Thursday, February 21, 2008

One flower includes everything

If you can just appreciate each thing, one by one, then you will have pure gratitude. Even though you observe just one flower, that one flower includes everything.

-Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, Branching Streams Flowing in the Dark

One flower is made of the whole cosmos. We cannot say that the flower is less than this or more than that. When we extinguish our ideas of more and less, is and is not, we attain the extinction of ideas and notions, which in Buddhism is called nirvana. The ultimate dimension of reality has nothing to do with concepts.

-Thich Nhat Hanh, Living Buddha, Living Christ

Peonies bloom on peony trees. A cat doesn't become a chicken. Tulips are tulips, not roses. Why can't we realize this true fact? That to be me is great. I don't have to be anyone but me. I am blooming as I am in my life, just as a peony blooms on a peony tree. Further, a beautiful peony flower does not worry about when it will wilt and fall to the ground. It does not compete with the flower next to it; rather it blooms with its whole self.

-Rev. Koshin Ogui, Zen Shin Talks


  1. A little simpler, but Alice Walker's book for children comes to mind - There Is a Flower at the Tip of My Nose Smelling Me. It's lovely, if you've not seen it, and speaks to some of the same issues, on another level. ^_^

  2. Simpler is not necessarily a bad thing - I feel that this what the authors I quoted are going for as well (well, at least compared to some of their other statements). It's interesting how the image of the flower seems to have not only a universal appeal as a symbol of beauty but also of simplicity. Both Christ and the Buddha used flowers as images for this as well. I have not seen the book you cited, but I thank you for mentioning it.

    Here is a description of that book from its publisher's website:

    "In a beautifully poetic and gently provocative text, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker invites readers young and old to see the world -- and our place in it -- through new eyes.

    "Glowing colors and radiant images accompany this joyous celebration of the connections and interconnections between self, Nature, and creativity."

    That page also gives an excerpt from the book:

    There is a road
    At the bottom
    Of my Foot
    Walking me.

    It reminds me of something a Chan monk once said during a Dharma talk I attended - he suggested that sometimes it's not about you walking the path it's about the path walking you.


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