Ichinen-sanzen (part one)

Rev. Harry brings up the complex idea of ichinen sanzen — three thousands things in a single thought moment — from Tendai (Tiantai) Buddhism. In short, ichinen sanzen says that each thought moment contains within it all of existence — wait, what? How does all of existence exist within each thought moment? Whose thought moment? Mine? And how long is a thought moment? Somehow all of this is related to broader Buddhist concepts of interdependence but also reincarnation and the six (or ten?) realms of rebirth — not to mention Shinran’s understanding of birth in the Pure Land. And all of this complex philosophizing is all well and good, of course, but how does it help us with the more visceral experiences of life and death?

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