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Buddhadharma : Fall 2008
23 fall 2 00 8 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly = There are endless ways of perceiving water. rain for a farmer who has just sowed the seeds of a new crop is a bless- ing. rain for another farmer who is trying to dry his har- vested hay is a nuisance. For an expert kayaker, the roar of the approaching rapids sounds ecstatic. For the owner of a house precariously perched at the edge of a flooding riverbank, it’s threatening. How we perceive water completely depends on who we are. It also depends on the time and place in which we find ourselves, as well as our relationship to water. Years ago when I was in the navy, one of my shipmates invited me to visit his home. He was from a cajun shrimping family outside new orleans. We traveled in a small motor- boat to a wood hut propped up on stilts over the bayou. The brackish smell of the swamp filled the air. alligators slithered by. Huge cypress trees emerging from the muck overhung the house. my friend’s relationship to water was very different from anything that I had ever witnessed or experienced myself. master Dogen taught: What diffeRent types of beings see is different. We should reflect on this. is it that there are various ways of see- ing a single object? Or is it that we have mistaken a variety of images for a single object? We should examine this question in detail, concentrate every effort on understanding it, and then concentrate even more. Given this multitude of perspectives, it follows that training on the way of practice and verification cannot be of one or two kinds, and the realm of ultimate real- ity must also have a thousand types and ten thousand kinds. if we consider this even further, it seems that although we say there are many types of water, ultimately, there is not original water, no water of various types. however, the vari- ous waters which accord with the kinds of beings that see water do not depend on mind, do not depend on body, do not arise from karma, are not self-reliant, and are not reliant upon others. Water, being dependent on water, is liberated.