Khang Bao Nguyen
July 8 to July 28
Reception July 28, 3-6pm
660 South Avenue 21 #3
LA Ca 90031
Trans-Spatiotemporal Manifestation of Being
This series of paintings investigate the nature of trans-spatiotemporal manifestation of being in each moment, which includes but is not limited to the perception of linear time. The nonduality of being-time is actualized not just in terms of continuity but more fundamentally in terms of discontinuity. The perception of phenomenal existence does not simply occur in and as an uninterrupted succession of ‘nows’. There is space between what appears to be a seamless stream of time in which each present moment proceeds from a previous moment and flows to the next. In Eihei Dogen’s view, each phenomenal expression is actualized in and as a discontinuous continuity of moments in the absolute now. The arising of a moment in the absolute now is discontinuous in the sense that is not dependent on the past or future and comes into being from the trans-spatiotemporal field of primordial awareness (buddha-nature).
Dogen says, “Firewood becomes ash, and it does not become firewood again. Yet, do not suppose that firewood is before and ash after. You should understand that firewood abides in the dharma-position of firewood which fully includes past and future and is independent of past and future. Ash abides in the dharma-position of ash which fully includes future and past and is independent of past and future.”
From this trans-spatiotemporal perspective, each phenomenal expression (dharma-position) is a moment actualized by the field of primordial awareness in the absolute now, and as such is independent of the past and future. That is, the arising of moments in the absolute now are discontinuous and discrete. And from a relative perspective, phenomena exist in and as a continuity of past, present, and future moments. The continuous and dependent relationship between moments of being-time is not denied by Dogen. His view includes but is not restricted to a conception of time based on the idea the spatiotemporal continuity. His intention is to point to a more basic relationship between phenomenal existence and primordial awareness (buddha-nature) that is overlooked in ordinary perception. For Dogen, the unity or nonduality of the trans-spatiotemporality of primordial awareness and spatiotemporal causation actualize being-time as a discontinuous continuity of moments in the absolute now.
Furthermore, Dogen sees that the absolute now is distinct from the relative present moment. Each phenomenal expression is already complete in the absolute now, containing entire time. Dogen writes,
“Birth is an expression complete this moment. Death is an expression complete this moment. They are like winter and spring. You do not call winter the beginning of spring, nor summer the end of spring.”
The relative present moment is constituted in terms of its relation to the past and future, whereas a moment in the absolute now is a trans-spatiotemporal arising from the unmanifest realm of the field of primordial awareness. The relative present moment is understood as a continuous progression toward an end in the future, whereas a moment in the absolute now is a discontinuous arising, already consummate in the immediacy of the present. Existence in and as the relative present moment strives for consummation in the future. Phenomenal expression in and as a moment of the absolute now is already complete all at once.
I am a visual artist and PhD student in Eastern and Western philosophies at Claremont Graduate University. To be more specific, I study the nondual tradition in the East, as well as the dialectical tradition and postmodern philosophy in the West. I want to bridge these distinct traditions by showing their commonality, but at the same time respect their irreducible differences. The philosophical and spiritual insights attained from my investigation are integrated into visual art.