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Lions Roar : January 2007
I WENT TO YOSEMITE National Park, and I saw some huge waterfalls. The highest one there is 1,340 feet high, and from it the water comes down like a curtain thrown from the top of the moun- tain. 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 a very difficult experience 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. 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. It is as if the water does not have any feeling when it is one whole river. Only when separated into many drops can it begin to have or to express some feeling. When we see one whole river we do not feel the living activity of the water, but when we dip a part of the water into a dipper, we expe- rience some feeling of the water, and we also feel the value of the person who uses the water. Feeling ourselves and the water in this way, we cannot use it in just a material way. It is a living thing. Before we were born we had no feeling; we were one with the universe. This is called “mind-only,” or “essence of mind,” or “big mind.” After we are separated by birth from this oneness, as the water falling from the waterfall is separated by the wind and the rocks, then we have feeling. You have dif- ficulty 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 uni- verse, 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. When the water returns to its original oneness with the river, it no longer has any individual feel- Rejoining the River “It takes a long time for the water to reach the bottom of the waterfall,” says SUZUKI ROSHI in his classic Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. “Our human life may be like this.” Georgia O’Keeffe, Green and White, 1957/1958. SODRAC(2006)/GEORGIAO’KEEFFEMUSEUM,SANTAFE/ARTRESOURCE,NY) SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2007 48