When you come searching for a key to unlock the door to Nirvana I will ask you to complete a simple task. All you need to do is go to the ocean and select the one drop of water different from all of the others.
A reflection on Case 26 of the Book of Equanimity, 従容錄, Shōyōroku
She says her favorite month is May, when spring’s grip is tightest, but most of all she cherishes the rain. She is intimate with the rain, there is a privacy that only she can concede, if she wants. She can take a drop of rain and it is hers alone, she need only share it with the sky, it is always clean on her tongue. She may borrow rain from the trees, catch it as it slides from leaves, or watch it slowly tumble from the eaves of the house she remembers from childhood. She loves walking barefoot through fresh fallen puddles as it washes bitter memories into the willing earth.
Ann Arbor a certain diffidence Butte born of three rum Collins Carmel the Gucci show windows Duluth darkened, foreboding Erie escalator rattle Fairbanks a sound coffin Grapevine grand piano Hilo the restaurant empty Ithaca seeking diners Jacksonville by the exit signs Kalamazoo conventioneers drool Lincoln and slobber Memphis over the ankh necklace Natchez girl cross legged Oakland engulfed in smoke Providence the ficus droops Rehoboth in the shade of the bar Salem laughter turning Toledo into controlled sobs Urbana highball glass slips Vidalia off the table edge Wausau and falls Xenia dropping slowly Yuma through the night Zanesville into sleep.
The clouds build slowly, turning the sky from blue to ever darkening shades of gray. He hopes it will rain, rain heavily, as the ground is parched, the wetland a bog, and the birds have moved on in search of water. He watches the build up, the clouds accreting, and he waits for the first drop of water. The clouds begin to dissipate, the sun peeks through widening gaps, and the sky is soon blue again. And in the distance he thinks he hears a voice whispering “you know mother nature is a cranky old broad, right?”
There is a heaviness to the sky a weightiness belied by the gray of the clouds, even the departing sun seems to whisper that it will be replaced by rain in short order. You feel the weight bearing down, as the heat of the day dissipates, and although the first drops have not yet fallen, you know that it is best to be within when the rain begins for it will do so without warning and with little care for your presence, for this is how Spring demands your attention.
She said I should be thankful that I am not a rice farmer. She said that I should be thankful that I am not over seven feet tall, and not less than four feet eight inches, although she concedes that four feet nine would not be cause for celebration. She says I should be thankful I was not dropped on my head as a baby. I am thankful for all of these things, and for her, for she saves me countless hours remember things for which I probably should be thankful.
He drops suddenly from a branch of a tree which you don’t see for all of the others. He lands a foot from you, you pause suddenly and he looks up at you, trying to determine if you are friend, foe, or lunch. He concludes you are not lunch and scurries off under a nearby bush on the edge of the pond where the rocks will provide the sun for an afternoon nap. You gather your wits and thoughts, knowing you will retell this story, but for him, it is just another day it the life of your average iguana.
Walking on the road today, I didn’t see the Buddha and thus had no need to kill him. I did find what I thought to be a dog’s Buddha nature, but it proved to be nothing- ness, so I walked on through the gate that led exactly nowhere. This evening it rained and I picked up each drop and when I had the last, threw them into the sky.