Sunday, November 06, 2011

Water Dissolves Water

"Of all the elements, the Sage should choose water as his teacher.  Water is all victorious, Water evades all confrontations with a kind of deceptive modesty, but no power can prevent it from flowing its predestined course to the sea.  Water conquers through humility; it never attacks but nevertheless wins the final battle.  The Sage who makes himself like water is distinguished by his humility.  He works through passivity, acts through non-action, and thus conquers the world." Tao-cheng, Nan Yao
Another word for a Zen monk is unsui, literally "water cloud."  Taking clouds and water as a model for one's way of life, the Zen monk moves freely, coming and going aimlessly,  the mind forming and changing in accordance with external circumstances and disappearing without reluctance.  Like water in relation to its container, or a stream softly flowing without hesitation around every obstruction, the Zen monk is capable of fully adopting to any situation.

Clouds are not concerned whether they pass over mountains or forests, or over cities or monasteries.  In the final analysis, it doesn't matter whether one considers oneself an urban monk or a mountain monk, a forest monk or a monastic.  There is only the matter of action expressed as non-action.

The shape of the container of my livelihood is changing.  It would be wise to emulate water and adopt the shape of the new container. 

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