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Buddhadharma : Spring 2018
60 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER'S QUARTERLY things, or events that it modifies. The individual moments, things, or events are called juhoi or “dharma positions.” A dharma posi tion is a singular moment, state of being, or occurrence that has no fixed duration and about which we intuitively understand something of its particularity. Standing on the highest mountain peak, mov ing along the ocean floor, being a wrathful deity with three heads and eight arms or a golden buddha of eight or sixteen feet, a staff, a whisk, a pillar, a lantern, Mr. Chang, Mr. Li, the great earth, and the heavens above are all dharma positions. In short, the four couplets opening the text depict unique particu lar situations that are illustrative of being–time’s totality. Dogen’s examples and their metaphoric meaning encompass reality as both particular and universal. The translations of uji as “for the time being,” “sometimes,” “at a certain time,” or “once” can be read as a kind of throwaway line, especially in English. Our tendency may be to skip over these words and move on to what seems to be the meat of each sentence. But for Dogen, “for the time being” is the whole basis for his discussion of time’s relationship to being. In conventional use, “for the time being” seems to indicate a spe cifically limited demarcation of time, as in “at the moment” or “just for now.” Dogen’s use of the phrase, however, has a deeper meaning than “at this time.” Reading the two characters that comprise the phrase as the compound term uji, rather than as an idiomatic phrase, yields the more universal reading “being–time.” Grammatically, the characters u and ji do not indicate singular or plural. We can read the compound “being–time” to mean a being’s time, a time’s being, or all being–time. Understanding the multiplicity of mean ings within the phrase “for the time being” reveals new depths in Dogen’s opening lines. For Dogen, “for the time being” encompasses all states of being–time. Rereading the opening of Uji in light of this