The concept of linear time gives the impression that valuable things are being lost forever each moment, but Ajahn Chah translated anicca as "not sure" rather than "impermanence".
the Buddha transl. Thanissaro wrote:He has no uncertainty or doubt that just stress, when arising, is arising; stress, when passing away, is passing away. In this, his knowledge is independent of others. It's to this extent, Kaccayana, that there is right view.
From: Kaccayanagotta Sutta translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
This doesn't mean that what isn't stress are eternal souls, just that the body and mind are not to be identified with as the goal of the practice.
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The Buddha's teachings on time are interesting in that even though they do talk about time, they don't talk about a beginning point in time. The beginning point for your experience is right here in the present moment.
It all comes springing out of right here; so instead of trying to trace things back to first causes someplace way back in the past, the Buddha has you look for first causes right here and right now.
Dig down deep inside into the area of the mind where intention and attention and perception play against each other, for that's the point from which all things are born.
From: The Sublime Attitudes by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Bhikkhu Ñanamoli wrote:When the seen, heard, sensed and cognized (see Udana 1.10), are misperceived to be (this that I see … that I think about, is that man, so-and-so, that thing of mine, to have temporal endurance and reality, it is because the three periods of time, these three modes by which we subjectively process our raw world in perceiving it, have been projected outwards by ignorance on the raw world and misapprehended along with that as objectively real. That is how we in our ignorance come to perceive things and persons and action.
From: Does Saddha mean Faith? by Bhikkhu Ñanamoli
Things that were done in the past are chaotic as to their chronological sequence in producing kamma-vipaka.
Buddhism is less fatalistic than materialism which says that you'll have to remember bad things you did for the rest of your life.
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:I once asked Ajaan Fuang, "What do you need to believe in order to practice meditation?"
He said, "All you need to believe is the principle of action, karma."
Most of us in the West, when we get to the teaching on karma, freeze up. We start thinking about all the bad things we did in the past. We're afraid that all those things are going to come back at us. This is why there's so much resistance to this teaching. But if we look more carefully at how the Buddha taught karma, we'll see that he actually tries to allay those fears.
From: May I Be Happy by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (pdf file)
Is it possible to make OK special beings one was cruel to in the past, evidenced by guilty flashbacks in the present moment, or does one just have to try and accept their grievous loss and return to the meditation object?
Thanks / dhammapal.