A while back, Aki wrote of letting go, as a drop, slipping from the moist leaf hanging over the pond at sunrise…the point of no return… Such a vivid image - I could feel it. I could feel the slipperiness, the wet shininess of the leaf, the gleaming of the morning sun, the warmth, the movement… It reminded me of the droplets in the story Shunryu Suzuki Roshi wrote about in his book, Zen Mind Beginner Mind. Suzuki Roshi visited the 1,340-foot waterfall in Yosemite. In telling this story of the waterfall, Suzuki Roshi demonstrated his teaching of non-separation, and his capacity for compassion in the metaphor of the water drop:
"…the water comes down like a curtain thrown from the top of the mountain. It does not seem to come down swiftly, as you might expect; it seems to come down very slowly because of the distance. And the water does not come down as one stream, but is separated into many tiny streams. From a distance it looks like a curtain. And I thought it must be very difficult for each drop of water to come down from the top of such a high mountain. It takes time, you know, a long time, for the water finally to reach the bottom of the waterfall. And it seems to me, that our human life may be like this. We have many difficult experiences in our life. But at the same time, I thought, the water was not originally separated, but was one whole river. Only when it is separated does it have some difficulty in falling. …after we are separated by birth from this oneness, as the water falling form the waterfall is separated by the wind and rocks, then we have feeling. You have difficulty because you have feeling, you attach to the feeling you have without knowing just how this kind of feeling is created. When you do not realize that you are one with the river, or one with the universe, you have fear. Whether it is separated into drops or not, water is water. Our life and death are the same thing. When we realize this fact we have no fear of death anymore, and we have no actual difficulty in our life."