An Introduction to TSK
What is the Time, Space, and Knowledge vision?
This 20-minute prerecorded webinar is available just below.
Here are the questions and topics addressed: What is at the heart of the TSK approach, and how does it work? Where is it documented? Does TSK really challenge any and all limits on knowing, acting, and being? What are the benefits of studying it, putting it into practice, and even 'embodying it'? Can TSK serve as "a visionary medium through which a common ground [can] be found in the pursuits of knowledge carried out by the various sciences and religions?”
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Below is a two-minute video having a short description of the Time, Space, and Knowledge vision set against a Fractal Zoom video by fractalzoom.
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Script for the Webinar
Slide 1: What is TSK?
What is TSK, or the Time, Space, and Knowledge vision? This is a short introduction to TSK.
Slide 2: A video introduction
Slide 3: A Transforming Vision
• TSK is a transforming vision of reality, a way of growing or changing without falling into a stagnant orientation, so it’s different from science, which usually aims to understand, or even control things, but not to directly change ourselves.
• TSK is a self-challenging approach that doesn’t easily foster stagnant or fixed orientations or views, so it differs from systems and disciplines that adopt and hold—either implicitly or explicitly—certain assumptions, beliefs, and theories. It differs from most psychologies, philosophies, religions, and spiritual disciplines, which usually support various beliefs and theories.
TSK Challenges Limits
• TSK challenges any and all limits on knowing, acting, and being in whatever forms they might take—for example, beliefs, attitudes, common sense, worldviews, doctrines, laws, customs, attributions of authority and hierarchy, personality complexes and characters, laws of nature, ‘reality principles’, and theories.
• In challenging limitations, TSK explores all persistent and habitual experiential structures, including ‘things’, the self, character, identity, personality, psychological complexes, the self-other polarity, the subject-object polarity, perceiver-perceived, person-world, ‘felt distance’, here-there, dimensionalized space, now-then, before-after, ‘the present’, linear time, past-present-future, etc.
Exploring t, s, & k
• TSK examines the varying qualities of time, space, and knowledge in experience. “Time, space and knowledge are the most basic facets of human experience. . . . Space allows the world of objects to appear; time makes possible the sequence of events that gives order to our lives; knowledge gives meaning and significance to whatever appears or unfolds. . . .” (KTS)
• Yet these fundamental facets of being are not widely appreciated or discussed. Indeed, for the most part they are taken for granted. In ordinary experience we might say that time and space are usually in the background of what we're doing.
Meanings of t, s, & k
In TSK we bring time, space, and knowledge to the foreground. As a result we may examine how we commonly conceive and understand these terms. On the TSK Association website (see www.tskassociation.org/descriptions-of-t-s--k.html, also in the Attachments tab of your presentation player) you can find common-usage descriptions for these and other closely-related terms. On this webpage you will also find links to descriptions and definitions of time, space, and knowledge at TSK’s three levels of insight. These levels are very commonly referred to in the TSK books.
Goes Beyond Psychology
• TSK is a non-goal-oriented way of growing that goes beyond psychology and is not based on desires, needs, or improvement of self.
• Psychological systems usually presume, and are founded on a sense of self with its mental faculties as the basis for desire, thinking, decision-making, and action. TSK, in contrast, puts no credence in the independent existence of a self, or an isolated mind, and does not validate typically-conceived personal ‘needs’ for security, approval, or love.
TSK is a non-goal-oriented way of growing. Many disciplines presume that there is something lacking in one’s current state, imagine a better state or condition in the future, and then prescribe methods and principles for bringing about the future condition. In contrast, TSK does not presume that anything is lacking in any state. If a certain state is viewed as lacking, we can immediately challenge the validity of this perspective, rather than looking 'away' and imagining a more complete or fulfilling condition in a different time or space.
The TSK Texts
There are two sets of books on TSK, those written by the author of the vision, Tarthang Tulku, and those written by students of the vision and included in the Perspectives on TSK series.
The TSK vision is documented in five books written by Tarthang Tulku. The first book, Time, Space, and Knowledge, appeared in 1977, and the last book, Sacred Dimensions of Time and Space, was published in 1997.
• Here is a list of the five texts, including their common citation abbreviations:
• TSK. Tarthang Tulku. Time, Space, and Knowledge: A New Vision of Reality. Berkeley, CA: Dharma Publishing, 1977.
• LOK. Tarthang Tulku. Love of Knowledge. Berkeley, CA: Dharma Publishing, 1987
• KTS. Tarthang Tulku. Knowledge of Time and Space. Berkeley, CA: Dharma Publishing, 1990.
• DTS. Tarthang Tulku. Dynamics of Time and Space. Berkeley, CA: Dharma Publishing, 1994.
• SDTS. Tarthang Tulku. Sacred Dimensions of Time and Space. Berkeley, CA: Dharma Publishing, 1997.
• The texts are all available from Dharma Publishing: www.dharmapublishing.com
• For two introductions to TSK from the KTS and TSK texts, see http://www.tskassociation.org/whats-tsk.html
Perspectives on TSK
• Additional volumes on TSK have been published since 1980. These contain articles on numerous topics by students of the vision, including professionals in education, philosophy, physics, psychology, etc.
• These works confirm the fact that as the years pass, TSK has become increasingly valuable as a forum to help clarify the full range of ideas and concerns of Western and Eastern thought. This benefit was foreseen when Tarthang Tulku was authoring the first book: “As I became more familiar with Western concepts, particularly with those found in the sciences, I saw the possibility of a visionary medium through which a common ground could be found in the pursuits of knowledge carried out by the various sciences and religions. Such a ground could serve to increase each group's appreciation for the other, and could thus even facilitate the quest for knowledge itself." (p. xxxi, TSK)
Perspectives on TSK
• Here is a list of the first four of the seven volumes in the Perspectives on TSK series:
• DOT. Dimensions of Thought: Current Explorations in Time, Space, and Knowledge.
2 vols. Berkeley, CA: Dharma Publishing, 1980.
• MOM. Mastery of Mind: Perspectives on Time, Space, and Knowledge. Berkeley, CA: Dharma Publishing, 1993.
• VOK. Tarthang Tulku. Visions of Knowledge: Liberation of the Modern Mind. Berkeley, CA: Dharma Publishing, 1993.
Perspectives on TSK
• Here are the last three of the seven volumes in the Perspectives on TSK series:
• LtOK. Light of Knowledge: Essays on the Interplay of Knowledge, Time, and Space, Berkeley, CA: Dharma Publishing, 1997.
• Petranker, J., ed. A New Kind of Knowledge. Berkeley, CA: Dharma Publishing, 2004.
• Petranker, J., ed. A New Way of Being. Berkeley, CA: Dharma Publishing, 2004.
Benefits of TSK
The following slides describe some of the benefits of studying and practicing the TSK vision, and introduce a simple exercise that is typical of the TSK practices.
The Inquiry Process
• Here we discuss inquiry, a process at the heart of the TSK vision. TSK promotes the previously underrated value of the process or method of inquiry, of clear seeing, sensing, and exploring, going into all apparently fixed, or ‘real’, or 'true' reference points, beliefs, and assumptions, in an open, nonskeptical, yet challenging dis-covery process. Inquiry eventually, directly, and effectively transparentizes or dissolves all structures, limitations, and fixed dynamics.
• In DTS, we find this direction: "Practice toward pure experience not governed by pronouncements or consensus or fixed juxtapositions." (p. 249, DTS) We are encouraged to strive for 'a different way of being', or 'pure experience', whatever that might be.
• What does all this mean? Let’s do a short exercise that can provide an example of inquiry.
• Here's an adaptation of the Giant Body exercises from the first TSK book:
• Let your awareness, concentrated in a small space, travel freely about your body. . . . Breathing through both nose and mouth gently and smoothly, allow awareness to be drawn to any sensation, density, pain, heaviness, emotion, or other feeling in or on the body. . . . Let awareness and feeling merge. . . . Just relax and abide in the interaction of awareness and feeling. . . . There's no need to try to change anything–most likely the quality or location of feeling will change on its own, eventually becoming more open and spacious. . . . As things change, awareness can be drawn to other feelings. . . . There's a natural movement of awareness, taking various positions, points of view, or no apparent viewpoint, location, or direction at all. . . .
What was your experience during this exercise? Were any of your presumptions or beliefs challenged? Did any points, areas, or boundaries open up? Did any structures seem impenetrable?
We can review the earlier description of inquiry in light of our experience of the exercise. Does this make more sense now?:
TSK promotes the previously underrated value of the process or method of inquiry, of clear seeing, sensing, and exploring, going into all apparently fixed, or ‘real’, or 'true' reference points, beliefs, and assumptions, in an open, nonskeptical, yet challenging dis-covery process. Inquiry eventually, directly, and effectively transparentizes or dissolves all structures, limitations, and fixed dynamics.
Opening Limits, Structures
• One of the TSK texts: "We may have had glimpses of a higher destiny, but to shape our lives in accord with that vision, we must learn quite specifically how to activate an inquiry that can cut through the structures of our present knowing." (VOK, p. 71)
• These structures limit the flexibility and breadth of our knowing and awareness, so TSK explores and dissolves all persistent and habitual experiential structures that condition and prejudice experience—including rigid hierarchy, and unquestionable beliefs, attitudes, and authority.
• “Because it is not bound to current structures and patterns, the TSK vision can activate the knowledge capable of initiating and responding to fundamental change.” VOK, pp. 55-56
• Most writing and communication is conventional, focusing on thoughts and labels about concrete things, events, and particular activities. Largely ignored is any deeper frame of mind, state, perspective, or worldview.
• We talk and think about what is happening, but typically aren't concerned much about how we do these things. In other words, as Tarthang Tulku says, "It is characteristic . . . to ignore the significance of perspective . . . ." (p. 107, Tarthang Tulku, 1990)
New Focal Settings
• Rather than focusing on the usual 'content of experience'--particular objects, events, and conventional ideas--TSK is concerned with what might be described as the "way individuals perceive themselves and their world" (what Peter Senge called "the subtlest aspect of the learning organization (The Fifth Discipline, p. 12)).
• Exploring these different perspectives holds great potential: "If we employ new 'focal settings' and see the way they work, we can come to an overall understanding which is itself a kind of space. Moreover, this 'understanding', which is also a 'space', explains, expresses, and is everything. Though it may seem to go against our ordinary world view, an understanding—or vision--can itself be the revealing basis of all reality." (p. 5, Time, Space, and Knowledge)
Three Levels of TSK
• Unlike most transformational literature (psychology and religious writing, e.g.), TSK writings describe three main levels or general perspectives: “As an organizing principle for an inquiry into time, space, and knowledge, it can help to think in terms of three different levels. The first level starts from our common, everyday views of how these facets of our being operate.” (p. xxix, SDTS ) Level 1 describes a 'culturally normal' way of functioning.
• Level 2 is a second, intermediate state that occurs during our development from the first to the third level; and level 3 corresponds to an enlightened state, or what might be called the ‘zone’ of peak performance.
• These levels are described in detail at http://www.tskassociation.org/descriptions-of-t-s--k.html
With the three levels of time, space, and knowledge, we may have a comprehensive depiction of the full range of human experience, independent of the conventional or ordinary designations of events and things. If TSK is comprehensive, it can act as a forum for the comparison of various experiences and principles: any two principles would apply to subsets of its domain. It should serve as a common ground basis for interdisciplinary studies, including a comparison of the values, assumptions, principles, and methods of business, education, psychology, and spiritual and religious disciplines.
• This would confirm part of Tarthang Tulku’s early vision for TSK: “I saw the possibility of a visionary medium through which a common ground could be found in the pursuits of knowledge carried out by the various sciences and religions.”
(TSK, p. xxxi)
• "It may be possible to unify fields of learning that are now separate, and to bring together concerns that now seem opposed."