The teachings make clear our view of what is viewed matters as much as the viewed of the past, present or future.
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
We can refer to these three concepts of time as if each category had its own existence.
Pali shows nuances in the original meaning
• Pali word for atita as past
• Pali for paccuppanna as present
• Pali agata as future.
There is an active tone to the Pali rather than something fixed. The Pali invites inquiry into conditions.
A precise translation of the three Pali words
• That which did arrive or did arose
• That which has arrived or is arising
• That which has not arrived or will arise.
Western culture regularly uses the language of hope.
The English dictionary definition says hope means to cherish a desire with anticipation.
Western Buddhists will claim the Pali word apekkha means hope.
The Pali-English Dictionary of the Pali Text Society does not translate apekkha as hope.
The Pali Dictionary states apekkha means expectation/waiting for/longing for.
The Pali does not put a positive desire on might or will arise, as in the word hope.
I received this today from an etymologist, who read this blog. In his email, he wrote:
The Sanskrit apeksa (equivalent to Pali apekkha) derives from the prefix apa- (away from) + ksana (moment).
Quite literally that which draws us away from the present moment.
The stronger your positive desire the stronger the disappointment if your cherished anticipation does not bear fruit.
A monk, Desaka said to a gravely ill monk. “We hope you are bearing up. We hope you are getting better. We hope that your painful feelings are subsiding.”
Khemak responded, “I am not bearing up I am not getting better, Strong, painful feelings are increasing.
Desaka dropped saying again his positive desire to the monk to bear up and get better.
Instead he asked him a question. Are you clinging to body, feelings and perceptions.?!
Khemak responsed: “I do not regard any of these experiences as belonging to myself. I do not regard any of this as This I Am.”
The monks delighted in his words. (AN 3
ANOTHER PALI TERM
The Pali terms nappatikankhe anagatam gets translated as ‘on the future build his hopes.’
A literal translation: Being certain about what has not yet come.
Both apekkha and nappatikankhe anagatam encourage us to take care in the ways we think and talk about the future.
Our view influences what arose, is arising, not arrived or will arise – sometimes far more than we realise. The view reveals an activity and so does the viewed.
What is your priority? Is it clarity of mind or living in hope?
Can it be both?