October 26, 2006

The Water Drop

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."


garnet david said...

Beautifully put.

"You have difficulty because you have feeling, you attach to the feeling you have without knowing just how this kind of feeling is created."

This is so difficult to understand, but so liberating I wish everyone could know it instantly.


irving said...

Greetings of Peace:

Much of Sufi writing and poetry shares this same theme. We are drops of life, and we fall into the Ocean, we become the Ocean.

Many Blessings!

"James" said...

The different droplets of the water remind me of this explanation (I found online) on the similarities of the religions. They look different but are really from the same source:

All religions acknowledge that mankind's present state is unsatisfactory. All believe that a change of attitude and behavior is needed if the human situation is to improve. All teach an ethics that includes love, kindness, patience, generosity and social responsibility and all accept the existence of some form of Absolute. They use different languages, different names and different symbols to describe and explain these things; and it is only when they narrow-mindedly cling to their one way of seeing things that religious intolerance, pride and self-righteousness arise. Imagine an Englishman, a Frenchman, a Chinese and an Indonesian all looking at a cup. The Englishman says, "That's a cup." The Frenchman answers, "No it's not. It's a tasse." The Chinese comments, "You're both wrong. It's a pet." And the Indonesian laughs at the others and says "What fools you are. It's a cawan." The Englishman gets a dictionary and shows it to the others saying, "I can prove that it is a cup. My dictionary says so." "Then your dictionary is wrong," says the French- man "Because my dictionary clearly says it is a tasse." The Chinese scoffs at them. "My dictionary is thousands of years older than yours, so my dictionary must be right. And besides, more people speak Chinese than any other language, so it must be a pet." While they are squabbling and arguing with each other, a Buddhist comes up and drinks from the cup. After he has drunk, he says to the others, "Whether you call it a cup, a tasse, a pet or a cawan, a cup is meant to be used. Stop arguing and drink, stop squabbling and refresh your thirst." This is the Buddhist attitude to other religions.


isaiah said...

"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."

In this realization we can become more humane and compassionate rather than less and draw closer into the dance of life. We can become free to embrace our human element, while at the same time be the witness too. As we witness, we also rest in the words of Maharshi:

"The realized person weeps with the weeping,
laughs with the laughing,
plays with the playful,
sings with those who sing,
keeping time with the song...
What does he lose?"

Meredith said...

David, Irving, James and Tommy - Thanks my friends, all from the Source.

Anonymous said...

I first read this teaching of Suzuki Roshi a year or so after almost falling to death on the cliffs next to Nevada falls in Yosemite. It moved me to tbe core then and still touches my heart sio many years later. The hesrt of Roshi and his wisdom is inseparable grom his words. I feel his tremendous compassion, his steangth and wisdom in tbis teaching of the journey between life and death. I feel he is also saying life and death are also not separate when viewed from the vantage point that few human"s like him can see. Everything is both the drop and the ocean.i hope his teaching touches eacj person who is exposed to it. He is deathless.