buddha answered, “This is not a real question.” No one feels. Feeling feels. There is no I, my, or me. There is only the Dharma.
All kinds of feelings are suffering, filled with vanity, filled with “I am.” If we can penetrate the nature of sensations, we can realize the pure happiness of nirvana.
Feelings and sensations causes us to suffer, because we fail to realize that they are impermanent. The Buddha asked, “How can feeling be permanent if it depends upon the body, which is impermanent?” When we do not control our feelings, we are controlled by them. If we live in the moment, we can see things just as they are. Doing so, we can put an end to all desire, break out bondage, and realize peace.
To understand pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral feelings, we have to put the four foundations of mindfulness into practice. Mindfulness can transform pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral feelings into wisdom.
The world is created by the mind. If we can control feelings, then we can control the mind. If we can control the mind, then we can rule the world.
In meditation, we relax our body, but we sit up straight, and by following our breathing of another object of concentration, we stop most of our thinking. Therefore, we stop being pushed around by our feelings. Thinking greats feeling, and feeling creates thinking. To be free from clinging to thinking and feeling is nirvana - the highest, supreme happiness.
To live without suffering means to live always in the present. The highest happiness is here and now. There is no time at all unless we cling to it. Brothers and Sisters, please eat time!
From "Step by Step" by Preah Maha Ghosananda