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Thread: the teaching of rain

  1. #1
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    the teaching of rain

    When Suzuki was a very young monk in Japan, he used to walk in the heavy rain with his master and his master used to tell him : « Why do you hurry up, rain is everywhere ! ». When it rains, we all hurry up, rushing, running frantically, with shoulders up, head bend, to avoid rain. Just look at yourself, look at everybody in the street. A few drops of rain and suddenly everybody becomes hysterical, we found ourselves in a swarm of mad bees. And eventually, we are just as wet as if we have been walking peacefully. There are many interpretations of this teaching. We could say that there is no need to hurry up to escape difficulty, for difficulty will always be with us. Trying to escape pain just makes more pain. You are wet, out of breath and even in danger for you do not pay much attention to what you do, just obsessed with the idea of getting out of the rain. Even if it does not rain, we always in a rush, running from one point to another, one activity to the next, we hardly take the time to live, to experience life, if we really ask ourselves, if we wonder why we are in a hurry, we don’t know or we blame people, circumstances, work. It shows how very little space we give to our life, trapped in rush and judgmental mind. Suzuki’s master wanted to point out that pain is very much created by our attitude towards life, not totally, thoroughly doing what we are doing. Popping, jumping, skipping, the ape instinct of the ego as Trungpa Rimpoche calls it. This is the pessimistic understanding.

    Yet, there is another way of understanding it: rain, Buddha nature is always with us, no need to hurry up, when it rains, it is Buddha rain. Rain is not separated from us. The problem comes from the fact that when it rains, we think it rains, « it » being something different from what we are. On one side, there is rain, one the other, there is me. From the Buddha’s perspective, there is just a moment and it is called rain, and it includes everything, including myself, here and now. Pouring down, Buddha rain, Bright sun, Buddha sun. When it rains cats and dogs, Buddha cats, Buddha dogs ! And everyday I find myself rushing under the rain, not only the rain made of water, cats and dogs, but also the rain made of work, relationships, difficulties and joy, Please, next time you are under a shower, do not try to walk as slowly as possible to really get soaked… You won’t get enlightenment, just a cold ! justcome back to this precious undivided moment. The point is not to think we should, or should not do this and that. The point is pointless, just enjoy your life and welcome every moment as it comes. Rain is everywhere means that the path is the goal.

    When it rains, we call this moment rain, it is the very moment we experience. Rain is not at object over there. Rain cannot grasped. The whole experience rain is beyond concepts,words, nets and buckets. Rain is everywhere, everything, and rain is who we are. Originally Buddha. So being originally Buddha, does not mean that we are always happy, perfect. Buddha is sometimes wet, sometimes dry, sometimes merry, sometimes not. Buddha is an ordinary man or woman. We often have a kind of distorted perception, idea of what an enlightened being would be like. A Buddha would be like a super hero of the spiritual path, always wise, helpful, opened, clear... Being Buddha is accepting things as they are, if sadness comes, sad Buddha, if joy comes, joyful Buddha, if rain comes, soaked Buddha. No need to hurry up. No need to pretend or escape. Ordinary life, everyday life is Buddha. When Dôgen says that ordinary people are deluded about enlightenment, and Buddha enlightened about their delusions, he literally means that : enlightening our illusion, moment after moment, realising Buddha within our simple and daily life. Being aware of how much we hurry up in the rain. When we sit, we are enlightened about our delusions, for rather than being the thoughts in our mind and tensions in our body, identifying ourselves to the flow of illusions, we see it, we notice it without judging. The mind that does not judge or discriminate is Buddha mind.

    Gassho

    Taigu

  2. #2

    Re: the teaching of rain

    Hi.

    Thank you.

    Might i add some thoughts and responses in the matter?

    I use to say “when this happens, do this. When that happens, do that”.
    But what does it mean?
    It means, in much the same way as Taigu says, to fully emerge yourself in the water, without having any thoughts of the waters colour, temperature, flavour asf.
    To fully do what is right to do in that moment/doing, without any pretences or judices.
    To be fully "here" without there being a "there", toally mindful of the moment and the task at hand.
    And mind you it's not something you can "just let happen", you have to be "active"...
    I once got asked if it matters if we do or not do.
    I would say it matters, sometimes much, sometimes little.

    When doing this, this happens.
    When doing that, that happens.
    other than that, I don't know.
    And i don't really think it matters.
    What matters is that you try ("beyond trying") to see and do what's right.

    Now, people may think it’s “platitudes” and that Dead Zen Masters talk and live like that in story books, and teachings not used anymore.
    Yes, they're platitudes, sometimes useful ones, and there's masters/teachings being here doing the same now, just as in the books.
    The problem is to find them.
    I hope you do.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  3. #3

    Re: the teaching of rain

    Thank you. Been a theme of that lately.

    Gassho
    Shohei

  4. #4

    Re: the teaching of rain

    Hello Taigu
    A very profound post with great teaching received with appreciation. When it rains in the city people scurry every where to avoid getting wet for many reasons. Some are on there way to business meetings, arriving to start their day at the office, or spending the day shopping. Getting wet would mean discomfort and interfere with their plans for the day. Not far away a farmer works in the rain and is grateful for it as nourishment for his crops . Not enough rain and the earth becomes dry and dormant. Too much rain and the result is flooding and destruction. Just the right amount of rain and life is abundant. All the possibilities and rain is just rain. When circumstances are such that the clouds can no longer retain the moisture it rains without prejudice to where it happens or of its outcome. Rain is just rain. When we place our personal desires upon the rain we condem it to the world of good and bad. But, rain is just rain. Buddha Rain. Gassho Shogen

  5. #5

    Re: the teaching of rain

    Thank you.

    Gassho _/_

  6. #6

    Re: the teaching of rain

    Thank you again Taigu for this superb teaching!

    Gassho,
    Luis/Jinyu

  7. #7

    Re: the teaching of rain

    .

  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui Kyrillos's Avatar
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    Re: the teaching of rain

    One of the great joys of my childhood was the frequent Summer "Sun-Shower". The sun would be out, a bright day and suddenly a downpour of warm gentle rain would pass through. My mother would always allow me to continue playing in this rain, and sometimes even come out and join me, running about, arms outstretched, reaching up for the liquid sunshine and laughing.

    Gassho,

    Kyrill-Seishin

  9. #9

    Re: the teaching of rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Undo
    Thank you very muchTiagu.

    When it rains in the city people scurry every where to avoid getting wet for many reasons. Some are on there way to business meetings, arriving to start their day at the office, or spending the day shopping. Getting wet would mean discomfort and interfere with their plans for the day.
    I think it runs deeper than this. People in cities (here at least) still rush when they are in their cars. I' can't imagine they all have their washing out :lol: so think it an animalism response..
    Is it animalistic response or human indifference? Still it's just rain. Zak

  10. #10

    Re: the teaching of rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyrillos
    One of the great joys of my childhood was the frequent Summer "Sun-Shower". The sun would be out, a bright day and suddenly a downpour of warm gentle rain would pass through. My mother would always allow me to continue playing in this rain, and sometimes even come out and join me, running about, arms outstretched, reaching up for the liquid sunshine and laughing.

    Gassho,

    Kyrill-Seishin
    Hello Kyrill-Seishin
    Your posts have such poetic imagery. I actually feel the rain and warmth of a mother's love coming through them. Rain is just rain,
    nourishing everything at times even the human heart.
    Gassho Shogen

  11. #11

    Re: the teaching of rain

    Thank you for this teaching Taigu. This is an amazing and wonderfully poetic way to think of things.

    When it rains, the Buddha's robes are wet. Nothing More. Nothing Less.

  12. #12

    Re: the teaching of rain

    This reminds me of a quote in Tsunetomo Yamamotos Hagakure:

    There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still got the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything.
    I really like that quote.

  13. #13

    Re: the teaching of rain

    I love Hagakure! One thing that has consistantly run through my mind since joining Treeleaf is a quote from that book:

    "Among the maxims on Lord Naoshige's wall was this one: Matters of great concern should be treated lightly"

  14. #14

    Re: the teaching of rain

    Thank you, Taigu.

    Gassho, Jikyo

  15. #15

    Re: the teaching of rain

    Taigu: this meant alot to me and helped me through. You see, it is raining hammers and frying pans in my life right now.

    Thank-you for the teaching Sensei.

    m

  16. #16
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: the teaching of rain

    Mark,

    It is for everybody at some point. That's when we need a reminder, a pointer. Hammers, frying pans and cultery rains make us run away, angry, frustrated. We come up with very old and completely out of date defense mechanisms to cope, manage, pretend... the kind of stuff that used to work with mum and dad, with mates or on the playground. Or just the one we always thought was the best. The freedom is to see through that rain and understand that flying objects in space and this poor self are okay. Once you acknowledge the original self in all forms, they loose their power to get you off track. In fact you wake up to this: even imperfect as it looks, it is always the true self coming to meet the true self. And you are free of the bondage of blind reaction to things and people and your own conditionning. And then, of course, one can work with the situation and improve it ( because once again it is not nice to get frying pans and hammers on our heads, we don't have to rave and be extatic when it hits us). As Jundo would say...something like that.

    gassho

    Taigu, walking with an umbrella some days

  17. #17

    Re: the teaching of rain

    Thank-you again Taigu. I am doing my utmost to only let each raindrop (or frying-pan) hit me once, and not attach to the past. This is a gift of Zen; and the thought that you and Jundo, and all the wise heads in the Sangha are there helps me too.

    m

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