Sitting at the seashore after the recent funeral of a good friend of mine, watching the waves crash onto the rocks and seeing the tiny drops of water light up in the sun for a moment, the ocean thought me a lesson. Remembering a dear friend, I would like to share these thoughts with you all.
It is much like taking a drop of water out of the sea. The droplet now is a body of water in itself but it is also still the sea. See how the sun sparkles it it as it hangs from my finger tip, the way it reflects my face and the whole world around it in a way the sea itself could never do. This droplet had to be taken out of the sea to manifest this extraordinary quality and beauty.
Can it be this is who and what we are? A drop momentarily out of the ocean? If we let the drop of water fall back into the sea, can we really say it is gone? It is still there but it is also not there anymore. Looking around and seeing the sky, the sea, the people and the birds it all whispers and seems to be manifesting this deep truth. The substance of existence is much like this sea I was looking at. Everything around us and we ourselves, came from this and will eventually return tho this substance. How can we say something is here now and over there a moment later? Can we say this of the drop in the sea? This is a good drop and the other one is not so good? So glad its a drop and not the ocean anymore? Say it is here now and now it is there? There is no here or there other then in our own minds. Let's take some water out of the ocean and freeze it. Now we cal it an ice cube. It has many practical uses although the substance itself in fact never changed. All of us are born, made of substance and walk around thinking we are separate from everything else. That we are better or worse, have to go somewhere or better ourselves one day. Not realizing it is all this same one single substance that is both still and in motion. Both there and not there. Whole, complete and perfect. We only live in a dream of distinctions and separation. Seeing water and ice cubes as two different things and acting accordingly, makes the dream. Reality is that it is all one single manifestation of substance in a miracle of different shapes, sizes and colors. What place do we have to stand on or what place can we go to? We feel we must fight and struggle to go "a" place that is better but how can you go if you never left. We try to get somewhere in life although there is no "there "to go to. You are already there and you are already it!
At the funeral we all could approach the coffin and pay our respects to a man who was broken by a life of hard physical work in the fields and lived as a simple, decent man in an ugly world just. While standing next to the open coffin to say goodbye, looking down at that familiar face, I wondered what the difference is between me and the man lying there in his best suit. If we are all of this substance of existence and we all come and go in the same direction, what is the difference between the living and the dead? As the ice cube melts and turns back to the sea it came from, where did the cube then go? Was there a cube in the first place? A life? The answer is right there you know.
Substance of existence,
Realizing your true self
seeing your true face.
As soon as your mind grasps something, this substance of reality freezes into a solid state and we get involved in it, making distinctions and deciding between good and bad. To consciously NOT grasp, determine, keep or cast away is what is the Void outside the substance and whiteness, it is what makes us Buddha. All the potential within the Void. Realizing that this void has no shape or form but is all you, containing everything and holding on to nothing. The conscious void in the substance of existence only becomes visible in action, sitting in shikantaza thus eliminating all action and to just exist means the self or void in the substance of existence, is there. Not hindered or obstructed. Free to come and go wherever it pleases because the water is in the ocean again instead of frozen into an ice cube. This now is the true self in all of us, ready to be realized. Failing to do so and remaining in the dream of life and death, as the ice cube if you will, means our vast potential remains yest again unborn.
So, there could be said that reincarnation in a new body with the same essential nature is not reasonable. Rebirth in a new drop of water with all new characteristics and potential is more plausible since the essence cannot divided, it is one, it has always been one and always stays one, like the ocean and the ice cube. Different in appearance but still the original water that will return in time to where it came from. Nothing changes in the fundamental sense of the substance of existence. How could it? What are the odds of me and you coming from this substance of reality and be conscious sentient beings with the ability to waken to that reality? To sit, practice, live and realize this Nature that is right there and also aspiring to be Bodhisattva? Do we fully realize what these odds are? What a gift this human life really is? To say the odds are much like dropping a one thousand piece jigsaw puzzle out of an airplane at 10.000 feet and seeing all pieces fall in to place on the ground, completing the puzzle, would not be far off I think? This is the precious gift that has been given us in this life. The chance with a capital C. Being human and having waken up tot the Dharma is a gift without comparison. Use it! Right here and right now!
And then, thinking of this, I let my friend go standing at the shore and it was all alright. He went to be the ocean again for a while and I'm still a drop in the sun......for now. No time to loose!
In remembrance of a friend.